Introducing EFF's Stupid Patent of the Month
Here at EFF, we see a lot of stupid patents.
Game development in Clojure : Alchemy 7DRL post-mortem
Last week I joined the "7 Day Roguelike Challenge" and wrote the game Alchemy. The goals I set myself were. Complete a playable roguelike game in 7 days Learn more about Clojure! Share some of my e...
Let's Build A Traditional City (And Make A Profit)
Start-Ups in India Streamline Auto-Rickshaw Business
In a country with heavy traffic congestion and poor public transportation, companies are finding new ways to better connect drivers and passengers.
The Business of Fake Hollywood Money
In late 2000, the producers and crew for action flick Rush Hour 2 gathered at the now-defunct Desert Inn in Las Vegas and prepared to blow up a casino. The scene, which pitted policemen and Secret Service agents against a counterfeiter attempting to launder $100 million in superdollars, was to culmi…
"Bilson was eventually forced to destroy his entire inventory of currency -- “somewhere in the billions” -- at considerable loss for ISS, which is one of only two firms in Los Angeles that produces fake currency for the movies."Posted on 2014-07-31T02:25:46+0000
gistblog - My iOS Indie-Game Numbers
Yesterday, Jared Sinclair published a very candid writeup of the download and sales numbers for his app Unread. It was very refreshing to see such an honest post and to see someone publicly admit that spending so much time on an independent app did not result in the numbers he was hoping for.
"Even though I managed to bring in a paltry $498 for a year's worth of side-project time, it gets even worse. I paid nearly $700 in Facebook and Twitter mobile ads to try and market them. I also bought an iPad Mini and an iPod Touch for development and testing, so I'm even deeper in the hole overall."Posted on 2014-07-31T01:42:35+0000
Nukes of Hazard - The New Yorker
On January 25, 1995, at 9:28 A.M. Moscow time, an aide handed a briefcase to Boris Yeltsin, the President of Russia. A small light near the handle was on, and inside was a screen displaying information indicating that a missile had been launched four minutes earlier from somewhere in the vicinity of…
"And so, for six minutes in 1995, the future of the species hung in the balance because a mid-level Russian official left work early, or neglected to find a proper procedure for dealing with a message that someone was sending up a rocket, at an unspecified time, to look at the northern lights. It’s like the forty-six-cent computer chip. There was no redundancy built into the system. If one piece failed, the whole system was imperilled."Posted on 2014-07-31T01:37:59+0000
Markov chains, named after Andrey Markov, are mathematical systems that hop from one "state" (a situation or set of values) to another. For example, if you made a Markov chain model of a baby's behavior, you might include "playing," "eating", "sleeping," and "crying" as states, which together with o…
My first unikernel - Thomas Leonard's blog
I wanted to make a simple REST service for queuing file uploads, deployable as a virtual machine. The traditional way to do this is to download a …
Unikernels in Ocaml.
"This demonstrates both the good and the bad of Mirage: the bug was easy to find and fix, using regular debugging tools. I’m sure fixing a filesystem corruption bug in the Linux kernel would have been vastly more difficult. On the other hard, Linux is rather well tested, whereas I appear to be the first person ever to try deleting a file in Mirage!"Posted on 2014-07-31T01:17:45+0000
Unikernels: Rise of the Virtual Library Operating System - ACM Queue
Cloud computing has been pioneering the business of renting computing resources in large data centers to multiple (and possibly competing) tenants. The basic enabling technology for the cloud is virtualization such as Xen1 or VMWare, which allows customers to multiplex VMs (virtual machines) on a sh…
Use of illicit drugs becomes part of Silicon Valley's work culture
With a tech boom lubricated by VC cash, a startup culture cranked up by fiercely competitive VPs and adrenaline-driven coders, and a corporate model that encourages stressed-out managers to look the other way, illicit drugs and black-market painkillers have become part of the landscape here in the w…
Readings in distributed systems
Inspired by a recent purchase of the Red Book , which provides a curated list of important papers around database systems, I?ve decided to begin assembling a list of important papers in distributed systems.
Game about Squares
A little HTML5 puzzle game that takes a few seconds to take off and a few hours to beat. Playable right in the browser, including mobile
What Do Chinese Dumplings Have to Do With Global Warming?
A refrigeration boom is changing the way Chinese people eat — and threatening the planet in the process.
