The citys tallest building, Yglesias notes, is a mere twenty-two stories high.
Anyone who lives in San Jose can tell you why this is the case. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Jose,_California#Arts_and_a...
Because the downtown area is in the flight path to nearby Mineta San Jose International Airport, there is a height limit for buildings in the downtown area, which is under the final approach corridor to the airport. The height limit is dictated by local ordinances, driven by the distance from the runway and a slope defined by Federal Aviation Administration regulations. Core downtown buildings are limited to approximately 300 feet (91 m) but can get taller farther from the airport.
The rest of the article did a good job of arguing that housing costs harm migration and contribute to income inequality. But twisting a fact like that makes me suspicious. Hopefully fault lies with Matt Yglesias, not the author.
What we will do is pour our thoughts like water through your product and ideas. Anything that's not perfectly thought through is going to leak. I hope you'll take the criticism in the (mostly good) spirit in which its offered and use it to build a better product.
Instead I'll do the opposite.
I'll point out upfront, I own 5 bikes, I run one of the largest cycling forums in the world, and I run one of the largest cycling clubs in the UK. I get cycling.
I like it. The FlyKly.
I like it because it allows a rider to keep their existing bike, and yet to retrofit for a really reasonable price an electric motor.
I like it because the vast majority of the weight within the wheel isn't a moving thing, the batteries are fixed.
I like it because the 30 mile range, whilst not suiting my 18 mile commute for a daily charge, actually does suit the vast majority of cyclists that I know who only commute fewer than 10 miles.
I like the 1,000 cycles, which is probably 900 in reality, is actually a few years of use for the average cyclist. Even most cycle commuters don't actually cycle 7 days a week, and those do diligently do so on all work days only do so for 220 > 250 days per year.
It hits all of the sweet spots:
1) Can I keep my existing bicycle?
2) Can I just get the electric bit and not pay to replace all of the other bits I have?
3) Will it just work and be easy to install?
4) Will it help me on my commute?
5) Will it realistically last a couple of years?
6) Is it priced such that I can afford it?
For the majority of cyclists I know, the answer is yes to all of the above.
I think it's got a good chance, which doesn't mean I'll be buying one but then I'm not your average cyclist.
PS: FlyKly, you show several times the use of the wheel on a brakeless fixed-gear bike. That's just for the aesthetics right? Or is the wheel fixed compatible such that you're fine with people skid/skip stopping?
Edit: the big differences would be (a) this has the battery integral to the hub, where the BionX uses a separate battery pack; and (b) that this communicates to its controller -- your phone -- wirelessly, where the BionX console connects with a wire.
IMO as owner of a BionX-equipped bike, I'm dubious about whether either difference is a positive one. For (a), the in-hub battery is clearly size-limited, can't be removed from the bike for charging indoors, and would be harder to replace.
As for (b), is it really a good idea to require a smartphone to be attached to your handlebars whenever you ride? That's not an easy environment, it has a lot of vibration as well as exposure to water, dust, and sweat. A minor point, the BionX dedicated controller has an optional thumb operated throttle lever for proportional control when you don't want to pedal, and it's hard to see how that could work with a smartphone.
5 kg is light for a battery/motor module, but it still adds about 50% to the weight of a decent bike. The added thickness also means it's probably not practical to put a multi-gear cassette on it. End result, this will cripple most bikes once the battery runs out. More weight and poor gear ratios = hell for the cyclist. However, most smart-bikes are crippled anyways once they run out of juice.
The great thing is that you can use the same bike for commuting that you use for your sweatier, long-haul weekend trips. All you have to do is swap the original dumb-wheel back in. If you buy a dumb-bike and a smart-wheel you almost get two bikes for the price of one.
Tip for the makers: Stress the ease of hot-swapping that wheel in even more than you are now. This is a major selling point.
P.S. I don't see a quick-release clamp on this sucker in your pictures or video. This is a no-brainier and absolutely needs to be on there.
"36V Lithium" battery, but no spec about how many kWh it stores.
"Top Speed 20mph". Given that it only operates when the human puts in some effort, what does that even mean? I'm guessing this is written down because US Law says if it goes faster than 20, it's no longer a bike.
"In 2011 Niko Klansek introduced the first line of electric bicycles to the USA market." Nope; ebikes have been available in the US for far longer than that.
GAH. There are lots of conversion kits you can buy today. The kickstarter gives no way for you to figure out if this is anything better.
Given that old Lotus bike, Im surprised one for the F1 teams hasn't rustled something up. I'd have a chat with one of them and see if they would like to partner up. Especially as they are trying to be all green these days.
Can you harvest from the front wheel too?
...but also, won't charging this be a complete pain? I'm just imaging a bicycle sitting next to all the other USB charge devices on my desk. Awkward...
The speed conversion is way off. But the distance conversion is pretty good. Wonder why that is.
This probably wouldn't be an issue for most bikes, but it seems like it's outside the design specs for any existing bike.
1. I question the need for a retrofit product. There are many mature e-bike designs on the market. I doubt it would be hard to find an ODM or CM that could sell you a good design off the shelf.
2. Many e-bikes have removable batteries. You can charge them at work. This doesn't look like it could.
3. Maybe the e-bike isn't the sweet spot. Maybe a slightly larger electric scooter is it. Or maybe an even bigger three-wheeler like Toyota has shown.
4. Outside of China, where gas scooters are prohibited in many (all?) cities, e-bike have not caught on (though I see quite a lot of them in Manhattan, still not enough to be mainstream)
Still, in any case it would be awesome in that it would make biking practical in hilly areas where it is otherwise a horrible mode of transportation.
If they had some way of restoring the batteries without replacing/repurchasing the wheel, I'd be less concerned.
Otherwise I've been using a wheel and battery from http://www.leafmotor.com/hub-motors/16r-electric-hub-motor.h...
If you're more into plugging stuff together yourself. They also offer more wheel sizes, like 700c.
Also, can this thing run without a smartphone? If it's raining, you certainly don't want to keep your phone on the bars.
The Copenhagen wheel has been around for around ~5 years and looks identical to this, sans the GPS.
Literally just deployed, absolutely love it:
One liner copy-paste for community on your website. I can finally talk in real time with my users and understand why the use my website.
I'm not there could be an possible integration with Meteor too.
 - https://github.com/firebase/togetherjs
The site didn't tell you anything you didn't already know, it only clarified it.
Instead of denying information to keep yourself happy, why not use the information? My 69-year-old mother remarked earlier this year that if she didn't get around to some of her life goals soon she wouldn't be able to.
Did she say that out of depression? No, to live the life she wanted even more. She celebrated her 70th birthday bicycle-touring a wine region in France with my step-father, riding something like one hundred kilometers a day.
We can all do the same in our ways. In my opinion, awareness trumps denial.
If my parents are 80, I don't expect them to die in 1 year just because life expectancy at birth is 81. I expect them to live about another 8 years.
Use a table like http://www.ssa.gov/oact/STATS/table4c6.html
This is a great reminder to pick up the phone and tell your folks or anyone that matters to you that you love them. Everyone reading this should do that now if they can. You never know when it will be too late and you don't want those regrets.
But this is a good opportunity for me to make an important point regards a discussion that took place here a few days ago.
