The dying breed of craftsmen behind the tools that make scientific research possible
Hunkered down in the sub-basement of the Norman W. Church Laboratory for Chemical Biology, underneath a campus humming with quantum teleportation devices, gravity wave detectors and neural prosthetics, Rick Gerhart chipped away at a broken flask.
Remarks at the SASE Panel On The Moral Economy of Tech
This is the text version of remarks I gave on June 26, 2016, at a panel on the Moral Economy of Tech at the SASE conference in Berkeley. The other panel participants were Kieran Healy, Stuart Russell and AnnaLee Saxenian.
"We should not listen to people who promise to make Mars safe for human habitation, until we have seen them make Oakland safe for human habitation. We should be skeptical of promises to revolutionize transportation from people who can't fix BART, or have never taken BART. And if Google offers to make us immortal, we should check first to make sure we'll have someplace to live."Posted on 2016-06-30T02:25:24+0000
Prime Real Estate: Amazon Has Swallowed Downtown Seattle
Having colonized the South Lake Union neighborhood, Seattle's largest private employer is building three giant spheres filled with trees—the better to connect employees with nature.
Today’s Renters Really Are Worse Off Than Their Parents
Sharp increases in rents along with stagnant incomes over the past five years have helped create a dire situation for many of the country's renters. A new report shows how those trends have actually been playing out for more than five decades.
Exercise Releases Brain-Healthy Protein
We all know that exercise is important for a strong and healthy body. Less appreciated is that exercise seems also to be important for a strong and healthy mind, boosting memory and learning, while…
Why Google Stores Billions of Lines of Code in a Single Repository
Google's monolithic repository provides a common source of truth for tens of thousands of developers around the world.
When You Dial 911 and Wall Street Answers
Since the 2008 financial crisis, private equity firms have increasingly taken over public services like emergency care and firefighting, often with dire effects.
If There’s Only One Woman in Your Candidate Pool, There’s Statistically No Chance She’ll Be Hired
But if there are two, her odds go way up.
" But the data does support one idea: When it is apparent that an individual is female or nonwhite, they are rated worse than when their sex or race is obscured."Posted on 2016-06-26T11:21:30+0000
Petition for London independence signed by thousands after Brexit vote - BBC News
A petition calling for Sadiq Khan to declare London an independent state after the UK voted to quit the EU is signed by thousands of people.
The British are frantically Googling what the EU is, hours after voting to leave it
Google search history suggests many Britons had little idea what they were voting for
Brexit: UK votes to leave EU in historic referendum - BBC News
The UK has voted by a narrow margin to leave the European Union in a historic referendum, with UKIP leader Nigel Farage hailing it as "independence day" but the pound falls to its lowest level against the dollar since 1985.
Tech Companies Fight Back After Years of Being Deluged With Secret FBI Requests
Internet companies have been waging a little-known war with the federal government over how much information companies are obligated to hand over about customers during national security investigations
"The FBI’s decision to ask companies for everything and let them figure out what they’re required to turn over has had the effect of potentially putting smaller companies with fewer resources at a disadvantage, say national security attorneys. Without expensive legal representation and a familiarity with the law, companies might turn over more content than is necessary."Posted on 2016-06-22T02:18:23+0000
Silicon Valley's Bloody Plant Burger Smells, Tastes And Sizzles Like Meat
Impossible Foods took a high-tech approach to creating a meat-free burger that replicates the real thing. It's all designed to tempt carnivores to eat less meat. And it's set to hit restaurants soon.
"The taste is unreal. When I tried a mini burger slathered in vegan mayo, mashed avocado, caramelized onions and Dijon prepared by San Francisco chef Traci Des Jardin at the company's headquarters in Redwood City, I was floored. The flavor was slightly less potent than meat, but if I didn't already know this burger was made from plants, I wouldn't have guessed it. The texture as I chewed was just like ground beef."Posted on 2016-06-22T02:12:41+0000
On Being A Senior Engineer
I think that there's a lot of institutional knowledge in our field, especially about what makes for a productive engineer. But while there are a good deal of books in the management field about "expert" roles and responsibilities of non-technical individual contributors, I don't see too many modern…
Sharing for future bookmarking. This echoes some of what I've learnt, thought about more recently; engineering is often not about code but about communication and empathy.Posted on 2016-06-20T18:47:18+0000
The Money Letter That Every Parent Should Write
A good, soulful letter can become a family keepsake and should include a list of crucial habits and the tangible things that have helped the family.
