Hacker News Front Page

Stories from the Hacker News front page worth reading.

Hacker News is the golden standard when it comes to sharing interesting links on the Internet. However, not all of those are read-worthy. We decided to do something about it. This page contains a selection of articles that hit the front page of Hacker News and are worth your reading time and attention.

Edward C. Stone, 1936-2024

Caltech mourns the loss of Edward C. Stone, leader of humanity鈥檚 first foray into interstellar space.

Notational Intelligence (2022)

I spent the last month wondering and investigating how we might design better workflows for creative work that meld the best of human intuition and machine intelligence. I think a promising path is in the design of notation. More explicitly, I believe inventing better notations can contribute far mo...

Welcome to the Era of Garbage Film and Television Streaming

Private equity and monopoly capitalists will destroy anything to make a buck, and they鈥檝e turned their sights on TV and film. If you hated cable鈥檚 high prices, endless ads, and copycat programming, you鈥檙e going to loathe the future of streaming.

It is time for more holistic practices in mental health

Skip to main content Advertisement PLOS Mental Health Publish Submissions Submission Guidelines Figures Tables Supporting Information LaTeX What We Publish Preprints Revising Your Manuscript Submit Now Calls for Papers Policies Best Practices in Research Reporting Human Subjects Research Animal Rese...

The Functional Programming Hiring Problem

The Functional Programming Hiring Problem June 9, 2024 | 20 min. read If you've ever seen a discussion of functional programming languages on the Internet, you'll have probably noticed one talking point in particular that comes up frequently. For the sake of generalization, let's make up a hypotheti...

On being brought up by libertarian economists

The central fact about child rearing by my parents was the equal intellectual status of everyone in the family. My sister and I did not get a vote on the family budget; we were not the ones who had earned the money. But in any disagreement the question was always who had good arguments, not who was ...

Heretical thoughts about science and society

1. The Need for Heretics In the modern world, science and society often interact in a perverse way. We live in a technological society, and technology causes political problems. The politicians and the public expect science to provide answers to the problems. Scientific experts are paid and encourag...

A ChatGPT mistake cost us $10k

We first turned on monetization for our startup last May. We had low expectations but were pleasantly surprised when we got our first customer wi...

A Revolution in Biology

how developmental biology might contain the secrets to life, intelligence, and immortality

DARPA Spent $1B Trying to Build a Real-Life Skynet in the 1980s (2013)

From 1983 to 1993 DARPA spent over $1 billion on a program called the Strategic Computing Initiative. The agency's goal was to push the boundaries of computers, artificial intelligence, and robotics to build something that, in hindsight, looks strikingly similar to the dystopian future of the聽Termin

Everything about Mars is the worst (2017)

At first glance, Mars seems pretty nice. The sun warms its rusty surface to a balmy 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, and gentle breezes ruffle its dirt. Sp鈥

Orwell on the Isle of Jura

Orwell's celebrated novel is celebrating 75 years in print but its message is as important as ever.

PiDP-10 鈥 a modern replica of the PDP-10

The PiDP-10 DEC's 1968 mainframe that became a hacker playground at the MIT AI Lab The MIT AI Lab, with a PDP-10 at its heart, was hugely important in computer history, with many 'firsts' on its record. Over the past decade, a group of enthusiasts did a full reconstruction of the Lab's hardware and ...

Fixing a knockoff Altera USB Blaster that never worked

Downtown Doug Brown Thoughts from a combined Apple/Linux/Windows geek. Home About Mac ROM SIMMs Software Microcontroller lessons Contact Jun 08 Fixing a knockoff Altera USB Blaster that never worked Doug Brown Linux, Microcontrollers, Windows 2024-06-08 What follows is the story of how I fixed not o...

The Backrooms of the Internet Archive

The Backrooms of the Internet Archive Posted on June 1, 2024 by Jason Scott Like many bits of Internet Culture, this simple image of an empty series of rooms represents a deep-repressed or recently-remembered memory of a common Internet Legend, or it鈥檚 just a shot of nothing. If the answer is that i...

Fighting an anti-doping finding

The short story In order to fully understand everything that has happened, I strongly encourage you to read the full article below, but this is a very short summary of what I want to say. On 28th J鈥

I rage-converted my RTX4090 into an eGPU

One evening back in January I finally had enough of thermal issues within my homelab server. You know, every time the computer fans make more noise than I think they should, I can’t help but investigate! Also, the RTX4090 is so thick that it takes 3 PCIe slots worth of space on a typical mothe...

Desktop Linux is an Untapped Gold Mine

The short comings of the current state of the Linux desktop experience. The potential that Linux have in becoming the true one OS to rule them all compared to Windows and Mac OS.

