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SoundCloud's Collapse buzzfeed.com
104 points by prostoalex  3 hours ago   65 comments top 13
iagooar 1 hour ago 5 replies      
This shows us, that company valuations are ridiculous and actually mean nothing.

Is SoundCloud worth a billion dollars? Well, it might be on paper or in the imaginations of the founders, but what does it really mean? To me, it's worth nothing.

The real problem is: these companies start to operate from the perspective of "having" those millions of dollars. This is why they hire too many people for too much money. They spent hundreds of thousands on marketing.

But in the end, you know what? They need to beg for money to pay their debts. They need to lay off dozens of employees because they don't have the money to pay them.

What if SoundCloud would have kept a small, yet highly skilled engineering team of maybe ~20 people, some marketing and sales, and try to not outgrow themselves? Probably they'd be having a huge surplus each year because their costs would be small and sustained.

When I read stories like these, I actually feel good about my bootstrapped, down-to-earth startup. We don't make millions, we don't "disrupt" the industry, yet we solve our customers' problems and delight them. We won't ever run out of money, as we carefully check each and every expenditure, and have growing savings in the bank.

erikb 1 hour ago 3 replies      
If anybody else is also put off by the writing style: There is some actual content there. One just needs to get through the first third which basically just repeats the headline.

TL;DR (without my opinion added): Top Management started too late to think about making actual money. They also hired an asshole for their US offices. When they got an opportunity to be bought by Twitter they asked for way too much money. And the CEO is bascially on a constant holidays trip since 2014, while not failing to rub it in everybody's face via Instagram photos.

Personal opinion: I don't understand these CEOs who start cashing out before either selling their business or making it a viable paid service, while being so close to a lifetime solution to the problem of money. I mean he already went 80% of the way, much further than most.

k-mcgrady 1 hour ago 1 reply      
SoundCloud could have been a nice business if they hadn't got greedy. From the beginning (or close to it) there have been various paid accounts for artists which a lot of people used. SoundCloud was the best place to discover new music from unsigned artists. There were unsigned artists with tracks on it that blew up and eventually got picked up by major labels.


- SoundCloud neglected the platform.

- Then they did one of the worst redesigns of any site I've seen (try reordering a track in your spotlight [paid feature] in Chrome. Crashes the tab and has done for years. I need to open another browser to do that.).

- Then it became overrun with major label artists.

- Then they started offering features just to the big artists - various UI/branding options - (forgetting about the artists that got them to where they were).

- Then they did the whole paid streaming mess which they were never going to succeed in. Anybody could have told them that, I really don't believe anyone in that company thought 'Go' would work. I think they just needed to do something.

I'm not sure if they've taken so much money now that this isn't possible anymore but if I were CEO I would take it back to it's roots. Focus on the unsigned artists. Fix the site. Offer a distribution system (like CDBaby/TuneCore) so that SoundCloud can be a one-stop show for unsigned artists. Now you've got paid accounts (for stats/spotlight/unlimited upload space) and a small cut of distribution on all paid platforms.

I don't understand how in a world where more artists are getting big without label help nobody is offering a great platform for them. SoundCloud got very close in the past. BandCamp has gotten close too (although it lacks the social/sharing/viral aspect of SoundCloud). If SoundCloud does end up shutting down it's due to greed and poor management. Instead of focusing on what they do well and what people use them for they've tried to go after the money and they were much too late making that move to get any of it.

sgentle 38 minutes ago 0 replies      
Never do a music industry startup unless you have a billion dollars, can raise a billion dollars, or plan to be acquired by a company with a billion dollars to spare. That's the table stakes for going toe-to-toe with the big three.

They'll bleed you to death with licensing fees, deputise you into their copyright enforcement police, upload their songs to your platform on one hand while suing you with the other, and all the while cry about how extracting monopoly profits is so much harder than in the old days.

Just go disrupt something safer, like organised crime or the international diamond trade. At least with those the law probably won't change out from under you.

xfer 1 hour ago 2 replies      
> According to one former SoundCloud Berlin employee, a lack of direction from Wahlforss, who served as chief technology officer, made things worse, with some engineers going rogue and rebuilding their colleagues work in their preferred programming language.

Does this happen at other startups?

whofailed 4 minutes ago 0 replies      
Contrarian here:

Soundcloud is an incredibly valuable property. They have obviously had a few managerial cock-ups, but in reality they have massive user buyin, huge network effect, and anyone who can get some equity in them during this current time of massive negative sentiment is going to do VERY WELL. I wish I had a way to buy in at this point.

thinbeige 1 hour ago 3 replies      
I read this article few hours earlier when crawling through the new section. It's a surprisingly interesting piece from Buzzfeed but there's a lot of bashing of the CEO, the CTO and one recently hired senior for label relations (who seem to be really odd).

This is typical: SoundCloud was an iconic company, its founders worshiped and idealized. Once money runs out, people but especially former employees start to backstab, blaspheme and blame loud and clearly. Why not before? Now when everybody is hitting SoundCloud it's easy and risk-free to join the hate. All the NDAs they once signed seem to be gone? To be fired also means fire and forget for them.

I never believed in SoundCloud. The founders did a great job building a huge brand and DNA out of nothing but the business model is by design broken or to put it simply, you just can't do business with music labels.

Btw, where is Fred Wilson? The biggest proponent and investor of SoundCloud who didn't miss an opportunity to tell us that sound is the future stays silent and hasn't commented this tragedy once. A VC just for good times?

EDIT: Why the downvotes? Mind to share your view?

jackninja1 7 minutes ago 0 replies      
I think a few things are needed in order for SoundCloud to restore some of its value:

- They need to evaluate how their (IMHO) only competitor HypeMachine does its things, and if possible consider an acquisition

- While probably very costly they need to redesign their website (and app), their latest redesign was received very negativly

sddfd 13 minutes ago 0 replies      
What I never understood was why they were opening offices in SF, NY, and London, without having the revenue to back them up.

In my eyes that was just flushing huge amounts of money down the drain.

tovkal 1 hour ago 0 replies      
It's always sad when a company has issues for months and nobody either sees them or acts during that time. Though 'Desde la barrera todo el mundo es torero'.
Myrmornis 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This seemed to me a very sad story. The time during which SoundCloud as it was known and loved really existed was the era before they were really worrying about their "business model". As soon as they contemplated how they could exist long term, they started copying mainstream music services in a way that no-one loved. The real question is: given how much amazing free content there is, how are we going to nurture valuable cultural ecosystems like soundcloud, and create a meaningful and stable niche for them and their employees in our economies?
Doctor_Fegg 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Worth reading to the end for the deadpan Correction.
MIKarlsen 1 hour ago 3 replies      
That's the second time this week I see Buzzfeed coming out with something that resembles decent journalism. Coincidence, or have they turned their ship around?
The Worst Internet in America fivethirtyeight.com
33 points by nafizh  2 hours ago   31 comments top 11
birdman3131 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I used to live in Saguache County as a kid. We left in 2000 but this article does not surprise me. it is hard to adequately get across how desolate it was up there but i'll try.

We had 40 acres of land and were considered city slickers because 40 acres was enough for 1-2 cows. We were friends with people with 25k acres.

The ground was sand. 10 foot down was sand. You could water plants 3 times a day and they would still run out of water. (My mom fixed this with lots of silca gel for her garden.)

We lived on a county road and the postal service would not deliver mail closer that 2 miles away. We never did put up a mailbox and instead just had a PO box in Moffat which was about 8 miles of gravel roads away.

Annual rainfall is less than the Sahara dessert and temps would hit -40F in the winter. Some days would see 70F difference between day and night.

Walmart was 40 miles away (Alamosa in one direction and Salida in the other.)

In parts there are no trees for miles. We had ~30 trees by our house. The next ones were at another house 1/4 mile away and I believe the next were 2 miles away.

Our phone system used an antenna that looked like the old tv arials and was solar with a battery on it. (96/97 era.) We had that for about a year before the phone company decided they needed the system more in alaska and would lay phone line for free rather than charging us $6k to run the lines half a mile. Then they waited a year to come get out system. The battery on it would routinely run out in the middle of a call.

randyrand 14 minutes ago 0 replies      
> if a household wants a download speed of 12 Mbps with an upload speed of 2 Mbps, they can expect to pay a whopping $90.

This is the worst internet in america? Wow. That is amazing! I'm incredibly impressed at how fast the worst place for internet in america is.

In highschool (Class of 2011) I dealt with 5 mbps just because my parents didn't want to pay for more. It was tolerable as long as you didn't want to watch youtube in HD. Honestly, I have little sympathy for people with 12mbps.