You see - This website serves no purpose in the East or Eastern ethnic minorities.
It's not part of our culture to lose contact with our parents. I saw my parents on the weekend, my wife saw hers and we both spoke to our parents today on the phone. We live 3hrs away.
I'm 33 yrs old. I've never not spoken to my parents for more than 14 days ever in my life.
Why am I telling you this?
Because in the last discussion that took place - the rant about culture in India, many commented that people need to get more mature but what they dont realise that its culture holding them back
Your website proves my point.
I haven't seen my mother in well over half a decade, and am much healthier for it.
It's interesting that it sticks to a mother and father. A number of families are moving into more complex arrangements - 2 fathers, or 2 mothers, or step parents, or single parents, or etc etc. (I'm not complaining, just commenting.) I guess it shows that people know who they consider to be parents.
"Where do your in-laws live?"
"On average how many times do you see your in-laws a year?"
Wanting to spend more time with your parent's isn't a moral absolute. It's a social pressure that has proved hardier than going to church or getting married while you are still fertile.
Instead, what would be nice is if provided information such as: ask your father to go for a prostrate exam, ask your mother to run these other tests, and so on - based on the country, age and perhaps race data (which is not collected right now).
The website is nice and intuitive.
Our ambition, our regrets have made us distant from the now and the present. We are not satisfied with it, how can we? We have our own expectations and dreams to achieve in life. So we run from the present, we live like we have a millennia more. We believe that our parents will always be there when we have time.So we dont go meet them on holidays, we rarely talk to them over the phone. When we meet them we are obsessed with our future, never paying attention to their stories. Never really looking into their eyes. After all, Facebook and Twitter is way more interesting then old peoples talk.
And one day you will catch the train (success, fame, money or whatever it is) but you realise that there is no one on the other side, that you are all alone. It feels empty, it feels incomplete. That you have an entire life to go through now.
Dont let that happen, go to their place. Talk to them over the phone (at least once a week). When you meet them, turn off your smartphone. Look at them in the eye and listen to their stories.You will find out that they need you as much as you needed them in the past.
Life is not all about fame and achievements, its about the people (Family, friends, etc). And whatever insignificant time we have on this planet, its better spent together in the present.
My situation: Im 33 years old and I live in the same city as my parents do. My mom is 65 years old, my dad is 69 years old. I visit my parents about once a week.
According to this test, I can expect to see my parents another 700 times before they pass. That may look like a large number, for me it is sobering. My dad has heart problems (he had an angioplasty and a stent placed last year, some incidents after, and he had a pace maker installed this year). Im not sure whether I get to see him another 700 times at the rate that I visit him now. I will certainly increase the rate of my visits.
So send your folks a long letter or email. Call them on the phone. There is no need to feel guilty because you can only see them X times a year -- for some that is just a fact of life. Phone calls, emails, letters all have meaning. Letters and emails can be read multiple times (and often are). You want to really show your parents you care? Write one or both of them a poem or a song. If you have no skill in that area, write a long heartfelt letter. I wrote one of those letters to my dad years ago and he kept it forever.
It is good to remember that life is short and to use your time wisely. Remember the things that are important. But personal visits aren't the only way to do something about it.
The site is needlessly vague about what it's going to show me. What are "my results", and will they be compelling enough for me to send personal information to somebody I don't know?
Coming to this site cold, with no expectations, I had no desire to enter my parents' ages, to tell you where they live, or to tell you how often I see them.
Very little I can do to change that.
Cheer-up folks! It's not like we are all soldiers during First World War.
My dad passed away rather quickly fighting cancer back when I was 25, he only got an extra 2 years after he found out.
A more generalized version that produces See Your Folks calculations for people by gender, age, and frequency of visit would be appreciated by folks like me that have complicated family dynamics. Hell, maybe I don't want to see my folks, maybe I just know how often I should see my friend that moved to the EU!
Gay marriage: the database engineering perspective -- http://qntm.org/gay
I really love the text, it's so beautiful when you get towards the end.
Somebody made http://pigeonpic.com just for this kind of scattered families.
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A much lesser problem, it doesn't work in Opera Mini, would be nice if it did, many of my friends are using it.
First they make the wrong assumption that the most we see our parents the happier we are.
In any case, I don't think it makes a big difference for people to see their parents 500 or 700 times before they die. Especially if they don't get along with them, they should see each other as little as possible.
My parents died a while ago and while I miss them, I don't regret that i didn't see them enough.
I think I will continue that now!
I think I'd prefer not to have checked this out.
Oh. Right. :-\
I'd prefer to have 90 days of goodness than 300 days of meh, you know? There's only a certain amount of content you can share in a given relationship.
And then this.
But what i really like, is to match stuff like protein in bananas vs spinach to know what i'm going to (prefer to) eat soon ^^..
Something that happens quite frequently is non-technical friends see my laptop at night and ask "why it is orange?". When I temporarily deactivate f.lux, they shrink from the intrusive blue light and need no further explanation.
I found when using it for personal use, there are times when the time of day, doesn't align with my energy levels and I ended up disabling it enough that it became a nuisance.
Using otool -L /Applications/Flux.app/Contents/MacOS/Flux you can see an impressive number of frameworks included. I guess inclusion of the webkit framework is the biggest culprit. Why all this is needed to simply dim the light on my screen is beyond me.
That said, Flux is perfect functionality wise and very useful.
And in this update: "Movie mode ... lasts 2 hours." Seriously? Why in the world not prompt for a time duration, or use a dropdown or flyout menu for various 30 minute intervals?
Would lowering the blue light in the TV's picture settings and the brightness accomplish everything f.lux does?
This sounds pretty cool! Has anyone who has a Hue tried this yet?
This is a great example of where avant-garde art can be an inspiration for mass-market products, though who knows if the f.lux creators were directly or indirectly influenced by Rahm's work. Nevertheless, I believe there's a whole range of products that could come out of this conceptual framework.
i wish more devices, like tvs, had flux baked in.
Now, I install it on every machine I use, and it's probably saved me a ton of (literal) headaches. I couldn't recommend it enough.
For example I think neon light is actually greenish and it is just the human eye that adjusts the colors back to normal. But I don't think one could make neon light behave like another type of light simply by painting it with some color.
The cheap Dell monitors got quite small horizontal visibility angle. Additionally, the USB adapter doesn't seem to be supported.
Now I'm just missing : "automatically disable if Photoshop is running" (I got caught a few times)
It looks like flux still only goes down to 2200 on Mac, so I may continue using RedScreen.
Disclaimer: I'm the creator of LampShade.io, an Android app for the Hue that has a similar feature (and many others too)
Has anyone seen real benefits to using it?
You can pair your Philips Hue bulbs with f.lux! This is awesome! This kind of thing is very helpful for people who sleep odd hours or just have trouble going to sleep and waking up. Has anyone tried this or knows how it works?
Anyone else have this problem?
I'm in an office with bright neon lights, does it still help?
A simple program but solves a common problem. My eyes are always shocked when i switch off flux for color intensive work.
I hope this isn't the start of feature bloat.
Why hasn't anyone done a study on specifically what f.lux attempts to do? Sure, light at night causes people problems sleeping, but does f.lux actually make a difference? Can we quantify that difference in a way that controls for the fanboy (formerly known as placebo) effect?