Quieting the Global Growl

Underwater noise from ships has gotten louder, reshaping marine ecosystems and the lives of animals that depend on sounds to eat, mate, and navigate. Can ships ever pipe down?

Generative AI Handbook: A Roadmap for Learning Resources

This document aims to serve as a handbook for learning the key concepts underlying modern artificial intelligence systems. Given the speed of recent development in AI, there really isn鈥檛 a good textbook-style source for getting up-to-speed on the latest-and-greatest innovations in LLMs or other gene...

The Misfit Who Built the IBM PC

Don Estridge broke all of Big Blue's rules to create the home computer. The company would never forgive him for it.

Managing my motivation as a solo dev

Managing My Motivation, as a Solo Dev One of the biggest sticking points of being a solo dev is maintaining motivation. I鈥檝e been keeping a journal entry about how to hack my motivation, what works and what doesn鈥檛. Here are the things that have worked. Convert external sources to motivation I鈥檝e al...

I. From GPT-4 to AGI: Counting the OOMs

AGI by 2027 is strikingly plausible. GPT-2 to GPT-4 took us from ~preschooler to ~smart high-schooler abilities in 4 years. Tracing trendlines in compute (~0.5 orders of magnitude or OOMs/year), algorithmic efficiencies (~0.5 OOMs/year), and 鈥渦nhobbling鈥 gains (from chatbot to agent), we should expe...

An intergenerational crime against humanity

If currently implemented policies are continued with no increase in ambition, there is a 90% chance that the Earth will warm between 2.3掳C and 4.5掳C, with a best estimate of 3.5掳C.

Ask HN: 30y After 'On Lisp', PAIP etc., Is Lisp Still "Beating the Averages"?

Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login Ask HN: 30y After 'On Lisp', PAIP etc., Is Lisp Still "Beating the Averages"? 10 points by dualogy 32 minutes ago | hide | past | favorite | 2 comments Is it still at the "top end of the power spectrum", against which all others ar...

I Think, Therefore I Relate

Photographs and words by Jake Eshelman,Contributing Editor of Ecological Thinking I Think, Therefore I Relate: An Affirming Meander into Ecological Thinking By Jake Eshelman Sign up for our monthly newsletter! O ne of the joys of having聽a research-creation practice聽is fielding questions from people ...

The Moral Economy of the Shire

Who paid for this? There鈥檚 a certain meme that I see making the rounds on Facebook every so often about the bucolic nature of life in the Shire, from Tolkien鈥檚 The Hobbit and The Lord o鈥

Mamba-2 鈥 State Space Duality

Tri Dao Toggle navigation About Blog Publications Repositories ctrl k State Space Duality (Mamba-2) Part I - The Model Contents The SSD Model The Linear (SSM) Mode The Quadratic (Attention) Mode State Space Duality SSD vs. State Space Models SSD vs. Attention Best of Both Worlds The Mamba-2 Architec...

The Decline of the User Interface

Software has never looked cooler, but user interface design and user experience have taken a sharp turn for the worse.

Inequality Without Class

To grasp where inequality is headed鈥攎uch less to reduce it鈥攚e will need to look beyond the economic.

Just Live

The philosopher Galen Strawson ponders meaning in life and critiques the idea of narrativity

Anthropic Chief of Staff: These next 3 years might be the last few that I work

Avital Balwit May 17, 2024 Articles My Last Five Years of Work Zack Minor/Woman walking on seashore. I am 25. These next three years might be the last few years that I work. I am not ill, nor am I becoming a stay-at-home mom, nor have I been so financially fortunate to be on the brink of voluntary r...

Scientific glassblower continues century-old campus tradition (2021)

February 19, 2021 Gretchen Kell | UC Berkeley media relations Jim Breen has been the campus鈥檚 glassblower for 18 years. (UC Berkeley video by Roxanne Makasdjian and Stephen McNally) To find Room B63 in the nondescript, industrial basement of UC Berkeley鈥檚 Hildebrand Hall, it鈥檚 best to follow your ea...

At the Webster Apartments

鈥淥ver the next century, as other women鈥檚 residences closed one by one, the Webster stood tall on West Thirty-Fourth, a monument to the old ways of living.鈥

Why Did She Stop Writing?

Her first film adaptation stars Blake Lively and hits theaters this summer, but readers and TikTok haters wonder what鈥檚 next. So does she.

An Algorithmic Solution to Insomnia

I鈥檝e struggled with insomnia for all of my adult life. It began in college and has waxed and waned in severity ever since, correlating with stress levels but not entirely.

