The Climate-Energy Challenge
This course will examine future climate change in the context of Earth history, and then consider various strategies for what might be done to deal with it. The likely impact of continued greenhouse gas emissions will be explored, emphasizing the scientific uncertainties associated with various predictions, and how this can be understood in the context of risk.
climate  energy  mooc 
6 days ago
3 Player Games Are Hard
We prove that computing a Nash equilibrium in a 3-player game is PPAD-complete.
gametheory  nash  equilibrium  complexity 
6 days ago
From relational DB to single DynamoDB table: a step-by-step exploration
Of all the sessions I’ve seen from AWS re:Invent 2018, my favorite is certainly this bewildering drop-kick of NoSQL expertise from AWS Principal Technologist and certified outer space wizard Rick Houlihan. (Seriously, watch that video, then come back to this article. You won’t be disappointed.)
db  distributed  AWS  rdb 
6 days ago
Anti-social punishment
There's a trope among Slovak intellectual elite depicting an average Slovak as living in a village, sitting a local pub, drinking Borovička, criticizing everyone and everything but not willing to lift a finger to improve things. Moreover, it is assumed that if you actually tried to make things better, said individual would throw dirt at you and place obstacles in your way.
6 weeks ago
Understanding Apache Pulsar
In this post we’ll go through the Apache Pulsar design so that we can better design the failure scenarios. This post is not for people who want to understand how to use Apache Pulsar but who want to understand how it works. I have struggled to write a clear overview of its architecture in a way that is simple and easy to understand. I appreciate any feedback on this write-up.

The main claims that I am interested in are:

guarantees of no message loss (if recommended configuration applied and your whole data center doesn't burn to the ground)

strong ordering guarantees

predictable read and write latency

Apache Pulsar chooses consistency over availability as does its sister projects BookKeeper and ZooKeeper. Every effort is made to give strong consistency.
pulsar  kafka  messaging  systems  distributed  consensus 
october 2018
The Effective Tech Lead
Hyperbolic click-bait title aside, I wish to convince you that the effective Tech Lead is a force-multiplier and a unicorn-cousin of the famed 10x engineer, except the Tech Lead’s power lies in the transference of that potent developer juju to each member of their team. The fortunate engineers who reside under the tutelage of these Tech Leads find their own powers magnified 10-fold and enveloped in a support-system unlike anything they’ve ever experienced.

