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Please Make Google AMP Optional alexkras.com
699 points by tambourine_man  12 hours ago   291 comments top 47
epistasis 11 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm trying to imagine the uproar if Apple had done AMP instead of Google. Somehow AMP has some staunch defenders, but everything, and I mean everything about how it's been approached has felt very anti-web and pro-Google. The overall concept may be sound, but the implementation, and the inability to escape it, has significantly hurt my opinion of Google. In fact, I no longer use Google's search because of it.
tempodox 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
If we need Google to tell us to do something that could just as well be achieved by applying reason and sane engineering, without capitulation to a monopoly, then something is deeply wrong with our industry.
niftich 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Google Search on Mobile is no longer a web search engine that hyperlinks to the resulting page, but rather an search-integrated newsreader that loads itself when you click on a result that's marked with AMP. This is understandably a big change from how things used to be, but it isn't going to get better anytime soon.

After all, most people on mobile spend their time inside apps, probably from some Google competitor like Facebook. Within these apps, they click on links, which increasingly load inside webviews; the framing app collects info on where people go, and uses this to sell targeted advertising. Facebook is a king in this space, and is now the second largest server of internet display ads, after Google.

Google's assault on Facebook's encroachment is twofold: drive people to Google's apps like the Google Now Launcher (now the default launcher on Android) or the Google app present in older versions of Android and available for iOS, and deploy the same content-framing techniques from their own search engine webpage on mobile user-agents, where the competition is most fierce, and they can also position it as legitimate UX improvement -- which, to their credit, is largely true, as bigpub content sites on mobile were usually usability nightmares and cesspits of ads.

I understand that the author and quite a few others are peeved at this behavior and that there's no way of turning it off. But it's really not in Google's best interest to even offer the option, because then many people will just turn it off, encouraged by articles like the author's own last year where he was caught off-guard and before he gained a more nuanced appreciation for what's really going on.

The bottom line is this: Google is inseparable from its ad-serving and adtech business -- it is after all how they make most of their money -- so if you are bothered by their attempts to safeguard their income stream from competitors who have a much easier time curating their own walled garden, you should cease using Google Search on Mobile. There are other alternatives, who may not be as thorough at search, but that's the cost of the tradeoff.

matthberg 4 hours ago 0 replies      
"What I realized today, however, is that while I dont so much mind AMP as a publisher, I really hate it as a user. I realized that EVERY TIME I would land on AMP page on my phone, I would click on the button to view the original URL, and would click again on the URL to be taken to the real website.

I dont know why I do it, but for some reason it just doesnt feel right to me to consume the content through the AMP. It feels slightly off, and I want the real deal even if it takes a few seconds extra to load."

I have subconsciously been doing the exact same thing for a while now, and I think this quote covers a good deal of public sentiment. It's weird to use AMP, yet slower without it.

Another main issue I have with AMP is that there is no speedy way to check the url, something I do quite frequently. Instead it's just Google's hosting for the site, with the source being only available by clicking on the link icon.

godot 8 hours ago 3 replies      
There's a lot of complaint about Google AMP and Facebook Instant Articles, e.g. walled garden, anti-open-web and whatnot.

Here's something simpler from a non-developer, average-consumer point of view. I recently began taking BART to work daily (new job). For those who don't know, BART is Bay Area's subway system, and (at least on the east bay side) cell reception is notoriously spotty.

When I'm on the train, which includes 2 hours of my day everyday (unfortunately), I'd be browsing on say Facebook, and look at links that my friends post. Instant articles almost always load successfully (and quickly) and external links to actual sites almost always fails to load or loads insanely slowly.

Yes, when you're at home or in the city with good mobile reception, these things make no sense and you'd rather hit the original site directly. Give them their ad revenue, etc. to support them, right. But for the average consumers who actually have problems like slow internet (like the average joe who rides public transportation and wants to read on their phone), things like AMP and Instant Articles actually help. I can only imagine outside of silicon valley (where I live), how much more significant of a problem slow internet/slow mobile data actually is.

P.S. I don't work at Google or Facebook, and I know this sounds like propaganda, not to mention this is exactly what they would like to tell you as the "selling points" of these features, in order to continue building their walled garden empires. Fully aware of it, but I did want to bring up why they exist and why I even actually like them.

andy_ppp 3 hours ago 1 reply      
What really gets me about the AMP Cache (AMP itself is fine by me) is that it doesn't actually make anything faster. If you time the difference in download speed between the real website AMPd page and AMP Cache URL the difference is almost nothing in 99% of cases. And neither page load gives you that magical instant hit you get on Google's SERPs.

The speed difference on SERPs is the background downloading and (possibly) pre rendering of AMP pages. This functionality could easily be added to browsers, keeping people on their own websites and Google not having control over the content.

We already have <link rel="preload/prefetch"> but how about adding <link rel="prerender" href="http://amp.newswebsite.com/article/etc." />.

This would absolutely give all of the benefits of AMP Cache without Google embracing and extending the web. It's also much simpler to integrate, every single site can choose to benefit from this (not just SERPs) and I don't end up accidentally sending AMP Cache urls to my friends on mobile.

ciconia 5 hours ago 5 replies      
At 43yo I probably belong to the older folks on HN, but those modern devices all of us carry in our pockets to me seem just absolutely incredible and magical. They probably can run around machines that took up whole rooms just a few decades ago.

At the risk of sounding like an old fart (I probably do), I fail to understand this frustration of normal mobile users with the so-called slowness of their mobile experience. To quote CK Lewis: "Give it a second! Its going to space! Can you give it a second to get back from space!??"

sintaxi 11 hours ago 7 replies      
I suggest stop using google search altogether. https://duckduckgo.com/ is an excellent search engine and its trivial to make a google search via `!g` prefix when you are not finding what you are looking for.
sorenstoutner 5 hours ago 3 replies      
My experience is that all the advantages of AMP can be had by disabling JavaScript while browsing. And this comes with none of the disadvantages of ceding even more control to companies like Google and Facebook.

In my opinion, JavaScript should be disabled by default and only enabled for specific tasks or websites. Not finding exactly what I was looking for in any other browser, I eventually created Privacy Browser on Android. https://www.stoutner.com/privacy-browser/

There are extensions like No Script that can give similar results for other browsers. https://noscript.net/

b0rsuk 1 hour ago 2 replies      
The article displays his autocomplete hints:

 google amp pages google amp annoying google amp sucks google amp conference
My equivalents in google.com are:

 test cache disable maps
Both bing.com and duckduckgo.com (which doesn't track) don't recognize "amp", even when I put both first words in quotes, and assume I made a typo in "maps".

This simple test is therefore inconclusive, but my hypothesis is that his search autocomplete hints are, ironically, colored by his search history. The only negative word I got (disabled) is much more neutral.

Now that I think about it, duckduckgo's "no tracking" isn't just valuable for privacy. It's also valuable for consistent search results across computers without yielding even more information (logging in etc). A few times I made a query and found something useful and surprising, and then I wasn't able to replicate the query on another computer to show someone else. In any case I'd hate to miss a rare interesting page because Google thought that extra 10 pages about Linux might interest me more.

naasking 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm starting to hate AMP for one simple reason: it breaks the back button on my Android phone. Like, what the hell? Didn't we do this dance over 10 years ago? Do we really have to keep circling the same drain over and over and over again?
j1vms 10 hours ago 0 replies      
What some may fail to see is that the Web's success in the smartphone/mobile era is not yet secure. Both Facebook and Apple, among others, have vested interest in treating the Web as competitive threat. I believe AMP was Google's response to Facebook's Instant Articles.

Although there is much to be concerned about Google's ever-expanding reach into the daily life of a good portion of the planet, I think web proponents have more to fear from the likes of FB, Apple, and others appearing on the horizon. These companies are mostly succeeding at meeting current UX expectations (performance, standardization, ease-of-use), and in doing so they are capturing eyeballs away from the web. It's possible some of those who have left for these walled gardens may not return.

wmf 11 hours ago 2 replies      
The author's argument against AMP comes down to "I dont know why I do it, but for some reason it just doesnt feel right to me to consume the content through the AMP. It feels slightly off". This is... not a strong argument.

The AMP saga has pretty clearly shown that users care about content while Web developers only care about URLs and what goes over the wire. This is a huge disconnect. It doesn't help that many Web developers show no empathy for the users' viewpoint.

Ultimately it probably is easier for Google to add an opt-out to appease a very small, very vocal minority than to educate them that the URL doesn't matter.

tangue 7 hours ago 1 reply      
AMP has been created for product managers. Everybody in a project knows that slow and bloated pages hurt users, but business requirements are making it impossible to do otherwise. Google AMP solves this problem, in an authoritarian way (hence the outrage), by defining what's good and bad for the Internet.

Marketing has taken the lead in corporate websites projects to the detriment of the end-users, AMP puts the user in the center.

BinaryIdiot 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Honestly AMP should have been a set of tools / a framework. Think about it.

Currently with AMP Google gets not only your traffic but they get your content on their own domains (which makes all content look like the same trustworthiness) and, at the same time, they mark sites that have AMP available in their search results thusly weighting those results differently because it can train users to click on those more.

Ultimately this is bad for everyone but Google.

However, if it was a framework / set of tools we could create our own AMP pages and simply put them on our own DNS. Google's cache is really the only unique thing going on here and we wouldn't have to worry about sharing trust.

omot 11 hours ago 11 replies      
I never really understood why google amp is bad. Can anyone explain the reason why people think its ethically bad?
801699 6 hours ago 0 replies      
"... Google's AMP team even invited me to have lunch with them."

Reminds me of this:http://blackhat.com/media/bh-usa-97/blackhat-eetimes.html

As far as I can tell, in order to be "forced" on a user, AMP must rely on javascript, the browser used or maybe the OS (I trust they are not rewriting search results to point to AMP but that could be another one).

A no javascript command line tcp client will retrieve the page without automatically following the amphtml link. Users thus have a choice. And if choosing the amphtml link it is easy to filter out everything but the text of the page (the content). In that sense AMP is quite nice.

The "forced" nature of AMP should make users think about these points of control for advertisers and Google: javascript, browser, OS. Maybe website owners will think about them too the next time they "recommend" or "require" certain browsers. Web should be javascript, browser and OS neutral.

bsaul 1 hour ago 0 replies      
This is crazy, i never noticed those amp links until i read this article. I never clicked on it because my brain somehow classified them as "weird google stuff looking like a new kind of ads". It looks so much like the "external content" ads you find on some website, plus it provides less room for the first sentences of the article, so it made it look even more like clickbait.

What did happen though, is that i found google results a lot worse on mobile, and ended up not searching for stuff on my mobile. Google results really look like a mess on mobile now...

They really went from minimalist zen to baroque indian arabesque over the year...

whyagaindavid 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Here in 3rd world with flaky 2/3G and just 100-300mb data, AMP is welcome. We still use 1G ram phones!
drawkbox 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Towards the end of AOL (early 2000s), they used to take all content that you visited through their browsers and re-compress and sometimes remove things from the sites. This sometimes really ruined image color, layouts, style etc.