For a while I tried a medicine ball, but noticed towards the end of the day I would be in bad posture. I also found it hard to have it inflated at the right level and be at the right height.
The only thing I could find, which seems to have a cult following, is the "Euro Style" bungee chairs. Something like
They have a bunch, but I only got a chance to try two. The flat bungee is definitely comfortable, regular bungee had too much pressure on my skin.
Anyone else have recommendations for budget mesh all-day office chairs?
I've had a Mirra for maybe 5 years now, best chair in the house. The only issues I had were the prongs which provide the back skeletal strength broke through the mesh. As the meshing is plastic this meant a sharp pain in one's shoulder blade. The warranty covered the fix and paid for fedex to came to my house with a giant box and ship it for repair. I cannot imagine what it must have cost to ship a full sized chair! Even still I was out a nice chair for a couple weeks. Those few weeks reminded me how much nicer the Mirra was compared to my old staples chair.
This redesign appears to address said structural weakness by spreading the point of contact. It also widens the usage space for positioning your back. In my Mirra 1.0 your body must be dead center else your back will be sitting over a pointy prong. It looks like this 2.0 will have a backing which folds into your back, hugging it so to say.
It also appears they have slimmed the box below the seat. In general the plastic casings are slimmer and less bulky. Also of note it appears the adjustable lip where your knee joints occur has been given a longer radius of rotation. Or atleast it looks longer to compared to my Mirra.
I recently picked up a standing desk (geekdesk). I still love my Steelcase, but the standing desk is a bigger improvement on the work day. This isn't even a close fight. I would not hesitate to drop the cash on a standing desk and buy a cheapo chair if that's what the budget dictated.
YMMV, of course. At least try the Ikea standing desk hack (http://iamnotaprogrammer.com/Ikea-Standing-desk-for-22-dolla...) before you jump.
I think this will be a good replacement for all those Areons out there. Attractive, cheaper, and likely better quality. It seems like a winner for them.
Can someone enlighten me as to what the big deal is about Herman Miller chairs?
The thought was to have a billion threads on a SPARCStation 10 (that is like an old Pentium machine now). We never got close but it was a great goal. Definitely going to have to go back and revisit this topic now. Thanks for the excellent demo to play with!
> Akka has no true lightweight threads (the actors are actually callbacks)
Would you care to elaborate? I'm not too familiar with the internals of Akka, but they definitely don't use "heavyweight" threads (which I assume are threads that are 1:1 mapped to OS threads).
Also, I didn't get "the actors are actually callbacks". Yes, there may be callbacks involved internally (why not?), but there is a big difference whether I am sending a message to an actor (which may be processed at any time) vs. calling a callback (which is immediately executed on the very same thread that I'm running on).
Sorry if this sounds dismissive, but I'd really like to learn why you choose to implement your own solution, because you've obviously put some time into evaluating what is out there.
Would love to see more on how this is different to (or better than) Akka. The programming model is actually close to Akka (with actor systems, supervision, receive method, message passing, etc).
The article states that Akka has no true lightweight threads. The guys behind Akka have put it running with 50M messages/second and perfomance vs erlang seems to be good as well .
Perhaps a benchmark would be great.
Thanks for sharing.
 http://musings-of-an-erlang-priest.blogspot.pt/2012/07/i-onl... discussing millions of messages is a good signal IMHO).
I do not agree with this. The original statement he is quoting says "can be very challenging". Yes, if you are designing something very state heavy and your design is somehow flawed or too complex then you can run into issues. However, in most cases threads are no more complex than callbacks, actors, etc. In fact, from what I've seen, concurrent code eventually all converges to some semblance of the actor model anyways.
Where the actors/green threads/etc. really shine is having huge numbers of them. OS threads still have very large overhead compared to lighter weight green threads, so you can spin up many magnitudes more of them than you have CPU cores.
Also, in lots of languages multi-core != concurrent. You can have 10,000 actors using a single core. In fact writing a scheduler that can efficiently distribute actors between different cores is probably where the complexity Doron Rajwan refers to lies.
What I am more confused about is how this considered peak optimization.
Assuming they are utilizing doubles and doing both read and write I get the following computation:
(10000x10x8x2 bytes per second) or 12 Megabits per second vs the theoretical bandwidth of a PCIe of 40 Gbs?
Are they computationally limited and what is their memory access pattern?
Post: "...10,000 Fibers..."
The concept of agents (as defined by Rich Hickey in a lot of his Clojure talks) is all about a globally shared, immutable and persistent state on which you can act upon.
With actors you still need to have the actor handle its own mailbox of requests and then handle them, the actor has to define its behavior.
With agents you don't have to ask for the world to stop to communicate, you can read the current snapshot of the world (aka no request to view the state, no database queries) and send transformation functions on the data of that specific agent, which will be then processed by the agent's thread in an ordered way.
I'd love to see more insight on the choice for this, it's interesting as I am currently working on a similar project.
... but if we just want some generic kind of concurrency-niceness on a java virtual machine, might it make more sense to use scala rather than write your own lightweight thread library? is the user-space thread implementation really necessary or even helpful if you're abstracting toward actors anyway? do these questions even make sense to anyone?
Needs some interconnect, of course...
AsyncRun ( part SomeObject )
multiple items can run in parallel like this:
AsyncRun ( part SomeObjectA SomeObjectB .. )
AsyncSync ( part AsyncRun ( part SomeObjectA SomeObjectB .. ))
locking a property:
AsyncRun ( part AsyncLock ( lockName = "someName", part = SaveUser ( ... ) ) )
On main thread (for UI/UX):
MainThreadRun ( part SomeObject )
Does this play well with existing JVM threading support? More specifically, if there is a call to a synchronized method inside of a fiber and another JVM thread has entered the monitor, will this block the entire fiber scheduling thread?
The reason I ask is I'd like something that plays well with legacy code.
> When running the simulation synchronously, i.e. with a phaser, performance drops to about 8 cycles per second on my development machine.
> Performance we are able to fully exploit the computing power of modern multi-core hardware.
So, 25% faster with 8 cores is "fully exploit the computing power of modern multi-core hardware". WTF?
"Regardless of the name, these cocaine clouds represent a new force in the cloud services market and show the trending acceptance for Linux containers."
So what, FreeBSD jails based hostings are cool again? But, of course, Docker is much more cool and "innovative".
Maybe with a couple dollar bills they can make rails happen, doesn't seem to work so far.
This is partly driven by "we need device drivers and no one understands C anymore", partly because it's cool, but mostly because Moores law is still alive and well. They are putting a scripting language in a kernel ! Forget write your app in python / perl / Ruby then optimise in C - the raw power argument is going to overwhelm us all.
I heard a stat the other day - that a greetings card, the kind that plays a silly tune, has more processing power than all computers on the planet in 1960. And we should expect a similar growth in the next 50 years. Even if that's out by two orders of magnitude just let it sink in.
I think we are at a Cambrian explosion period - where the goal is to try out every possible new body shape, as fast as possible and see which ones get the Darwin seal of approval.
New organisation forms are possible, some for the first time in human history, new ways of thinking and communicating - it's stuff like this that makes one realise the water around the frog is getting hotter.