Steam's Last Stand

In the year 1900, automobile sales in the United States were divided almost evenly among three types of vehicles: automakers sold about 1,000 cars powered by internal combustion engines, but over 1鈥

A Week with Elixir (Joe Armstrong)

@var title = "A week with Elixir" @var tags = "elixir" About a week ago I started looking at [[http://elixir-lang.org][Elixir]] Elixir had been one of those things that I was vaguely aware of but had not yet time to look at in any detail. This all changed when I discovered the announcement that Da...

The Genius of Ella Fitzgerald

She remade the American songbook in her image, uprooting the very meaning of musical performance.

Unexpected Anti-Patterns for Engineering Leaders

Will Larson, a veteran engineering leader and the CTO at Carta, holds three conventional engineering management 鈥渁nti-patterns鈥 up to the light for a closer look.

Don't DRY Your Code Prematurely

This is another post in our Code Health series. A version of this post originally appeared in Google bathrooms worldwide as a Google Tes...

Lisbon, a city dying from its own success

A traditional mix of authenticity, melancholy, rusticity and modernity, the Portuguese capital has become a mecca for international tourism. But it has paid the price in the form of gentrification and the loss of its essence

The Ghosts of New Atheism Still Haunt Us

This week, Defector has turned itself over to a guest editor. Brandy Jensen, former editor at聽Gawker聽(RIP) and聽The Outline聽(RIP), and writer of the聽Ask A Fuck Up聽advice column (subscribe here!), has curated a selection of posts around the theme of Irrational Attachments. Enjoy! New Atheism feels tod...

Three Laws of Software Complexity

I posit that most software engineers (particularly those working on infrastructural systems) are destined to wallow in unnecessary complexity due to three fundamental laws.

What We Learned from a Year of Building with LLMs

In this section, we share best practices for the core components of the emerging LLM stack: prompting tips to improve quality and reliability, evaluation strategies to assess output, retrieval-augmented generation ideas to improve grounding, and more. We also explore how to design human-in-the-loop ...

Marc Andreessen wants you to stay in school

Marc Andreessen isn鈥檛 always known for his good advice, but he was right in one memorable exchange: When asked by a Stanford student if they should drop out of college, he responded, 鈥淪tay in school. Because if you鈥檙e going to drop out, you won鈥檛 listen to me anyway.鈥 As a college dropout, this advi...

Saying Goodbye to ICQ

With ICQ shutting down on June 26, 2024, I can鈥檛 help but feel nostalgic. Remember your old ICQ UIN? I tried to find mine but no luck. How about you? Do you remember yours? ICQ was the first messaging software I truly loved and the one that got me into the messaging industry. I still

Orcas are still smashing up boats 鈥 and we've worked out why

For four years now, orcas have been ramming and sinking luxury yachts in European waters, and scientists have struggled to work out just why these smart, social animals had learnt this destructive new trick. But, sadly, it's not their anticapitalist 'eat the rich' agenda, nor is it to do with鈥

How does AI impact my job as a programmer?

Four ginever glasses sit on a mirrored table at Distilleerderij鈥檛 Nieuwe Diep in Fevopark, Amsterdam. Only one manufacturer makes these glasses, and it鈥檚 closing. The distillery stockpi鈥

I Miss BSD/Linux

I miss BSD/Linux. Or was that GNU/Unix, I鈥檓 not sure? Silly jokes to get a statistical 鈥

Doing is normally distributed, learning is log-normal

There are few things I think about more than the essays on gwern.net, and there are few with as satisfying a theoretical payout to contemplate in my orb as his essay on 鈥渓eaky pipelines鈥, aka log-normal distributions. The skulk: Say you鈥檙e working on a Laravel web app. You鈥檙e about 90% sure you know...

The Nonprofit Industrial Complex and the Corruption of the American City

What is taking place in America鈥檚 most performatively socialist urban areas is that taxes are constantly raised in order to fund public services, resulting in some of the most heavily taxed populations in the country. But this tax revenue is then squandered on private contracts to unaccountable nonp...

How to Survive the Election

17 useful concepts to survive the election Listen to the losers, not the winners It's time to swot up. (HM Treasury) It's time to swot up. (HM Treasury) 2024 General ElectionADHDChristopher HitchensnoneSocietyWalt Disney Gurwinder Bhogal May 27, 2024 4 mins We humans are neophiles; we鈥檙e drawn to wh...

My new PSU burns out I fix it, and torture it by cracking water

My new PSU burns out! I fix it, and torture it by cracking water... May 2024 Electronics Science My brand new PSU, the most complicated circuit I designed and built just recently, started life in October 2023. It seemed to work pretty well, at least I got through the long and dark winter with it fee...