The agency I worked at it was a huge problem because back then clients and business people still used AOL and would see the jacked up versions of their site. There was literally nothing you could do, they did it to small and large sites without abandon.

AMP reminds me a bit of that type of setup with AOL re-compressing and crunching down sites through their network. I agree with Google on doing this for email for security but not necessarily websites. AMP to me is quite annoying and in general a bad move.

ender7 7 hours ago 8 replies      
Users: I like AMP pages, they're fast!

HN: But the open Internet!

Users: What's that?

HN: Normal websites!

Users: Like...the really slow ones? With all the annoying popovers? And pages that take forever to load? And for some reason cause my fancy new phone to slow to a crawl?

HN: Well, those websites should rewrite their entire codebase to be faster.

Users: That doesn't help me, though.

HN: Trust in the free market! The problem is you, the user, who just needs to exert more pressure on website purveyors so they'll make performant web sites.

Users: You mean, like, preferring websites that offer faster experiences? Okay. Continues to use AMP.

codazoda 5 hours ago 0 replies      
So, funny thing. I have been ignoring amp results by accident. I didn't realize what they were and they look like sponsored ads, so I had complete "banner blindness" to them. Odd, now I'll try a few.
lokedhs 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Honest question. How do I see an AMP page? Perhaps my use of a browser is different that most others (I don't use Facebook, for example) but I can only recall seeing an AMP link once or twice.

Do you only see them when doing a Google search?

abrowne 10 hours ago 2 replies      
I've never actually seen AMP "in the wild". Is it because my only mobile browsing is with Firefox on Android?
frankydp 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Isn't AMP just an RSS reader for the entire internet?

If they solved the URL issue somehow(even if faking the address bar), and had original and AMP links in search; it would probably reduce the antiAMP argument quite a bit. Which both seem to be just UI issues.

limeblack 11 hours ago 0 replies      
So another article was posted a couple weeks ago about AMP. One advantage I have seen is that you can get around intranet blocking sites if they support AMP. Besides obviously speed this is the only advantage I have found.
makecheck 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Be sure to structure your Google searches as "g!" searches to DuckDuckGo and AMP effectively disappears with the same set of search results.
andy_ppp 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I mean, if you take AMP to it's logical conclusion why should Google allow anyone to host their own webpages when Google can host them all better and faster.
falcodream 4 hours ago 1 reply      
If my regular page loads as fast as the AMP page, to within some margin, could Google drop the AMP version and link directly to me? It would make AMP a tool for improving the web rather than replacing it.
cmac2992 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I love AMP as a user. So many sites have brutal load time and jumpy pages, popups and sometimes crashes.

As a developer I'm not a fan. It's another thing to manage and maintain. And the last time I checked once you can't leave without some serious consequences.

As a marketer I like the increased CTR but dislike the higher bounce rate and limited features.

geekme 4 hours ago 0 replies      
The publishers should stop supporting AMP collectively. I own a couple of websites and I have not enabled AMP in either of them.
vultour 11 hours ago 2 replies      
> AMP took off. Over two billion pages are using AMP

I don't think I've ever seen an AMP-enabled website, I certainly never noticed any buttons suggesting I visit the original website.

quadrangle 11 hours ago 2 replies      
> this jeannie is firmly out of the bottle

It's "genie"

tobyhinloopen 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I must be stupid but I never seen an AMP page anywhere. Link?
JeremyBanks 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Google search doesn't really have many options like this, and I'd be shocked if they added this one.

But given the URL format, it should be trivial for a browser extensions to rewrite links or requests from AMP pages to the original. I bet it already exists.

reaperducer 6 hours ago 0 replies      
As someone who used to make WAP web sites for mobile phones, I find AMP's limitations comforting and its goal laudable. Much better than the throw-another-javascript-framework-on-the-pile ethos that they teach kids coming out of school these days.
radicaldreamer 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I cant help but think that Google considers more and more posts like this a success metric for taking over this part of the web (like Facebook does with its walled garden).
tomphoolery 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Why doesn't AMP change the URL bar itself? I don't see a reason why it can't utilize the browser history API and attribute the correct URL page view, considering Google is probably doing your analytics too.
plasma 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Like the article, I often dismiss AMP and visit the original, because I want the latest content - AMP is cached and so for sites like reddit the content is out of date.
grizzles 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I posted an alternative solution. https://github.com/electron/electron/issues/8534

The ticket was closed a few days ago. People dislike stuff like AMP, but we are probably stuck with it, there just isn't much interest in alternatives.

dabber 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I haven't read through the comments here yet but my initial impression of the article is 'ha, I was literally thinking this today'; because I was. AMP is a little heavy handed for my tasteS. Another instance of HN being on the same wave length I guess.
learntofly 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I use an older iPhone as my primary internet device when at home.

From google news, the top hits are served through amp and I lose about 1/10 of my screen area to a pointless blue "bar" underneath safari's address bar. This loss of screen space is the only reason I object to amp.

homero 2 hours ago 0 replies      
At least they give you the link now, before was horrific
0x0 11 hours ago 8 replies      
AMP is bad and anyone who's invested in it should feel shameful for making the internet a worse place.
zhuzhu 5 hours ago 0 replies      
This guy earning with Google adsense
wbc 11 hours ago 1 reply      
anyone from the project? wanted to test out but it looks like the create link is dead: https://www.ampproject.org/docs/create/
PaulHoule 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Use bing?
Area code 710 wikipedia.org
276 points by raldi  13 hours ago   63 comments top 18
yodon 11 hours ago 4 replies      
When I was in college in the '80s, My roommate and I got curious about unused area codes (and/or prefixes? I forget). We started dialing some. Within about 15 minutes we stumbled on some government service with a scary-official sounding operator on the other end (I've no idea if it was this service or a different one).

The really scary part was after dialing the number and encountering the operator, we were unable to hang up (any time we hung up and picked back up, the operator was still there, even after waiting about two minutes). Fortunately this was (a) at MIT which still had a central electromechanical telephone switch for student phone lines in the '80s and (b) I had keys to the switch as a student phone repair tech.

I still remember grabbing my keys, running over to the switch, and physically pulling the relay contacts to release the call and prevent a trace to our location in case that was the motivation for holding the line (nowadays traces are digital and instantaneous, but when looking at old-school electromechanical switches you really did need time to trace the call physically through the relays).

Yes, we were aware the operator was probably just messing with us by showing he could hold our line against our will to discourage us from calling again, but it still scared the crap out of us just in case.

kijeda 12 hours ago 3 replies      
I have a GETS account that uses this area code. You are given a credit card sized reference card with your PIN number to activate it.

There is also another service called WPS for cell phones where you get priority just by prefixing your number with *272, the only catch there is your specific phone needs to be enrolled.

813594 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I have a GETS account too (I work in healthcare). T-Mobile provides WPS service free, whereas Verizon charges $5/month per enrolled line. More info here https://www.dhs.gov/publication/getswps-documentsandhttps://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/HOW%20I...
inspector-g 3 hours ago 2 replies      
The article mentions that individuals placing calls though GETS, with a valid access code, receive "alternate carrier routing, high probability of completion, trunk queuing and exemptions from network management controls". I find this fascinating, and it's hard not to wonder if any (rough) equivalent exists for government-related internet traffic. As in, perhaps some special/cryptographic data can be provided in network traffic data that ensures higher-priority treatment in an emergency or crisis, like GETS. Can anyone enlighten me here?
schoen 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I remember something in an old Phrack or another hacker zine where someone was recounting a rumor about this mechanism that he heard from someone who worked in a telco (viz., that there were special government phone numbers that were treated differently by the telephone system). It's interesting to see the progression from underground rumor to Wikipedia article.
wonderous 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Here are more docs on the 710 area code via a simple Google:https://www.google.com/search?q=%22710-NCS-GETS%22+card+ext:...

For example, this PDF explains a lot than anything present on HN or Wikipedia:http://chicagofirstdocs.org/resources/060912-GETS.pdf

Here's a doc that covers all US Federal emergency communications:https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/nifog-v...

doctorshady 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Little known fact: sometimes the other exchanges in area code 710 will translate to places going to military bases and such, depending on the time of year. The best way to tell is by calling 710-867-5309. If you get a recording saying "You are using <long distance provider>" followed by a not in service recording, well, it worked. If you'd care to look around random exchanges and thousand blocks, you might be in for a fun day. Or a knock at your door.

But yeah - it's all the luck of the draw. Some phone people have had varying levels of luck with other things involving that area code as well: http://www.binrev.com/forums/index.php?/topic/48478-weird-71...

jpeterman 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Every time I see posts like this on HN, I feel obligated to post http://www.evan-doorbell.com/production/

I originally discovered this guy from HN and the audio recordings on that site are mesmerizing to me.

reaperducer 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Another odd area code is 500. Back in the 90's, I had a 500 number through AT&T. You could program it to "follow" you. Meaning that if, for example, someone called your number between 9a-5p M-F, it would ring your office. 5p-6p, your car phone. 6p-10p, your home phone, etc...

I suspect it got killed off because so many businesses were switching to cheapo, poorly-made, Winmodem-based PBXes that didn't recognize the area code.

nodesocket 12 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm guessing don't try calling the number? Don't want to flood some poor government operator with internet trolls.
losteverything 3 hours ago 0 replies      
At&t used to create new prospects for long distance by comparing both numbers in a call to its customers database.

If a number was not an active customer it was put in an outbound call list to solicit long distance.

The best story i remember was when the navy wanted to know why we called one of their nuclear submarines. This implied that the right 10 random digits contacted a sub.

doctorshady 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I'll just leave this here:

808-248-0002 - "Your GETS call is being processed. Please hold."

michaelgrosner2 10 hours ago 3 replies      
Is there anywhere else to read more about these kinds of special phone numbers? Something about the current state of phreaking?
saul_goodman 5 hours ago 0 replies      
There's lots of good lore about stuff like this in phreaker circles. I remember a story about someone who supposedly found some listings of 710 numbers including things like the presidents bunker and such. The folks answering the phones for some of these numbers were not amused and were also caught off guard by calls from kids asking to talk to the president and such.
nsaslideface 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I imagine this was part of what was dialed in last week's Twin Peaks
polygot 10 hours ago 1 reply      
> "the call is then redirected to a live human operator who then asks for the access code."

I feel bad for that operator

pavel_lishin 9 hours ago 2 replies      
I wonder what it's like being an operator on that line; is it mostly hours or boredom, punctuated by a few phone calls? Or is it actually busy throughout the day?
axellgun 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Area code 710 is a special area code, reserved to the federal government of the United States in 1983. As of December 2006, it had only one working number, 710-NCS-GETS (710-627-4387), which requires a special access code to use. See Government Emergency Telecommunications Service for more information on this service.
Translating a C++ parser to Haskell haskellforall.com
50 points by yomritoyj  5 hours ago   10 comments top 3
pjmlp 32 minutes ago 0 replies      
Nice article, just one small pedantic remark.

