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Hasnain says:

BRB ordering a ménage a trois from Ike’s (on Dutch crunch of course)

“Michelin-starred chef Brandon Jew grew up eating it as a hungry teenager, buying big sandwiches after school from Mister Pickle’s on the Peninsula. “The thing about Dutch crunch is that you didn’t really see it in grocery stores,” he says. “And if the options were white, wheat, sourdough, or Dutch crunch, it was like, what’s Dutch crunch? Texturally, it’s really satisfying … and once you have it for the first time, you’re going to keep ordering it.” And of course, once locals have grown up eating something, there’s always a sugar sparkle of sandwich nostalgia.”

Posted on 2022-07-18T00:55:50+0000

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Hasnain says:

I agree with this piece in that the US definitely needs to step up on immigration or it’ll suffer from brain drain. I wish it didn’t have the thinly veiled “china bad” trope in its messaging and instead focused on the root causes of the problem at home. But I’ll take what I can get.

“It’s not just a matter of enticing new immigrants but of retaining bright minds already in the country. In 2009, a Turkish graduate of the California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Erdal Arikan, published a paper that solved a fundamental problem in information theory, allowing for much faster and more accurate data transfers. Unable to get an academic appointment or funding to work on this seemingly esoteric problem in the United States, he returned to his home country. As a foreign citizen, he would have had to find a U.S. employer interested in his project to be able to stay.

Back in Turkey, Arikan turned to China. It turned out that Arikan’s insight was the breakthrough needed to leap from 4G telecommunications networks to much faster 5G mobile internet services. Four years later, China’s national telecommunications champion, Huawei, was using Arikan’s discovery to invent some of the first 5G technologies. Today, Huawei holds over two-thirds of the patents related to Arikan’s solution—10 times more than its nearest competitor. And while Huawei has produced one-third of the 5G infrastructure now operating around the world, the United States does not have a single major company competing in this race. Had the United States been able to retain Arikan—simply by allowing him to stay in the country instead of making his visa contingent on immediately finding a sponsor for his work—this history might well have been different.”

Posted on 2022-07-18T00:41:28+0000

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The DynamoDB paper - Marc's Blog

This week at USENIX ATC'22, a group of my colleagues1 from the AWS DynamoDB team are going to be presenting their paper Amazon DynamoDB: A Scalable, Predictably Performant, and Fully Managed NoSQL Database Service. This paper is a rare look at a real-world distributed system that runs at massive sca...

Click to view the original at brooker.co.za

Hasnain says:

Just went ahead and read the paper, it’s a pretty accessible read. Some great insights from running and operating a system at scale.

“What's not to love about a 99.75% cache hit rate? The failure modes!

The downside is that caching introduces bimodal behavior. In the case of a cold start where request routers have empty caches, every DynamoDB request would result in a metadata lookup, and so the service had to scale to serve requests at the same rate as DynamoDB

So this metadata table needs to scale from handling 0.25% of requests, to handling 100% of requests. A 400x potential increase in traffic! Designing and maintaining something that can handle rare 400x increases in traffic is super hard.”

Posted on 2022-07-15T07:01:47+0000

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Unimaginable abortion stories will become more common. Is American journalism ready?

In America after the end of Roe v. Wade, one brave source, on the record, is often the best we are going to get. Countless other stories will never be told.

Click to view the original at niemanlab.org

Hasnain says:

“In America after the end of Roe v. Wade, one brave source on the record in the final story will often be the best we can get. Obviously, reporters and editors must make sure that their reporting is accurate and true! But those who believe that the end of legal abortion in many states is newsworthy will need to figure out how to report and publish these stories with a few more constraints than they’d prefer. If performing or receiving an abortion now counts as activism, well, then journalists will need to be okay quoting “activists,” unless they only want to tell the anti-abortion movement’s side.

Countless abortion stories will never be told at all. It won’t be because they’re lies. It will be because telling them is too risky, because patients and doctors and staffers and volunteers will face arrest for coming forward.

The facts will live on in the shadows. The women and children’s real lives will continue. Even if their stories seem “too good” to be true. Even if you wish they weren’t.”

Posted on 2022-07-14T06:31:04+0000

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What’s Really Going on in Those Police Fentanyl Exposure Videos?

It’s nearly impossible for an overdose to be caused by brief contact with the drug. It is possible these videos will worsen the danger for those truly at risk.

Click to view the original at nytimes.com

Hasnain says:

“These viral “exposure” videos have a way of inverting reality. The people with whom the police interact every day, the civilians and communities they are sworn to protect, are often people whose main crime is that they are struggling with addiction — which is to say that they, not the officers prodding at the contents of their pockets, are the ones in the most danger. There’s concern that these videos will only worsen that danger, not just by making people so terrified of invisible fentanyl traces that they hesitate to aid drug users experiencing overdoses, but also by driving the use of criminal charges to punish people for exposing police officers or emergency responders to drugs.