Old dogs, new CSS tricks

A lot of new CSS features have shipped in the last years, but actual usage is still low. One of the biggest barriers: we need to re-wire our own brains.

It's Settled, More Nuclear Energy Means Less Mining

The Breakthrough Institute is an environmental research center based in Berkeley, California. Our research focuses on identifying and promoting technological solutions to environmental and human development challenges in three areas: energy, conservation, and food and farming.

More Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Time (2012)

A couple of days ago I decided to [write down some of the things I've learned about testing][testing_post] over the course of the last [several years.][codeascraft] In the course of enumerating the...

Feynman's Garden

The best description of my problem solving process is the Feynman algorithm, which is sometimes presented as a joke where the hidden subtext is 鈥渂e smart鈥, but I disagree. The 鈥渁lgorithm鈥 is a surprisingly lucid description of how thinking works in the context of hard problems where the answer can鈥檛...

A Journey to the Medical Netherworld (2016)

If your child gets sick, hope for something mechanical. Failing that, wish for something commonplace. This is a mother's quest to find her daughter a diagnosis.

To the brain, reading computer code is not the same as reading language

MIT neuroscientists have found reading computer code does not rely on the regions of the brain involved in language processing. Instead, it activates the 鈥渕ultiple demand network,鈥 which is also recruited for complex cognitive tasks such as solving math problems or crossword puzzles.

How to monitor steel alloys with Grafana

Christopher Field is one of the winners of the 2024 Golden Grot Awards. Find out why his win is a testament to all the non-traditional use cases for Grafana dashboards.

Where Are the Builders?

Where are the builders? Posted on May 9, 2024 by near What are the brightest and most ambitious minds of our generation currently working on? Here is a video from someone who spent 7 months building minecraft inside of minecraft by painstakingly constructing a redstone computer inside of it with its...

The deskilling of web dev is harming us all

Even before the web developer job market became as dire as it is today, I was regularly seeing developers burn out and leave the industry. Some left for good; some only temporarily.

Essays on programming I think about a lot

Computers can be understood 鈥 Choose Boring Technology 鈥 The Wrong Abstraction 鈥 Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Names 鈥 The Hiring Post 鈥 The Product-Minded Engineer 鈥 Write code that is easy to delete, not easy to extend 鈥 The Law of Leaky Abstractions 鈥 Reflections on software performance 鈥 ...

Guys what is wrong with ACATS

Ever transferred assets between brokerages? Impressive, terrifying machinations happened in the background. No cats were harmed.

RAG 2.0

Today, we鈥檙e announcing RAG 2.0, our approach for developing robust and reliable AI for enterprise-grade performance. Unlike the previous generation of RAG, which stitches together frozen models, vector databases, and poor quality embeddings, our system is optimized end to end. Using RAG 2.0, we鈥檝e ...

Working Smarter, Not Harder


Trisha shares how her working practices changed after having children, and includes tips for how working parents can get more from their time

Golden Gate Claude

When we turn up the strength of the 鈥淕olden Gate Bridge鈥 feature, Claude鈥檚 responses begin to focus on the Golden Gate Bridge. For a short time, we鈥檙e making this model available for everyone to interact with.

300k airplanes in five years

It鈥檚 no secret that the Allies won World War II on the back of the U.S.鈥檚 enormous industrial output. Even before the U.S. entered the war, the Americans provided hundreds of millions of dollars鈥 worth of equipment to the Allies, and between 1938 and 1943 U.S. manufacturing output

Seeking the Productive Life: Some Details of My Personal Infrastructure

Some of Stephen Wolfram鈥檚 鈥減roductivity hacks鈥 to make his days and projects more productive. Daily life, desk environment, outside the office, presentation setup, filesystem organization, Wolfram Notebook systems, databases, personal analytics.

Why Not Just Do Simple C++ RAII in C?

Ever since I finished publishing the 鈥渄efer鈥 paper and successfully defended it on its first go-around (it now has tentative approval to go to a Technical Specification, I just need to obtain the necessary written boilerplate to do so), an old criticism

Strategic Altruism

Nice Nazis, friendly factory farmers, and the evolution of sincere but selective moral instincts

What UI density means and how to design for it

Interfaces are becoming less dense. I鈥檓 usually one to be skeptical of nostalgia and 鈥渨e liked it that way鈥 bias, but comparing websites and applications of 2024 to their 2000s-era counterparts, the spreading out of software is hard to ignore. To explain this trend, and suggest how we might regain d...