(Still it's worth remembering that most train companies in 19C England failed and the average return for stockholders was 10% - just because the world will change beyond recognition does not mean industry stocks is a great return)
After all, why use C if you have a working alternative? We just need real world experiments to see if Lua is a working alternative for the kernel.
Quoting bullet points from his FOSDEM 2013 slides:
Modifying software written in C is hard for users
Give users the power to modify and extend the system
Let users explore the system in an easy way
"Rapid Application Development" approach to driver/kernel development
Modifying the system behavior
Configuration of kernel subsystems
The foundations of our scientific knowledge need to be solidified, and from all the science news and developments, this one is the one that makes me by far the most excited for the future of science.
Next on the list, open source repositories for protocols of experiments! Maybe someone surprises me with a link to an existing solution :).
And where is the peer review in this process? I suppose as soon as something turns up unreproducible we will find out.
I've been looking for a new laptop for over 2 years, and nobody's been selling anything worthy of replacing what I'm already using, which was built in 2010. For a few brief months that year, HP made a wonderful MBP clone (magnesium alloy case, 1600x900 14" screen with edge-to-edge glass, SSD, etc). Soon after, that product line turned into the same plastic 1366x768 crap everyone else was selling, and that's been what's filled store shelves ever since. Meanwhile, my 2010 laptop is starting to fall apart, with dead pixels, an overheating GPU and lost battery capacity.
I am looking forward to buying an ASUS UX301 this November to replace it. That's the first and only Ultrabook-class laptop I've seen since 2010 that'll actually be an "upgrade" without buying some thick "gaming" monstrosity. It'll have a Haswell i7-4558U, which comes with the Intel HD 5100 graphics, the first Intel integrated graphics chip to outmatch the 3-year-old Radeon in my current laptop. Plus 8GB RAM, 512GB of RAID-0 SSD, an all metal and glass case and up to 9 hours of battery life. Assuming this PC in that configuration actually makes it to market.
What's amazing to me is that this many months after Haswell parts started showing up in stores, that one ASUS laptop is still the only announced product by any name-brand manufacturer with the i7-4558U/HD 5100 parts. Every other new/"refreshed" laptop that'll be in stores this holiday season will either have an integrated GPU incapable of playing games well on the higher resolution screens they ship with, or give up its thickness and battery life for a discrete GPU.
HP, Dell, Lenovo need to stop selling the bottom of the barrel hardware with bottom of the barrel Windows experiences. The end business result is they are working really hard to sell a zero margin product only to watch Intel and Microsoft turn a tidy profit.
If HP, Dell, and Lenovo want to stay in the game long term, they need to stop catering to the low end.
-bay trail? check
-long battery? check
-stylus support? check
-high ppi? check
-under $300? check
Perfect notebook replacement. Not a laptop replacement but as a companion device it is perfect.
I don't agree that you should focus on anything less than the "Give me results" clients. First off, you know what they say is the problem with goals? You'll probably reach them. Meaning, you're setting your ceiling. I've found that if you hand pick your clients, you can make certain that you have clients who focus on results. Most consultants talk about word of mouth as the main way that they get new clients, but I dislike that approach. The reason is that you're letting clients choose you. My best client is a client that I picked and cold called. I knew they were making lots of money and I knew they needed what I was selling. Selling something as a consultant is about specialization. Specialization doesn't necessarily mean that your experience is focused in one area. It means that you can present yourself as an expert in one area.
Here's something counterintuitive that I've found that goes along with this article: Clients who pay the least are usually the most demanding. I used to lower my price when people complained, but I quickly realized that my price was a filter blocking bad clients. Plus accepting a lower price really led to likely bad outcomes because when the going got tough, the voice in the back of my head said, "These guys are paying you less than your other jobs", then I suddenly felt completely unmotivated to work hard for them.
Here's a really good book about consulting that helped me. Not focused on software consulting, but a lot of the concepts are the same:http://www.amazon.com/Million-Dollar-Consulting-Alan-Weiss/d...
... and also trust you to provide the right solution. Good clients tend to know what the want at a high level and trust you to take care of the rest. Problem clients tend to micro-manage and are looking more for a robot. Usually those projects are unsuccessful for the same reason telling a heart surgeon how to perform surgery is disastrous.
On the otherside, the value of hot to crazy (money to bullshit) has to be there.
Back when i was selling realtime data backup software I was wondering how come the highest priced package pulled the biggest total number of sales. Today I realize i should of set price 10x more and I'd probably sell more.
I also recommend attitude "there are no problematic clients" vs "how to avoid something". Quite often in my experience the "problematic" and complaining client suddenly spent large amount of money on order.
TL;DR; Don't waste your applicants time or your own
## The InterviewInterviewing should have two parts, imo:
* Confirming that I actually wrote the code I sent you and know what it means
* Confirming that you want to sit next to me for the next six months
I can tell you right now that if I take time off my current job to go sit in your office for an interview and you ask me basic questions like "What is MVC?" or "What's the difference between a POST and a GET request?", I'm going to thank you for your time and walk right out.
Why? Because my Github profile, which is featured prominently on my resume, contains examples of both. Half my projects are MVC projects, and many of them use 3rd party APIs (or are even APIs themselves!). The fact that you're asking me basic definitions means you didn't even pay attention to the stuff I sent you, so you're wasting my time and yours. You could have already figured this out ahead of time. Instead, you asked me to take time out of my day (probably during work hours) to ask questions whose answers I've already provided.
(Please note that this only really goes for non-entry-level positions. For entry-level applicants, such as kids fresh out of college, you may not have very many code samples to work with. That's fine. In that case, send some problems for them to work on at home. Hopefully, these are dumbed-down but real-world problems your company has faced in the past.)
## Phone Screen (aka verifying authenticity)
The first thing you should do is take a gander at my Github profile or my code samples. Then you call me up at a prearranged time and ask me questions about that code. Make me prove that I wrote what I said I wrote.
* I noticed you made this combat simulator (www.bitfalls.com/2013/08/autofight-php-job-interview-task-part-1.html). Walk me through your thought process.
* Your code appears to be a custom MVC. Why did you choose to go with a custom one versus say, CodeIgniter or Symfony?
* This project is an API for Nerd Nite scheduling. First of all, what's Nerd Nite and why did you make an API for it? Second, explain how you scraped the data, organized it, and output the results.
The above three questions will give you way more insight into my programming style and thought process than "What is an MVC?". Please. Don't waste my time. As a senior engineer with 7+ years in the field, I shouldn't need to prove the equivalent of my ABCs to you. It should be understood.
I personally would also skip the whole "live coding" thing via Stypi or whatever. Waste of time, imo. You've already got code samples and you can ask me as many questions as you want about it. I shouldn't need to write code in front of you to establish my credentials.
## What about people who lie?
There are people who lie about their resume and their qualifications, but that's exactly why you should tailor your questions to fit the code samples provided. If I don't get excited about that code and I can't eloquently explain why I did what I did or how it works, then maybe I didn't write it after all. It also gives you an insight as to my personality: I clearly took time out of my day to write this code. Why? What prompted me to write an API for Nerd Nite schedules?
The answers to those questions should give you an idea of whether I can actually program or not. Questions like "What is MVC?" can be looked up in a dictionary. Explaining code samples is much more difficult.