>This would be less of an issue if the internet werent so central to modern life. But taxes, job applications, payroll operations, banking, newspapers, shopping, college courses

All low bandwidth things. Really, you can get by fine with 5mbs. HD youtube is not a right. It's a luxury.

Andrenid 19 minutes ago 0 replies      
I live in Melbourne, AU.. 4km from city centre, in a brand new high-rise building. I pay AUD$80/mth for 8mbps down and 0.5mbps up over shitty copper that dies every time it rains.

Pings are so bad lots of services like Netflix, YouTube, etc think I can't connect and just give me "Check your internet" errors when I load, until I refresh multiple times and get it to load.

Funnily enough, our rural areas have better net than us here. I own a farm in the absolute middle of nowhere (region population of around 500) and it gets solid 24/4 and some farms nearby who face a better direction for fixed wireless get 50/8 (or something like that).

mrbill 13 minutes ago 0 replies      
My mother lives in rural Oklahoma, and her Internet connection (2-3Mbps/1Mbps for $60 a month) is a WiMax antenna on the roof of her house, pointed at another antenna on the water tower of the next town over.

It's not great, but it's the only option she has other than satellite providers, and works well enough for Facebook, email, and online shopping.

Smaug123 2 hours ago 1 reply      
That page has a bad case of terrible website design. When I scroll down, I expect bits of image not to zoom in from the left. I nearly closed the page before even getting to the headline. They've also somehow made space bar not scroll as far as it does on other websites (in Safari), so every time I scroll down I spend a second searching for where I ended up.

At least there's only two locations of awful design during the adventure that is scrolling. Once you reach the headline, there's only one really unintuitive bit further down the page (a map of the USA), and that bit is short.

i_feel_great 1 hour ago 3 replies      
That page shows the worst use of the internet in the world. 15.88 MB in size according to Firefox. And unintuitive gimmick navigation to boot. How does doing something like that help convey the message?
qq66 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Most of these articles about broadband access conflate Internet access with broadband speeds. Yes, Internet access is basically a necessity in modern life. However, 25Mbps download (which is the definition used) is absolutely not.
ambrop7 25 minutes ago 0 replies      
Assuming the page is from America, it seems quite close to the worst considering I had to scroll through ~3 pages equivalent of weirdly horizontally scrolling images while all but the sky of the images was obscured by a cookie warning spanning 1/3 of the page (uncovering an equally large subscription request after being dismissed).
contingo 32 minutes ago 0 replies      
The infomap "Broadband is still foreign to much of the U.S." shows high speed internet largely confined to urban areas, as the article discusses. But large swathes of North Dakota are deep green. What's the reason for that?
dispo001 35 minutes ago 0 replies      
I applaud the comparison with electricity. This is almost exactly how I look at it. I would compare Internet providers with utilities providing water, roads, sewage and even the post.

To think at one time we had telegraph data lines that were little more than a mud battery and a pole. The wire would run up the pole, go though a relay switched by the previous pole and continue to the next pole where it would switch its own relay. The mud battery provided very little power, just enough to switch a relay but the technology was good enough to bridge almost unlimited distance.

Without comparison with other services I would be tempted to argue my ISP provides really great services. Its 75 Euro for 300 Mbit and the package comes with a phone line and hundreds of channels of something called television.

However, when compared honestly with similar services their service is terrible. People working there told me the entire network is ready to provide 1 Gbit to everyone and the employees don't know why they didn't make the switch. I can easily guess why, I'm not willing to pay much more than 75 Euro, 3 times the speed wont bring in 3 times the money. What it will do is reveal glitches in the network that would require fixing. If I remember correctly the people who created the ISP were very passionate about the technology but ended up selling the business. Not sure if that was related but if I was passionate about my business but couldn't upgrade because of a hunger for money I would get bored fast.

Using more of this rather ignorant guess work I started to ponder how an ideal ISP should be implemented. What would it really cost? Which type of contract is best for the network rather than the user or the provider?

Surprisingly, in some areas where big money hungry ISPs refused to deliver services people had to rethink and do it themselves.

Like this one here!


The "Glasfaser fr nur 9,95 im Monat" translates to fiber optic for 10 Euro (?!?)

My German almost isn't but from reading around I gathered they needed 65% adoption but got 94%, each end user had to pay 1000 Euro in advance. 900 in the form of a lone and 100 worth of shares.

To guess some numbers with that... 7 and a half years worth of 10 Euro/month does seem to add up to 900 Euro while profit made after that should increase the value of the investment. IOW, if it takes 20 years to repay the debt it would work out just fine for the investor/customer.

Some quote from speedtest: "With an average Q2-Q3 2016 download speed comparable to that in Bulgaria and Moldova, Germanys fixed broadband is slower than you might expect from Europes largest economy. At 40.38 Mbps, Germany ranks 29th in the world for average fixed broadband download speed and 72nd for average upload."

A different page mentions: "Expect a 35 bill on average for a broad-brand connection"

Most important to keep in mind, the big ISPs refused to service the area. It makes a great proof of concept. (Assuming buergerbreitbandnetz delivers 1 Gbps) in this worse case scenario 10/35 buys 1000/40.38 times the bandwidth. Or 29% of the cost for 2476% of the service. Or the 2 figured combined their service is 8438% better than the conventional urban offering.

Rural UK ISP https://b4rn.org.uk happened when big business "could" only provide crappy services at crazy rates. B4RN charges 30 pounds for 1 Gbps.

speedtest writes: "according to the Connected Nations 2015 report from the UKs communications regulator, Office of Communications (Ofcom), 48% of rural areas dont have access to broadband speeds of 10Mbps or higher."

Of course our germans and these brits had money to make their own ISP happen.

My Spanish and my Greek are even worse than my German but from reading around, apparently Guifi is the worlds largest Mesh network in Greece that originally started in Spain.


Trying to make sense of this document...


...it seems they are actively fighting a tax per meter that guberment is trying to inflict on their fiber optic cables. If I understood correctly they are mainly offended by established businesses putting their cable in before the tax was invented. It seems big business did more than seal the ground after digging in their cables.

How different this is from the mundane consumer perspective where we all pay some corp as much as we can for as little as we would accept. We live in a world that is a bit like: when one asks why a carton of milk costs 200 Dollars the answer would be that if they charge 300 USD for it they wouldn't sell enough milk to justify the higher price.

Our entire western society works like this (I almost called it a civilization) one delivers 12 Dollars worth of labor that is sold for 40 Dollars, etc, and eventually it becomes 1000 dollars as part of a mortgage or infinite dollars as part of someones rent.

If that is the mentality or indoctrination that comes over these roads, in these letters and though this internet tube it might just be not worth having any of it.



mrkrabo 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Looking at the photos, I'm surprised there's Internet connectivity at all in those places, other than 3G or maybe WiMAX.

I think it's not realistic to complain about this. The costs of bringing infrastructure to a place like this are simply too high.

Postage A fast replacement for pgAdmin github.com
86 points by justintocci  7 hours ago   49 comments top 14
skrebbel 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Pretty off topic, but this appears to be made by a family that's also a software company. Or the other way around. Awesome team page: https://www.workflowproducts.com/about.html
jafingi 3 hours ago 4 replies      
PGAdmin 4 is one of the worst software releases I have ever experienced. Version 3 worked fine, but everything was destroyed with 4. So many things not working, UI bugs, and you have to click multiple times to get to the same point as you could in one click in 3.
hendzen 41 minutes ago 0 replies      
You guys are offering free phone support? For a FOSS product. That is pretty cool.

Also I would really recommend putting some of the screenshots on the Github readme page.

See bottom - https://www.workflowproducts.com/postage.html

Posibyte 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Is there a reason this was linked to the issues page rather than the repo root?

By the way, this looks really nice. It's an electron app, but it references having "a small fast C core library in the style of Node.js and NGINX." Can you go into more detail about the architecture of this and how it's related to Node and NGINX?

pw 3 hours ago 2 replies      
If you're on Mac, another great, albeit not free, Postgres admin app is Postico (https://eggerapps.at/postico/).
bdcravens 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Screenshots on https://www.workflowproducts.com/postage.html should be clickable thumbnails for larger preview. Otherwise those are too small to see much detail
temp 3 hours ago 1 reply      

Not a big fan of it so I think I'll continue using PSequel and pgAdmin3.