The story from Kansas City reported that, before the officer collapsed, he was on his way to deliver food to families in need at a local church. Suddenly, he and his fellow officers were dispatched to a burglary, where they found a few pills on the suspect — someone, perhaps, who turned to theft to sustain a drug addiction. This is a story that makes the police sound brave and sympathetic, but its central question remains obscured: What are they really so afraid of?”

Posted on 2022-07-14T06:27:44+0000

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Hasnain says:

Great read on the thrill of learning biology from the principles of exploration. Education in general can be quite boring; more so for biology (my experience concurs). Even though there’s so much fascinating stuff to learn!

“I’ve never come across a subject so fractal in its complexity. It reminds me of computing that way. A day of programming might involve constructing an elaborate regular expression, investigating a file descriptor leak, debugging a race condition in the application you just wrote, and thinking through the interface of a module. Everywhere you look—the compiler, the shell, the CPU, the DOM—is an abstraction hiding lifetimes of work. Biology is like this, just much, much worse, because living systems aren’t intentionally designed. It’s all a big slop of global mutable state. Control is achieved by upregulating this thing while turning down the promoter of that thing’s repressor. You think you know how something works—like when I thought I had a handle on the neutrophil, an important front-line player in the innate immune system—only to learn that it comes in several flavors, and more are still being discovered, and some of them seem to do the opposite of the ones you thought you knew. Everything in biology is like this. It’s all exceptions to the rule.”

Posted on 2022-07-14T05:20:31+0000

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Unchecked AB Testing Destroys Everything it Touches

Every infuriating thing on the web was once a successful experiment. Some smart person saw Normal site: 1% sign up for our newsletterThrow a huge modal offering 10% off first order: +100% sign ups …

Click to view the original at zumsteg.net

Hasnain says:

Great read on A/B testing and the perils of short term thinking.

“How many executive groups will, when shown an AB test for something like “ask users if we can turn on notifications” showing positive results that will juice revenue short-term, ask “can we test how this plays out long-term?”

As product managers, as designers, as humans who care, it is our responsibility to never, ever present something like that. We need to be careful and think through the long-term implications of changes as part of the initial experiment design and include them in planning the tests.

If we present results of early testing, we need to clearly elucidate both what we do and don’t know”

Posted on 2022-07-14T05:13:37+0000

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Type-checked keypaths in Rust

Like a number of other folks, I have recently been exploring some slightly less well-worn corners of the Rust type system. In my particular case, this involv...

Click to view the original at cmyr.net

Hasnain says:

Interesting exploration on something I know is very useful and also really hard to do in a statically compiled language.

“Getting this working was… a journey. Beyond just stretching my comfort with Rust, it stretches my ability to communicate about Rust.

Our goal is simple enough: we want a way to generate code, at compile time, that can verify that a particular path exists, starting at a base type (the root) and ending up at some other type (the value). Importantly, we need to do this with only access to types; we can’t work with actual instances of those types. This sort of type-level programming is tricky in Rust.”

Posted on 2022-07-14T04:58:16+0000

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The Epic Temple Heist That Looted a Nation’s History

Investigators are unraveling a network that trafficked Cambodian antiquities on an unprecedented scale and landed them in institutions as august as the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Click to view the original at bloomberg.com

Hasnain says:

A great and sad look into the world of art and how much looting is behind so many museum collections out there. I’m glad some are being taken back now.

“Sometimes, instead of removing an object right away, Blue Tiger’s team would take a photograph, which was then passed up the chain of brokers and buyers connecting looters in the field to foreign markets. If word came back that someone wanted the piece, Blue Tiger would go back and dig it out. “I knew from my team that all the objects went to Thailand,” he said. “Sia Ford was the No. 1 buyer.” At the time, he never felt as though he was doing something wrong. “But now I feel so sorry. Now I know that these things belong to Cambodia. They were made by our ancestors.””

Posted on 2022-07-14T04:01:37+0000

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Uber broke laws, duped police and secretly lobbied governments, leak reveals

124,000 documents expose inner workings behind US tech firm’s rise as a global empire responsible for 19m journeys a day

Click to view the original at theguardian.com

Hasnain says:

“Amid taxi strikes and riots in Paris, Kalanick ordered French executives to retaliate by encouraging Uber drivers to stage a counter-protest with mass civil disobedience.

Warned that doing so risked putting Uber drivers at risk of attacks from “extreme right thugs” who had infiltrated the taxi protests and were “spoiling for a fight”, Kalanick appeared to urge his team to press ahead regardless. “I think it’s worth it,” he said. “Violence guarantee[s] success. And these guys must be resisted, no? Agreed that right place and time must be thought out.”

The decision to send Uber drivers into potentially volatile protests, despite the risks, was consistent with what one senior former executive told the Guardian was a strategy of “weaponising” drivers, and exploiting violence against them to “keep the controversy burning”.”

Posted on 2022-07-13T06:46:34+0000