And, I wish to convince you that this magical 10x aura need not come at the cost of one’s well-being other than a few gray hairs on the Tech Lead’s head. The Lead disposes of all wasteful “work” and vastly accelerates productivity for the work that matters, and returns to their team the option to enjoy work life harmony. Such is the boon for those paired with the effective Tech Lead.
tech  lead  management  software 
march 2018
DAOs, Democracy, and Governance
Democracies are typically seen as governments which call upon the governed to make the major
decisions of government: who shall lead, what policies to follow, what laws to enact. In all these matters
democracies call upon ordinary citizens to make complex decisions with eventful consequences.
We do not call upon ordinary untrained citizens to perform surgery, fly airplanes, design computers, or
carry out the other myriad tasks needed to keep society functioning, what makes governance different?
The problem is readily understood: if we give governance to “experts” they will make decisions in their
own best interests, not in the best interests of us all. As we have seen too often in the past, this leads to
enrichment of a small elite and the enslavement or worse of the vast majority. Can we take advantage
of the expertise of the best and brightest, while insulating the system from attempts they might make to
gain control?
Modern research into “the wisdom of crowds” provides new insights into how to combine the expertise
of all participants without handing over control to “experts”. Combined with research on Decentralized
Autonomous Organizations (DAOs), this allows us to design a new form of democracy which is more
stable, less prone to erratic behavior, better able to meet the needs of its citizens, and which better uses
the expertise of all its citizens to make high-quality decisions.
We call this new form of democracy a DAO Democracy.
dao  merkle 
march 2018
How to Think Like a Medieval Monk
When they practiced inducing emotions through meditation, the monks were in fact drawing on the brain’s property of neuroplasticity—its ability to learn, adapt, and change itself based on its environment. Although doubtless they would have other philosophical disagreements, a medieval Cistercian and a modern neuroscientist would agree on the principle that certain feelings and emotions can be changed through meditative exercises. The following are four techniques Cistercian monks used to reshape their own mental states—and the science behind them.
january 2018
All Trails
Access 50,000+ trail maps
AllTrails has the largest collection of detailed, hand-curated trail maps so you can hit the trail with confidence. Anytime. Anywhere.
map  trails  hiking  backpacking  trekking 
january 2018
So You Want to Learn Physics
Over the past few years, ever since writing "If Susan Can Learn Physics, So Can You", I've been contacted by people from all backgrounds who are inspired and want to learn physics, but don't know where to start, what to learn, what to read, and how to structure their studies. I've spoken with single mothers who want to go back to school and study physics, tenured philosophy professors who want to learn physics so that they can make significant and informed contributions to philosophy of physics, high school students who want to know what they should read to prepare for an undergraduate education in physics, and people in dozens of various careers who want to really, really learn and understand physics simply for the joy of it.
physics  science  ed  education 
december 2017
Synthetic Images for Deep Learning
Deep Learning methods usually require huge amounts of
training data to perform at their full potential, and often
require expensive manual labeling. Using synthetic images
is therefore very attractive to train object detectors, as the
labeling comes for free, and several approaches have been
proposed to combine synthetic and real images for training.
In this paper, we show that a simple trick is sufficient to
train very effectively modern object detectors with synthetic
images only. In order to train them we initialize the part
responsible for feature extraction with generic layers pretrained
on real data. We show that that ’freezing’ these layers
and train only the remaining layers with plain OpenGL
rendering performs surprisingly well.
deeplearning  ml  learning  synthetic  cnn  gan 
november 2017
Magic Paper Working notes by Michael Nielsen
Mathematical ideas are conventionally expressed using notation and terminology developed using static media. Suppose, however, that mathematics had been invented after modern computers. This is perhaps difficult to imagine – after all, mathematics helped lead to computers – but let's do the thought experiment anyway. Might mathematical notation have developed in a different way? Would we instead have developed a dynamic, interactive notation more powerful than the static mathematical and linguistic notations in common use today?
november 2017
Playing for Benchmarks GTA training data set
We present a benchmark suite for visual perception. The benchmark is based on more than 250K high-resolution video frames, all annotated with ground-truth data for both low-level and high-level vision tasks, including optical flow, semantic instance segmentation, object detection and tracking, object-level 3D scene layout, and visual odometry. Ground-truth data for all tasks is available for every frame. The data was collected while driving, riding, and walking a total of 184 kilometers in diverse ambient conditions in a realistic virtual world. To create the benchmark, we have developed a new approach to collecting ground-truth data from simulated worlds without access to their source code or content. We conduct statistical analyses that show that the composition of the scenes in the benchmark closely matches the composition of corresponding physical environments. The realism of the collected data is further validated via perceptual experiments. We analyze the performance of state-of-the-art methods for multiple tasks, providing reference baselines and highlighting challenges for future research.