> Note that Haskell type synonyms reverse the order of the types compared to C++.

This is true in the context of the article when compared with the presented typedef definitions, however the modern way to do type synonyms in C++ is via using declarations, which are very similar to the Haskell ones.

 using Path = string; using PathSet = set<Path>;

Peaker 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Attoparsec is fast, but used to have bad error messages.

How do the 2 parsers compare w.r.t error messaging?

Haskell has Parsec/Megaparsec which have better error messages, but are extremely slow.

logicchains 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Note to the author, I found this post extremely hard to read on mobile. I had to scroll horizontally as the text wouldn't all fit on screen, and zooming seemed broken. When attempting to zoom or horizontally scroll it would sometimes randomly click some invisible popout that would take me to another page.
Bingrep: Like grep, but for binaries github.com
84 points by adulau  9 hours ago   15 comments top 6
Buge 8 hours ago 2 replies      
>like grep, but for binaries

It doesn't really seem like grep to me. grep takes 2 inputs: a text and a search string. bingrep only takes one input, a binary. Without a search string it's hard to really say this is like grep.

It seems similar to objdump but with somewhat differing information and with coloring.

Iv 5 hours ago 3 replies      
Ok, grep is a misnomer, but can we assume it was named binless and talk about the merits of this tool? It looks super useful.

I can see how it fills a gap. I am not very often examining binaries, so I can be wrong about it but am i wrong in assuming that objdump will simply list the parts it manages to interpret from a file and silently ignores gibberish or unsupported sections?

I have alway wanted an ability to examine a binary files in a way a bit more interpreted than an hex editor, but without missing any "gibberish" part.

I can see that tool as a nice addition to a binary forensics toolbox

haberman 6 hours ago 1 reply      
If you're into stuff like this, you might like my project Bloaty McBloatface, which can dump size profiles of binaries:


neatmonster 1 hour ago 0 replies      
For indexing and searching into binary files, see also: https://github.com/ANSSI-FR/Binacle
jpeg_hero 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm confused, grep has bianary options.

grep -U

Show HN: A Golang Package for Consistent Hashing with Bounded Loads github.com
15 points by khalidlafi  4 hours ago   1 comment top
khalidlafi 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Hi, i'm the author of this package.

I wrote it because i couldn't implement Consistent Hashing With Bounded Loads over any pre-existing golang consistent hashing packages in a clean way.

Here's the ugly code that made me into doing it: https://github.com/lafikl/liblb/blob/c9c4544834ac7ae7fa6a9cd...

A Norwegian who knew his tortoises so well that he changed history nypesuppe.blogspot.com
78 points by Clepsydra  9 hours ago   8 comments top 5
zkms 5 hours ago 1 reply      
> In the age of sail, sending international mail was no easy matter. A sealed note would be left with some ship going in roughly the right direction, and then luck more than anything would decide the outcome. This was before steam ships, before the rail road and the telegraph, and it could well take a year or more before the sender eventually recieved a reply. The preserved letters from Lossius are full of references to other letters that never made it across the oceans.

This was striking to read; it's absolutely impossible for me to imagine a pre-telegraph world with such utterly slow communications where people nevertheless had friends and family separated by years of latency.

It makes me appreciate the significance of the electric telegraph and of long-range communication that is not limited by the speed of any physical vehicle. I recently read a short romance novel (called "Wired Love") published in 1880 about two telegraph operators who meet online (well, on the wire), use spare time on the wire to talk (and flirt) with each other; and eventually fall in love -- before even having met each other IRL or knowing each other's IRL names! There's even a quite modern impersonation that happens -- someone else steals the identifier of the operator the main character is in love with, and proceeds to be an rude asshole to her. Almost like IRC nick stealing, except a century or so earlier! The antics involving the telegraphs were, amusingly enough, the least antiquated part of the novel, as there's an entirely shocking amount of aspects of Internet communication/relationship practices that have pretty clear equivalents in that telegraph-era book. For example, the main character disdains the telephone and prefers the elegant and more technically-involved telegraph, she and her partner "clasp hands" over the wire in the same way people do "/me hugs" on IRC, she gets called crazy for laughing to herself and "smiling at vacancy" while telegraphing with her online lover -- and after they've met IRL, her suitor even installs a private telegraph wire from her bedroom to his. There's something quite endearing about reading an old novel and realising that the people with access to real-time text chat more than a century ago might have used it in quite similar ways as people use it today.

whizzkid 1 hour ago 0 replies      
> Nicolai adapted to his environment, just like the tortoises

This is such a beautiful ending to the article.

I think we are experiencing a whole new world right now, where anyone can be almost anywhere by the help of technology. This will of course be discussed in the future who knows how.

Give yourself a day or two every month without computer or mobile phones, code editors, or programming discussions.

Enjoy the life, discover things, spend more time with family.

maaaats 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Crazy how he resumed contact with his family, they only knowing vaguely that he might be alive somewhere in Chile and managed to track him down.
ymse 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Not sure what I expected, but this wasn't it. Great read.

Edit: Can mods please remove the blog name from the title. It translates to "rose hip soup" and is rather out of context :)

braveo 5 hours ago 1 reply      
CityBikes: bike sharing networks around the world citybik.es
114 points by robbiet480  12 hours ago   27 comments top 16
orblivion 12 hours ago 0 replies      
This has been around for a while:


I guess this is the API it uses. It's pretty impressive. Seemingly hundreds of bike sharing systems are on this thing. It uses OSM for the background, and gives you a reading on how many bikes are at a given station.

stephenboyd 8 hours ago 2 replies      
They should remove Seattle's entry here. The Pronto network was cancelled in March due to disuse.


mrtimo 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Just spent 3 weeks in 6 cities in China. Ofo and Mobike seems to be the biggest bike share companies. There is also a company that makes electric bikes (with hub motor) available for bike share.

How they work: 1. Pay a deposit (99 RMB for Ofo, 299 RMB for Mobike) and register2. Scan the QR code to unlock the bike -Mobike will unlock automatically- Ofo will send a pin to your phone that you can use to unlock the bike.3. When you are done, just lock up your bike (rear wheel) and leave it anywhere.

In Shanghai it was common to see incensed security Guards dragging bikes off premises. Bikes definitely do clutter up precious walking space.

ubikretail 6 hours ago 2 replies      
I built an app over it that attempts to predict the future state of any network. It later recommends addings/substractions in order to keep offer and demand balanced among stations.

It could work in about 440 cities but none of the big companies that lead this wanted this. What would you do with it?

jakob223 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Stockholm's bikes all seem to be underwater? But I rode one yesterday so I don't think they're actually underwater..
stuaxo 51 minutes ago 0 replies      
Why are there 2 in London?
sker 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Isn't bike sharing huge in China?

Edit: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/mar/22/bike-wars-doc...

> the worlds 15 biggest public bike shares are ranked. Thirteen of them are in China.

martgnz 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Great project, it seems that some companies like Citymapper use the API[0]. Would be nice if they also contributed with code or supported the author.

[0]: https://citybik.es/projects

freyfogle 12 hours ago 0 replies      
This bike share visualization is also very good, has many different cities and lets you replay them over time http://bikes.oobrien.com/global.php#zoom=3&lon=-60.0000&lat=...
Kiro 7 hours ago 0 replies      
How is the data gathered? In Stockholm all three items were in the middle of the water without any real information. The names sounded faux and were ungooglable.
irrational 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Portland just has one because Nike bought all the bikes. That is why they are all in Nike orange.
averagewall 5 hours ago 0 replies      
It should be called "around the rest of the world" since it omits the biggest and hyper competitive bikeshares in some Chinese cities.
AU_Wow1gle 4 hours ago 1 reply      
If you guys know what the competition is for bikeshares in China, you will know this is probably not real...
mental_ 12 hours ago 2 replies      
It doesn't seem very consistent. Lots of points in Latin America but when you zoom in, they are all gone.
alexashka 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This is great. I wish more things were universal like this :)
fao_ 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I read: "bike shedding networks around the world", and I thought "Don't they just call those internet forums?".
TLA+ in Practice and Theory, Part 3: The Temporal Logic of Actions pron.github.io
94 points by pron  13 hours ago   5 comments top 4
wruza 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
I tried to quickly grep what 1st part is about and then 3rd, but failed. Can someone please summarize these documents?

Edit: oh, there is wikipedia article on TLA+.


wruza 10 minutes ago 0 replies      
I tried to quickly grep what 1st part is about and then 3rd, but failed. Can someone please summarize these documents?
ScottBurson 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Great series! Thanks so much for writing it!

Noticed a few typos: "there exits"; "adding more states so to it"; "many possible future"; "talking about expression". In note 14, the asterisks are being lost, with the text between them italicized. Note 15 is immediately followed by a comma splice; maybe you wanted "so" after the comma? Note 16 is also screwed up.

(Calling it a night. Will continue at some point. Would love to chat further; email in profile.)

Entalpi 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Very well written! I think more CS educations should devote more time to mathematical logic and its usefulness in CS. :)
How we can stop antibiotic resistance bbc.com
62 points by sergeant3  11 hours ago   31 comments top 8
rectang 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Torches and pitchforks for Big Agriculture?

I'd like to see a year-on-year graph of human lives lost in exchange for making livestock grow faster.

nopinsight 8 hours ago 2 replies      
This approach could prevent resistance far into the future. Can an expert weigh in if it is likely to be practical for wide adoption soon?

Combating multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria with structurally nanoengineered antimicrobial peptide polymershttps://www.nature.com/articles/nmicrobiol2016162

An article for non-expert:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health-fitness/body/does-this-25-...

"Lam successfully tested the polymer treatment on six different superbugs in the laboratory, and against one strain of bacteria in mice. Even after multiple generations of mutations, the superbugs have proven incapable of fighting back.

We found the polymers to be really good at wiping out bacterial infections, she says. They are actually effective in treating mice infected by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. At the same time, they are quite non-toxic to the healthy cells in the body."

"Professor Greg Qiao, her PhD supervisor, says that Lams project is one of the biggest scientific breakthroughs he had seen in his 20 years at Melbourne university."

rcdmd 6 hours ago 3 replies      
Unfortunately, drug companies have few economic incentives to develop novel antibiotics given the immense costs/risks of human trials and the minimal expected monetary reward. Clinicians reserve the "big gun" antibiotics for the rare cases that need them-- which reduces the cash drug companies get from pushing them through clinical trials.

Compared to other drugs, antibiotics are relatively easy and cheap to discover or "invent" with modern techniques. Getting them through clinical trials, on the other hand, is not cheap.