With Slack already running, I can't have another battery hog running simultaneously.

taneem 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Does this support JSONB column types? I was using Jetbrains Datagrip, which I've been very happy with except for the fact that it doesn't seem to support JSONB columns. I've switched back to PgAdmin 4, but the UI lag is really distracting.
kkoppenhaver 1 hour ago 0 replies      
On a related note, a former co-worker built a similar tool. It's been helpful for me!


spacetexas 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Looks great! This is another option I've been using which I can suggest. https://github.com/web-pal/DBGlass

Also based on Electron

rosser 4 hours ago 1 reply      
This looks great! You sold me with the object dependency graph alone.

As someone who's fed himself as a PostgreSQL DBA for over a decade now, I'm excited to see what this can do for me. Thank you!

patrickbolle 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks for this, PGAdmin is painfully slow and clunky for me. Will give this a shot tomorrow morning!
opmac 5 hours ago 1 reply      
How is this any better than any other database admin tool?
sandGorgon 55 minutes ago 0 replies      
Serious suggestion - do this : http://sidekiq.org/products/pro

Remember, it is very hard to donate...But very, very, very easy to pay for invoices.

This is one of the coolest postgres apps, that actually works on Linux as well. I would love to see this supported.

Build an 8-bit computer from scratch eater.net
192 points by necrodome  9 hours ago   16 comments top 12
mevile 7 hours ago 1 reply      
This is really neat! Also if you want to learn to build a computer from scratch without hardware, just to learn how computers work, The Elements of Computing Systems is a great book to check out. It's used as a text in some CS programs but it is very readable and easy to follow and the software is free and online.


http://www.nand2tetris.org/ is the website for it.

matthewwiese 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been following Ben's videos on YouTube ever since he started this project and have been totally transfixed. His approach to building an 8-bit computer on a breadboard has also spawned a bunch of interest from the community.

Just search "my ben eater" on YouTube and you'll find many other people following his steps and making their own computers; some even going as far as to improve upon the original. It's really quite awesome to see.

Hats off to Ben. His succinct videos have done much more for my understanding of low level computing than any computer science professor I've had -- and all through only video.

jfktrey 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Watching Ben's inspired me to finish my Brainfuck-based CPU designed a few years ago: https://hackaday.io/project/4237-mental-1-a-brainfuck-cpu

Right now it has PS/2 keyboard input, and a 40x2 character display output.

The biggest help was his sensible clock design. I modified it a bit in my design, but the techniques he demonstrates in his videos are incredibly helpful and provide a good base to build off of.

dboreham 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Always love to see these projects because if I had made a clone of myself to to the other work, I'd be doing things like this.

Somewhat surprised that you can still buy LS TTL. I'd have thought it'd be replaced by some 1.5V supply ultraBiCMOSwhatever by now. Or a single die that you program to be whatever last-century TTL function you want, via its WiFi interface...

Time was I has the entire 74xxx series memorized. Long since paged out to make way for more important stuff in my brain.

aifreedom 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I built something like this with the 74 series IC chips when I was in college. It was really fun!
GmeSalazar 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I highly recommend Ben Eater's YouTube channel; great video tutorials. He manages to cover a lot in short videos. (Also, consider supporting him on Patreon :)
madez 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a great step for trusted computing for individuals.
throwaway7645 6 hours ago 0 replies      
When I saw he wrote his own Assembly language for it...I was then all chips in!
DesiLurker 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Ah.. this brings back memories. 7400 nand TTL chip with Low power schotky transistors.
jacquesm 7 hours ago 0 replies      
orionblastar 7 hours ago 0 replies      

A Replica 1 is an Apple 1 clone made with permission from Steve Wozniak that people can build from a kit. It is an 8 bit microcomputer with Apple Integer BASIC and optional casette tape interface.

peter_retief 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I love what you have done here, I cant wait to get some time to try out your "instructions"
Confidential Transactions from Basic Principles cryptoservices.github.io
102 points by baby  9 hours ago   7 comments top 3
kanzure 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Strange to not cite the origin of the confidential transactions scheme.

an early writeup: https://people.xiph.org/~greg/confidential_values.txt

http://diyhpl.us/wiki/transcripts/gmaxwell-confidential-tran... which is a transcript of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LHPYNZ8i1cU

The actual borromean ring signature paper (compiled into pdf): http://diyhpl.us/~bryan/papers2/bitcoin/Borromean%20ring%20s...

Confidential transactions was later extended to confidential assets: https://blockstream.com/bitcoin17-final41.pdf and https://blog.chain.com/hidden-in-plain-sight-transacting-pri...

red_admiral 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The version of non-interactive Schnorr presented here is called "weak Fiat-Shamir" and it has led to things getting broken. While there are edge cases when it's ok to use, I would strongly discourage it.

In step 2, e = H(Q || M) should be e = H(Q || M || P). That binds the signature to the public key, if you don't have that then the scheme is not sound in the usual models (UF-CMA +ROM etc.).

EDIT: see "How not to prove yourself", Asiacrypt 2012, eprint 2016/771.

MichaelBurge 7 hours ago 1 reply      
One thing that worried me a bit about confidential transactions: Bitcoin seems fairly securely-designed, but even it had an integer overflow bug: https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Value_overflow_incident

That particular bug seems explicitly covered by this cryptography, using the rangeproofs. But if there were ever some other subtle bug that created money out of thin air, would you be ever able to detect it? The schemes mentioned all seem to sanity-check individual transactions, and not accounts or the money supply as a whole.

The article mentions Monero and CryptoNote, for example: https://getmonero.org/2017/05/17/disclosure-of-a-major-bug-i...

And that page says: "This effectively allows someone to create an infinite amount of coins in a way that is impossible to detect without knowing about the exploit and explicitly writing code to check for it."

It seems like a formal correctness proof would be very important for cryptocurrencies with such strong privacy guarantees.

Netboot Linux over the internet netboot.xyz
130 points by zitterbewegung  10 hours ago   28 comments top 13
andrewstuart 8 hours ago 2 replies      
I wrote Bootrino - an entire cross platform/cross cloud netboot over the Internet desktop application that supports AWS, Google Cloud, Digital Ocean. It did also support Rackspace but Rackspace is effectively dead as a cloud hosting platform and Bootrino also supported SoftLayer but I found after alot of work that SoftLayer is a very locked down environment that does not permit total control over what you run on your VMs.

Kinda takes this core concept and pushes it alot further and lets you boot from your own web servers - you just publish the (simple) bootrino config file plus the OS image and off you go, bootrino configures the instance and builds it from your own web infrastructure, be it internal or public.

You can see a demo of bootrino here:


The purpose of Bootrino is that it allows you to boot ANYTHING on the cloud - i.e. Unikernels and a whole zoo of other tiny operating systems, run-in-RAM operating systems, embedded operating systems etc. You are no longer restricted to running only the operating systems permitted by the cloud vendors.

Lets you do things like make RAM only Postgres databases servers, or run your web server applications purely from RAM without any login, for speed and security.

voltagex_ 1 hour ago 0 replies      
In this age of containers you can still do some pretty impressive things with PXE. That doesn't make it a good standard.

I first saw this trick using iPXE from boot.rackspace.com.

iPXE is also an amazing thing in itself. I would pay for a detailed writeup of the CDROM emulator that does HTTP-range requests when the "device" is accessed.

laumars 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Weird to see this today because I was using netboot.xyz only yesterday to install OpenBSD.

My only gripe with netboot.xyz is that it seems to be missing a few of the less mainstream yet still platforms like NetBSD and Dragonfly. But I know from my own experience writing something similar but not as good that the maintenance of something like that is rather large. So I can't really complain.

Spivak 8 hours ago 1 reply      
This is super cool. You could sell this as a service to IT departments. Give each customer a subdomain, let them manage their own ISOs, maybe throw in kick-start support, and you've got a real product.

Edit: and this would be a great way to build trust, your paying customers would support the public service and distribution maintainers could get official accounts on your service to distribute to their users.

andrewstuart 3 hours ago 0 replies      
You can't do the stuff described at this site universally on any cloud due to various technical restrictions. There's certainly no standard way to do it. I even found it to be problematic on the cloud for which it was intended - Rackspace.

HOWEVER - there IS a way to boot anything at all you want on any cloud.

It's a little bit tricky.

The solution depends on the fact that EVERY cloud runs just about exactly the same version of Ubuntu. And every cloud provides a way to run Ubuntu with a boot script. What this means is in effect that every cloud has a highly standardised boot process.

So what you do, is boot Ubuntu with a script that drops the operating system, formats the hard disk and installs a new OS, i.e. a Unikernel, Alpine Linux, TinyCore Linux, Windows even, whatever you want.

I built Bootrino around this concept (see the other message in this thread about Bootrino). Bootrino is essentially a front end that boots an instance, passes in a boot script that it gets from your web server, the boot script does the job of dropping the OS, reformatting and then reconfiguring it to be whatever you want. It pulls in the OS files from any URL so it's super flexible. True net boot for the cloud.