## What next?
Once you've established that I wrote the code I said I wrote, then Step 1 of The Interviewing process is mostly done. Now you bring me into the office to determine Step 2 -- am I someone you want sitting next to you for 8+ hours a day for the next six months? Do I fit in with company culture?
You could give me a problem to solve on the spot, but hopefully it's more of a higher level thing rather than a "write code on a whiteboard" thing. The reason I say this is because at this point you should already have seen my code. You should know by now that I can build a class. The question you need to answer now is: given an arbitrary problem, can I solve it or at least come up with a reasonable thought process?
Bonus points if it's relevant to the job. (i.e., if your job never requires you to write binary trees from scratch, don't ask the applicant to do so.)
Between the phone screen (technical) and in-person interview (personal), you should have a good idea of whether you want me on your team or not.
Occasionally for small teams, you may decide that you need to know something about time, creativity, independence, and other similar qualities that you can't really get from code samples. If this is the case, then I suggest doing the contract thing, where you give them an assignment on contract. Once the assignment is finished, you hire them or pay them for the work completed (or hopefully both).
I really, really, really despise whiteboard coding. I don't think it's indicative of anything, and I think you will find a lot of false negatives (i.e., rule out good candidates) using the whiteboard method.
A few other thoughts:
* I should meet my potential future boss at the in-person interview
* I should meet at least one of my potential future coworkers
* Be respectful of my time. Most interviews take place during work hours, so I've taken time off work -- and probably lied to my boss about where I'm going! -- to meet with you. The least you can do is not waste my time.
* Be familiar with my resume and code samples. I took the time to write them, you should take the time to read them. It will answer way more questions about my abilities than a 20 minute quiz on technical terms will.
The more informal the in-person interview is, the better. The technical qualifications should already be accepted by the time I walk in the door. At this point, it's a two way street as we figure out whether we want to work together. I'm interviewing you just as much as you are interviewing me.
(Note: These are just my opinions about how I interview others. It hasn't failed me yet. On the other hand, almost every job I've ever interviewed for has completely wasted my time on that front.)
Not to mention that this is not exactly an obscure trick. If you've seen it a few times it is trivial to remember the trick and apply it. It's been awhile since I've looked at the 'interview questions exposed' type books or websites, so it didn't leap immediately to mind. Would you really select against me because I haven't read such things?
edit: my phrasing was way to strong and unfriendly. I reworded the first sentence.
Soft skills, on the other hand... is this person an asshole? Inflexible and dogmatic? Timid? Boring? That stuff drags down a whole team.
So I told them. "Look, I did this problem on my own a little while ago." They chuckled and made it harder, which was fine. :-)
1. How you process information. I'm not going to be impressed if someone at the table says 'Microsoft' and you cringe.2. Can you admit to not knowing everything? You'd be shocked how big of an issue this is.3. Are you willing to adapt? In a smaller team, you have to bend and be willing to take on new challenges.
We segment our interviewing into different sections. One person will do a specific functional competency evaluation which consists of writing code in an IDE to see whether you can write code. This portion of the interview is not about analytical thinking skills, people skills, or "tell me about a problem you've solved". It's about writing code. The interviewer is looking to see how many hints you need to get at working code, how well your solution is structured, and getting an overall feel for how you program.
Definitely including this in next week's Coding for Interviews newsletter.
This is really very true in the corporate world. The better you know how to communicate, the more likely it is that you will succeed in your chosen profession.
There's a simple solution that requires no additional space.
Disclaimer: Code is not tested or given the love it deserves.
Class Item(): def __init__(value): self.value = value self.next = None self.next_largest = None Class maxStack(): def __init__(): self.top = None self.largest = None def push(value): i = Item(value) i.next = self.top self.top = i if value >= self.largest: i.next_largest = self.largest self.largest = i def pop(): v = self.top.value if self.largest == self.top: self.largest = self.largest.next_largest self.top = self.top.next return v def getLargest(): return self.largest
Edit:Annoying that you cannot try practice questions without logging in though.
That's a good idea I'll adopt. It looks messy when you start trying to shoehorn in a missed line somewhere.
Author of the site wrote solutions in Python, but obviously he/she doesn't understand Python. Isn't that against what the article suggested?
def reverse(str): left_ptr = 0 right_ptr = len(str) - 1 middle = len(str) / 2 while left_ptr <= middle: # swap temp = str[left_ptr] str[left_ptr] = str[right_ptr] str[right_ptr]= temp
After EuRuKo 2009, we were standing at the gate on the airport of Krakow, close to boarding time. why had just disappeared and so he was the topic for our group and one of us started to lament that he wanted to have a look at potion but it had just disappeared before he could download it.
Suddenly, Matz appeared, waiting for his plane going from the next gate. Matz loves programming languages and he had a copy on his notebook. So there we were, in Krakow, scrambling to find a USB stick in our bags to get a copy of potion while our planes were being boarded.
Some people collect wine, others collect programming languages.
While a lot of technology leaders might admire Bezos for his leadership of Amazon, I wonder how many fear him. Most of what Amazon does, does not compete with technology companies. In the few places they do, they're not a juggernaut.
For example, despite years of effort, the Kindle Fire has not significantly harmed the market share or margin of the iPad. Google and Samsung have done far more damage to Apple. And Amazon's media sales are not much of a threat to Apple: they haven't stolen significant share, and Apple does not try to make money on content anyway.
I think there are a lot of people who do fear Bezos, but they are mostly retailers and hosting companies.
The culture (from what we can glean from the excerpts of the new book on Bezo's) is also toxic and is unlikely to produce an enduring successful company. Senior execs can't pass gas without Bezos' permission? When he steps down, there is unlikely to be the continuity that produces great enduring companies.
& Google is far more feature proof company
- Solves easy problems at large scale
- Solves complex problems at large scale
> Congratulations, sir
The tone seems like that of a Bozo fanboy.
It's stuff like this that Groupon should be doing/looking at if they want to become relevant again.
Also, seems like a feature that could be added to one of the more popular in-app ad services without too much effort.
show stat -1 4\n disable server xyz\n
With care, though, it's a great component of a HA solution, in addition to a being a great load balancer.
I'd love to know more about how Twilio does SOA (and no, the linked document doesn't expand on it).
Do they use an ESB or do they rely on individual services connecting directly to each other?
I'm 100% convinced of the ideas behind a service-oriented architecture. I'm less convinced about the need for an ESB, but I'm happy to be talked around.
Experiences/Opinions/War Stories eagerly sought.
"Checking Card Adjustment POS Pin (Credit) $1.00"
So I sent him $1 back (to: my friend, cc: firstname.lastname@example.org, subject: $1). And it instantly sent it to him. I didn't have to verify my details or anything.
I'd feel a lot more comfortable if there was a security blog explaining how they are validating that I indeed sent the email and it wasn't simply spoofed.
Edit - I did this from Gmail which I presume authenticates all of the emails via dkim? I'm guessing this won't work as automatic for other providers?
Edit2 - Just attempted with another friend and had to verify manually. The automatic-authorization appears to only apply when it's between two previously validated parties.
- Take an existing known medium (in this case email) and makes it way more useful.
- They didn't try to build a bunch of new UI for connecting your Facebook so you can find and invite and pay your friends, paying out to your card, etc.