Many clinicians should be less loose with antibiotics, sure. But, that won't eliminate resistance. Realistically, when superbugs become common, the incentives pharmaceutical companies face will shift. It's just there will be a lot of morbidity and mortality while we're waiting for their drugs to make it to hospital pharmacies.

frik 9 minutes ago 0 replies      
> Until recently antibiotics in the US actually listed animal growth as an indication for use on antibiotic labels and a prescription was not required for farmers to obtain them.

Less monoculture, smaller farms, no use of antibiotic for animals. Pure form of greed, they feed them antibiotics pro-actively.

cel1ne 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Gatsky 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This article seems to exist in lalaland. Implementing antiobiotic stewardship in China and particularly India will not succeed, at least in the next ten years.
jfaucett 8 hours ago 1 reply      
This article essentially says that in the best-case we can only slow antibiotic resistance. Is there anyone working on things to actually render the bacteria less effective at survival (perhaps using the same evolutionary principles that got them resistent in the first place)?
suneilp 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm curious what others here think about natural antibiotics, either extracted or consumed food which has antibiotic properties.
LXD 2.14 has been released linuxcontainers.org
59 points by rbanffy  11 hours ago   10 comments top 2
jitl 9 hours ago 5 replies      
Can anyone give an overview of what LXD offers, and compare the experience of working with LXD to Docker? I've tinkered with BSD jails, Docker, and KVM, and I'm curious about LXD.
slitaz 4 hours ago 0 replies      
If you click the link, there is a demo service to try out LXD through your browser.It creates a shell and has a tutorial to follow with this new shell.
How the Australian government plans to access encrypted messages theage.com.au
48 points by visural  11 hours ago   28 comments top 12
nikcub 6 hours ago 0 replies      
The story title mentions Australia but this is relevant to all the 5eye nations, as they're obviously pre-briefing the media on what the agenda will be and this is the first time that we're getting detail on what they'll be proposing (the UK proposals were vague)

What they seem to be talking around is implementing an app-level CALEA-like capability.

What I think how they think it would work: companies would be made to build lawful targeted intercept capability into their apps, in the same way telephony and other equipment is today. The app developer receives a warrant for an identifier and they're required to split off that traffic and change the keys, or encrypt it twice (the sender/recipient key and an intercept key - one per warrant (this happens with some net and tele warrants now)).

We all know the downsides of this approach, but it isn't technically impossible. What would be impossible is enforcing it, as it is more a regulatory hurdle. It is more possible today because of vertically integrated walled gardens being used for most app distribution - and backed by two of the largest companies in the world who may be susceptible to a compromise (especially as there is the large tax issues hanging over both their heads).

On a scale of how bad things can get - I think warranted targeted surveillance is better than device backdoors which is better than metadata retention which is better than the mass surveillance we have today (leading to cable splitting and DPI, or situations like Lavabit)

I don't see how, even if you're ok with warranted targeted surveillance, how a compromise is made here that doesn't lead to a wack-a-mole game where legitimate users are inconvenienced while the 'bad guys' are pushed onto alternate Android distributions and unofficial apps.

I also don't see how a CALEA-like capability is kept secure and safe - especially with apps (we saw the NSA use CALEA intercept to surveil political targets). Clapper et al always vaguely answer "key escrow" to this question without spelling out how that would work.

With subsequents backdowns in the scope of what these governments are wanting to do (and this latest proposal is again is a minor backdown) we might be reaching the finite conclusive point where comms do go dark and the new reality is that despite all of the tech we have law enforcement mostly relies on human intelligence and they'll have to scale back up for that. 3,500 terror suspects in the UK, 4,000 employees at MI5 - and notably in the recent attacks there were HUMINT warnings.

cJ0th 57 minutes ago 0 replies      
> "I personally want to live in a world where reasonable people and companies would say, 'You know what? Under the rule of law, and with the right oversight and a warrant, communications can be listened to when it's needed to protect us.'"

Yes well, I don't. But hey why not facilitate foreign actors spying on our companies so that we may or may not catch any terrorists?

aaronmdjones 10 hours ago 1 reply      
> Attorney-General George Brandis said the government will not pursue the controversial "backdoor" access option by forcing firms to plant flaws in their encryption software that would allow it to be cracked by police or security agencies

Forcing firms not to implement end-to-end encryption is forcing firms to implement flaws in their encryption software.

slang800 3 hours ago 0 replies      
> The rapid proliferation of encrypted messaging by terrorist networks has prompted...

Giving governments the power to perform mass interception and decryption of communication doesn't seem like a sensible way to fight terrorists, even if they say it's only to be used on suspects. Terrorist attacks aren't increasing because the "bad guys" suddenly got their hands on a copy of OpenSSL.

In the case of the most recent attacks, these people were let into the country voluntarily.

harry8 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Fantasy land stuff. Moxie is going to backdoor his encryption because some Australians he's never heard of tell him to?

The prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, is a noted user of Signal...

One day these stories will be written by and about people who have a clue. One day...

white-flame 9 hours ago 0 replies      
None of any of this ever makes any sense. There will always be communication styles that are inaccessible to authorities. And if we ever get "spooky action at a distance" style communication that does not rely on an interposing medium (regardless of speed), then all this becomes even more moot.
andrewstuart 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Once again politicians making decisions about stuff they fundamentally misunderstand.
shakna 5 hours ago 1 reply      
> In mid-2013, less than 3 per cent of counter-terrorism investigations intercepted communications that were encrypted. Today that figure was more than 40 per cent, Senator Brandis said.

I want to hear more on this, because so far as reporting has gone on terrorist attacks since 2013... The use of encrypted messaging systems seems conspicuously absent.

nine_k 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Obviously, either encryption works flawlessly for both legal and criminal purposes, or it works for neither.

What the proposal seems to concentrate is endpoints, where plaintext inevitably exists, and legal protocols for accessing it.

OTOH any sane implementation would only generate plaintext for display purposes, and would clear the RAM as soon as display (or input) is done, so finding the plaintext anywhere may be honestly impossible. At least, without tampering with the software on either end.

gleenn 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I am a strong proponent of E2E encryption and the right for people to be able to communicate privately, however I thing Brandis is saying generally positive things. If Australia thinks someone is a criminal, and there is an agreed process to obtain a warrant (hopefully from a judge), I think that's fine. The NSA mass-surveiling Americans is entirely different, as are other similar tactics to spy on presumably innocent people. Warrants are good, especially with people actively making calls.
mechanik 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Hilarious given that he is very attached his Wickr account.

I happen to know he uses it quite extensively.

TazeTSchnitzel 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Are they following Theresa May's lead?


Build a Modern Computer from First Principles: Nand to Tetris Part II coursera.org
101 points by mkeyhani  15 hours ago   26 comments top 10
qubex 12 hours ago 1 reply      
This course seems to be by the authors (and based upon) The Elements of Computing Systems, a truly marvellous introduction to computer architecture that holds the readers' hand as they construct a system from the hardware up. I cannot recommend it enough.
bjelkeman-again 2 hours ago 2 replies      
Does anyone have a recommendation for an electronics course that starts from the basics, with real hardware, for some who did electronics at highschool, but has forgotten essentially everything but some abstract knowledge. I'd really want to be able to design simple stuff on a breadboard. I know there is a ton of stuff out there, but where to start?
raz32dust 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Highly recommend this course. I am a self-taught programmer with experience in building infrastructure backends. But I had not done formal courses like OS, computer architecture, networks etc. I was able to finish part 1 in a couple of months with just 3-4 hours per week, and came out with a deeper understanding of what goes within a computer. It also inspired me to do more formal courses in some areas that I am more interested in. It is also a nice ramp up if you want to do heavier courses while still working full-time because almost everyone can afford 4 hours per week, but following a full, formal course online (e.g, MIT OCW etc.) requires a lot more time and discipline to be able to keep momentum and finish the course in good time.
lamby 7 hours ago 0 replies      
My problem would be that as soon as my computer could play Tetris I wouldn't do anything else...
xiaoma 3 hours ago 0 replies      
This would be so good if it were available off of Coursera, which is essentially a shake-down for certificate fees at this point. Nand2Tetris is a fantastic course.

Back in its heyday 3 years ago, I did a ton of courses on Coursera. They weren't perfect, of course. There was no higher-level coordination that could lead to covering an entire 4-year degree's worth of material and it was hard to match up courses from different institutions with different prereqs. It was hard to find advanced courses in general and the enforced speed at which content was expected to be completed sucked.

But the automated graders were great. I went through parts of many, many courses before having to abandon them due to work pressures and I finished a few, like the scala course and the fantastic automata course and some stuff from Berkeley before they bailed and moved to edX. It wasn't ideal for adult independent learners, but Coursera used to provide real value, especially for introducing niche topics that wouldn't be available via OCW.

It's a pity they never figured out a business model that would fit what its learners really wanted and just threw up a paywall instead.

bogomipz 12 hours ago 2 replies      
Does anyone know if part 2 is a new Coursera offering then? I looked through the FAQ and didn't see any mention of that, only that that part 1 and 2 are stand alone courses.
theoutlander 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a very exciting course. I would highly encourage some of us in software who take everything for granted to take this course (incl. part 1).
hellbanner 8 hours ago 2 replies      
NAND refers to NAND gates right -- does this course start from Hardware?
amelius 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I'd like to see a course where they build alternative computers. I.e. not the ones we are using now. I feel we are living too much in a monoculture.
madengr 12 hours ago 3 replies      
Is it built with discrete logic or an FPGA?
An All-in-One DAG Toolkit: The strongly-connected components algorithm vaibhavsagar.com
39 points by how-about-this  9 hours ago   2 comments top
mrkgnao 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Yes! More "real-world" Haskell is always good. This seems like a good time to bring up Shake, Neil Mitchell's build system:


It can be used like CMake (as a build script generator) or like Ninja. For many projects (including building Ninja), it's faster than Ninja. Chromium is a notable exception: it has a huge set of Ninja files, and the Shake parser is not as fast as Ninja's parser.

From the docs:

> [...] compiling LLVM on Windows under mingw they both take the same time to compile initially, and Ninja takes 0.9s for a nothing to do build vs Shake at 0.8s. Shake is slower at parsing Ninja files, so if you have huge .ninja files (e.g. Chromium) Shake will probably be slower. Shake does less work if you don't specify deps, which is probably why it is faster on LLVM (but you should specify deps -- it makes both Shake and Ninja faster). As people report more results I am sure both Shake and Ninja will be optimised.


A Summer of Haskell project is on to migrate GHC to a Shake-based build system.

PS. Wow, Annie Cherkaev's website looks really different now.

A Conversation: Yuval Noah Harari, Daniel Kahneman (2015) edge.org
52 points by goodJobWalrus  11 hours ago   4 comments top 3
whoami_nr 1 hour ago 0 replies      
To anyone interested about the history of human evolution, I highly recommend Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Harari. It's the best book I have read about human history and how we have evolved until now. The book is also listed on the Gates Summer reading list.
xherberta 5 hours ago 0 replies      
On people becoming superfluous to the market and the state as machine intelligence progresses:

"... [in the future, work no longer exists for] most of humanity... That mass of people cannot work, but they can still kill people..."