Reversing Choplifter

Reversing Choplifter By Quinn Dunki May 13, 2024May 19, 2024 Because it seemed like a good idea at the time. The Apple II line of computers had an amazing run, from 1977 to 1993. In that time, hundreds of thousands of pieces of software were written for it, including many tens of thousands of games....

Taking Risk 鈥 Startups in UK vs. US

I just spent a week talking with some exceptional students from three of the UK's top universities; Cambridge, Oxford and Imperial College. Along with UCL, these British universities represent 4 of...


mmap(blog) Posts About Atom Feed Enlightenmentware 鉁 2024-05-20 鉁 2024-05-20 UNIX Git Emacs Boost.Graph Bazel Conclusion As programmers, we interact with software tools daily. Most of them can barely get the job done. But once in a white, we discover a piece of software that transcends mere utility....

Paying freelancers in equity and dividends

Gumroad pays freelancers around the world $125-$200/hr. They choose how much of this they鈥檇 like to get in equity鈥揵etween 0 and 80%. Equity entitles one to annual dividends.

3M Execs Convinced a Scientist PFOS Found in Human Blood Were Safe


Decades ago, Kris Hansen showed 3M that its PFAS chemicals were in people鈥檚 bodies. Her bosses halted her work. As the EPA now forces the removal of the chemicals from drinking water, she wrestles with the secrets that 3M kept from her and the world.

The Lunacy of Artemis

For the first time since the 1960's, it looks doubtful whether the US space agency is even capable of getting us to the Moon.

Meringue Philosophy

I published this entry both in my old and new blogs, and I repost it here in its entirety.

Woke Invades the Sciences

A quarter-century ago, the 鈥淪cience Wars鈥 鈥 an unfortunate military metaphor applied to an intellectual debate 鈥 pitted a motley crew of postmodernist-influenced literary scholars and social鈥

Will Better Superconductors Transform the World?

Scientists are pursuing materials that can conduct electricity with perfect efficiency under ambient conditions. In this episode, the physicist Siddharth Shanker Saxena tells co-host Janna Levin about what makes this hunt so difficult and consequential.


The Digital Antiquarian A history of computer entertainment and digital culture by Jimmy Maher Home About Me Ebooks Hall of Fame Table of Contents RSS 鈫 This Week on The Analog Antiquarian Riven 17 May Robyn and Rand Miller. Sometimes success smacks you right in the face. More often, it sneaks up on...

The Ambling Mind

The Convivial Society: Vol. 5, No. 6

Cyber Security: A Pre-War Reality Check

This is a lightly edited transcript of my presentation today at the ACCSS/NCSC/Surf seminar 鈥楥yber Security and Society鈥. I want to thank the organizers for inviting me to their conference & giving me a great opportunity to talk about something I worry about a lot. Here are the original slides with ...

Malleable software in the age of LLMs (2023)

All computer users may soon have the ability to author small bits of code. What structural changes does this imply for the production and distribution of software?

The Beauty of Concrete

Why are buildings today drab and simple, while buildings of the past were ornate and elaborately ornamented? The answer is not the cost of labor.

The Rise and Fall of the Trad Wife

Alena Kate Pettitt helped lead an online movement promoting domesticity. Now she says, 鈥淚t鈥檚 become its own monster.鈥

Confronting Another Axis? History, Humility, and Wishful Thinking

Drawing on his extensive experience as a historian and diplomat, Philip Zelikow warns that the United States faces an exceptionally volatile time in global politics and that the period of maximum danger might be in the next one to three years. He highlights lessons from the anti-American partnership...

Ideas and Creativity (2019)

Ideas and Creativity Tags: musings, research Published on Sunday, November 17, 2019 芦 Previous post: A short analysis of ICLR 2020 reviews 鈥 Next post: The Misunderstood Stoic 禄 Developing ideas is the central aspect of many professions, including鈥攂ut certainly not limited to鈥攁cademic research and s...

Urban Renewal Ruined Everything

The destructive nature of urban renewal left the U.S. too scared to build anything at scale ever again.

The Forged Apple Employee Badge

Here鈥檚 a quick and cautionary tale. This eBay auction, spotted by Eric Vitiello, immediately caught my eye: Wow. Someone was selling Apple Employee #10鈥檚 employee badge?! What an incred鈥

We've All Felt It

It鈥檚 not about saving time鈥 It鈥檚 about never wasting it.

Why Bad CEOs Fear Remote Work (2021)

Remote work expert David Tate wrote that when fearful CEOs talk about workplace culture, they鈥檙e really talking about workplace control. Their insecurities demand that the way work is done by emplo鈥

Swift sucks at web serving or does it?