"‘So many people these days have these massive refrigerators, and there is this sense that we need to keep them well stocked,’ Bloom said. ‘But there’s no way you can eat all that food before it goes bad.'"Posted on 2014-07-27T18:01:35+0000
"Learning to Read" by Malcolm X
Born Malcolm Little on May 19, 1925, Malcolm X was one of the most articulate and powerful leaders of black America during the 1960s. A street hustler convicted of robbery in 1946, he spent seven years in prison, where he educated himself and became a disciple of Elijah Muhammad, founder of the Nati…
"I have often reflected upon the new vistas that reading opened to me. I knew right there in prison that reading had changed forever the course of my life. As I see it today, the ability to read awoke inside me some long dormant craving to be mentally alive. I certainly wasn’t seeking any degree, the way a college confers a status symbol upon its students. My homemade education gave me, with every additional book that I read, a little bit more sensitivity to the deafness, dumbness, and blindness that was afflicting the black race in America. Not long ago, an English writer telephoned me from London, asking questions. One was, “What’s your alma mater?” I told him, “Books.” You will never catch me with a free fifteen minutes in which I’m not studying something I feel might be able to help the black man."Posted on 2014-07-27T17:49:30+0000
The New Yorker Stories You Should Read Before the Paywall Goes Up
Yesterday, The New Yorker made all of its magazine pieces since 2007 freely available online for three months. After that time, everything will go behind a metered paywall, along the lines of what the New York Times has in place. So what should you read during this three-month free-for-all? We canva…
Mistakes You Should Never Make • Climb Higher
I was walking to a team meeting where I was going to announce that we would likely have to lay off nearly all of our employees because we unexpectedly had almost no money left, and that it was all my fault. On the way, my co-founder and our CTO... | Seth Bannon | Founder & CEO, Amicus. Y Combina…
Blacklisted: The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist
The Obama administration has quietly approved a substantial expansion of the terrorist watchlist system, authorizing a secret process that requires neither “concrete facts” nor “irrefutable evidence” to designate an American or foreigner as a terrorist, according to a key government document obtaine…
Quantum bounce could make black holes explode
If space-time is granular, it could reverse gravitational collapse and turn it into expansion.
Count to ten when a plane goes down...
Just a little under 31 years ago, I played a key role in a conspiracy theory that grew up around a passenger plane downed by a Russian missile. Trust me, I did not mean to be involved. On September 1,...
"As this was a very early computer with limited backup capability, hours of work of dozens of experts had been lost when I inadvertently closed down the computer.
I, naturally, felt terrible and was, appropriately, fired."
All I can say is "ouch"Posted on 2014-07-22T00:27:56+0000
StackOverflow Update: 560M Pageviews a Month, 25 Servers, and It's All About Performance - High...
The folks at Stack Overflow remain incredibly open about what they are doing and why. So it&...
Cheap at sea, pricey on the plate: The voodoo of lobster economics
Amid an unprecendent glut, Larry the doomed lobster is followed from a Nova Scotia trap to a Toronto table
Rachel Aviv: A Middle-School Cheating Scandal Raises Questions About No Child Left Behind
According to statements later made by teachers and administrators, the cheating process at Parks Middle School, in Atlanta, began to take the form of a routine. During testing week, after students had completed the day’s section, principal Christopher Waller distracted the testing coordinator. Then,…
This is a sad story about how No Child Left Behind and data-driven teacher evaluation policies forced over a hundred teachers at forty plus schools to cheat and modify standardized test scores (at times without the students' knowledge).Posted on 2014-07-19T06:48:37+0000
Fred Fletcher doesn’t watch baseball anymore, but one night in May, he got a text from a friend: Something had happened at that evening’s
"How fast was it going? We don’t know for sure, but a line drive from a major league batter can easily exceed 100 miles per hour. We know some other things. We know that a baseball weighs five ounces. We know that force equals mass times acceleration. We know that Fred Fletcher’s six-year-old daughter, whom he will identify only as “A,” was sitting precisely 144 feet from home plate. The laces on her sneakers were knotted in neat bows. And she—well, not just she, but everyone around her—had less than one second to react to Cabrera’s line drive."Posted on 2014-07-19T06:36:31+0000
Programming is not math, huh? • Jeremy Kun
You’re right, programming isn’t math. But when someone says this, chances are it’s a programmer misunderstanding mathematics. I often hear the refrain that programmers don’t need to know any math to be proficient and have... | Jeremy Kun | ∈ Mathematicians ∩ Programmers
Evan Sultanik | A Page of Personl Deification (and Other Self-Deprecating Incongruities)
Sometimes taking the easy way out isn't nearly as bad as it might seem!posted Thursday February 13th, 2014 at 08:19:00Tagged: Math
"That's really surprising, especially realizing that this applies for all NP-hard problems, if formulated correctly. So, simply choosing a random solution is often effectively as good as the best approximation algorithms that are currently known. In fact, in our paper we linked above we present some empirical evidence suggesting that the random solutions are often even closer to optimal than ones produced by state-of-the-art approximation algorithms."Posted on 2014-07-18T00:57:30+0000
Seth Mnookin: Fighting a One-of-a-Kind Disease
What do you do if your child has a condition that is new to science? Until recently, Bertrand Might was the only known patient with a certain genetic disorder. His parents began searching for others.
