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White contractors wouldn’t remove Confederate statues. So a Black man did it.

Devon Henry stepped in to remove almost all of Richmond's Confederate statues after White contractors refused. It changed his life.

Click to view the original at washingtonpost.com

Hasnain says:

The amount of racism still abound in the states is stunning and frankly depressing. This was a bittersweet but ultimately heartwarming read about how some of these injustices were righted (a little bit) and how one brave man stepped up - and brought others along to help.

“He didn’t seek the job. He had never paid much attention to Civil War history. City and state officials said they turned to Team Henry Enterprises after a long list of bigger contractors — all White-owned — said they wanted no part of taking down Confederate statues.
�For a Black man to step in carried enormous risk. Henry concealed the name of his company for a time and long shunned media interviews. He has endured death threats, seen employees walk away and been told by others in the industry that his future is ruined. He started wearing a bulletproof vest on job sites and got a permit to carry a concealed firearm for protection.”

Posted on 2023-01-08T02:36:05+0000

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Riddle solved: Why was Roman concrete so durable?

The ancient Romans were masters of engineering, constructing vast networks of roads, aqueducts, ports, and massive buildings, whose remains have survived for two millennia. Many of these structures were built with concrete: Rome's famed Pantheon, which has the world's largest unreinforced concrete d...

Click to view the original at techxplore.com

Hasnain says:

Great exciting discovery. Also it seems the researchers are trying to patent it - isn’t the prior art 2000 years old though?

“Previously disregarded as merely evidence of sloppy mixing practices, or poor-quality raw materials, the new study suggests that these tiny lime clasts gave the concrete a previously unrecognized self-healing capability. "The idea that the presence of these lime clasts was simply attributed to low quality control always bothered me," says Masic. "If the Romans put so much effort into making an outstanding construction material, following all of the detailed recipes that had been optimized over the course of many centuries, why would they put so little effort into ensuring the production of a well-mixed final product? There has to be more to this story."”

Posted on 2023-01-07T19:40:44+0000

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Hasnain says:

Great technical read on SQLite and using it in a distributed manner.

“Only time will tell whether this was a good idea or not. I'm pretty confident that it will be. Just moving from three services to one is quite nice. Local development is simpler thanks to just using SQLite as well.”

Posted on 2023-01-06T06:08:28+0000

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U.S. Moves to Bar Noncompete Agreements in Labor Contracts

A sweeping proposal by the Federal Trade Commission would block companies from limiting their employees’ ability to work for a rival.

Click to view the original at nytimes.com

Hasnain says:

Big fan of the moves the FTC has been making with Khan at the head

“The agency estimated that the rule could increase wages by nearly $300 billion a year across the economy. Evan Starr, an economist at the University of Maryland who has studied noncompetes, said that was a plausible wage increase following their elimination.”

Posted on 2023-01-05T17:54:51+0000

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26 programming languages in 25 days, Part 2: Reflections on language design

I recently wrote about completing Advent of Code 2022 using a different programming language (or two) every day for 25 days.

Click to view the original at matt.might.net

Hasnain says:

Follow up from the post the other day, more nerding out on language design.

“Here are my two high-level reflections from the experience:

Good design in the first part of each puzzle – especially more functional techniques and abstractions – tended to make the second part easier. So, in general, functional languages seemed to have the advantage in the puzzles.

Using better algorithms and data structures was far more important than having a “faster” programming language. There was never a time where rewriting in another language felt like the right way to get better performance.

Read on for more specific reflections on language design.”

Posted on 2023-01-04T06:52:02+0000

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Hasnain says:

Felt myself nodding along quite a bit here in this fresh take on an eternal debate.

“Do you need to decompose the problem into independent entities? You can do that by embracing standalone processes hosted in Docker containers, or you can do that by embracing standalone modules in an application server that obey a standardized API convention, or a variety of other options. This isn't a technical problem that requires abandoning anything that's already been built--it can be done using technologies from anywhere in the last twenty years, including servlets, ASP.NET, Ruby, Python, C++, maybe even shudder Perl. The key is to establish that common architectural backplane with well-understood integration and communication conventions, whatever you want or need it to be.”

Posted on 2023-01-04T06:48:54+0000

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How a secret message in a Colombian song gave hostages hope

When the pop song Better Days was released in 2010, it contained a secret message hidden in the catchy tune.

Click to view the original at bbc.com

Hasnain says:

This was a really interesting and cool hack.

""There are many millions of people who have listened to the song Better Days, but that wasn't our goal," says Mr Ortíz. "Success for us was to be found in small, specific numbers. It was in the chosen few hearing it and understanding it."

Gen Mendieta, who had been rescued in the same year, helped the mission by appearing on live TV and asking the rebels to give the hostages access to the radio for company.

"Someone once said, 'Whoever has a book is not alone," he says, "and in our case, it was, 'Whoever has a radio is not alone.'""

Posted on 2023-01-03T06:14:56+0000

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Hasnain says:

This is some incredibly valuable data.

“I started Brick Experiment Channel in December 2017 and got accepted to YouTube Partner Program in June 2018. Now, October 2022, the total earnings are 664 thousand USD. That is 12500 USD per month. This is the money Google sends to my bank account, from which I pay taxes.”

Posted on 2023-01-03T05:36:44+0000

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The talented Mr. Santos: A congressman-elect’s unraveling web of deception

Even by the low standards for truth-telling in politics, the scope of the falsehoods from the newly elected House Republican has been breathtaking.

Click to view the original at washingtonpost.com

Hasnain says:

“Even by the low standards for truth-telling in politics, the scope of Santos’s falsehoods has been breathtaking. It has surprised Democrats who researched him and missed so many details, as well as Republicans who vouched for him.”

Posted on 2023-01-01T17:11:19+0000

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Your Coworkers Are Less Ambitious; Bosses Adjust to the New Order

For a growing number of professionals, the days of unpaid overtime and working through weekends are in the past. Firms add people to finish projects, close for holidays and take other steps.

Click to view the original at wsj.com

Hasnain says:

Framing aside (this frames it as too big a problem and something that needs to be fixed; rather than a realization that the old ways are unsustainable and exploitative), this was a good read on business practices and how things are changing.

“At law firm Nixon Peabody LLP, associates have started saying no to working weekends, prompting partners to ask more people to help complete time-sensitive work. TGS Insurance in Texas has struggled to fill promotions, and bosses often have to coax staffers to apply. And Maine-based marketing company Pulp+Wire plans to shut down for two weeks next year now that staffers are taking more vacation than they used to.

“The passion that we used to see in work is lower now, and you find it in fewer people—at least in the last two years,” says Sumithra Jagannath, president of ZED Digital, which makes digital ticket scanners. The company, based in Columbus, Ohio, recently moved about 20 remote engineering and marketing roles to Canada and India, where she said it’s easier to find talent who will go above and beyond.

Since the onset of the pandemic, several employees have asked for more pay when managers asked that they do more work, she says. “It was not like that before Covid at all,” she adds.”

Posted on 2023-01-01T15:05:04+0000