- It magically hides the messiness of an enormously complex problem (fraud, different types of debit cards & banks all over the world) behind a very simple interface.
- Unlike every other P2P payment system, I can actually sign up and receive money (or convince my friend to) using only what's in my pocket (debit card)... not hunting down ACH/wire details.
The Durbin amendment regulates the cost of debit transactions over the Visa/Mastercard network. It's $0.22 + 0.05%.
Mossberg reports that Square is planning to monetize via "premium options" like international transfers. But still, $0.22+ is a lot to lose every time someone uses your mass-market service.
Good thing they raised $341M of VC money.
Who said the dot com days aren't back??
Planet Money recently did a great episode all about the US's ACH system and why it works the way it does.
That "something" is most likely just "replacing cash and cards", but will be interesting to see how it plays out. It's a bold move regardless.
EDIT: I meant debit card transaction fees, not credit card fees.
(Would have been nice to see this on the actual page rather than hidden in "Troubleshooting")
What stops someone from spoofing my email address, CC'ing it to email@example.com, and clearing me out? And if someone does get in to my email account I'm toast?
Now, how can they make sure that the email is genuine and wasn't spoofed? Sure, they can check for white-listed domains and SPF records, but still seems fairly weak process. The FAQ  doesn't say much either. Human validation is even worse.
It helps that the send receives an email confirmation with the transfer, but you may not check the email before the money is posted. I guess they're pushing the onus of the proof to the receiver -- after all to receive the money you have to have a bank account and a visa/mc debit card.
Whatever the security mechanism, it's a brilliantly simple solution. If it takes off, it'll quickly replace Dwalla and other micropayments.
Residents of 48 US states have the ability to send and receive Square Cash. Currently, you'll be limited to receiving Square Cash if you live in the following two states..
That got me thinking though. It's 2013. The ideal solution is not to be beholden to any centralized authority or group of 'clearing' accounts for routing. The ideal solution is security but flexibility and distributiveness. The ideal solution is a network of trust with similar 'hubs' / 'clearing firms' that one can choose to route through automatically, have all the routing be automated for you via solid protocols.
There is the chance to create clusters of payment routing networks that are more elegant. It would make money movement so much more liquid in our world. And would be a really great thing.
Maybe Square is the beginning of that solution. I hope it gets even more distributed though. It's mostly companies leading the way for this. And good for them. But there's another possibility: something very open, but given the right protocols and architecture, very secure.
There is no incentive to create such an architecture other than the amazing world that it would mean where you could travel to different countries and authenticate seemless money transactions to whoever had a phone or email endpoint (again there would have to be name servers + some sort of money equivalent of SMTP + TLS / chains of trust + distributed clusters of shared 'clearing' bank accounts + routing algorithms to these accounts, etc.).
But that didn't stop Tim Berners-Lee or the early internet folks....
That being said, I have a question: Here in Canada, I can send an email transfer of funds from my bank account to my contacts by simply logging into my bank online and specifying the email address of the recipient. Does this type of system exist in the US?
What banks does this work with?
E.g. if I have an debit card with my account at a Jamaican bank, can someone from the US email me cash and it arrives instantly or is this just a US service? Can't find any details about this on the site.
Seriously, I am all for the simplicity of the system and the flow of the narration, but where the heck is the explanation of how this is not trivially exploitable?
The only thing that was concerning was when I sent a spoofed email, the receiver was able to know the sender name (cash account name) "ABC is about to send you cash". Very minor but it allows anyone to find out your name provided they know your email address.
Ok now I'm confused. I realize it's probably a marketing ploy, but how could the fees on this not eat them alive?
Looks like it's not even available in all states in the US 
Amazing what you can do with a card number and expiration date. Don't loose your debit cards!
With this I can tie my debit card (which I guess is the same thing). So, I don't seen any real positive benefit over Venmo IMO. Can anyone else point anything out?
Moreover, why hasn't a bank or credit card company done something like this yet? Amazing how the solution disappears into a cc: address line and unique link in your email.
But didn't we agree that email wasn't a safe protocol?... How long do I have to cancel a transaction? Are they going to honor the fake ones like Visa does?...
Most obvious long-run plan would be for user/debit card acquisition (which has lower interchange rates) to support their bread and butter business (merchant tools) as this would increase their profit margins by reducing processing expenses, especially since Square simply charges a single rate to merchants...
Square Cash seems nice, but I prefer the approach of Swish.
Read this: http://www.quora.com/Square-Inc-1/What-are-the-details-behin...
They solve this problem with the least amount of friction.
Can you imagine being tucked into the small, cramped Command Module, sitting on top of this power at lift-off?
The whole thing, the technology, the sound, the people coming together to make it happen... it's soul-stirring.
So NASA :-)
Today Artsy launched its live auction platform with TWO x TWO, a charity to benefit AIDS research: http://artsy.net/feature/two-x-two
From this calculator: http://dustcoin.com/, you need about 60,000 KH/S to make $114 a day (excluding power cost). One of the most efficient $/hashrate GPUs for litecoin mining is the ATI 7950 at about $210 a piece and ~600 KH/s. 105 * 600 KH/s = ~60000 KH/s = ~$114, so it works out. That's $20,000. So if you spend $20,000 you can buy yourself a job that pays $114 a day. It will take 6 months just to break even. Better hope the difficulty hasn't increased enough in that time to make your GPUs irrelevant (hint: it probably will).
Keep in mind that I was very generously excluding the very significant cost of power, the very significant cost of all the motherboards/cpu/ram/power supplies to run those GPUs, and the power and space required to cool them. Realistically we're looking at more like $50k.
>Currently Im making about 60 litecoin per day, he said. Ive kept 95% of the mining profit since April and once the major exchanges start accepting LTC, others will follow, and price is expected to soar. So that 60 LTC could turn into $1,500.
This is absurd. If he thinks 60 LTC will be worth $1,500, he should spend the $20,000 he spent on GPUs on LTC instead. He'd turn $20,000 into $250,000 with no work required (another hint: assuming you can turn $20k into $250k in 6 months with no work as a sure thing is also absurd).
Uh...Power in the US costs 30+ cents/kWh? In which part of the country??
In Ontario, Canada, the price is about 6.7 cents/kWh during the night and peaks at 12.4 cents/kWh in the afternoon.
This might pay off mining 60LTC per day and hoarding them. The guy who started Litecoin now works for Coinbase, which may adopt Litecoin and will no doubt start a gigantic speculation bubble this Indonesian dude can cash out withhttp://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2013/08/litecoin/
The only problem I see is the reliability of the electricity provider itself. There are frequent surges and parts of Jakarta are known to experience regular rolling blackouts.
source wikipedia: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_power_stations_in_Ind...
Omidyar believes that if independent, ferocious, investigative journalism isnt brought to the attention of general audiences it can never have the effect that actually creates a check on power. Therefore the new entity they have a name but theyre not releasing it, so I will just call it NewCo will have to serve the interest of all kinds of news consumers. It cannot be a niche product. It will have to cover sports, business, entertainment, technology: everything that users demand.
By support Omidyar means many things. The first and most important is really good editors. (Omidyar used the phrase high standards of editing several times during our talk.)