This is really really moving. A story about a couple's fight to figure out what was wrong with their son.
The father in question is Matt Might, famous for "An illustrated guide to a PhD" and "Hunting down my son's killer".Posted on 2014-07-18T00:50:44+0000
Gamasutra - The History of Civilization
[Gamasutra is proud to be partnering with the IGDA's Preservation SIG to present detailed official histories of each of the first ten games voted into the Digital Game Canon. The Canon "provides a starting-point for the difficult task of preserving this history inspired by the role of that the U.S.…
Nimrod by Example - Main
Nimrod is a powerful statically typed language that allows the programmer expressiveness without compromising run-time performance. As a general purpose programming language, it gives the same sort of power and performance as C++, but in a nicer package and with even more powerful tools!
Verizon’s Accidental Mea Culpa | Beyond Bandwidth
David Young, Vice President, Verizon Regulatory Affairs recently published a blog post suggesting that Netflix themselves are responsible for the streaming
""If that’s the case, we’ll buy one for them. Maybe they can’t afford the small piece of cable between our two ports. If that’s the case, we’ll provide it. Heck, we’ll even install it.""Posted on 2014-07-17T22:21:55+0000
News - International Dota 2 Championships on ESPN Networks
Large Round of Layoffs Expected at Microsoft
Microsoft is planning to announce layoffs that will substantially exceed the largest layoffs in the company’s history, according to several people briefed on the decision.
Amazon Tests ‘Kindle Unlimited,’ A Netflix For Ebooks And Audiobooks | TechCrunch
Amazon might give readers something to get really excited about: A digital ebook and audiobook subscription service that provides Kindle users with all the..
Build your shiny new PC
Pangoly is a free service that helps you pick the best hardware and peripherals for your new PC build, according to your budget and personal needs.
Mutable Algorithms in Immutable Languages, Part 1 · tel.github.io
One of the big challenges you might face when learning a language like Haskell which favors immutability or purity is that suddenly all of the algorithms you once kept at your side have… well, by-and-large they’ve vanished.
What Problems to Solve - By Richard Feynman
A former student, who was also once a student of Tomonaga’s, wrote to extend his congratulations. Feynman responded, asking Mr. Mano what he was now doing. The response: “studying the Coherence theory with some applications to the propagation of electromagnetic waves through turbulent atmosphere… a…
"You say you are a nameless man. You are not to your wife and to your child. You will not long remain so to your immediate colleagues if you can answer their simple questions when they come into your office. You are not nameless to me.
Do not remain nameless to yourself – it is too sad a way to be. Know your place in the world and evaluate yourself fairly, not in terms of your naïve ideals of your own youth, nor in terms of what you erroneously imagine your teacher’s ideals are."Posted on 2014-07-15T20:52:33+0000
A Day in the Life
This visualization displays the data for one random NYC yellow taxi on a single day in 2013. See where it operated, how much money it made, and how busy it was over 24 hours.
Y Combinator has filed an official comment with the FCC
Federal Communications Commission 445 12th Street, SW Washington D.C. 20554 July 14, 2014 Re: Open Internet Remand, GN Docket 14-28 Dear Chairman Wheeler and Commissioners Clyburn,...
"Mr. Chairman, you say you oppose a two-tier Internet and want to preserve Internet openness, so let’s reclassify broadband as the public utility we know it to be. Ensure that the Internet thrives as a platform for free commerce and speech for generations to come. May the United States of America continue to lead in innovating on the greatest free market the world has ever seen."Posted on 2014-07-15T19:31:32+0000
Calkin-Wilf for Early(-ish) Haskellers · tel.github.io
This post was inspired by a Hacker News comment of mine. I presented what follows somewhat poorly there, so I hope my expansion below clarifies the idea.