The War on Stupid People
American society increasingly mistakes intelligence for human worth.
"When Michael Young, a British sociologist, coined the term meritocracy in 1958, it was in a dystopian satire. At the time, the world he imagined, in which intelligence fully determined who thrived and who languished, was understood to be predatory, pathological, far-fetched. Today, however, we’ve almost finished installing such a system, and we have embraced the idea of a meritocracy with few reservations, even treating it as virtuous. That can’t be right. Smart people should feel entitled to make the most of their gift. But they should not be permitted to reshape society so as to instate giftedness as a universal yardstick of human worth."Posted on 2016-06-18T01:49:48+0000
“But he does good work.”
Right now, my inbox holds media requests from Buzzfeed, Daily Dot, Guardian, Associated Press, and newly, La Repubblica, Italy’s largest…
A few months ago, I complained about the insane state of today's advertising…
A few months ago, I complained about the insane state of today's advertising and the evil that is VPAID ads… - Artem Russakovskii - Google+
Guccifer 2.0 DNC’s servers hacked by a lone hacker
Worldwide known cyber security company CrowdStrike announced that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) servers had been hacked by “sophisticated” hacker groups. I’m very pleas…
Orlando Mass Shooting Not Deadliest in American History
The massacre at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando was a horrific tragedy. But it was not unprecedented – and it was not the “deadliest mass shooting in American history.”
McDonald's: you can sneer, but it's the glue that holds communities together
When many lower-income Americans feel isolated and empty, they yearn for physical social networks. All across US, this happens organically at McDonald’s
"It isn’t just groups who use McDonald’s. For many of the poorest, for the homeless, and for people caught in an addiction, McDonald’s are an integral part of their lives. They have cheap and filling food, they have free Wi-Fi, outlets to charge phones, and clean bathrooms. McDonald’s is also generally gracious about letting people sit quietly for long periods – longer than other fast-food places."Posted on 2016-06-15T00:55:01+0000
How Killing the 3.5mm Needlessly Complicates Smartphone Audio
Join us in an exploration where we find out how the death of the 3mm jack will affect the smartphone experience, and why it shouldn't happen yet.
Compare These Gun Death Rates: The U.S. Is in a Different World
In most advanced countries, gun homicides are as rare as deaths from falling tree limbs or plane crashes.
"Last year’s Paris attacks killed 130 people, which is nearly as many as die from gun homicides in all of France in a typical year. But even if France had a mass shooting as deadly as the Paris attacks every month, its annual rate of gun homicide death would be lower than that in the United States."Posted on 2016-06-14T04:22:58+0000
Microsoft to acquire LinkedIn | News Center
Microsoft to acquire LinkedIn Posted June 13, 2016 By Microsoft News Center 0 8223 REDMOND, Wash., and MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — June 13, 2016 — Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) and LinkedIn Corporation (NYSE: LNKD) on Monday announced they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Microsoft…
Distributed Systems in Haskell :: Will Yager
I recently completed UT Austin's Distributed Computing class, taught by Lorenzo Alvisi. My project partner Pato and I decided to give it a go in Haskell, and ended up using Haskell for all project assignments (Chandy-Lamport, Paxos, and Bayou).
The Voyeur’s Motel
Fifty years ago, Gerald Foos bought a motel and rigged it up in order to watch his guests having sex. He saw a lot more than that.
Man with weapons and explosives arrested, was going to L.A. gay pride parade, police say
Authorities in Santa Monica found possible explosives as well as a cache of weapons and ammunition Sunday in the car of a man who told them he planned to look for a friend at the L.A. Pride festival in West Hollywood, a law enforcement source said.
The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think
It is now one hundred years since drugs were first banned -- and all through this long century of waging war on drugs, we have been told a story about ad...
I've read a few articles about this before but this is the first time I've heard of the last study. Super interesting stuff, sadly I doubt people will listen due to existing "moral" stigmas. What happened in Portugal needs to happen everywhere if people actually care about reducing drug usage, but I doubt it will anytime soonPosted on 2016-06-12T11:28:24+0000
As Tech Evaporates Jobs, "The Tipping Point Will Be Driverless Trucks"
Driverless vehicles "will make what happened in the steel or auto industries look tiny," says the former chief of one of America's largest unions.
What if PTSD Is More Physical Than Psychological?
A new study supports what a small group of military researchers has suspected for decades: that modern warfare destroys the brain.