Sounds a bit odd but it is highly reliable and works very nicely. I got a whole nunch of stuff running including Unikernels, Alpine Linux, TinyCore Linux and a few even more tiny exotic operating systems.

There's some real challenges to do with the differing ways that the clouds implement networking but I worked all that out with only just enough pain to make me tear out my eyes.

nikanj 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Apparently boot.kernel.org is no more. Does anyone know what happened?
lathiat 8 hours ago 0 replies      
In true style, I've thought for over a year about creating something like this.. turns out it already exists. Yes!

Side note, iPXE is awesome.. most recently I was using it to test a bug with iBFT (how the BIOS describes an iSCSI root disk to the operating system).. since iPXE lets you setup the appropriate stuff to do iBFT insteading of needing the relevant network card. So many good things from iPXE

jburgess777 8 hours ago 0 replies      
This looks a lot like the old boot.kernel.org (BKO) site which was taken down a while ago. I don't remember why it was taken down but you can still find some references to it, e.g.




damm 9 hours ago 3 replies      
Why should we trust you? Sure you set the mirror to rackspace but easily things can go wrong and if your competent enough to get iPXE running you should be doing the job your damn self.
shmerl 4 hours ago 0 replies      
A good example where gigabit connection makes it usable.
flyGuyOnTheSly 5 hours ago 2 replies      
Is this similar to http://httpredir.debian.org/ ?

I just created my first live debian chroot earlier today, and was amazed at how it seemingly worked.

debootstrap downloaded everything required for a basic debian install in a few minutes from http://httpredir.debian.org/ and I was in and using the fresh system.

Is that what netboot.xyz is? The same thing but for multiple linux distros?

danfolkes 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This is great! Especially for utility disks like gparted.

No longer needing to make 30 different bootable CDs or bootable USBs is nice.

snvzz 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Netboot, sure. But why Linux?

This isn't in any way Linux specific.

Hyper Networks: An RNN that changes the weights of an RNN otoro.net
56 points by GChevalier  9 hours ago   3 comments top
notgood 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Lets go deeper, lets create a RNN that changes the weights of this RNN!

I fear someday we may accidentally discover (and disappoint ourselves) that consciousness (AKA the mind) its just a self-modifying binary system and not as magical as we like to assume... probably still centuries away even if that's the case.

Gallery of Data Visualization: the Best and Worst of Statistical Graphics datavis.ca
88 points by breck  11 hours ago   8 comments top 3
gabrielgoh 9 hours ago 2 replies      
A great collection, but I thought the final diagram of


that illustrated the orders of magnitude of radiation dosage was a great use of visual presentation to illustrate scale - why is it in the hall of shame?

johnloeber 8 hours ago 2 replies      
On this topic, I witnessed the "Bicycle of Education" just earlier today, which had me thoroughly impressed.


minimaxir 8 hours ago 0 replies      
For more interesting bad visualizations, see also the /r/dataisugly subreddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/dataisugly/top/

Unfortunately, submissions to /r/dataisbeautiful tend to comprise most of the modern submissions to /r/dataisugly nowadays.

Mathematicians Bridge Finite-Infinite Divide quantamagazine.org
88 points by lolptdr  12 hours ago   25 comments top 6
xamuel 6 hours ago 1 reply      
A genuine breakthrough in the narrow realm of reverse mathematics. (The article exagerates that into a breakthrough in general, par for the course for science journalism.)

Here's the actual paper: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1601.00050.pdf

The quantamagazine article puts a lot of emphasis on the youth (34 and 27) of the researchers. I guess the journalist overlooked a more surprising age. Lu "Jiayi" Liu (whom the article briefly mentions for a preliminary result) was I think 20 years old when he made his discovery in 2012 which was a tentative step toward the stronger result in this article. I saw Liu give a talk and it was remarkable. It was in a conference where all the other speakers were very well-established logicians with many decades in the field, and then this Chinese undergrad who was probably the youngest person in the whole building... and all these well-established logicians were humbled by him.

nthcolumn 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Where is this divide? It is some concept I am unaware of?
lngnmn 6 hours ago 2 replies      
There is no such thing as Infinite outside your heads. This is actually a pattern - a false dichotomy with a pure abstraction produced as an abstract opposite or an abstract result of negation of some other concept or a named entity. Applied Hegelian nonsense if you wish.

Infinity is a pure abstraction, like zero, but ill-defined (zero is an symbol for a concept of an empty slot, absence or nothing, while infinite is mere a negation of finite). Like many other concepts it might be useful, but usability does not imply existence.

graycat 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Ah, foundations of math, start with applied math for making money, descend to applied math that doesn't make money, descend to pure math, descend to foundations, and, there, down in the dark basement try to make some sense.

I've been there, done that, never made even 10 cents there! So, get to Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory, the axiom of choice, the work of Kurt Gdel and Paul Cohen (I still have the copy of Cohen's paper Max Zorn gave me!), etc. A friend worked in forcing arguments, Ramsey theory, etc. and never made even 10 cents there either.

I climbed out of that dark basement and don't want to go back!

hzhou321 6 hours ago 0 replies      
The paper is too abstract for me but it seems to mean that we don't really need the concept of infinity (for theorems in finite domain). I like that.
vanderZwan 7 hours ago 0 replies      
> The colorable, divisible infinite sets in RT22 are abstractions that have no analogue in the real world. And yet, Yokoyama and Pateys proof shows that mathematicians are free to use this infinite apparatus to prove statements in finitistic mathematics including the rules of numbers and arithmetic, which arguably underlie all the math that is required in science without fear that the resulting theorems rest upon the logically shaky notion of infinity. Thats because all the finitistic consequences of RT22 are true with or without infinity; they are guaranteed to be provable in some other, purely finitistic way. RT22s infinite structures may make the proof easier to find, explained Slaman, but in the end you didnt need them. You could give a kind of native proof a [finitistic] proof.

I'm not a mathematician, but this sounds a lot like proof by induction VS proof by anything except induction.

Backdooring the Lottery [pdf] defcon.org
67 points by enricotal  11 hours ago   16 comments top 5
dghughes 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Didn't read the pdf but I used to work for a lottery Corp and from what I heard security was nuts. One of the server room IT guys left for Blue Cross and later said Blue Cross was much less strict than the lottery.

I also recall one of the compliance guys telling me about the balls used in one of those bingo ball tumbling machines. He said they had to wash, dry and weigh each ball before every draw. Of course it was fun to yell to him saying on draw day "hey it's Friday did you wash and dry your balls?"

madez 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I wonder why they didn't go for an easy technique to defend against backdoors: use two independent sources for random numbers that don't know of each other and xor their output together. The increase in cost is small and the win for integrity and security is huge.
mrb 6 hours ago 1 reply      
As an infosec pro, If I was in charge of a lottery RNG, I would require the use of a recent unmodified Linux or OpenBSD distro and simply use getrandom(2). These custom RNG introduce 100% unnecessary complexity and risks. I am baffled none of them seem to do that and they need thirdparty certification procedures (who miss RNG flaws anyway.)
thephyber 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I remember reading about the MUSL RNG fraud recently (1-2 years ago). Interesting that they are tying state lottery frauds to that malicious insider from as far back as 2005 (or so the slides suggest).
gwern 9 hours ago 4 replies      
Anyone getting SSL errors trying to load the slides? Nothing seems to work, including proxying over Tor.
Qbrt Cross-platform HTML/JS desktop apps using the Firefox Gecko runtime mykzilla.org
124 points by roryisok  10 hours ago   61 comments top 6
carussell 7 hours ago 1 reply      
> Also, qbrt doesnt yet support runtime version management (i.e. being able to specify which version of Gecko to use, and to switch between them). At the time you install it, it downloads the latest nightly build of Firefox.

This doesn't sound so good, and is the opposite of what I think people have come to expect. It's seems like the most straightforward solution is to hardcode a specific version of the runtime into the package, so that installing qbrt XX.0.0 gets you the runtime that corresponds to Firefox version XX.

cocktailpeanuts 9 hours ago 3 replies      
What's the benefit of using this instead of Electron? Genuinely curious about the benefit.

Is Gecko better than Chromium in certain cases?

Zekio 10 hours ago 6 replies      
is this a potential electron competitor/alternative?