Swift sucks at web serving鈥 or does it? May 15, 2024 by Contents Benchmark method & apparatus Benchmark results Debugging the benchmark Domain experts weigh in Examining the load The 鈥渞ight鈥 load A 鈥渇air鈥 load Do these improvements apply to the other cases too? 鈥ut鈥 why is the success rate still we...

A 'plague' comes before the fall: lessons from Roman history

Just 50 years after the Roman Empire grew to its largest size, a mysterious and crippling pandemic known as the Antonine plague brought it to its knees. Research on climate change and in other areas is shedding light into how the plague, which preceded centuries of decline, emerged to pack such a de...

Fastest rate of natural carbon dioxide rise over the last 50k years

CORVALLIS, Ore. 鈥 Today鈥檚 rate of atmospheric carbon dioxide increase is 10 times faster than at any other point in the past 50,000 years, researchers have found through a detailed chemical analysis of ancient Antarctic ice. The findings, just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of ...

Review: The Variational Principles of Mechanics

The Variational Principles of Mechanics, Cornelius Lanczos (University of Toronto Press, 1949). While sailing a little boat the other day, I thought of a new way to troll the Aristotelians. I love it when my hobbies converge like that, and if the second one sounds a little mean-spirited, well, remem...

Muse Retrospective

The inside story of four years building Muse, a canvas-based thinking tool for iPad and Mac.

New work extends the thermodynamic theory of computation

In a paper published in Physical Review X on May 13, a quartet of physicists and computer scientists expand the modern theory of the thermodynamics of computation. By combining approaches from statistical physics and computer science, the researchers introduce mathematical equations that reveal the ...

What Factors Explain the Nature of Software?

When we鈥檙e disagreeing with others about some aspect of software, we tend to focus on concrete factors we can easily define and argue about: choice of programming language, approaches to testing, file name conventions, and the like [1]. Some of these choices do clearly make software development easi...

ChatGPT has EQ now

In AI systems, multi-modality is the holy grail. When I was working on self-driving cars, that was also the dream architecture: one big model that takes in all of the sensors as inputs (sound, visual, lidar, radar) and makes decisions directly. For technical reasons, this is really hard to do (compu...

References Are Like Jumps

References are like jumps May 13, 2024 In a high-level language, the programmer is deprived of the dangerous power to update his own program while it is running. Even more valuable, he has the power to split his machine into a number of separate variables, arrays, files, etc.; when he wishes to upda...

Outdoor time is good for kids' eyesight

NPR > Shots - Health News Outdoor time is good for your kids' eyesight. Here's why By Maria Godoy Monday, May 13, 2024 鈥 5:00 AM EDT Heard on Morning Edition If you're a parent struggling to get your kids' off their devices and outdoors to play, here's another reason to keep trying: Spending at leas...

The Great Flattening

Apple鈥檚 iPad ad might not have been good for Apple, but it was a profound encapsulation of what has happened on the Internet; the question is what it leads to next.

The Star Destroyer and Imperial Military Doctrine

Fireside this week! Next week, with luck, I鈥檒l have my 鈥極n the Reign of Alexander III of Macedon鈥 up as an addendum to our discussion of Hellenistic armies. But in the meantime, i鈥

Professional Corner-Cutting

Steve Jobs famously cared about the unseen backs of cabinets. Antique furniture built with hand tools isn鈥檛 like that at all. Cabinetmakers made each part to the tolerance that mattered.聽The 鈥

The Age of Rage: Why Are People Are So Angry?

The Age of Rage: Why are People are So Angry? According to a 2018 Guardian article, we are living in an 鈥榓ge of rage鈥. Such anger is often framed as having an ideological or political bend or etiology (e.g. Trump, Biden, Covid). Another article The West needs to grow up argues that infantilism is to...

The Software Behind Silicon

Learn about the $80 billion company that makes the software behind AI, mobile, and automotive chips. Plus: are we at the end of Moore's Law?

100 Years of IBM

Home 鈥 Tikalon Innovation Service Model 鈥 About 鈥 Links 鈥 Blog 鈥 Contact 100 Years of IBM May 6, 2024 There are considerable statistics on human life expectancy. Men in the United States are expected to live 76 years, and women are expected to live nearly 81 years. These are actually lower than for ...


A simple explanation of the various technologies inside touchscreens.

A Record of Old Kashgar

The Uyghur city in Xinjiang has been disrupted by outside forces through history 鈥 of which Chinese rebuilding is the latest change. A book of images and stories records what it once was.

Daniel Dennett: 'Where Am I?'

Dennett's classic story raises deep philosophical questions about identity and consciousness.