"Daniel Perl is continuing to examine the brains of blast-injured soldiers. After five years of working with the military, he feels sure, he told me, that many blast injuries have not been identified. “We could be talking many thousands,” he said. “And what scares me is that what we’re seeing now might just be the first round. If they survive the initial injuries, many of them may develop C.T.E. years or decades later.”"Posted on 2016-06-11T21:54:31+0000
Laid-Off Americans, Required to Zip Lips on Way Out, Grow Bolder
Those who have lost jobs to foreigners on temporary visas, in particular, have begun to speak out despite their severance agreements with companies.
People have been asking me what happened when I didn’t show up to give my talk on the Web Animations API at Smashing Oxford. Here I’m…
Another sad immigration story, this time from the UK.
"This is the system we asked for. We thought it wouldn’t apply to “us.” We built it to keep Them out, to keep Us safe. But how quickly that system turns and engulfs the ones we love.
Then it’s not “Us vs Them.” It’s Us vs Ourselves."
"The Australian/Dutch woman down there with me thought that because we didn’t look like criminals, we shouldn’t be treated like criminals. What she didn’t realize that was we were both playing the part of “criminals” in a shadow puppet play to appease terrified citizens, fearful of attack from the Other, of theft of jobs and currency. It didn’t matter what we looked like because no one else would see us. It didn’t matter who we were because no employer would come running to our rescue. We had ceased to be people and had become numbers, convenient and disposable. For lack of anyone more suspicious to bully, we were pulled aside, our rights suspended, and then cast away with only the thinnest of excuses."Posted on 2016-06-10T21:56:19+0000
How “Silicon Valley” Nails Silicon Valley - The New Yorker
The absurdly deep research underlying HBO’s satire.
Super engrossing read, made even better if you know about silicon valley (both the real one and the show). Full of spoilers though.
"“Multiple people have told me, ‘I’m the Erlich of my company,’” he continued. “I actually tell them, ‘You know that’s not a good thing, right?’”"Posted on 2016-06-10T11:30:50+0000
It’s sleazy, it’s totally illegal, and yet it could become the future of retirement
They used to be ludicrously popular in America. Could they be again?
when a site asks you to sign up for their thing and then the 'no thank you' link is some hot...
Living in a poor neighborhood changes everything about your life
How racism created two, divergent American neighborhoods
"It's more comfortable to talk about inequality and poverty outside the context of race. More than half the country thinks past or present discrimination is not a major factor in why black Americans face problems today. But in the past, it was OK to literally build a wall between a white neighborhood and black neighborhood. That was a lot easier to point at and say: Hey, that's racist. Now, those concrete symbols of racism are largely gone and what's left are their systemic effects. Sometimes, that makes it hard to be as outraged.
But in this country, we forced people into toxic neighborhoods based on the color of their skin, and it still plays an overwhelming role in which people gets a real shot to be healthy, happy, and hopeful. In other words, the walls are still there."Posted on 2016-06-08T04:59:11+0000
MongoDB queries don’t always return all matching documents! — Meteor Engineering
When I query a database, I generally expect that it will return all the results that match my query. Recently, I was surprised to find that…
Silicon Valley's profound housing crisis, in one sentence
"San Jose has taken the rare step of publicly opposing the project, saying it would add far too many jobs."
"San Jose has taken the rare step of publicly opposing the project, saying it would add far too many jobs, exacerbating the region’s housing shortage."
but .. job creators!Posted on 2016-06-07T23:33:56+0000
WIPP Exhibit: Message to 12,000 A.D.
Excerpts from Expert Judgment on Markers to Deter Inadvertent Human Intrusion into the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, Sandia National Laboratories report SAND92-1382 / UC-721, p. F-49
Panama Papers Reveal How Wealthy Americans Hid Millions Overseas
Mossack Fonseca, the Panamanian law firm at the center of the trove of revealing documents, offered a menu of services to conceal the true owners.
The Story Behind That Iranian Version of Modern Family
Yesterday, I wrote about an Iranian show called Haft Sang, which made news here in the U.S. thanks to a video posted by YouTube user Sina Haghighi. The ...
From 2014; I had no idea they tried copying the show. With culturally required changes, of course; in which Mitch and Cam become a hetero couple and Haley becomes a guyPosted on 2016-06-05T17:58:07+0000
Working on Fable destroyed my life, but I don't regret it
An insider's look at what he gave up to create a classic game
"It may not end with happily ever after, but it’s a story I’m glad I was privileged enough to lend a few words to.
Yeah, it may have broken me so very, very badly, but I can’t regret Fable."Posted on 2016-06-02T06:30:21+0000