"and how will they find some sense of meaning in life when they are basically meaningless, worthless?

My best guess at present is a combination of drugs and computer games as a solution for most"

On "one of the big problems with technology":

"It develops much faster than human society and human morality, and this creates a lot of tension. But, again, we can try and learn something from our previous experience with the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century, that actually, you saw very rapid changes in society, not as fast as the changes in technology, but still, amazingly fast.

The most obvious example is the collapse of the family and of the intimate community, and their replacement by the state and the market."

hammerandtongs 9 hours ago 1 reply      
This is a 2015 conversation but was interesting as I recall.
A primer on causal emergence erikphoel.com
41 points by okket  10 hours ago   9 comments top 4
shadowmint 22 minutes ago 1 reply      
> Measuring causal emergence is like you're looking at the causal structure of a system with a camera (the theory) and as you focus the camera (look at different scales) the causal structure snaps into focus. Notably, it doesnt have to be in focus" at the lowest possible scale, the microscale.

Talk about abstract metaphors that have no meaning.

The core of this argument seems to be:

1) Given a fixed state of a system, you can modify it by apply certain operators on the system.

2) You can model the 'causal structure' by observing changes as you randomly apply operators.

3) High level systems at a macro scale have a greater information density than the sum of their parts.

Ie. In a nutshell, you can have high level (ie. real world) systems that display behaviour that is not just hard to predict from changes to low level systems... but actually impossible to predict from them.

Which is to say, basically asserting that you cannot predict the behaviour of macro systems from microscale systems; eg. you cannot predict the behaviour of a molecule based on its quantum state / make up (clearly false) and you cannot predict the behaviour of say, a person deciding what to have to for lunch based on their quantum state/

...but not that you can't because it's hard.

You can't because its not possible.

Am I misunderstanding?

I think that sounds completely crack pot to me.

raymondh 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I really enjoy seeing thought-provoking posts like this on Hacker News.

The practical insight is that complex systems have some level of scale where causality experiments yield the most fruit, and that this effect is measurable.

The most interesting parts are the two justifications for why this may be true. (1) "the determinism can increase and the degeneracy can decrease at the higher scale (the causal relationships can be stronger)" (2) "Higher-scale relationships can have more information because they are performing error-correction."

westoncb 8 hours ago 2 replies      
I read Scott Aaranson's initial criticism of Hoel's causal emergence paper (which is pretty funny because of things unrelated causal emergence really: "Higher-level causation exists (but I wish it didnt)": http://www.scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=3294)

I've skimmed the linked article, and will in all likelihood go back to itbut I wonder about some stuff from the conclusion:

> It also provides some insight about the structure of science itself, and why its hierarchical (biology above chemistry, chemistry above physics). This might be because scientists naturally gravitate to where the information about causal structure is greatest, which is where they are rewarded in terms of information for their experiments the most, and this won't always be the ultimate microscale.

I don't see how more information existing at higher levels would explain the hierarchical structure of the sciences: saying there's more information at the higher levels is the reason would imply that e.g. we found biology to be more valuable than physics, whereas the actual situation seems to be that we value these levels equally. Maybe that's just a phrasing issues. In any case, it seems simpler that we organize the sciences hierarchically because the human brain organizes information that way.

I also don't see how there being more information at certain levels is necessarily useful: isn't the quality of the information as important or more important than the quantity? But I guess if the it's specifically 'causal' information, there's an implication (at least for the sciences) of ideal quality...

cousin_it 1 hour ago 1 reply      
> Maybe, as the physicist Yakir Aharonov has advocated, our universe has not only a special, low-entropy initial state at the Big Bang, but also a postselected final state, toward which the outcomes of quantum measurements get mysteriously "pulled"an effect that might show up in experiments as ever-so-slight deviations from the Born rule.

Me, me! I know a kind of postselection effect that can be explained on a napkin (though nobody knows if it's actually true). As a bonus, it can affect not just the Born probabilities, but the probabilities of anything you choose, even things that already happened. Here's how it works.

The idea is a variation on anthropic reasoning, originally due to Bostrom (http://www.anthropic-principle.com/preprints/cau/paradoxes.h...) If there's a completely fair quantum coin, and many people over many generations decide to have kids iff the coin comes up heads, then the coin might appear biased to us for anthropic reasons (more people in the heads-world than in the tails-world). You can influence all sorts of things this way, like Bostrom's example of Adam and Eve deciding to have kids iff a wounded deer passes by their cave to provide them with food. (That's if anthropic probabilities work in a certain intuitive way. If they work in the other intuitive way, you get other troubling paradoxes in the same vein. All imaginable options lead to weirdness AFAIK.)

A few years back I spent a long time on such problems, and came up with a simple experiment about "spooky mental powers" that doesn't even involve creating new observers. It's completely non-anthropic and could be reproduced in a lab now, but the person inside the experiment will be deeply troubled. Here's how it goes:

You're part of a ten-day experiment. Every night you get an injection that makes you forget what day it is. Every day you must pick between two envelopes, a red one and a blue one. One envelope contains $1000, the other contains nothing. At the end of the experiment, you go home with all the money you've made over the ten days. The kicker is how the envelopes get filled. On the first day, the experimenters flip a coin to choose whether the red or the blue one will contain $1000. On every subsequent day, they put the money in the envelope that you didn't pick on the first day.

So here's the troubling thing. Imagine you're the kind of person who always picks the red envelope on principle. Just by having that preference, while you're inside the experiment, you're forcing the red envelope in front of you to be empty with high probability! Since your mental states over different days are indistinguishable to you, you can choose any randomized strategy of picking the envelope, and see the result of that strategy as if it already happened. In effect, you're sitting in a room with two envelopes, whose contents right now depend not just on what you'll choose right now, but on what randomized strategy you'll use to choose right now. If that's not freaky, I don't know what is.

Going back to Aaronson's original point, the world as it looks to us might easily contain postselection and other weird things. Reducing everything to microstates is a valid way to look at the universe, but you aren't a microstate. You are an observer, a big complicated pattern that exists in many copies throughout the microstate, and the decisions of some copies might affect the probabilities observed by other copies at other times. The effects of such weirdness are small in practice, but unavoidable if you want a correct probabilistic theory of everything you observe (or a theory of decision-making for programs that can be copied, which is how I arrived at the problem).

Linux EBPF Tracing Tools brendangregg.com
60 points by mikecarlton  15 hours ago   3 comments top
Twirrim 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I've spent a little bit of time playing with some of the supplied tools, but when it comes to creating my own using eBPF, I'm almost completely at a blank. To some extent I just don't know a whole bunch about what there is in the kernel to hook in to.

I'd love to see some good tutorials, or websites that could help me get a handle on that side of things so that I can start to create useful tooling using it.

Show HN: Music Genre Classification App in Django github.com
34 points by l1feh4ck  11 hours ago   7 comments top 3
brainless 6 hours ago 2 replies      
Does anyone find it odd that a music classifier app names the web framework in the title but not the classifying toolkit?

Django is a web framework, why does it matter so much in this project?

ianamartin 4 hours ago 1 reply      
This is really interesting, and it reminds me of a game I used to play with my brothers as a kid. We're all classical musicians, and we used to make mix tape challenges for each other when we were young. It would be a 1-second snippet of a piece of music followed by 4 seconds of silence. You had to name the piece before the next 1-second sample started to get a point.

If you didn't know the specific piece, you could still get a point by guessing the nationality of the composer and the time it was written within 10 years. The available time period for music was anything from Pythagoras' time to the present day (would have been late 80s at the time we were playing.)

It ha to be reasonably describable as "classical" music. Not rock, jazz or blues or anything.

It was a hard fucking game for an 8-year-old, and we really worked each other over very hard.

I wonder if I could fork this and try to get it to tell the difference between, for example, Bach and Corelli, Mahler and Bruckner, or Zarlino and Palestrina.

Very cool project.

benjiza 8 hours ago 0 replies      
You might be interested in this challenge: https://multimediaeval.github.io/2017-AcousticBrainz-Genre-T...

(not affiliated)

Hunter S Thompson: A Man Has to BE Something lettersofnote.com
107 points by 40acres  10 hours ago   36 comments top 7
everyone 8 hours ago 4 replies      
I kinda think what literature enthusiasts really enjoy are simply words and the creative use of language and so on.

There could be some interesting ideas in there too, but that is not the main meat of literature.

I think its important for the sake of intellectual rigour not to confuse the two.

ShabbosGoy 6 hours ago 0 replies      
No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No Fun for anybody. 67. You are getting Greedy. Act your (old) age. Relax This won't hurt.

Really struck me in the feels. Rest In Peace.

orf 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder if Hume Logan took the advice, and what became of him (other than becoming a name in the associated context of a great letter).
testoo 9 hours ago 0 replies      
he shoulda just ended the letter at "WE STRIVE TO BE OURSELVES."

..."i apologize for the length of this letter; if i'd had more time, it would have been shorter"

pizza 1 hour ago 0 replies      
i am fond of hunter thompson's breakfast routine..
alexashka 9 hours ago 7 replies      
If this piece didn't have a famous person associated with it, no one would read it on it's merit alone.

I feel like he had the inklings of some good ideas in there, but none of them fleshed out. As all ideas about life are when you're 20 :)

The people to look up to, are those you relate to, who are past 50. Who've raised children, who know how to communicate to younger people AND have a wealth of life experience and hopefully wisdom.

No 20 year old has ever given me solid life advice - you just haven't lived long enough.

b0rsuk 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Is this something very American to hunt for all quotes and stories of a famous person once he's dead ? Happened with Hunter, happened with Steve Jobs. Successful people seem to reach some kind of cult status in America. Even quite vague stuff he said is fished out and accepted, because he now has level 253 on Battle.net forums.

I don't think you can learn from positive examples exclusively. To solve a nonogram, you need to mark squares that are black and those that ARE NOT black for sure. Another example, survivorship bias. In WW2 the British were sending bombers to Berlin and other German cities. Engineers were tasked with putting more armor plating on bombers. They examined where round (bullet) holes clustered on the returning bombers, and added extra armor in the biggest clusters. Fewest holes were found around the fuel tank and pilot's cabin, and those got no extra protection. It was a perfectly rational decision they made based on available data. But they could learn a lot from losers.