Edit: Electron really needs a competitor/alternative

zerr 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder what's the state of XUL, if anyone using it in the wild (besides Mozilla)...
oblib 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Well the low level details are over my head but the discussion is certainly interesting and enlightening and I do want to play with this.
rxlim 8 hours ago 4 replies      
No offence, but please write your desktop "apps" as native programs or don't write them at all, we have enough of this slow and bloated web shit on desktop already. Sorry.
Google is trying to do to Facebook what Facebook did to Snap cnbc.com
18 points by SREinSF  2 hours ago   5 comments top 4
nsebban 29 minutes ago 0 replies      
I have to say I was pretty disappointed at Google for pushing their "use the iPhone Gmail app" popup to me : They have plenty of data about my usages, and it was easy enough to figure out I never owned an iPhone, or accessed any of their services using an iPhone.
rimher 19 minutes ago 1 reply      
If this is really what Google is trying to do, it's pointless. Google can't stop Facebook when it already has 2bln users, plus WhatsApp and Instagram.

There's just no way Google can beat them at their own game.

dqv 40 minutes ago 0 replies      
After getting that update, I noticed that every news suggestion was something that interested me and that I'd actually read it. It was eerie, but sort of satisfying that it wasn't littered with sports or celebrity news or "feel good" stories like it once was.
HugoDaniel 14 minutes ago 0 replies      
Too big to fail
Robust Physical-World Attacks on Machine Learning Models arxiv.org
75 points by earlenceferns  14 hours ago   11 comments top 2
swordswinger12 11 hours ago 3 replies      
This paper is a fairly convincing counter-argument to another recent work (https://arxiv.org/abs/1707.03501) on physical adversarial examples for autonomous vehicles. The other paper argued there was "no need to worry" about such physical attacks.
mynameisvinn124 11 hours ago 2 replies      
i understand why we'd like to have near-perfect classification but do we need 100% accuracy in practice?

for example, the paper identifies an instance where a stop sign was misclassified as a speed limit under various conditions.

however, wouldnt applying bayesian priors ("how often do i see speed limits at intersections?") presumably negate misclassifications?

rather than chase the elusive ~100% accuracy from a single model, why not take a layered, ensemble approach?

Optical lens can transfer digital information without loss phys.org
43 points by dnetesn  11 hours ago   6 comments top 5
murkle 1 minute ago 0 replies      
So is there a picture of the lens somewhere? I don't see what shape it is.
trevyn 36 minutes ago 1 reply      
Keep in mind that multiple wavelengths are already used in parallel in optical signaling -- "Modern systems can handle 160 signals and can thus expand a basic 100 Gbit/s system over a single fiber pair to over 16 Tbit/s." - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wavelength-division_multiplexi...
20after4 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Yes, 36 bits or even more I would think.

It seems like they are suggesting that it's feasible to make fiber optics which transmit a picture with extremely low distortion. So a single fiber could carry an optical image instead of a serial bit stream while maintaining nearly perfect clarity.

So you could potentially encode a lot of data (I would think a lot more than 36 bits) into a 2D pattern (like a QR code, essentially) which would enable the transfer of large blocks of data in each frame of visual information.

Of course encoding & decoding the data would incur some overhead...

bluejekyll 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Can anyone describe the difference between this and standard optical connections?

Is it saying that it would give a 36 bit bandwidth over that of today's optics?

tyingq 9 hours ago 0 replies      
So theoretically, 36 bits at a time vs 1 bit for today's serial optical? Or is that overly simplistic?
Benchmarks of PHP 7.2 Beta: PHP Is Still Getting Faster phoronix.com
118 points by ashitlerferad  9 hours ago   59 comments top 4
nkkollaw 29 minutes ago 0 replies      
I don't think PHP's main problem is speed. It's generally used for websites, and a few milliseconds aren't going to make a difference when pages are so bloated by JavaScript libraries to often be 5-10MB.

PHP's problem IMHO is that I wouldn't be able to use it if it wasn't for autocomplete: inconsistent function names, inconsistent parameter order.

The ecosystem is fine, there's Composer, PSR, Laravel. The problem is PHP's legacy.

I wish someone created a PHP class one could use to namespace sane function names and parameter order:

 \PHP\html_entities() \PHP\url_encode()

...and here it is: https://github.com/nkkollaw/php, discussion here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14885226.

Pull requests welcome :-)

rubyn00bie 6 hours ago 13 replies      
Honest, sincere, question here:

How is programming in PHP these days? I haven't used the language since 4.x-5.2 or so. I wrote it off completely when Hack and HHVM came out due to the nuances between it and PHP proper (not to say either is bad, it was just another barrier, and set of choices I didn't care to deal with). I typically write Ruby, Elixir, and some JVM based languages these days. Any new features or language changes that make it more pleasant or any good use cases compared to my usual languages? I will add using it anywhere, while a valid use case, isn't something particularly attractive to me.

Edit: just wanted to say thanks for all the good comments posted so far!

vesak 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Is there a PHP modding squad in Hacker News? Legitimate, non-offensive anecdotes are getting downvoted in this thread while all positive comments are being upvoted.

I think I've seen such a trend rising in the past few years, but I wasn't sure: every thread covering PHP in some way gathered a crowd that defended "how PHP is much better since 5.x" or referred to PHP being hated by people without any good reason.

And yes. This very comment got downvoted to 0 in less than a minute from its submission.

jaequery 3 hours ago 2 replies      
it's really astonishing to see PHP still alive and kicking, despite all the backlashes it has received over the years. whatever it is they are doing, they must be doing something right.
Toyplot A plotting toolkit for Python readthedocs.io
46 points by aw3c2  13 hours ago   8 comments top 3
cwyers 11 hours ago 4 replies      
Seems like a fair amount of boilerplate. You really have to specify that the axes are Cartesian with every simple two-axis plot you make?
jftuga 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I wish they had more examples for time-series data.
great_psy 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Am I the only one who gets a bit ticked off when seeing the axis not cross at the origin ?
Commercial Pilot Catches Photos of Secret Chinese Missile Test theaviationist.com
28 points by Inconel  4 hours ago   2 comments top 2
rb2e 20 minutes ago 0 replies      
I would think this would be a better link. Its pilot's own words too https://jpcvanheijst.com/blogs/2017/07/596970-rocket-launch-...
g00n 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Yay! Lots of secrets everywhere...
In a Robot Economy, All Humans Will Be Marketers bloomberg.com
74 points by sndean  9 hours ago   77 comments top 19
jon_richards 6 hours ago 3 replies      
I fundamentally disagree with this article. Automation hits some places earlier than others, but I think "marketing" isn't as far away as they think. We're starting to develop bots that can make puns, text to speech that sounds human, etc. What happens when bots can pass the Turing Test? When they know everything about the trends you follow, finances you have, products you've bought, shows you watch, places you go, jokes you enjoy? Marketing will start becoming "personalised", and I don't think humans will be behind the controls for long after that.

Humans won't be marketing, they will be marketed. Humans will be a novelty, like a hand-carved chair or a horse-drawn carriage. Probably worse than the human-free product, but worth paying a bit extra for the idea of it.

m52go 6 hours ago 1 reply      
"but but there is NO job humans can do that a robot cannot do"

this is the gist of the reactions i got to a comment i made on an article on a similar topic here a few days ago.

this article better articulated what i was trying to say there:

But machines are not effective at persuading, at developing advertising campaigns, at branding products or corporations, or at greeting you at the door in a charming manner, as is done so often in restaurants, even if you order on an iPad. Those activities will remain the province of human beings for a long time to come.

people here seem to forget that all this automation is being done to serve us better, the people (i guess you could argue it's really being done to better serve shareholders, but that's another discussion).

we're still weird, unpredictable creatures who eat, sleep, poop, and work in a 4-dimensional world...so there will ALWAYS be a human component to delivering products and services.

even if a good bit of the designing, building, and distribution of these services may be automated.

neilwilson 3 hours ago 2 replies      
The bit everybody misses is that people still need something to do with their day.

The problem is the wrong conception of what work actually is. Work is what you do with your day that you find enjoyable and that others consider useful. When that gets paid we call it a job.

And that's it.

Work is leisure you get paid to do. It's a social activity that furthers the cause of the group of humans engaged in it.

If it isn't, then perhaps the system we've chosen to allocate work is broken rather than the concept of work.

Perhaps we need a system that ensures there are always more jobs than people that want them, and that creates work and jobs based upon agreed social value. Which then forces the market sector to compete, which in turn forces market value to align properly with the social value we're after.

ThomPete 8 minutes ago 0 replies      
In a robot economy there will be no need for marketers. People can get whatever they want.
xg15 51 minutes ago 0 replies      
Slightly OT, but did anyone else get the feeling that the author feels like he has to appeal to a very pro-advertising readership even though he is actually quite aware of the negative effects of advertising?