Amazon, a Friendly Giant as Long as It’s Fed
Is resistance to Amazon futile in the book publishing world? Its battle with Hachette has many on edge.
"“Publishing is a shyster business,” he reflected. “One day it’s ‘You rock, bro,’ and the next day they’re not returning your calls. If I’m not moving books on Amazon, they’re not going to ask me back. It’s not a charity.”"Posted on 2014-07-13T22:21:48+0000
Rust for functional programmers
This post follows up on OCaml for Haskellers from Edward Z. Yang (2010) and my own Haskell for OCaml programmers from earlier this year.
Miami, the great world city, is drowning while the powers that be look away
Low-lying south Florida, at the front line of climate change in the US, will be swallowed as sea levels rise. Astonishingly, the population is growing, house prices are rising and building goes on. The problem is the city is run by climate change deniers
"Low-lying south Florida, at the front line of climate change in the US, will be swallowed as sea levels rise. Astonishingly, the population is growing, house prices are rising and building goes on. The problem is the city is run by climate change deniers"Posted on 2014-07-13T06:32:06+0000
How Private Colleges Are Like Cheap Sushi
Fifty percent off? That doesn't sound like such a good deal for sushi or a college degree. We ask some economists: Why not?
"Unfortunately, there's a real world impact here. In recent years there's been a lot of attention to the issue of undermatching. This is the finding that a majority of highest-achieving but low-income students fail to apply to a single competitive college. Even when financial need means that they would pay little or nothing to attend a school like Harvard or Stanford, these students are instead choosing non-selective schools that tend to have a lower advertised price."Posted on 2014-07-13T06:05:24+0000
Levittown: The Imperfect Rise of the American Suburbs | US History Scene
Although 1950s suburbia conjures visions of traditional family life, the story of the suburbization of America is also one of exclusion, segregation &
"Levittown itself arguably embodied the best and worst of the postwar American story; it was a result of the entrepreneurship and ingenuity that has come to define the American spirit, but it also participated in the violent prejudice that has also been part of American history."Posted on 2014-07-13T05:21:18+0000
static single assignment for functional programmers -- wingolog
By that I mean that lambda is my tribe. And you know how tribalism works: when two tribes meet, it's usually to argue and not to communicate.
"the machine tribe in two sentences
In the beginning was the
Segmentation fault (core dumped)"
This is a really interesting read on compilation and intermediate languages (CPS, SSA, ANF, etc)Posted on 2014-07-12T05:56:24+0000
Two Girls, a Golden Balloon, and Fate
In 2001, a 10-year-old girl named Laura Buxton released a golden balloon into the sky. What happened next is difficult to comprehend.
Cynk Makes the Case for Buying Friends, Naked Short Selling
Is Cynk a short-seller trap? Maybe? I don't know. I guess not? But wouldn't it be cool if it was?
Study: Half of black males, 40 percent of white males arrested by age 23
Nearly half of black males and almost 40 percent of white males in the US are arrested by age 23, which can hurt their ability to find work, go to school and participate fully in their communities. A new study released Jan. 6 in the journal Crime & Delinquency provides the first contemporary finding…
MindRDR connects Google Glass with a device to monitor brain activity, allowing users to take pictures and socialise them on Twitter or Facebook. No physical interaction required.
Patrick Rothfuss and the Worldbuilders Team - Ask Us Anything : Fantasy
Hello there Reddit. I'm Pat Rothfuss, and I'm here with a few people from the Worldbuilders Team to talk about our cool new fundraiser, [Geeks Doing G...
Procedural Content Generation in Games | A textbook and an overview of current research
Table of Contents 1IntroductionJulian Togelius, Noor Shaker, Mark Nelson2The search-based approachJulian Togelius and Noor Shaker3Constructive generation methods for dungeons and levels Noor Shaker, Antonios Liapis, Julian Togelius, Ricardo Lopes and Rafael Bidarra4Fractals, noise and agents with ap…
Immigrants From Latin America and Africa Squeezed as Banks Curtail International Money Transfers
Under regulatory pressure, many banks are ending or limiting money transfers, most likely meaning higher costs for immigrants sending money home.
Pike's rules 1 and 2 restate Tony Hoare's famous maxim "Premature optimization is the root of all evil." Ken Thompson rephrased Pike's rules 3 and 4 as "When in doubt, use brute force.". Rules 3 and 4 are instances of the design philosophy KISS. Rule 5 was previously stated by Fred Brooks in The Myt…
Dropping Loot – journal.stuffwithstuff.com
I got started hacking on my own roguelike after spending several years avidly playing Angband. Like most projects, I had a few itches I wanted to scratch and it kind of took on a life of its own. One thing that annoyed me about Angband was how monsters dropped loot when they died.