The biggest problem with news today is that the customer is the advertiser and this customer has the ear of the editors. The news industry needs the journalistic equivalent of the chinese wall in finance. The news arm should not have contact with the advertising arm except with the presence of counsel (i.e. compliance).
At the end of the day, the 5th estate has a serious conflict of interest just as retail banking and i-banking does, and this conflict of interest likes in the gulf between advertisers and writers/editors.
> At the core of Newco will be a different plan for how to build a large news organization. It resembles what I called in an earlier post the personal franchise model in news
Imagine if Kara, Walt & Co join "Newco" when their AllThingsD contract ends...
But what of Democracy Now and Al Jazeera? Are they going to be quasi-competitors in the adversarial journalism game? Greenwald was actually contacted about possible involvement with Al-Jazeera's US TV station but that never went through..
Interestingly, here in the Netherlands a similar venture was crowd-sourced by a few investigative reporters and personnel:
Interestingly, Jeff Skoll is also doing great work in the "content to make society" better category.
Frontline (see NFL concussion doc) and Propublica (http://www.propublica.org/series/overdose ) are doing AWESOME work in this space as well.
If Pierre invests $25m a year they can run a 100 person newsroom ($150k all in for the top journalists + tech team + sales) for 10 years for the price Bezos paid for WashPost.
Now if only they can change that apathetic/ignorant attitude that so many of us Americans have...
And have to mention:
> "2. IMPROVE AN EXISTING GEM TO MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE"
This is such a clich ("[doing something] to make the world a better place"), misused everywhere from CVs, random blog posts like this and missions of companies.
Seeing this phrase just downgrades the opinion and value of the source for me.
I can believe that he's a good man and he did it with good intentions - but it's important for the society to state that actions like THAT are unpatriotic (literally, against one's nation and people) and immoral, unlike whistleblowing.
Stuff like this makes me wonder how much of current health scares about modern diets (HFCS, glutton, carbs, dairy, GMOs, bad food of the month) should be taken seriously. The narrative presented is often that our bodies aren't suited to modern diets and people used to be a lot more healthy. It's too bad we don't have more long dead guys to fill the research gap.
For us hackers and compsci people who are used to thinking about the rates of growth and binary trees, it shouldn't be surprising that the most recent common ancestor of all humans has been estimated to have lived less than 10k years ago. Wikipedia has a nice article on it -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Most_recent_common_ancestor
But if I were Cuban I would not complain to loudly about being hounded by the SEC. Fact of the matter is his selling right before the PIPE was announced was very lucky and those type of coincidences rarely happen in real life.
While trying to learn more about white collar crime, I uncovered a website, sharesleuth.com. The owner was writing stories on stock fraud/white collar crime, and we exchanged a few emails.
A few weeks later I found out Mark Cuban was backing him, and short selling the companies he found to be fraudulent. Cuban was doing this for two reasons: #1 To bring attention to white collar crime and #2 If the SEC wasn't going to shut down the companies, he might as well make money while doing it...inevitably bringing it back to #1. It looks like he was successful in drawing their attention.
A previous Wired article on Sharesleuth: http://www.wired.com/techbiz/people/magazine/15-10/mf_shares...
X-post from HN thread on the pump and dump I uncovered:https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5236372
There's an important difference between the two.
I think he proved a major point today in how the SEC has no transparency and if not for his money, he wouldn't have had any choice but to lay down for them. It's a broken system.
Good for him!
It's just ridiculous that Congress conducts insider trading while other people are persecuted for it.
Insider trading laws are a violation of the first amendment, as restricting what I can communicate to someone else is censorship and abridgement of free speech.
I don't know anything about Mark Cuban, but loosing this case will certainly demoralize them. It's really really hard to convict people and they eventually stop trying.
For those that don't know: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/STOCK_Act was passed to prevent insider trading in Congress, but Congressmen have been quietly pushing and scaling back insider trading laws, basically rendering the law useless.
Such was the intensity of debate that it might be supposed that these were age-old themes: but in fact, the idea of separating academic disciplines into groups known as science and humanities was no older than the 19th century. The term "scientist" was only coined in 1833, and it was not until 1882 that another Rede Lecturer, Matthew Arnold, discussed under the title of "Literature and Science" whether or not a classical education was still relevant in an age of great scientific and technical advance.
There are also many themes in this article that are specific to Britain in the 1950s:
Snow compared Britain unfavourably with the US and USSR, in terms of numbers of young people who remained in education to the age of 18 and above. The British system, he argued, forced children to specialise at an unusually early age, with snobbery dictating that the children would be pushed towards the "traditional culture" and the professions, rather than science and industry.
Arnold was responding with infinitely more courtesy than Leavis to an earlier lecture by T H Huxley, known as "Darwin's Bulldog" for his rumbustious defence of evolution, who argued that science was as valid an intellectual training as the classics.
It was not a popular opinion. As late as my own childhood in the Sixties, the bright boys were expected to read classics at Oxford, and the less bright steered towards the labs.
I think 2 things are worth remembering about any such debate:
1.) as a civilization becomes more advanced, the people in it tend to become more specialized. If you grew up in 1700, it was perhaps possible to read all of the classics, in literature (Homer) and medicine (Galen) and philosophy (Aristotle) and physics (Aristotle) and math (Euclid). But nowadays it is impossible to study every branch of knowledge to any meaningful depth.
2.) for all of the obvious disadvantages that come with specialization, there are also many advantages (indeed, that is why specialization exists). A modern potter has a fantastic array of choices regarding materials, which did not exist even 50 years ago. A historian today must pick a narrow speciality, as there are now many millions of documents to look through to be considered an expert -- indeed, I have a friend who has specialized in the American Civil War, and he once said "If you have only read 1,000 books about the American Civil War, then you are just an amateur." And in the old days the village blacksmith might have known how to make both a hoe and a horse hoof shoe but a modern mechanic needs to specialize regarding devices (cars? domestic machines? textile plants? telecommunications?) but then also pick a sub-specialty (if a car mechanic, then foreign or domestic? Perhaps a few particular brands).
There is an economic benefit to specialization. I worry that gets forgotten when this debate comes up.
I'm not convinced that either of these is really important for a general education. I think educators fixate on romantic ideals of what is important to know while ignoring the subject matter that is relevant to ordinary life.
Where I grew up, the required high school curriculum includes a lot about ancient civilizations, creative writing, chemistry and physics, and algebra. It didn't teach how to write a persuasive proposal in a business context, string together a logically-sound argument, or form inferences from empirical data, and taught very little about contemporary politics or recent American or world history. It didn't teach how to mediate an interpersonal conflict at work, delegate a task, or effectively communicate an idea in a presentation.
I lament that I spent so much time "learning" in school and have so little to show for it. I know about different kinds of cloud formations, which extinct native American cultures lived where, the difference between the soil composition in different parts of the country, spectral lines in different gasses, etc. This is trivia.
I see the argument made by Snow as simply lamenting that there is under-emphasis on one particular set of romanticized unnecessary knowledge and over-emphasis on a different set. Most of physics, chemistry, etc, are neither directly relevant to your typical person nor readily digestible as being illustrative of more general principles that are relevant. A core educational curriculum would be better served teaching more fundamental concepts directly: scientific method, statistical methods, data analysis, etc.
