The Lonely Work of Moderating Hacker News
> The site’s now characteristic tone of performative erudition—hyperrational, dispassionate, contrarian, authoritative—often masks a deeper recklessness. Ill-advised citations proliferate; thought experiments abound; humane arguments are dismissed as emotional or irrational. Logic, applied narrowly, is used to justify broad moral positions. The most admired arguments are made with data, but the origins, veracity, and malleability of those data tend to be ancillary concerns. The message-board intellectualism that might once have impressed V.C. observers like Graham has developed into an intellectual style all its own. Hacker News readers who visit the site to learn how engineers and entrepreneurs talk, and what they talk about, can find themselves immersed in conversations that resemble the output of duelling Markov bots trained on libertarian economics blogs, “The Tim Ferriss Show,” and the work of Yuval Noah Harari.
This is a pretty fun read I think, even for people who don’t like HN. Or perhaps especially so. Some great, and dismal, quotes. Even ngate makes an appearance.
Life Can Get Weird When You’re Married to The Middle Seat
> A guest columnist—who happens to be the regular columnist’s wife—ponders how his obsession with air travel benefits readers
The Stranding of the MV Shokalskiy
> Mawson’s experience distills the Victorian age of Antarctic exploration to its essence, combining an unbelievable personal fortitude with the overall pointlessness of the endeavor. Even by Antarctic standards, George V Land was unexciting. The best thing you can say about it today is that sometimes a meteorite lands there.
> But Mawson left behind a hut, and by the iron laws of Antarctic nostalgia that apply to any human structure below the 70th parallel, that hut is now an object of veneration, and must be visited.
> In 2011, the Australian climate scientist Chris Turney heard the call of the Antarctic. As readers of this blog know, that can be an expensive call to hear. But the approaching centenary of Mawson’s expedition gave Turney a unique fundraising hook.
And then things went a bit sideways.
The New York City passport office
> The New York passport office. Wow. Where to begin?
Expedia: from software bug to customer service nightmare, a modern Odyssey
> Instead of keeping an account and my data private, Expedia created a fake account. Instead of deleting the fake account, Expedia deleted both accounts. Instead of reactivating the account I had to create a new account. Instead of adding points to the new account, Expedia deleted the new account again. After 30+ interactions over two months with the massively incompetent support, I lost about 10,000 points, my status, but received $75 and 3000 points (about $100 total) in compensation. Go Expdia!
From Punched Cards To Flat Screens
> When I retired at the end of September 2007, I knew I would be expected to make a speech at the retirement lunch. Looking back over the 40 years that I had been part of the computing community in Cambridge, it struck me again just how much change there had been, and also how many different areas of computing I had worked in. For the younger colleagues who listened to my speech, the early years must seem like ancient history.
The end of political cartoons at The New York Times
> In April 2019, a Netanyahu caricature from syndication reprinted in the international editions triggered widespread outrage, a Times apology and the termination of syndicated cartoons. Weeks later, my employers tell me they’re ending political cartoons altogether by July. I’m putting down my pen, with a sigh: that’s a lot of years of work undone by a single cartoon - not even mine - that should never have run in the best newspaper of the world.
> I’m afraid this is not just about cartoons, but about journalism and opinion in general. We are in a world where moralistic mobs gather on social media and rise like a storm, falling upon newsrooms in an overwhelming blow. This requires immediate counter-measures by publishers, leaving no room for ponderation or meaningful discussions. Twitter is a place for furor, not debate. The most outraged voices tend to define the conversation, and the angry crowd follows in.
What I Learned Trying To Secure Congressional Campaigns
> I don’t believe I accomplished much, but I made so many friends along the way! And I learned a lot about the idiosyncratic world of Congressional campaigns; knowledge that I want to now hand over to you, the next person willing to take a swing at this piñata of futility.
> The candidate was hardest person to secure. They were too busy to come to the training. They didn’t want to move off their Loudong SB250 phone because it had all their favorite Flash games from the Yahoo store on it. Three different antivirus programs competed for dominion over their Windows 7 laptop.
> Ideally, there would be a billing model where the training is free, but the campaign gets charged thousands of dollars for ignoring it.