Being wise, or intelligent, is not following some great personas. It's forming insight based on your observations. Hunter S. Thompson's advice may be sound, but it would be equally sound if he was a garbage collector. That you must get such advice from him, suggests, sadly, that you can't recognize it when you see it. (I'm not saying I'm better)

Intel fires warning shots at Microsoft, says x86 emulation is a patent minefield arstechnica.com
256 points by Analemma_  19 hours ago   177 comments top 31
rayiner 13 hours ago 2 replies      
This marks a distinct shift for Intel. Historically, Intel's IP approach has focused on trade secrets, because they had a huge advantage in manufacturing and implementation techniques that are not easily reverse-engineered. Patent-protecting x86 didn't make much sense during the long period where nobody could make a general-purpose CPU as fast as Intel running native code, much less while emulating x86. As Moore's law has run its course, Intel's lead on that front has been shrinking. Apple's A10 is shockingly close to matching Kaby Lake on performance within a similar power envelope. And Ryzen is within spitting distance of Broadwell at the high end. All on non-Intel foundry processes. That was unimaginable 10 years ago.
amorphid 14 hours ago 2 replies      
Attorneys on both sides must be excited on some level about the potential number of billable hours it'd take to litigate a case like this. Reminds me of a something an entrepreneurship professor told me...

If there's one lawyer in town, they drive a Chevrolet. If there are two lawyers in town, they both drive Cadillacs.

Deinos 14 hours ago 2 replies      
The article mentions Cyrix as a "victim" of Intel patent defense; however, Cyrix not only won their lawsuits, but they also went after Intel for patent violations in the Pentium Pro and Pentium II processors.



amalcon 14 hours ago 5 replies      
Years ago, I spoke with an attorney with a CS background. He had once worked on a case like this. Sharp guy. He didn't tell me the parties involved, and I didn't ask, though I assume he wouldn't speak openly about it while it was ongoing. I therefore don't know how it turned out. It was many years ago, so I might be remembering wrong. I'm not a lawyer, this is not legal advice (neither mine nor his).

Basically, there are two approaches the plaintiff might take here. The simplest is to cite the doctrine of equivalents[1]. This is basically the notion that if you do the same thing in the same way for the same purpose, then it's the same process, even though you are using digital instructions instead of logic gates. The legal theory here is pretty well settled. The problem is that you'd need to justify that digital instructions are obviously equivalent to logic gates, and a skilled professional would have equated them at the time of the patent's filing.

The other approach is to argue that an emulator actually is a processor, and therefore fits the literal claims of the patent. The explanation for this is pretty well-established: it's literally the Church-Turing Thesis[2]. However, the viability of this argument depends on the language of the patent claims. Also, it's hard enough to explain the C-T Thesis to CS students. My undergrad had an entire 1-credit-equivalent course that basically just covered this and the decidability problem. Explaining it to a judge, who (while likely highly intelligent) probably has no CS background, over the course of litigation is likely to be really hard.

Now, Intel certainly has enough resources to do both of these things (and they may also have precedent to cite, that didn't exist back then or that wasn't relevant to that case). Don't take this as an opinion on any possible result, it's just information such as I remember it.

[1]- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctrine_of_equivalents[2]- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church%E2%80%93Turing_thesis

natch 15 hours ago 3 replies      
Patents expire after 17 years and x86 is 39 years old, so any of the original patents must have expired twice over already.

They no doubt have been filing additional patents over the years. But I'm sure MS and Qualcomm have plenty of their own patents to bargain with.

Also their warning could backfire if it gives Microsoft one more reason to finally walk away from x86 compatibility... not that this is likely to happen anytime soon.

wfunction 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Can someone explain this:

> AMD made SSE2 a mandatory part of its 64-bit AMD64 extension, which means that virtually every chip that's been sold over the last decade or more will include SSE2 support. [...] That's a problem, because the SSE family is also new enoughthe various SSE extensions were introduced between 1999 and 2007that any patents covering it will still be in force.

AMD64 requires SSE2 which was introduced in 2001, right? So isn't it just 1 year until Microsoft can put in what's required for the AMD64 architecture?

faragon 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Intel will not threat Microsoft, not even indirectly, in my opinion. Rationale: once Apple starts shipping desktops and laptops with ARM chips, the only safe port for the expensive x86 chips would be Microsoft (desktop and server market) and big iron on Linux/Unix/Hypervisors.
AstralStorm 15 hours ago 2 replies      
So they will ban all virtual machines which sometimes have to go for emulation, e.g. to handle XSAVE?

Scorched earth policy will likely not be defensible under fair use law. Reverse engineering for compatibility has a few precedents.

sliken 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Keep in mind the most relevant instruction set is the X86-64 instruction set (32 bit code is not very relevant these days). The x86-64 ISA was created by AMD, not Intel. Intel was busy trying to milk the enterprise market with the Itanium, trying to reserve 64 bit as an enterprise feature.
ikeboy 15 hours ago 1 reply      
> And Intel's business health continues to have a strong dependence on Microsoft's business, which has to make the chip firm a little wary of taking the software company (or its customers) to court.

I mean, Apple and Samsung had a billion dollar lawsuit while Samsung chips were still in iPhones. It's certainly precedented to sue a corporation you're actively doing business with.

pmarreck 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I would personally be pleased if the millstone of the x86 instruction set sank both Intel AND microsoft's hegemony.
clouddrover 9 hours ago 0 replies      
For anyone interested, here's a Microsoft Channel 9 video in which they talk about some of the x86 emulation layer internals:


nerpderp83 18 hours ago 4 replies      
Well, since x86 is a monopoly ... Intel oughta go easy on this one.
dboreham 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Logically this implies that I can't execute some i386 binary that I possess without infringing Intel patents.

I think this theory of infringement has to run into various thought-experiment problems such as : can I auto-translate that binary into some other instruction set, then execute the translated binary, without infringing Intel patents? (yes, surely) Is the translator now infringing Intel patents because it has to understand their ISA? (no, surely).

Now, can I incorporate that translator into my OS such that it can now execute i386 binaries by translating them to my new instruction set which I can execute either directly or by emulation? If so then I am now not infringing. Or did infringement suddenly manifest because I combined two non-infringing things (translator + emulator for my own translated ISA)?

jonstokes 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Alright, I'll come out of retirement to hit this dead horse another lick.

"if WinARM can run Wintel software but still offer lower prices, better battery life, lower weight, or similar, Intel's dominance of the laptop space is no longer assured."

Peter. My man. I laughed. I cried.

For the millionth time, the ARM ISA does not magically confer any sort of performance or efficiency advantage, at least not that matters in the billion+ transistor SoC regime. (I will include some relevant links to ancient articles of mine about magical ARM performance elves later.) ARM processors are more power efficient because they do less work per unit time. Once they're as performant as x86, they'll be operating in roughly the same power envelope. (Spare the Geekbench scores... I can't even. I have ancient published rants about that, too).

Anyway, given that all of this is the case, it is preposterous to imagine that an ARM processor that's running emulated(!!!) x86 code will be at anything but a serious performance/watt disadvantage over a comparable x86 part.

This brings me to another point: Transmeta didn't die because of patents. Transmeta died because "let's run x86 in emulation" is not a long-term business plan, for anybody. It sucks. I have ancient published rants on this topic, too, but the nutshell is that when you run code in emulation, you have to take up a bunch of cache space and bus bandwidth with the translated code, and those two things are extremely important for performance. You just can't be translating code and then stashing it in valuable close-to-the-decoder memory and/or shuffling it around the memory hierarchy without taking a major hit.

So to recap, x86 emulation on ARM is not a threat to Intel's performance/watt proposition -- not even a little teensy bit in any universe where the present laws of physics apply. To think otherwise is to believe untrue and magical things about ISAs.

HOWEVER, x86-on-ARM via emulation could still be a threat to Intel in a world where, despite its disadvantages, it's still Good Enough to be worth doing for systems integrators who would love to stop propping up Intel's fat fat fat margins and jump over to the much cheaper (i.e. non-monopoly) ARM world. Microsoft, Apple, and pretty much anybody who's sick of paying Intel's markup on CPUs (by which I mean, they'd rather charge the same price and pocket that money themselves) would like to be able to say sayonara to x86.

The ARM smart device world looks mighty good, because there are a bunch of places where you can buy ARM parts, and prices (and ARM vendor margins) are low. It's paradise compared to x86 land, from a unit cost perspective.

Finally, I'll end on a political note. It has been an eternity since there was a real anti-trust action taken against a major industry. Look at the amount of consolidation across various industries that has gone totally uncontested in the past 20 years. In our present political environment, an anti-trust action over x86 lock-in just isn't a realistic possibility, no matter how egregious the situation gets.

So Intel is very much in a position to fight as dirty as they need to in order to prevent systems integrators from moving to ARM and using emulation as a bridge. I read this blog post of theirs in that light -- they're putting everyone on notice that the old days of antitrust fears are long gone (for airlines, pharma, telecom... everybody, really), so they're going to move to protect their business accordingly.

Edit: forgot the links. In previous comments on exactly this issue I've included multiple, but here's a good one and I'll leave it at that: https://arstechnica.com/business/2011/02/nvidia-30-and-the-r...

tyingq 14 hours ago 1 reply      
An earlier discussion here had most people guessing it was Apple, not Microsoft, that Intel was lobbing the threat at.https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14518189
make3 15 hours ago 3 replies      
How did I not already know Microsoft had a working x86 emulator.. this is a massive game changer for the laptop space if it's fast and reliable enough, as afaik ARM chips are so much more power efficient for similar perf
narrator 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Another component of Microsoft getting off Intel is that the antitrust settlement only applied to x86 hardware, so MS getting off x86 would let them lock down the platform and do all their dirty tricks all over again.
kev009 7 hours ago 1 reply      
IBM sold an x86 translation for a while https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PowerVM_Lx86. Would be interesting to know why it was discontinued.
someSven 10 hours ago 3 replies      
May someone please elaborate on the difference between what MS does and emulators on Linux like Quemu and ExaGear?
mental_ 13 hours ago 3 replies      
If AMD can implement x86 in hardware, why can't Microsoft implement it in software?
asveikau 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Another reason Microsoft should be telling ISVs to recompile for Win32 on ARM instead of binary emulation.
julian_1 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Anyone know if it is an emulator, or an on-demand isa translator that operates at runtime? I wonder what the implications are for infringement.
ksec 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Everything Intel have said and put forth are Hardware companies. I can't believe anyone can be sued for software emulation of x86.

And unless Qualcomm and Microsoft are working on a Hardware assisteed X86 emulation, this warning shot may be directed at somebody else.

My guess: Apple.

zekevermillion 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I'll just sit hear eating my popcorn and waiting for a lowRISC computer I can buy.
orionblastar 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I remember IBM having a contract with Intel to allow other chip companies to make x86 chips in case Intel could not keep up with demand.

QEMU emulates X86 chips as does other emulators. I wonder how those are effected?

chris_wot 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Windows still has a HAL, makes me wonder why Microsoft don't just cut a new HAL for the ARM.

It's quite possible I'm missing something vital here, of course.

mtgx 13 hours ago 1 reply      
So Intel is so scared of little ol' ARM (compare their revenues) that it's willing to use patents to take it out of the PC market, rather than compete on technical grounds?