.. To summarize, I would use the words of Jeans, who said that "the Great Architect seems to be a mathematician". To those who do not know mathematics it is difficult to get across a real feeling as to the beauty, the deepest beauty, of nature. C.P. Snow talked about two cultures. I really think that those two cultures separate people who have and people who have not had this experience of understanding mathematics well enough to appreciate nature once.
It is too bad that it has to be mathematics, and that mathematics is hard for some people. It is reputed - I do not know if it is true - that when one of the kings was trying to learn geometry from Euclid he complained that it was difficult. And Euclid said, "There is no royal road to geometry". And there is no royal road. Physicists cannot make a conversion to any other language. If you want to learn about nature, to appreciate nature, it is necessary to understand the language that she speaks in. She offers her information only in one form; we are not so unhumble as to demand that she change before we pay any attention.
All the intellectual arguments that you can make will not communicate to deaf ears what the experience of music really is. In the same way all the intellectual arguments in the world will not convey an understanding of nature to those of "the other culture". Philosophers may try to teach you by telling you qualitatively about nature. I am trying to describe her. But it is not getting across because it is impossible. Perhaps it is because their horizons are limited in the way that some people are able to imagine that the center of the universe is man...
(This system ran from the late 1940s through the 1990s, subject to fine-tuning. So, for example, in 1981-83 I was taking four 'A' level subjects: physics, chemistry, biology, and 'general studies' (a vague attempt to shoe-horn the entirety of the liberal arts field into one quarter of the student's time).)
This is quite a gem. I'm surprised I haven't seen it before.
If we were instead taught to have DIALECTICS and frankly try and remove the word DEBATE from our dialogues, we could start to solve big problems as the author suggests. However everyone is darn convinced their knowledge is superior.
Of course the irony is that it appears scientists are (in general) more dogmatic then any other group.
But now the book and the OP strike me as not wellconsidered.
Net, the 'humanities' have a role much moreimportant than is commonly or easily described. Ittook me a while to understand this point.
Sure, as an insecure a young nerd facing the world,both nature and society, I wanted 'control' of mylife, in particular, 'security', and for thosewanted the power of 'truth' and didn't want tosettle for anything less solid than, say, planegeometry or, in a pinch, mathematical physics. Ofcourse then only some of this could I articulate.
So, something like 'The Song of Hiawatha' with "Bythe shores of Gitche Gumee, By the shiningBig-Sea-Water ..." seemed to me as mostly nonsenseand gibberish and at best maybe something lightlyentertaining but nothing like the 'truth' for thepower I was seeking. And maybe I was correct, butI'm reluctant to return to that poem to be moresure!
Eventually I concluded that (1) there is a lot aboutthe world, where I was trying to get control andsecurity, that was too complicated and subtle formathematics and/or mathematical physics to do me anygood and (2) that part of the world was so importantto my life that, even though I didn't have solidtools to address it, I still had to handle it insome sense.
Maybe 'The Song of Hiawatha' wouldn't help mehandle those complexities, but eventually Idiscovered that some parts of the humanities couldto at least a useful extent.
Generally my central criticism of the humanities wasthat, in strong contrast with mathematics andmathematical physics, and, really, most ofengineering, technology, medical science, medicine,and even law, the humanities (1) did not make clearjust what they were claiming was true and (2) forany claims nearly never provided convincingevidence. While these remain valid criticisms,amazingly in places the humanities can be importantnevertheless.
Still, I was often torqued at the humanities: E.g.,in, say, the English departments, a common claim wasthat English literature had a lot of good knowledgeof people and would help readers understand people.I concluded, and still do, that maybe a little.
Once I discovered the E. Fromm, The Art of Loving,awash in real practical expertise, well consideredand formulated, about people, I concluded that Frommwas a good example of progress on information forunderstanding people. For more on lovespecifically, actually some of the relevant articleson Wikipedia seem quite good -- at least in placesthey have explained some of what I figured out moreor less independently, at enormous cost, and added alot more.
So, it is possible to get some understanding ofpeople, but for this purpose I would mostly setaside English literature as too thin and/or evenmisleading.
For understanding people, I'd say that the mostimportant contribution of English literature tounderstanding people is that some people like Englishliterature.
The crack in my scorn that got me started with thehumanities classical music. A brilliant person oncesaid, "Music doesn't mean anything.". Well, maybe,maybe not, but it still can be useful for someonewanting to understand people or even themselves,amazingly.
Classical music was able to 'reach' me in partbecause there were usually few or no words to takeliterally and, thus, argue with.
Well, it turns out that classical music hassomething of a language, especially about humanemotions. If want to understand people, the biggestchapter is human emotions.
Classical music is an example of a common definitionof art as in the communications, interpretationof human experience, emotion. Well, it can be easyenough to find parts of classical music that arequite effective meeting this definition of art. So,here there is some progress in understanding humans.
One description of much of the media is vicarious,escapist, fantasy, emotional experienceentertainment which sounds next to worthless forthe audience and, maybe, is, but we can reduce thisdescription to vicarious emotional experience and,then, learn about people by feeling their emotions-- and art has a lot of this and, thus, can help aperson understand people.
For some value for the audience, good art issupposed to be universal and, then, often a personin the audience can see where the art is describingthings much as in their life from which that personcan conclude, "I'm not the only one who hasencountered such a thing. That thing is not uniqueto me. Whatever I did to make that thing happen,others did the same, and maybe some of the maincauses are not really from me.".
E.g., a few weeks ago I did a search for a girl Iknew and fell in love with in high school. Yup, theInternet showed me a scan of a high school annualwith her picture as a Homecoming Queen candidate.To me she was always the prettiest human female Iever saw in person or otherwise. Then many of thosedays with her, decades ago, came back to me as ifthey were last week. She was my first love and,apparently, burned into my brain -- I can no moreforget her than I can forget my own name.
Well, we were young: We saw each other for 18months and started when she was just 12 and in theseventh grade and I was 14 and in the ninth grade.
I was a nerd, socially awkward, and not good atunderstanding the emotions of a young woman, and wewere both afraid of rejection. So we were to afraidto communicate clearly and accumulated quite a listof false beliefs about each other that had us makingmistakes in our relationship. At one point, some ofher mistakes got me to draw some seriously wrongconclusions, and I walked away from her. I don'tthink that there was anything seriously wrong, andeverything wrong was based just onmis-communications, My heart was broken, and I laterdiscovered that so was hers.
Then there's Wagner's opera Lohengrin, firstperformed in 1850, about a knight, Lohengrin, of theHoly Grail who marries sweet Elsa. Yes, the Wagner"Bridal Chorus" or "Wedding March" music is fromtheir marriage in that opera. Elsa is misled by anevil witch, makes a mistake, and Lohengrin is forcedto walk away from his new bride.
So, Lohengrin told me that I was not the first guyto walk away from the young woman he loved and thatsuch things go back to at least 1850.
Also, Lohengrin and I made similar mistakes: Weasked too much of the understanding of our women andshould have had arranged a less 'brittle' situation.
Nerd guys: Listen up here and learn.
As good art communicates emotions about the humanexperience, members of the audience can begin tolearn more about other people.
The best art, in the humanities, can be astoundinglyeffective in communicating about humans; we don'twant to be without the results; and technical fieldsare so far no substitutes.
Took me a while to see these points.