Privacy Rights and Data Collection in a Digital Economy (Senate hearing)
> As someone who earns his living through data collection, I am acutely aware of the power the tools we are building give us over our fellow citizens’ private lives, and the danger they pose to our liberty. I am grateful to Chairman Crapo, ranking member Brown, and the committee for the opportunity to testify on this vital matter.
Oh, We Don’t Sell Food At This Restaurant — We Purvey Provisions
> Greetings and welcome to Victual, an old-time public house and purveyor of fine provisions that has been foisted upon you by someone who lives in the West Village. Before you ask, yes, this Gingham shirt and denim apron are sewn directly into my skin to save time.
For cramped New York, an expanding dining scene
> My first culinary encounter was with pizza, a mysterious kind of baked tlayuda, covered in macerated tomatoes and milk coagulation, and occasionally smothered with a type of thinly sliced lap cheong called pepperoni. The odd dish, sometimes referred to as a pie, washed ashore from Naples some years ago. While the taste takes some getting used to, pizza can be enchanting when done properly.
> Look no further than Roberta’s in up-and-coming Brooklyn, a dangerous, brooding suburb accessible through the city’s antiquated system of underground metal cars (similar to Los Angeles’ Metro system, but more expensive). It was, nevertheless, worth the arduous trip to enjoy a Lil’ Stinker pizza ($18), covered in tomato mash and curdled milk, along with garlic and tangy peppers.
The Mueller report: How long can cable news talk about a document it doesn’t have?
> And that’s why — as the Erik Wemple Blog was finishing this post — all the channels were still going strong as they worked toward three hours of gabby analysis, “breaking news” bits and speculation. On CNN, legal analyst Joey Jackson was talking about President Trump’s protection from indictment. On MSNBC, Melber was talking to Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) about releasing the report. On Fox News the great Chris Wallace was saying, “We’re all tired of this investigation. . . . I think the country at large has been suffering Mueller fatigue, investigation fatigue.” It’s also known as cable-news fatigue.
Thirteen Years of Bryce Harper Feels Like Forever
> Who knows what the planet will look like in 13 years? It’s entirely possible we’ll all be living in space, drinking space juice and eating space pizza. The robots will have taken all of our jobs. The President of the United States will be Bill Belichick. The Marlins might be good. Or playing on an island.
German for Programmers
> After 2 years of learning German I’ve noticed that, for the most part, you can go a long way by mapping foreign concepts to ones that you already know. In particular, I’ve had success mapping aspects of German grammar to programming concepts I use every day. After all, programmers deal with weird grammars all the time, why not take advantage of that skill?
HOT TAKE on the recent CPU Bugs
> You weep over the side channel attacks and you curse Intel. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know; that speculative execution, while dangerous, probably saves cores. And my optimizations, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, save cores. You don’t want in order execution because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want the most instructions per cycle.
Common Grammar Mistakes to Avoid
> 1. LESS/FEWER. This one is really embarrassing. You may think pointing out the difference between these two at every opportunity makes you CLEVER and INTERESTING. In fact, it makes you TEDIOUS.
Flies, pipes, and fallout. Posting to pretend I understand.
Gluten Free Antarctica
> Far below the Antarctic circle, I watch a woman cry real tears because she can’t get gluten-free toast.
> Mary is a plummy old English lady traveling alone, an Agatha Christie figure who I expected would spend her time solving mysteries on the ship. When people started disappearing in the Ross Sea, Mary would work the case and gather everyone in the ship’s saloon for the spectacular reveal.
> Unfortunately, Mary turned out to be a bit of a shipboard bully, bad-talking the other passengers instead of helping to solve their murders. But I am still not ready to see her go to pieces over toast.
The Little Printf
> One day, I was stuck in an airport coming back from a conference, furiously typing at a terminal, when an odd, gentle voice asked me:
> If you please, design me a system!
> Design me a system!
> I looked up from my screen, surprised by the request. I looked around and saw this kid who aspired to be a developer and wanted me to call him “printf“, which I felt was very stupid and gimmicky.
The Monster in the Mirror
> Gritty, the Philadelphia Flyers’ sensation-causing mascot, is a weird and scary avatar for a weird and scary time. The 7-foot-tall orange monster didn’t just put one city in touch with its identity: He is all things to all people. He is meme. He is messenger. He is message. And, in many respects, he is messianic.