Whenever he wants to write about something becoming more marketing or advertising oriented, he quickly adds some points along the lines of "...of course advertising is usually totally awesome but..."

Those bits seldomly even have any sources or arguments to them to make them convincing.

Some examples:

> To be sure, a lot of commercial persuasion is useful. Marketing informs consumers about new products and their properties, or convinces them that one product is better for them than another.

> Each business tries to pull customers away from the other brands, and while the final matching of customers to products is usually closely attuned to what people want, [...]

> Although consumers enjoy these panderings to some degree, [...]

swampthinker 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Re: The ATM point. The evidence they cite is this graph [1]. I'm not sure that this is a compelling graph. Sure the number of tellers has been growing, but it's been very slow growth. Meanwhile, ATM's have been skyrocketing in popularity. One could easily argue that teller job creation was heavily impacted by ATM's, but offset by overall population growth.


ShirsenduK 3 hours ago 1 reply      
As the world goes more towards digital content, the more robots/AI/software will do the marketing. The growth of Facebook revenues is a clear indication that software is better at marketing than humans. They know which buttons to push and when to get the right response. They know you better than the marketing manager at company xyz.

Marketing automation is already here and its only going to get bigger and better. The sales and marketing teams will shrink to 1-2 persons even for large corporations. They will make us more efficient.

Klockan 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Programmers programming AI's to automate marketing will definitely have a job longer than marketers.
vinceguidry 4 hours ago 0 replies      
You can generalize this to: Someone still has to understand everything in order to make it actually useful for humans. You can build a robot to do work previously done by a human, but you can't make it actually understand when it needs to be working and on what. That would be an exponentially harder problem to make a computer solve.

Making computers want interesting things is perhaps THE problem in artificial intelligence. If you can solve it, you've got AGI. You can hand a machine learning algorithm a very constrained environment and it can work out some basic goals, like making a high score go up.

But increase the complexity of the environment and all of a sudden, the algorithm needs to learn how to simulate it, significantly ramping up the difficulty of what it has to do.

Humans are going to start getting inexorably shifted out of things that humans really shouldn't be doing in the first place, to be replaced by the just-as-difficult task of commanding our new robot slaves. Maybe for a little while it'll be difficult for humans to find purchase in the brave new world, but the limitations of machines to literally read our brains and tell us what we want is going to quickly make themselves known and humans all over the world will take on the role of specifying the behavior of machines that are getting increasingly smarter.

You're going to see the same sort of stratification of haves and have-nots you have now, I see little about the new production modes that's going to change the fundamentals of economics. But everybody is going to have more of it, because making things is going to get much, much easier, even easier than it is now, and it's already really easy.

anacleto 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The fundamentally wrong thing I see over and over again: Marketing != Advertising.
godelski 6 hours ago 0 replies      
The author seems to miss a lot here. Sure, there will be industries that will follow the ATM model, but many more won't. I mean how do you miss cars? It is the most talked about industry to be disrupted by AI and there is no way it is going to create more jobs.

Also, the author clearly misses Coke's marketing strategy. It is pretty well understood that Coke doesn't advertise to get people to buy their product. AI has been good at getting us to buy products. And I'm pretty sure AI will also get good at keeping us using products.

Really it just comes off as naive and overly optimistic.

rumcajz 2 hours ago 0 replies      
"In a Robot Economy, All Humans Will Be Consumers."
mirimir 6 hours ago 0 replies      
For the model presented, I'd say more like "customer service". But then, for whom? For each other, I guess.

In that world, I'd rather become a human-assisted robot. Potentially immortal, even.

DrNuke 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Small services for local communities will not die, though. If no money circulates, we will go back to barter and communes.
EGreg 1 hour ago 0 replies      
More legal work is done by smart software, but cultivating client relationships has never been more important.

I always found this turn of phrasd to be somewhat odd.

Why has cultivating relstionships never been more important? What is it about today that makes this true? And if it's not true, then the whole "but" is just handwaving nonsense inserted in place of the crux of the whole argument.

paulus_magnus2 3 hours ago 0 replies      
tax advisors. marketing can be automated
Animats 4 hours ago 0 replies      
One word: Amazon.
unabst 6 hours ago 4 replies      
The robot economy is not a jobs issue. It is a wealth issue.

An entrepreneur's primary function is to create jobs. Every job ever created that wasn't made by the government was a direct or indirect consequence of an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship is thriving.

A business's primary function is to hire people. Any large business that isn't firing is hiring. And public businesses need to grow to stay in business. 75% of Google's income is from ads. There couldn't be an easier service to automate and robotize than an ad system. Yet, not only are they hiring, but they're looking to spend this money in completely unrelated areas. They're literally starting from "A" and going down the alphabet.

Entrepreneurs and businesses will always look to automate. But they will also always look to hire. Elon Musk is partially responsible for this AI job paranoia, but not only is Tesla not fully robotized they have a shortage of workers and they're hiring like mad [1].

Jobs are about skills, and yes, if you're doing a job that is a candidate for new methods of automation - like driving - your job is in danger. But unless you're only capable of doing one job, all you'll do is find another. You're not a "robot".

And even if humanoids begin to take over more human work, entrepreneurs and businesses will simply hire more and hire them all. We will work alongside our robotic co-workers, and the economy (should) just expand to meet our collective output.

But herein lies the real issue.

Robots will not be owned by robots. They will be owned by people. And if robots are productive, they'll become the new real estate. A robot with a job will be like a house that pays rent.

Bill Gates recently came out with a robot tax video [2]. But taxes are not enough to equalize the wealth gap. It hasn't worked for humans, and it won't work for bots.

Not only money, but ownership needs to be redistributed. Unfortunately, we have yet to find a solution for this old problem either.

So what if you lost your job if you own two apartments that bring in a middle class wage? Replace apartments with robots.

The Robot Economy is not about jobs. It's about wealth.


[1] https://www.tesla.com/careers/search#/

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nccryZOcrUg

sverige 6 hours ago 1 reply      
What is great about being a human is that, even if the premise turns out to be true, 1) I will never be a marketer, and yet 2) I will not starve. I don't have to be smarter than a robot, I just have to be smarter than the person who made the robot.
Talks at Google: Noam Chomsky [video] youtube.com
83 points by famil  7 hours ago   23 comments top 5
k1m 57 minutes ago 1 reply      
The last part is great:

Khalil: "It's not every day that a non-Googler gets to sit in a room full of people who work at Google and are software engineers and are advertising experts and are you know market experts in different fields. Do you have anything that you'd like to ask us?"

Chomsky: "Why not do some of the serious things?"



Frogolocalypse 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The world will lose one of the great modern-day thinkers when Chomsky is no longer with us. It's hard to fathom how he remains such a clear thinker at his age.
contingencies 2 hours ago 1 reply      
20:00 has an interesting snippet where Chomsky relates the breakdown of working class cultural institutions and education then takes a stab at Google (one gets the sense the real audience response was edited heavily in post production).
thaw13579 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I wish someone more interested and prepared could have conducted the interview, but the talk is worth watching anyway.
theplatapi 4 hours ago 6 replies      
Chomsky wrote the foreword to a French book denying the Holocaust and spoke at the headquarters of Hezbollah - an internationally recognized terror group - amoung other asinine things. Why does anyone respect this guy?
How Shor's Algorithm works (2007) scottaaronson.com
249 points by monort  17 hours ago   17 comments top 7
kwaugh 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Aarsonson has been one of my favorite professors. His undergrad quantum information sciences class was great. Super smart guy, approachable, good lecturer, good person. A+ dude. I recommend following his blog if you don't already.
seycombi 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Video + Notes for his lectures MIT 6.045 Automata, Comput, & Complexity can be found here:

video lectures: http://web.de.mit.edu/public/courses/6/6.045/2015spring/

notes: http://stellar.mit.edu/S/course/6/sp15/6.045/materials.html

netvarun 9 hours ago 0 replies      
After Shor's algorithm a good follow up would be to learn about Grover's Algorithm[1]

Here is a fantastic explanation of it: http://twistedoakstudios.com/blog/Post2644_grovers-quantum-s... [More technically involved explanation]

Interesting factoid: Scott Aaronson[2] interned with Lov Grover[3] at Bell Labs as a teenager!

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grover%27s_algorithm

[2] https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/scott-aaron... [This is a great interview, btw!]

