Critical Section


Thursday,  01/21/16  10:33 PM

Spent the day ping ponging between VB6 (!) and C++ (!!) and loving it.  NO, I did not wish I was programming in JavaScript or Go or Python instead :)

JavaScript nightmareThe perfect rant on The Sad State of Web Development.  "The web has created some of the most complicated, convoluted, over engineered tools ever conceived."  Totally agree.  And this is a big part of those 10MB+ page loads I hate so much.

Related: Jeffrey Zeldman: Web Performance today.

Brave is a new web browser from Brenden Eich (the inventor of JavaScript, who went on to be CEO of Mozilla before being fired for making the wrong political donation).  I'm in the beta queue!

Yay!  UberX can now pick you up at LAX.  Well it's about time.  And now the hotel shuttles can go back to shuttling hotel guests, instead of ferrying Uber passengers off-airport.

This was interesting: Silicon Valley kingpins commit $1B to create artificial intelligence without profit motive.  I cannot see how this can possibly work.  The only way to drive such a project is with capitalism.  And these people of all should now that.

Scott ("Dilbert") Adams, flushed with success from his Trump-master-persuader series, solves the gun problem with an app.  "The idea is to give legal gun owners – the kind who don't mind being known to the government – a way to see which public places NEED them to carry."  I'm not sure this is actually a good idea, but it is certainly innovative thinking.

Kuiper Belt objectsNo idea what to make of this: Caltech researchers have found evidence of "planet nine", a giant planet tracing a bizarre highly elongated orbit around the sun.  Hmmm... stay tuned on this one, right?  (And queue the Darth Vadar theme song.)

All those Kuiper Belt objects shown at left are orbiting the sun, yet are not considered planets.  Note inclusion of Pluto...

News you maybe could use: Space Gardening 101.  "In a weightless environment, there is no up and down, so roots grow in all directions. Water and soil, the materials used to anchor these plants and allow for root growth tend to float away."  Hey, you never know; you might find yourself in space, heading for the Kuiper Belt :)

NASA have helpfully published five signs you might be ready to apply to be an astronaut.  I am!  (Me me pick me)

Exploding Kittens: the appWell of course: Exploding Kittens is now a multiplayer IOS app.  It was just a year ago those kittens exploded onto the scene, with the biggest Kickstarter ever.

Brian Hall says there is no diversity crisis in tech.  And indeed there isn't.  From the viewpoint of SJWs there's bias, but it is actually a sign of meritocracy.  Not sure how this is going to play out; probably companies will continue pretending they're actively promoting "diversity", while not much will change.

Paul Graham weighs in with a most interesting Way to detect bias.  "What it means for a selection process to be biased against applicants of type x is that it's harder for them to make it through. Which means applicants of type x have to be better to get selected than applicants not of type x. Which means applicants of type x who do make it through the selection process will outperform other successful applicants. And if the performance of all the successful applicants is measured, you'll know if they do."  Cool, right?

Apropos: Stuart Taylor: A little-understood engine of campus unrest: racial admissions preferences.  "It is critical to understand that these are not bad students. They did well in high school and could excel at somewhat less selective universities where they would arrive roughly as well prepared as their classmates.  But due to racial preferences, they find themselves for the first time in their lives competing against classmates who have a huge head start in terms of previous education, academic ability, or both."  If there were affirmative action in tech, the same thing would happen...

Titan!Finally; look at Saturn's magnificent moon, Titan.  (cllck to enbiggen.)  I cannot wait until I can do exactly that!

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