cv  vision  data  training  supervised 
november 2017
Amazon's Leadership Principle's
Our Leadership Principles aren’t just a pretty inspirational wall hanging. These Principles work hard, just like we do. Amazonians use them, every day, whether they’re discussing ideas for new projects, deciding on the best solution for a customer’s problem, or interviewing candidates. It’s just one of the things that makes Amazon peculiar.
leadership  management  manage 
april 2017
The unimaginable, infamous case of Pam Hupp
A tangle of lies, greed, sex, and death—and a surprise arrest
march 2017
AIs limited to purely computational inferential tasks (Tool AIs) supporting humans will be less intelligent, efficient, and economically valuable than more autonomous reinforcement-learning AIs (Agent AIs) who act on their own and learn to take actions over choice of computation/data/training/architecture/hyperparameters/external-resource use. (decision theory, statistics, NN, computer science, transhumanism, AI)
created: 7 Sep 2016; modified: 08 Mar 2017; status: finished; confidence: likely; importance: 10
ai  intelligence 
march 2017
RimWorld game
A sci-fi colony sim driven by an intelligent AI storyteller. Inspired by Dwarf Fortress and Firefly. Generates stories by simulating psychology, ecology, gunplay, melee combat, climate, biomes, diplomacy, interpersonal relationships, art, medicine, trade, and more.
games  ai  sim  colony 
march 2017
Quiet Kit (Meditation for Beginners)
Decrease stress and increase focus with our simple guided meditation for beginners.
meditation  breathing  focus 
february 2017
Why Philosophers Should Care About Computational Complexity
One might think that, once we know something is computable, how efficiently it can be computed
is a practical question with little further philosophical importance. In this essay, I offer a
detailed case that one would be wrong. In particular, I argue that computational complexity theory—the
field that studies the resources (such as time, space, and randomness) needed to solve
computational problems—leads to new perspectives on the nature of mathematical knowledge,
the strong AI debate, computationalism, the problem of logical omniscience, Hume’s problem of
induction, Goodman’s grue riddle, the foundations of quantum mechanics, economic rationality,
closed timelike curves, and several other topics of philosophical interest. I end by discussing
aspects of complexity theory itself that could benefit from philosophical analysis.
math  philosophy  aaronson 
january 2017
What Really Happened on Mars
By now most of you have read Mike’s (mbj@microsoft.com) summary of Dave Wilner’s comments given at the IEEE Real-Time Systems Symposium. I don’t know Mike and I didn’t attend the symposium (though I really wish I had now) and I have not talked to Dave Wilner since before the talk. However, I did lead the software team for the Mars Pathfinder spacecraft. So, instead of trying to find out what was said I will just tell you what happened. You can make your own judgments.
NASA  mars  systems  physics 
december 2016
From Java code to Heap
This article gives you insight into the memory usage of Java™ code, covering the memory overhead of putting an int value into an Integer object, the cost of object delegation, and the memory efficiency of the different collection types. You'll learn how to determine where inefficiencies occur in your application and how to choose the right collections to improve your code.
jvm  memory 
december 2016
Thought as a Technology
Have you ever felt awe and delight upon first experiencing a computer interface? An interface that surprised you with its strangeness, with a sense of entering an alien world?
philosophy  technology 
december 2016
Skip Lists Done Right
In short, skip lists are a linked-list-like structure which allows for fast search. It consists of a base list holding the elements, together with a tower of lists maintaining a linked hierarchy of subsequences, each skipping over fewer elements.
datastructure  skiplist  tree 
december 2016
Dependency Management Problem Analyzed
The package version selection problem is to find a set of dependencies that can be used to build a top-level package P that is complete (all dependencies satisfied) and compatible (no two incompatible packages are selected). There may be no such set, because of the diamond dependency problem: perhaps A needs B and C; B needs D version 1, not 2; and C needs D version 2, not 1. In this case, assuming it’s not possible to choose both versions of D, there is no way to build A.
algorithms  dependency  graph 
december 2016
Moral Trade
The concept of Moral Trade is at the heard of "vote trading"
voting  philosophy  ethics  morality 
december 2016
A Wild Way to Save the Planet
Evolutionary theorist Edward O. Wilson has an ambitious plan to halt ecological ruin.
environment  ecology  biology 
august 2016
Guide to Modern Java (pt I)
Not Your Father's Java: An Opinionated Guide to Modern Java Development, Part 1
java  jvm 
may 2016
Syntax Net
At Google, we spend a lot of time thinking about how computer systems can read and understand human language in order to process it in intelligent ways. Today, we are excited to share the fruits of our research with the broader community by releasing SyntaxNet, an open-source neural network framework implemented in TensorFlow that provides a foundation for Natural Language Understanding (NLU) systems. Our release includes all the code needed to train new SyntaxNet models on your own data, as well as Parsey McParseface, an English parser that we have trained for you and that you can use to analyze English text.
nlp  ast  linguistics 
may 2016
Introducing gRPC, a new open source HTTP/2 RPC Framework
rpc  http2  grpc 
may 2016
My Orange Brompton
Brompton/London Cycling Blog
brompton  bike 
may 2016
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