A Useful Productivity Measure for Software Engineering?

A Useful Productivity Measure? May 5, 2024 In my new role as VP of Engineering, there was one question I was dreading more than any other: 鈥淗ow are you measuring productivity?鈥 I can鈥檛 fault the question. I mean, sure, I鈥檇 rather it be phrased about how I鈥檓 improving productivity, rather than how I鈥...

C Isn't a Hangover; Rust Isn't a Hangover Cure

It seems there are too many people in the security industry that are too fast to condemn C/C++, touting the virtues of Rust without fully understanding the nuances and implications. Rust may be a safer language but it鈥檚 not that simple.


One year ago today, I decided to quit my job.

Small Things

The Future Does Not Fit in the Containers of the Past. Edition 195.

Winged lions through time and space

May 4, 2024 @ 6:45 pm 路 Filed by Victor Mair under Borrowing, Epigraphy, Language and archeology, Language and culture, Language and history, Language contact

Hymn for Walpurgisnacht

In honor of Walpurgisnacht, as the evening of April 30 is known, the hamlets of Saxony-Anhalt do a brisk spring-time tourist trade selling...

Variations on the theme of silence

Silences that close us off, refusing connection, shoring up the ego at others鈥 expense鈥攖hose are dead silences. But the letting-go sort, the silences that hold space or keep vigil for someone else? They are alive.

In praise of idleness 鈥 Bertrand Russell

Can't switch off from work? Envy those 'lazy' strikers? In this 1932 essay, Bertrand Russell, socialist and winner of some minor award called the Nobel Prize in Literature, presents the case for idleness. One can also download and/ or listen to an audio version here.

A love letter to bicycle maintenance and repair

It was the 28th of June, 2020; the perfect summer day. I remember it distinctly because of two important events that took place on that day. The first was the unfortunate discovery that I am highly sensitive to the venomous hairs of the Oak processionary caterpillar. If you鈥檝e never wished you could...

Art and Memory

We think we remember works of art rather well; and probably assume that the greater the work of art, and the more...

To save it, eat it

Why gene banks aren鈥檛 enough to save the world鈥檚 food

I'm closing up shop on my Mastodon for the foreseeable future

It鈥檚 not you. It鈥檚 me. (Taking a break from Mastodon) April 4, 2024March 17, 2024 I鈥檓 closing up shop on my Mastodon for the foreseeable future. I have for the most part very much enjoyed my experience on the Fediverse, and experts say that Mastodon is one of the components of the Fediverse. Mastodo...

C茅sar Aira's Magic

How the eccentric Argentine author came to occupy the center of Latin American literature.

We can have a different web


Many yearn for the 鈥済ood old days鈥 of the web. We could have those good old days back 鈥 or something even better 鈥 and if anything, it would be easier now than it ever was.

Good enough is good enough

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Dear Europe, please wake up

Europe is special to me as I consider myself a proud European, but damn we need to talk. Europe please wake up.

Save the Web by Being Nice


A common complaint amongst the old guard bloggers is that the old web as we knew it is dying. This is false.The old web has actually been dead for many...

Debugging Tech Journalism

A huge proportion of tech journalism is characterized by scandals, sensationalism, and shoddy research. Can we fix it?

Managing Up

Over the last two newsletters (three, if you include my reply to Google鈥檚 鈥渞ebuttal鈥 of the Prabhakar Raghavan newsletter), I鈥檝e made the case that while rot economics are responsible for making technology products manifestly worse, this transformation was only possible thanks to the interventions o...

Project Habbakuk: Britain's Ice "Bergship" Aircraft Carrier Project

In the early 1940s, German submarines (U-Boats) were wreaking havoc on Allied forces in the Atlantic Ocean, sinking ships, and threatening to turn the tide of the war. What the Allies of WWII needed was something literally too big to fail. And one inventor working for the British Combined Operations...

Struve's Flat(ter) Earth (2023)

In the first Map Story we met Eratosthenes, who tried to calculate the size of the Earth almost 2300 years ago (and got really pretty close). Today we鈥檒l meet

No One Should Have That Much Power

It鈥檚 a common spy thriller trope. There鈥檚 a special key that can unlock something critical 鈥 business records, bank vaults, government secrets, nuclear weapons, maybe all of the above, worldwide.

Why We Hate Working for Big Companies (2018)

It鈥檚 quite a journey from being born on a commune to raising more than $87m in funding at a software company. This journey forced me to wrestle with existential questions about my true beliefs, and how they intersected my life as an entrepreneur. One鈥檚 work is rarely a pure reflection of ideology, b...