So I Finally Took Time to Make a Game - PandoraLive
I had many “reasons” to make this game. First and foremost, since I’m a gamer (since years ago), I have always wanted to make my own game. I have always wanted to feel what it takes to make all these masters pieces I love to toy with. I would bet most of us here feel …
Exploring Expressions of Emotions in GitHub Commit Messages | Geeksta
An exploration of expressions of emotions, issues and swearing in GitHub commit messages based on data from the GitHub Archive accessed via Google BigQuery.
This is the story of the rise and fall of Lisp at the Jet Propulsion Lab as told from my personal (and highly biased) point of view. I am not writing in my official capacity as an employee of JPL, nor am I in any way representing the official position of JPL. (This will become rather obvious shortly…
From 2002, but still interesting.
"In the words of Elton John: It's sad. So sad. It's a sad, sad situation. My best hope at this point is that the dotcom crash will do to Java what AI winter did to Lisp, and we may eventually emerge from "dotcom winter" into a saner world. But I wouldn't bet on it."Posted on 2014-07-05T05:57:19+0000
A Rogue State Along Two Rivers
The victories gained by the militant group calling itself the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria were built on months of maneuvering along the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, which define a region known as the cradle of civilization.
Your high IQ will kill your startup - Jamie's Blog
This article was originally published on March 4, 2010 at Max Klein’s blog. It has since fallen off the Internet and into the great 404 void. I am republishing it here because it is one of the very few blog posts that I’ve read in my lifetime that have stuck with me. If the original …
This is applies to much more than just startups, and everyone should read it.
"Being intelligent is like having a knife. If you train every day in using the knife, you will be invincible. If you think that just having a knife will make you win any battle you fight, then you will fail. This believe in your own inherent ability is what will kill your startup. Success comes from the work and ability you put in becoming better than the others, and not from some brilliance you feel you may have within you."Posted on 2014-07-05T05:29:46+0000
A Closer Look at Android RunTime (ART) in Android L
With the latest I/O conference, Google has finally publicly made public its plans for its new runtime on Android. The Android RunTime, ART, is the successor and replacement for Dalvik, the virtual machine on which Android Java code is executed on. We’ve had traces and previews of it available with K…
"ART patches up many of the Achilles’ heels that comes with running non-native applications and having an automatic memory management system. As a developer, I couldn’t have asked for more, and most performance issues that I needed to work around with clever programming no longer pose such a drastic problem anymore."Posted on 2014-07-05T05:23:03+0000
New York's Shadow Transit
New York’s unofficial shuttles, called “dollar vans” in some neighborhoods, make up a thriving transportation system that operates where the subway and buses don’t. This interactive project, with videos, maps out that system.
Lionel Messi Is Impossible
In their Group F World Cup match late last month, Argentina and Iran were still deadlocked after 90 minutes. With the game in stoppage time and the score tied at 0-0, Lionel Messi took the ball nea...
A few choice quotes:
"By this point, it should be evident that Messi has at least a little bit of skill."
"First, to ensure that we’re celebrating the greatness of Messi and not the greatness of Barcelona, we need to make sense of Messi on Barcelona. The easiest way to do that is to evaluate Barcelona without Messi, also known as the Spanish national team."
"Coming in just behind Messi with 289 goals and assists since the 2010 World Cup is Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi’s rival from Real Madrid. When it comes to scoring, these two aren’t just on top of the pile, they’re hang-gliding somewhere way above it."Posted on 2014-07-01T23:12:16+0000
The One-second War (What Time Will You Die?) - ACM Queue
Thanks to a secretive conspiracy working mostly below the public radar, your time of death may be a minute later than presently expected. But don't expect to live any longer, unless you happen to be responsible for time synchronization in a large network of computers, in which case this coup will lo…
This is a really really great read.
"But Linus' [Torvalds] observation that "95 percent of all programmers think they are in the top 5 percent, and the rest are certain they are above average" should not be taken lightly: very few programmers have any idea what the difference is between "wall-clock time" and "interval time," and leap seconds are way past rocket science for them. (For example, Posix defines only a pthread_cond_timedwait(), which takes wall-clock time but not an interval-time version of the call.)"Posted on 2014-07-01T06:23:50+0000