Okay, got it. I'll make sure to account for that in my next CPU/device purchase.

nickpsecurity 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I was just watning about fhis on anothet thread. It's not competition if it requires compatibility with patdnt-protected ISA or microarchitectures. It's coercion.
dis-sys 6 hours ago 0 replies      
best outcome I can think of:

AMD licenses x86 patents to Qualcomm/MS to make x86 emulator better patent troll proof. In return, Qualcomm and AMD team up for better ARM server based processors. MS can sell more Windows/Windows Sever (sad).

syshum 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Microsoft should Partner with AMD to pressure the big desktop and laptop OEM's to stop using Intel CPU;s

I would love to see Dell, Lenovo and HP to switch exclusivly to Ryzen processors,

And switch to the new Naples CPU in all their Server/Storage systems

Ravens Hold Grudges Against Cheaters nationalgeographic.com
57 points by never-the-bride  13 hours ago   5 comments top 3
mkonecny 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Title is kind of clickbait. One trainer was giving cheese in exchange for bread, and another was giving nothing.

The raven preferred the trainer that gave something. Not really cheating or holding a grudge.

karlmdavis 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I've lived in Baltimore now for three years, and this has to be literally the only time where I (a very not-interested-in-sports person) wrongly that something DID involve football.

The National Geographic domain gave it away.

defined 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The raven must have thought, "Nevermore!"

Sorry, couldn't resist the corniness.

Towards a Safer Footgun codahale.com
55 points by cpach  16 hours ago   9 comments top 3
unscaled 4 hours ago 0 replies      
It's too bad IETF didn't at least specify a standard way to use XChacha20/XSalsa20 with Poly1305 for AEAD. As it is you have to rely on all implementations to:1. Split the nonce and counter the same way.libsodium uses a 64-bit nonce, 32-bit counter and 32-bit wasted zero bytes for IETF compatibility ;). (You could also say it's a 64-bit counter that never counts past 2^32-1).

2. Feed the AEAD into Poly1305 in the same way.IIRC libsodium hashes everything in this order:

 AEAD padded with zeros, so length will be a multiple of 16 message padded with zeros in the same way AEAD length message length
This is the same as the scheme IETF defined for ChaCha20Poly1305, but it's not defined in any standard XChacha20Poly1305, so nobody can guarantee that the library you're using will do the same (if it supports XChaCha20 at all).

ivm83 9 hours ago 3 replies      
Article doesn't mention that with AES-GCM-SIV you lose indistinguishability - an attacker observing encrypted messages passing by can see when two copies of the same message are sent, since they will use the same IV. This might not matter for some cases, but could be a big deal for others.
twoodfin 11 hours ago 1 reply      
If we had access to a time machine, would we want to suggest to the IETF standards-makers that they specify a longer nonce than 96 bits?
Uber Board to Discuss CEO Absence, Policy Changes: Source nytimes.com
18 points by troydavis  4 hours ago   7 comments top 2
dboreham 47 minutes ago 2 replies      
Something wrong about this: someone in power being held accoutable for their incompetence and bad behavior. Or did he just loose some rich people too much money?
jeffjose 46 minutes ago 1 reply      
Travis Kalanick's rise was the result of Silicon Valley's sincere yearning for an irreverent CEO when Steve Jobs passed away. We were collectively willing to overlook any blemishes in the young company, which set up for failure in the long run.

I sometimes wonder if Steve Jobs had still been alive, would he have been revered as much as he was in the 2010s? His management style would have sooner or later caused permanent damage to someone you and I personally know. And that's where we'd have drawn the line.

April 1970: Trying to kill a sniper mashable.com
41 points by smacktoward  6 hours ago   5 comments top 3
MichailP 49 minutes ago 1 reply      
The tone of the article, and the actions of main protagonist, makes a disturbing picture of war. In this setting war is fun for one side (protagonist is taking photos! just for the kicks) and life-death situation for other side. Who is the bad guy here?
omginternets 1 hour ago 1 reply      
What a succinct demonstration of how asymmetric warfare works: how much did it cost to attempt to kill one person?
janwillemb 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Tldr: a Vietnamese sniper hides in the hills. Americans spray the hill with gunfire. Sniper escapes, but one American shot interesting long-exposure pictures of the action.
Stephanie, open-source virtual assistant built to control and automate tasks slapbot.github.io
52 points by PleaseHelpMe  4 hours ago   51 comments top 9
nathanasmith 2 hours ago 0 replies      
For anyone else on Linux that gets the error:

Default Audio Player for mp3 files is not set up, like vlc or something.

when you try to run it, note that Stephanie depends on the python module os.startfile[0] which apparently is a Windows only thing that works like xdg-open. I'm not a python expert but here's what I did: the offending file is stephanie-va-master/Stephanie/TextManager/speaker.py. If you edit line 15 which is:


and change it to:

os.system("xdg-open " + self.speak_result)

everything works.Somebody else more knowledgeable can probably suggest something better.


Edit: Fixed! They fixed it by wrapping that line in an if statement checking the output of sys.platform. Very responsive dev.

Dunedan 4 hours ago 2 replies      
The website is a way better source than the Github repo: https://slapbot.github.io/
GordonS 59 minutes ago 0 replies      
> or just write your own modules to extend the functionality of the application using simple as f* guide.

I'm not one to be a prude... but, is this really necessary?

_jtrig 4 hours ago 2 replies      
This is exactly the kind of IoT I was hoping for. Not the bastardized corporate data-mining kind.

Hope this project keeps growing!

theprop 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Cool! Any video demo or anything of this anywhere?
Pfhreak 4 hours ago 7 replies      
Someday, someone will buck the trend of naming their voice assistant with a woman's name. Sadly, today is not that day.
Animats 3 hours ago 2 replies      
Nice. Anyone interested in porting this to Android to replace Google voice-driven services? F-Droid needs this.
microcolonel 3 hours ago 0 replies      
There are lots of projects like this today; but I think the most important and useful thing (profoundly missing) is an open source state-of-art offline (or maybe hybrid) speech recognition package. Until that happens, almost nothing has changed.
notgood 3 hours ago 3 replies      
$80k/month App Store Scam medium.com
436 points by amima  1 day ago   140 comments top 23
blhack 14 hours ago 7 replies      
This is particularly annoying while my beta is "waiting for review" so I can have the privilege of giving it to a few beta testers.

How does apple not expect that annoying developers with their app store process (so much so that things like this exist: https://fastlane.tools/), AND charging them 30% AND apparently not actually reviewing anything about the apps making it into their store isn't going to eventually drive people away from it?

(Why yes, I am cranky over the amount of hoops I had to jump through to get to the point of asking apple for permission to put my beta on my co-founder's iPhone)

blunte 11 hours ago 4 replies      
#1 - Apple has a quarter of a trillion dollars in cash. You would think they could afford intelligent, reasonable app review teams. Clearly they don't bother, based on the complaints from honest developers and evidence of pure scams like this.

#2 - Average computer/phone users are willfully ignorant. I would say stupid, but that's a judgement call (even though I think it's true). Someone with knowledge can advise them, but they cannot be bothered with all that fuss. They'd rather ignore sound advice and push buttons. After all, look at the who runs the country and the complacence of many of its people.

Have you ever had a friend who was a lawyer? Did you ever get some traffic ticket and think, "Hey, I'll ask Bob if he can help me handle this!"? I'm guilty of this once in a while. But "average users" are guilty of doing this to technical people all the fucking time. And when we advise them of behaviors to change to avoid future incidents, they nod and agree, but then repeat the stupid behavior later.

Sorry for the rant, but perhaps it's time to just start replying to scammed/screwed users with, "Oh wow, that's really unfortunate. I guess you'll have to go buy a new phone/computer." Maybe that will jar them into actually using their brains.

* Edit for wine-related typos.

notadoc 15 hours ago 8 replies      
How does garbage like this get through the App Store? I thought Apple was notoriously strict on approvals?

Also, do people still use the App Store? I don't think I have casually browsed for apps in 5 years or more.

chatmasta 19 hours ago 5 replies      
These App Store ads are the Wild West right now. I've seen multiple cases where I search an exact app name, and that app's competitor has the top "spot" due to buying an ad. It's like if you searched for Uber and saw an ad for Lyft above it.

How long will apple allow this? At the very least it should be impossible to bid on trademarked terms, and no ad should ever outrank an exact match result.

htormey 13 hours ago 0 replies      
wow, I'm pretty pissed off by this. One of my clients is a medical marijuana startup and we have had to jump through so many hoops to stay compliant with Apple's random app store rules. We have been rejected on several occasions and pulled from the app store.

I also had another app that was accepted into the app store then when I pushed an update release I was informed that my logo had to change because it used Apple's camera emoji. I only did this because another popular app did the same thing (down for lunch). In order to stay compliant, I had to change my logo.

I'm fine with said rules existing as in theory they are meant to protect lay customers from junk like this. How on earth did this thing make it through a review process that's so hard on some apps?

I wish Apple would apply it's rules and vetting with more consistency.

prodmerc 12 hours ago 2 replies      
> Ive also never clicked on a Google Ad.

I've never done it, either. I clearly remember the only few times I clicked on AdSense ads - once by mistake, and was extremely annoyed at the results (it was a sort of list like search results), and 2-3 times to test my own AdSense ads (yeah, against ToS).

Yet AdSense is raking in billions. I've always wondered who actually clicks on the ads :D

kennydude 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Some keywords need to return help topics instead. If you search "virus scanner", Apple should tell users their device really doesn't need one
tyingq 17 hours ago 1 reply      
I was under the impression that the approval process for the app store was somewhat rigorous.

How did this app get through that?

kuon 12 hours ago 3 replies      
This kind of things make me wonder why I am honest and poor (I mean not rich to the millions, I am not actually "poor"). I could do scams like this and be rich by the minute...
akcreek 14 hours ago 2 replies      
How are chargebacks handled on the App store? I would assume a scam like this will receive a relatively enormous number of chargebacks.
tinus_hn 22 hours ago 3 replies      
I don't understand why such an obvious scam works; Apple keeps the money for a while so they should be able to cancel the developer account and refund all users.
endgame 12 hours ago 2 replies      
At what point do you say "no, the app store experiment has failed" and give users control of their own devices?

Never, I guess.

whyagaindavid 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Does nobody from apple read hn? How does one recommend iPhone to NGOs, privacy activists, other vulnerable people?
meric 1 day ago 1 reply      
Looks like many of the keywords you can buy Ads for are underpriced. To advertise for a keyword you need to build can "relevant" to that keyword. It takes time for legitimate app developers to build apps to take advantage of those keywords. Until then, the underpricing of ads is taken advantage of by these "scammers" who build costly non-functional apps and recycle the earnings into buying ads for them.
fright 9 hours ago 0 replies      
While it's frustrating if taken at face value, Sensor Tower's numbers aren't totally valid. They get the number for a few of my apps really wrong. The download stats are more or less true, but the revenue can be way off.
ge96 11 hours ago 1 reply      
Haha I thought this was a how to guide initially as a "good entrepreneur" mind you good to me is subjective, or is it personal. Money is money right? I can't ask my clients to pay me so I obvs don't support that.