Apple MacBook Air 15-Inch M3 Review

The Apple MacBook Air 15-inch M3 is a near-perfect combination of silent and effortless performance, epic battery life, and elegant design.

"Jewish Mathematics"?

Quick math-personality quiz: What is seven-and-one-fourth minus three-fourths, expressed as a mixed number (a whole number plus a proper fraction)? What matters isn鈥檛 what answer you get but how yo鈥

Tales from an Attic

Suitcases once belonging to residents of a New York State mental hospital tell the stories of long-forgotten lives

The Voyage of Magellan 鈥 Chapter 5: Underway

The Voyage of Magellan Chapter 5: Underway Apr 26, 2024 September 20 鈥 October 3, 1519 At nearly the same instant that Magellan鈥檚 carracks sailed from Sanl煤car, a dozen or so sleek, swift Portuguese caravels put to sea from Lisbon. Taking advantage of the same favorable wind as Magellan鈥檚 fleet but ...

Why I Am Now Relaxed About Releasing Buggy Software

I am a perfectionist by nature. Releasing software in to the wild that has imperfections annoys me. For that matter, doing anything that is imperfect annoys me. Thankfully, there is this little thi鈥

Microsoft at Work

>>> 2024-04-26 microsoft at work (PDF) I haven't written anything for a bit. I'm not apologizing, because y'all don't pay me enough to apologize, but I do feel a little bad. Part of it is just that I've been busy, with work and travel and events. Part of it is that I've embarked on a couple of writi...

Janky Apple ID Security

I had another instance of my Apple ID mysteriously being locked. First, my iPhone wanted me to enter the password again, which I thought was the 鈥渘ormal鈥 thing it has done every few months, almost since I got it. But after doing so it said that my account was locked.

Crafting Interpreters: 640 Pages in 15 Months

640 Pages in 15 Months 鈫 鈫 July 29, 2021 book design language personal My book Crafting Interpreters on programming languages is done. OK, OK. I know I said it was done like fifteen months ago. But now it鈥檚 really done. And by that I mean, the print, e-book and PDF versions are done. You can buy it....

Laws of Software Evolution

Laws of Software Evolution by kqr , published 2024-03-25 Tags: design management organisations product_development Andrew Kelly has written a thoughtful article on why we can鈥檛 have nice software. He acknowledges that software often gets continuous maintenance, and notes that this is curious, since ...

How I search in 2024

We are now in a very weird liminal space in information retrieval for consumers, particularly those attuned to trends in search and working on the bleeding...

3 years of fulltime Rust game development, and why we're leaving Rust behind

Leaving Rust gamedev after 3 years Once you get good at Rust all of these problems will go away Rust being great at big refactorings solves a largely self-inflicted issues with the borrow checker Indirection only solves some problems, and always at the cost of dev ergonomics ECS solves the wrong kin...

What We Train Our Brains For

This is a bit of a continuation of my last post about burnout, or at least a tangent. I have no tech news to share right now nor any startup tips, so this is what you get :) A thought I had a bit, well, for a long time, was what were the occupational hazards of computing, tech, and to a lesser exten...

The Universe as a Computer


John Archibald Wheeler is a bit of a hero for me (and also, like all good hero鈥檚 a bit of a villain). Discovering his paper 鈥淚t from Bit鈥 was definitely a huge inspiration for me 鈥

The baffling intelligence of a single cell: The story of E. coli chemotaxis

I want to tell the story of a beautiful phenomenon in biology. In some sense it鈥檚 the prototype of much of the activity of life. The phenomenon is the way in which an individual cell of E. coli forages for nutrients. This process, known as 鈥渃hemotaxis鈥濃攖he 鈥渃hemo-鈥 for chemical and the 鈥渢axis鈥 from ...

Focus by Automation


Focus by Automation Automation Programming Emacs Vim Posted on 2024-03-19 Contents Automation 🤖 Focus 🔍 Distractions 鈿 Organization 📓 The value of mastery 🧙 Braaains 🧠 Footnotes Automation 🤖 I鈥檝e invested leisure time to save time when I鈥檓 working hard...

How to Start Google

March 2024 (This is a talk I gave to 14 and 15 year olds about what to do now if they might want to start a startup later. Lots of schools think they should tell students something about startups. This is what I think they should tell them.) Most of you probably think that when you're released into ...

20 Years of "Not Even Wrong"

The first entry on this blog was 20 years ago yesterday, first substantive one was 20 years ago tomorrow (first one that drew attacks on me as an incompetent was two days later). Back when I started this up, blogging was all the rage, and lots of other blogs about fundamental physics were starting a...