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lov_Grover

jessriedel 16 hours ago 2 replies      
In the spirit of Muehlhauser's list of textbooks ( http://lesswrong.com/lw/3gu/the_best_textbooks_on_every_subj... ) can anyone recommend a more technical introductions to Shor's algorithm -- kets allowed -- who's read at least two other such introductions?
hossbeast 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Appreciated the comment on the blog by Peter Shor :)
stablemap 17 hours ago 2 replies      
From 2007 (now fixed).

These are some of the hardest papers to write and make visible; I was disabused of a few beliefs and the treatment of number theory didn't upset me so this was great, particularly the Fourier bit at the end.

wicha 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Is there (or can be) any plan to avoid mayhem if a quantum computer emerges controlled by an evil man?
Must answer questions before posting comments to prove you understand news independent.co.uk
69 points by cnst  8 hours ago   25 comments top 6
kristopolous 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I was under the impression that comments on news sites were mostly to divert the readership from directly contacting the author or the company through channels that are listened to; merely a solution to keep the wacko segment of the readership occupied and satiated. At least in practice, this is how it appears to function; they're almost exclusively 3rd party plugins and nobody that works for the news organizaion seems to ever engage with them.
protomyth 8 hours ago 3 replies      
I expect there will be some mockery of the questions if they are not careful. Imagine questions written by MSNBC & FoxNews for the same story. I can see the questions setting up an echo chamber effect.
mtl_usr 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Simple fact trivia won't do anything to demonstrate a person has understood the article, merely that he read it.

It's the fundamental difference between functional illiteracy and "plain" illiteracy.

This difference shows up all the time when analyzing data because some jurisdiction will only report the illiteracy number while some other will include the functional illiteracy as well.

warrenm 8 hours ago 0 replies      
If that actually worked, the noise to signal ratio might not be infinite
MrTonyD 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I've often thought that those who make decisions for society should be required to pass a test to show they understand all sides of an issue. It is absurd to me that politicians are currently allowed to make the wide variety of decisions that they make. I don't think anybody really wants to vote for them to do that. (There was an old episode of Star Trek that had officer candidates use the holodeck to be exposed to a wide variety of situations and outcomes. I would think that whatever we could do to emulate that should be a requirement for making associated decisions.)
Myrmornis 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Great, now how about extending this to voting rights?
SSH browser with rsync transfer engine bonhardcomputing.com
35 points by bonhardcomp  19 hours ago   7 comments top 4
pmlnr 57 minutes ago 1 reply      
How does this compare to SSHFS? https://github.com/libfuse/sshfs
feelix 3 hours ago 1 reply      
> The remote machine must have a running SSH service and carry its own copy of rsync

Really the machine should just have to be running SSH. The UI could then take care of spooling up an instance of rsync on the target machine under the hood as soon as it connects.

jakobegger 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This looks like a brilliant tool! It's always annoyed me how slow copying stuff over the network using a GUI is -- especially folders with many files.

For example copying a 300MB folder from one Mac to another over Wifi took 10 minutes (using the Finder). Then I tried using rsync from the command line, and it took just 15 seconds.

I don't often use rsync, so I always have to look up the required flags every time I use it. A friendly GUI is greatly appreciated!

polygot 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks interesting!

I had a pain point a few days ago when I had to delete a few thousand files from my VPS over SFTP (it took forever.) This project looks like it could help out a lot in that regard because it uses rsync, which should be much faster than FTP's method of deleting the files one by one.

Legalize It All How to Win the War on Drugs (2016) harpers.org
85 points by aaronbrethorst  9 hours ago   80 comments top 9
qbit 7 hours ago 7 replies      
It's interesting that whenever the subject of legalizing drugs comes up, people rarely argue for legalization from the perspective of cognitive liberty. Why we allow certain people to decide what states of consciousness are allowed for other people never ceases to amaze me.
grondilu 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Beware, though. It's true that the war on drugs seems to do much more harm than the products they try to prevent people from consuming, but I would worry a bit about a world where big pharmaceutical could suddenly research recreational drugs as business opportunities.

Medicine is only for sick people. Recreational drugs would potentially be for everyone. Plus, they can be made extremely addictive. It's the perfect commercial product.

New drugs already exists that are more addictive and powerful than old ones. Like Fentanyl, for instance[1]. Who knows what research labs would come up with if they threw lots of money and brain power into it?

A global legalization of drugs would be quite a Pandora's box. I'll quote Noah Harari and say it would start what he calls "the chemical pursuit of happiness" [2].

In the end, the risk is that we end up like the woman with an orgasm button[3], or turn us into some kind of vegetative state, as described in "the metamorphosis of Prime intellect"[4].

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fentanyl

2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_Deus:_A_Brief_History_of_...

3. http://boingboing.net/2008/09/16/brain-implant-result.html

4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Metamorphosis_of_Prime_Int...

Nickersf 3 hours ago 1 reply      
The war on drugs policy is a disaster.

As someone who enjoys doing drugs I have put though into the stigmatization legality and health effects of drugs.

Much like healthcare this is an extremely complex subject.


Pros: helps treat addiction as a public health issue. Keeps people out of the prison industrial complex. Takes the taboo elements out of it for the youth.

Cons: supports the drug trafficking systems that kill people. Strips tax revenue from governments and money from 9companies who can help treat addiction. No quality control of drugs - look at tweekers and junkies who can't afford quality gear. Spread of infectious diseases.

Legalization:Pros: substances can be produced by companies who can compete to make good quality drugs. Generates tax revenue and stimulates the economy. Puts a wrench in the cog of the drug trafficking systems - less babies filled with dope and dead drug mules.

Cons: companies exploit addicts. Drugs get marketed to the wrong people. Drug revenues go to support more corrupt politicians. Drug addiction becomes normalized.

It also raises other questions such as what are the goals of our greater society? Living in a rigid corporate, industrialized society leaves little time for many people to have recreation time. Being strung out or twisted on meth can make it hard to keep up with the rigors of life.

I also don't want the construction crew down the street drunk or high on heroin working the tower crane... downers impare your motor skills. Stimulants go after your cognitive and social abilities.

Tough topic.

b_ttercup 8 hours ago 2 replies      
"Addiction is a hideous condition, but its rare."

Is this a true statement for harder drugs?

mnm1 3 hours ago 0 replies      
H. L. Mencken identified in Americans the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.

A better, more succinct description of the American attitude that created and still fuels the drug war (amongst other disgusting things) simply does not exist. You can write a million pages and not get as much clarity as Mencken does in this one phrase.

bkeroack 6 hours ago 0 replies      
By this definition of win we also "won" the Vietnam war.
mcappleton 6 hours ago 1 reply      
What if they were legal but every sale had a special tax with the money specifically going to rehab and for those who need help.
Piccollo 8 hours ago 1 reply      
No drugs are degenerate.
vinceguidry 2 hours ago 2 replies      
I don't think we are ever going to be able to move towards a perfectly-reasonable public stance towards intoxicants. My personal problem with marijuana is that I just don't want to smell the shit everywhere.

Your human right to ingest whatever substance you want is going to inevitably conflict with my right to choose whether I want to ingest it too or not. We've gone in one policy direction with marijuana, and another entirely with tobacco. Once you get to legalization, you're inevitably thrust back towards getting it the heck back out of the public sphere.

Tobacco seems to offer the perfect opportunity to examine the intersection of human rights way of looking at it with "plain ole'" regulation for greater social harmony. Tobacco, like it or not, is a mind-altering drug that people rely on for all sorts of really personal reasons. Our recent push to banish it is pure and simple classism.

But the people decrying the war on drugs also seem to often nurture a quiet bigotry against smokers. Smoking is legal, for now at least. But eventually you won't be able to light up without running afoul of some regulation, God forbid they start actually enforcing the now-common 50 foot rule from the entrance of businesses.

So yeah, maybe the focus on tax revenue is probably the best one. I like human rights as much as the next guy. But I'm gonna turn into a raving classist asshole the second my neighbor forces me to smell his damn weed through the shared wall. (yes it's happened) I'm already quietly cheering the slow banishment of tobacco, cognitive liberty be damned.

Sure, cannabis and tobacco are both smoked, and not all drugs are. But are we really prepared as a society for a world in which drug use is truly legal? Are people really forgetting that these things are well and truly dangerous? Cocaine makes a real mess out of people.

What about synthetic drugs? I don't think you're ever going to be able to convince a reasonable person that those things should be legal. So there you go, War on Drugs part 2.

To sum up, legalization isn't really a viable public option. It's a fantasy.