Nice into the rabbit hole though, should see how bad it gets with VMs.

hellofunk 13 hours ago 1 reply      
When I read stuff like this I really lose faith in the human race.
_pmf_ 14 hours ago 3 replies      
One thing of note: the spelling errors are deliberate to let only the most gullible people through to the last step (improving the odds that the person in question will not know how to report this as a scam or initiate a chargeback). The same tactics are used by ads on porn sites[0].

[0] Or so I have heard ... from a friend

LoSboccacc 14 hours ago 1 reply      
yeah app store quality has dropped to google play levels to the point that one of ios last, actual, concrete advantage for non technical users is becoming moot.
microcolonel 14 hours ago 1 reply      
You know, it's sad that people are eager to pay Apple nearly a thousand dollars for a phone, buy an iCloud subscription to go with it, and maybe buy a MacBook (Pro?); and then content that after all of that money changes hands, Apple still wants to fill 80% of your screen with an advertisement. Then, if it wasn't bad enough, they don't vet the advertised applications for basic legitimacy (meanwhile legitimate apps frequently get caught up in endless nitpicking at submission).

I get why people do it, but it's sad that they do.

balladeer 8 hours ago 0 replies      
And I thought Apple vets the apps (and from what I heard even betas and upgrades/updates too?) before letting it go live on the App Store.

As a long time Android user (and no I wans't happy for most parts; and I wanted to taste the iOS waters both as an user and a mobile dev) who recently moved to an iPhone SE I feel really disappointed.

kuroguro 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Brilliant! Wish I would have thought of that xD
timwaagh 12 hours ago 0 replies      
finally i can be rich too! too bad i am not an ios dev. these apps are made by people from 'nam. i doubt you could do this in a civilized country without getting sued into the ground though.
Fractal planting patterns yield optimal harvests, without central control phys.org
212 points by dnetesn  22 hours ago   56 comments top 12
chrismealy 16 hours ago 3 replies      
This reminds me of something from Sam Bowles's "Microeconomics":

Like the overnight train that left me in an empty field some distance from the settlement, the process of economic development has for the most part bypassed the two hundred or so families that make up the village of Palanpur. They have remained poor, even by Indian standards: less than a third of the adults are literate, and most have endured the loss of a child to malnutrition or to illnesses that are long forgotten in other parts of the world. But for the occasional wristwatch, bicycle, or irrigation pump, Palanpur appears to be a timeless backwater, untouched by Indias cutting edge software industry and booming agricultural regions. Seeking to understand why, I approached a sharecropper and his three daughters weeding a small plot. The conversation eventually turned to the fact that Palanpur farmers sow their winter crops several weeks after the date at which yields would be maximized. The farmers do not doubt that earlier planting would give them larger harvests, but no one the farmer explained, is willing to be the first to plant, as the seeds on any lone plot would be quickly eaten by birds. I asked if a large group of farmers, perhaps relatives, had ever agreed to sow earlier, all planting on the same day to minimize losses. If we knew how to do that, he said, looking up from his hoe at me, we would not be poor.

aetherspawn 19 hours ago 3 replies      
I didn't understand:

1. how they didn't have pest problems if they planted in fractal patterns

2. but they did have pest problems if they didn't plant at the same time

Could someone kindly explain that in a little more depth?

ggrothendieck 10 hours ago 0 replies      
There is an agent-based model of Balinese irrigation written in NetLogo here: https://www.openabm.org/model/2221/version/3/view
jcoffland 16 hours ago 3 replies      
I fail to see how the planting patterns are fractal. A fractal pattern is one which repeats itself at different scales. I realize that the repetition does not need to be exact but I don't see how there is any at all in this situation.
chriswarbo 19 hours ago 3 replies      
This looks very interesting from a regulation point of view, as a potential way to bring greedy self-interest into alignment with national/international social interest. I wonder what scenarios could be given a "pest tax", to alter the dynamic from a tradgedy of the commons to a cooperative/competitive optimum?
havella 17 hours ago 1 reply      
this is very interesting, wondering the principle applies to societal organization and current reversal trends on globalization (mono-culture) and weakening of international 'controlling' organizations.
marmshallow 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Can anyone find sample satellite imagery that illustrates the fractal patterns? I didn't see any in the article or with a quick google search.
abhinai 18 hours ago 0 replies      
TLDR; Locally collaborative greedy planting strategy leads to globally optimal results and looks like a fractal from above. Mind == Blown.
chiefalchemist 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Is this a form of emergence?
kakarot 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Now how can I apply this to Dwarf Fortress?
Polarity 17 hours ago 0 replies      
so: monolithic frameworks vs loose coupled components?
anigbrowl 15 hours ago 0 replies      
These insights will be useful for my political project.
Self-Normalizing Neural Networks arxiv.org
179 points by MrQuincle  18 hours ago   10 comments top 5
MrQuincle 18 hours ago 1 reply      
+ Problem: deep nets working fine if they are recurrent, but for forward nets, depth doesn't seem to do the job.

+ Normalization is beneficial for learning (per unit zero means and unit variance). It can be batch normalization, layer normalization, or weight normalization (if trained layer for layer and previous layer normalized).

+ Perturbations through stochastic gradient descent, stochastic regularization (dropout) does not destroy the normalized properties for CNNs, but it does so for forward nets.

+ Self-normalizing net uses a mapping g: O -> O that maps mean and variance to the next layer for each observation. Iteratively applying this mapping leads to a fixed point.

+ The activation function to do so is not a sigmoid, ReLU, etc. but a function that is linear for positive x and exponential in x for negative x; the scaled exponential linear unit.

+ Intuitively: for negative net inputs the variance is decreased, for positive net inputs the variance is increased.

+ For very negative values the variance decrease is stronger. For inputs close to zero the variance increase is stronger.

+ For large invariance in one layer, the variance gets decreased more in the next layer, and vice versa.

+ Theorem 2 states that the variance can be bounded from above and hence there are not exploding gradients.

+ Theorem 3 states that the variance can be bounded from below and does not vanish.

+ Stochasticity is introduced by a variant on dropout called alpha dropout. This is a type of dropout that leaves mean and variance invariant.

I think the paper gives a nice view on handling gradients in deep nets.

return0 15 hours ago 0 replies      
They already have a tensorflow implementation of SELU https://github.com/bioinf-jku/SNNs
daveguy 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Page 87 of the paper, Appendix A4.2 starts the comparison between problem sets.


Looks impressive, best or near best on most, but I wish they had bolded best of set.

Still not sure how the regularization squares with the rapid precision fitting to the training set data in Figure 1.

nl 8 hours ago 1 reply      
That Appendix!

Next time someone claims people don't have a theoretical understanding of how NNs work point them at that.

BALLU: Buoyancy Assisted Lightweight Legged Unit (2016) [video] youtube.com
22 points by lisper  10 hours ago   2 comments top
b0rsuk 4 hours ago 1 reply      
It looks cool, but would probably be better served with a propeller.

Fall recovery is great until you realize you can push it away by going Boo!.

Out of the applications, dancing looks most convincing to me. It could serve as a toy / decoration on dance floors and shop displays.

Exploring LSTMs echen.me
315 points by deafcalculus  1 day ago   41 comments top 9
visarga 23 hours ago 4 replies      
LSTMs are both amazing and not quite good enough. They seem to be too complicated for what they do well, and not quite complex enough for what they can't do so well. The main limitation is that they mix structure with style, or type with value. For example, if you want an LSTM to learn addition, if you taught it to operate on numbers of 6 digits it won't be able to generalize on numbers of 20 digits.

That's because it doesn't factorize the input into separate meaningful parts. The next step in LSTMs will be to operate over relational graphs so they only have to learn function and not structure at the same time. That way they will be able to generalize more between different situations and be much more useful.

Graphs can be represented as adjacency matrices and data as vectors. By multiplying vector with matrix, you can do graph computation. Recurring graph computations are a lot like LSTMs. That's why I think LSTMs are going to become more invariant to permutation and object composition in the future, by using graph data representation instead of flat euclidean vectors, and typed data instead of untyped data. So they are going to become strongly typed, graph RNNs. With such toys we can do visual and text based reasoning, and physical simulation.

inlineint 23 hours ago 1 reply      
I personally find recurrent highway networks (RHNs) as described in [1] to be easier to understand and remember the formulas for than the original LSTM. Because as they are generalizations of LSTM, if one understands RHNs, one can understand LSTMs as just a particular case of RHN.

Instead of handwaving about "forgetting", it is IMO better to understand the problem of vanishing gradients and how can forget gates actually help with them.

And Jrgen Schmidhuber, the inventor of LSTM, is a co-author of the RHN paper.

[1] https://arxiv.org/abs/1607.03474

YeGoblynQueenne 19 hours ago 2 replies      
In the experiment on teaching an LSTM to count, it's useful to note that the examples it's trained on are derivations [1] from a grammar a^nb^n (with n > 0), a classic example of a Context-Freee Grammar (CFG).

It's well understood that CFGs can not be induced from examples. Which accounts for the fact that LSTMs cannot learn "counting" in this manner, nor indeed can any other learning method that learns from examples.


[1] "Strings generated from"

[2] The same goes for any formal grammars other than finite ones, as in simpler than regular.

dirtyaura 1 day ago 5 replies      
Really great work on visualizing neurons!

Is anyone working with LSTMs in a production setting? Any tips on what are the biggest challenges?

Jeremy Howard said in fast.ai course that in the applied setting, simpler GRUs work much better and has replaced LSTMs. Comments about this?

mrplank 23 hours ago 2 replies      
LSTMs are on their retour in my opinion. They are a hack to make memory in recurrent networks more persistent. In practice they overfit too easy. They are being replaced with convolutional networks. Have a look at the latest paper from Facebook about translation for more details.
minimaxir 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is there code for the coloring of neurons per-character as in the post? I've seen that type of visualization on similar posts and am curious if there is a library for it. (the original char-rnn post [http://karpathy.github.io/2015/05/21/rnn-effectiveness/] indicates that it is custom Code/CSS/HTML)
Seanny123 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Is the code for generating the reactions from the LSTM hidden units posted anywhere? That was the best part for me and I'd love to use it in my own projects.
natch 1 day ago 1 reply      
LSTM is "Long Short Term Memory," since the tutorial never mentions what it stands for.


raarts 1 day ago 1 reply      
Can someone provide a tl;dr ?
A Puzzle of Clever Connections Nears a Happy End quantamagazine.org
25 points by pavel_lishin  12 hours ago   1 comment top
ehsquared 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I like the terms "cup" and "cap". They correspond to the LaTeX shortcuts \cup and \cap for set union () and set intersection ().
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