DuoCopter research-drone.com
148 points by based2  20 hours ago   39 comments top 13
phreeza 16 hours ago 4 replies      
Here is a somewhat similar design, from 2016. It uses gimballed rotors at either end instead of modulating the angular velocity within a rotation cycle. Seems more sensible to me to do it that way, and it shows fully controlled flight (even flips it over at one point) instead of the little hop in TFA.


jimnotgym 1 hour ago 0 replies      
What is not proven for me is that this is more cost effective than the quadcopter. The unbalanced rotors look like they will need expensive bearings. The complex speed control looks like it is going to be very expensive by the time they have tackled the efficiency issues. This is vs using just two more identical motors. This brings economies of scale, plus you can use smaller motors. The efficiency issue alone may mean a quadcopter needs less battery capacity, allowing a lighter payload. Always interested in a novel design, but still lots to prove
prbuckley 8 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a cool design. I think the group from University of Maryland developed a single motor single actuator drone back in 2009, here is a link to video...


And article about students involved...


gtirloni 17 hours ago 2 replies      
Similar design: http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/drones/flying-ro...

Re: Patents. My understanding is that it doesn't need to be "revolutionary" to be patentable.

polygot 15 hours ago 0 replies      
They have another design that can go from 0km/hr to 100km/hr in 1.5 seconds: http://www.research-drone.com/en/extreme_climb_rate.html
LASR 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Is it just me or does this seem to be a scam? My BS detector is going off every second of this video.

I have a feeling the inventor is looking for cash with no substantiated product built.

phreeza 17 hours ago 1 reply      
It appears to rely on slowing down and speeding up the rotation within a single cycle. I imagine that would be quite wasteful, unless there is some kind of regenerative process involved, ie dumping the power into a capacitor and then releasing it again, or something like that. Does anyone know how one would do that?
Justin_K 17 hours ago 2 replies      
Why are there so many claims without even a demonstration of them?
forkLding 10 hours ago 3 replies      
I understand that the author is trying to sell us the product and get it developed but what are the cons of using a duocopter vs your normal quad? I generally think of decisions as tradeoffs and want to know the cons as well when considering an option.

Note that I'm just an drone enthusiast in that I buy and use them but I do not develop or go DIY which is why I ask this question.

Havoc 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice. What about vibrations?
shujito 10 hours ago 0 replies      

Consumer-wise or manufactor-wise? I'm thinking the latter

callesgg 15 hours ago 1 reply      

I struggle to think of a scenario where this would be a better fit that a quad-copter.

Maybe where the with of the aircraft is a major problem, in some sort of tunnel or suer.

amelius 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Patent protected and not revolutionary.
Visualizing the Math Behind Logistic Regression and Newton's Method thelaziestprogrammer.com
161 points by seanharr11  22 hours ago   29 comments top 7
davedx 20 hours ago 3 replies      
What is the difference between Newton's Method and Gradient Descent?

Edit: Found an answer: https://www.quora.com/In-optimization-why-is-Newtons-method-...

bigtoine123 18 hours ago 1 reply      
I search everywhere about the difference between Newton's Method and Gradient Descent? but I couldn't find something that useful. Can u suggest any website/ article where I can learn the difference?
craigching 20 hours ago 1 reply      
This is a really nice introduction to logistic regression, well done! My one quibble with the OP is the jump into Newton's method. Maybe a derivation to explain the five steps would help. Thanks!
mcphage 18 hours ago 1 reply      
For the graphs of the home price / bathroom data set, what does the vertical axis represent? I don't see it labeled or discussed anywhere.
theoh 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Dialing up the complexity a bit from Newton's method, it would be interesting to know whether there are now better explanations of the conjugate gradient method online than this classic (or at least high-profile) intro: https://www.cs.cmu.edu/~quake-papers/painless-conjugate-grad...
JadeNB 19 hours ago 3 replies      
Since the author is reading, a few small typos, followed by one slightly more substantial comment: 'simgoid' should be 'sigmoid' (S-shaped); `x y = log(x) + log(y)` should be `log(x y) = log(x) + log(y)`;'guarentee' should be 'guarantee'; 'recipricol' should be 'reciprocal'.

I would like to see some mention of the fact that the division by the gradient is a meaningless, purely formal motivation for the correct step (inverting the Hessian) that follows.

xU1ppskunDmy6oz 19 hours ago 3 replies      
The author has far too little mathematical understanding to be teaching anybody (thats my impression at least). If you dont understand Newtons method before reading this, you wont understand it afterwards. A method for finding the roots of a polynomial. Why polynomials? Does it work, always? Is it fast? Why would following the tangent repeatedly be a good idea? We take the inverse instead of the reciprocal because its a matrix. Not impressed.
The Most Anthologized Poems of the Last 25 Years lithub.com
66 points by bryanrasmussen  16 hours ago   19 comments top 5
68c12c16 9 hours ago 1 reply      
here is a Fibonacci poem -- not sure who is the author...

 I wrote a poem on a page but then each line grew to the word sum of the previous two until I started to worry about all these words coming with such frequency because, as you can see, it can be easy to run out of space when a poem gets all Fibonacci sequency.

edit 1: just found out the author of this poem is Brian Bilston. It has been included in his book, You Took the Last Bus Home: The Poems of Brian Bilston

alexanderdmitri 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice. I waste a lot of time converting prose/poetry that I like into code. Here's the first four lines of [the widely anthologized I guess] Wasteland:

// cruellest_month.js

import lilacs from 'deadland';

import spring from 'seasons';

let April = function() {

 let season = spring; return { breeding: function() { return lilacs(); }, mixing: function() { return shakeUp(memory, desire); }, stirring: function() { let dullRoots = this.breeding().roots; // move dullRoots in circles, using the avg // rainfall speed to calculate the period let circum = this.breeding().plotRadius * Math.PI * 2; let period = circum * this.season.rain.averageSpeed(); dullRoots.setIntoCircularMotion(circum, period); } }

exports.cruellest = {

 "month": April

ddoran 12 hours ago 2 replies      
While the author "looked at anthologies that collected international, American, and English-language poems", there is a leaning towards American poetry as 11 of the 20 anthologies surveyed were anthologies of American poetry (based on their titles, bottom of the page).
quirkot 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I was surprised to see a sample size of only 20 was considered representative. I wonder how genuinely representative it is (including the unstated exclusions that define the total population)
flixic 13 hours ago 1 reply      
The most anthologized one, "The Red Wheelbarrow", is often referenced and even cited in an amazing TV Show, "Mr. Robot".
Baltimore State Attorney Drops Dozens of Cases: Body Cam Shows Drug-Planting cbslocal.com
116 points by jseliger  13 hours ago   60 comments top 6
unabst 7 hours ago 3 replies      
There is an important distinction between someone who doesn't misbehave for fear of being watched, and someone who wishes to be watched in fear of the perception of misbehavior.

There is no substitute for someone who's intent is to try and get away with things, and someone who's intent is to serve a cause, be of service, and not get away with anything.

So really, we should build a system where the intent of transparency is paramount, not just transparency itself.

Two things immediately come to mind.

1. Super-incentivize snitching. Reward whistle-blowers to the point where it becomes an easy decision. Not only monetary, but with honor and with medals. Make it the new "right thing to do" in public service. Fight corruption. Easy sell.

2. Super-disincentivize ulterior motives and their actions. Treat crimes by officers as far more severe and malicious than of non-officers. And they are. So if a police officer murders a civilian, punishment should be 10x or 100x. Same with stealing a slice of pizza or ignoring a stop sign.

The point isn't that we should punish officers more. The point is we should all raise them to higher standards, and the officers themselves should willingly accept that higher burden of responsibility.

It should be their responsibility to not profile or discriminate based on appearances of anyone or their car. It should be their responsibility to preserve life at all costs, even at a higher risk to themselves.

And this will deter crookedness and incompetence. If an officer cannot do their job, they shouldn't. And if an officer thinks they can get away with anything, they shouldn't. Being a cop or even buying a cop like in the movies should not pose any criminal opportunities.

myrandomcomment 9 hours ago 5 replies      
We need to live in a country where the law enforcement agencies are above reproach. There are 3 things we can do for this.

1. Pay for officers should be high without overtime.

2. Stop militarizing everyday law enforcement.

3. Body cams on at all times. Cameras on police cars should be on at all times.

Yhippa 11 hours ago 9 replies      
What's the incentive for cops to plant drugs on people? I assume they get some kind of bonus or have a performance review rating on how many "criminals" they apprehend?
caseysoftware 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Weren't the people arrested (with the planted evidence) likely named in media coverage and the local blotter, etc long before conviction?

If so, why not name the cops involved here?

snarfy 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Were any charges filed for planting evidence during their investigation? Probably not. Probably 'administrative leave' or 'reassignment'.
moretai 9 hours ago 4 replies      
what's the argument against not having body cameras on at all times?
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