They Promised Us Jet Packs. They Promised the Bosses Profit. - NYTimes.com
<<Kathy Cooper, an engineer who led the project, said of the goal, “I think we could meet it, but it would be more like 15 to 20 years.” That was too far away, which was why she recommended killing it.>>
18 minutes ago
Pack Hunters of the Silicon Savannas - Hintjens.com
Exercise: apply "the singularity has already happened" to this. Hint: minus the curing-all-human-ills part, hasn't global capitalism already created these social apex predators?
futurism  game-theory  science-fiction  evolution  artificial-intelligence  social-organization 
1 hour ago
How a Guy From a Montana Trailer Park Overturned 150 Years of Biology - The Atlantic
<< In the 150 years since Schwendener, biologists have tried in vain to grow lichens in laboratories. Whenever they artificially united the fungus and the alga, the two partners would never fully recreate their natural structures. It was as if something was missing—and Spribille might have discovered it.

He has shown that largest and most species-rich group of lichens are not alliances between two organisms, as every scientist since Schwendener has claimed. Instead, they’re alliances between three. All this time, a second type of fungus has been hiding in plain view.  >>
biology  history 
13 hours ago
As I say: labor is actually six dimensions...
I question whether, without a primary hedonistic and individualistic ethos, such as is fostered by late capitalism, any component of these 6 factors week remain a competitive advantage for us. In particular, it seems quite likely to me that "smiles" will eventually be done more consistently and with greater fidelity to the recipient's emotional needs by machines.
20 hours ago
Faculty Spotlight: Erik Hurst | Becker Friedman Institute
<<In my third summer project, I’m trying to understand the labor market and patterns in employment over the last 15 years in the US. Specifically, I’m interested in employment rates of young (in their twenties), non-college educated men. In prior work on changes in demand for low-skilled labor, the theory exists that as technology advances, both employment and wages fall due to decreased demand.

In this strand of my research, I’m almost flipping that theory on its head by asking if it is possible that technology can also affect labor supply. In our culture, where we are constantly connected to technology, activities like playing Xbox, browsing social media, and Snapchatting with friends raise the attractiveness of leisure time. And so it goes that if leisure time is more enjoyable, and as prices for these technologies continue to drop, people may be less willing to work at any given wage. This explanation may help us understand why we see steep declines in employment while wages remain steady – a trend that has been puzzling economists.

Right now, I’m gathering facts about the possible mechanisms at play, beginning with a hard look at time-use by young men with less than a four-year degree. In the 2000s, employment rates for this group dropped sharply – more than in any other group. We have determined that, in general, they are not going back to school or switching careers, so what are they doing with their time? The hours that they are not working have been replaced almost one for one with leisure time. Seventy-five percent of this new leisure time falls into one category: video games. The average low-skilled, unemployed man in this group plays video games an average of 12, and sometimes upwards of 30 hours per week. This change marks a relatively major shift that makes me question its effect on their attachment to the labor market.

To answer that question, I researched what fraction of these unemployed gamers from 2000 were also idle the previous year. A staggering 22% - almost one quarter – of unemployed young men did not work the previous year either. These individuals are living with parents or relatives, and happiness surveys actually indicate that they quite content compared to their peers, making it hard to argue that some sort of constraint, like they are miserable because they can’t find a job, is causing them to play video games. The obvious problem with this lifestyle occurs as they age and haven’t accumulated any skills or experience. As a 30- or 40-year old man getting married and needing to provide for a family, job options are extremely limited. This older group of lower-educated men seems to be much less happy than their cohorts.>>
economics  games  culture 
6 days ago
We built voice modulation to mask gender in technical interviews. Here’s what happened. – interviewing.io blog
Speculative. At a minimum, we need more data on voice modulation quality. To my ears, the sample woman's voice modulated to a man's pitch sounds like a stereotypically "effeminate" male voice. There is nothing objectively wrong with such a voice, of course, but it could well trigger unconscious bias.
sex-difference  hiring  interviews  technology-industry 
13 days ago
Must-Read: Teebs: Brexit: "If Boris Johnson looked downbeat yesterday, that is because he realises that he has lost...
A comment? worth reading? in an online newspapers' comment section?

(this kind of makes me worry that Brad DeLong is wasting his time reading Guardian comments)
united-kingdom  politics 
28 days ago
SF supes delay vote on Mayor Lee’s affordable housing plan - SFGate
<<Even trimmed to its barest bones, legislation intended to spur the creation of affordable housing can’t seem to get the votes to pass.>>
4 weeks ago
People have trained a LinkedIn algorithm to be awful | The Verge
I am usually not surprised at machine learning artifacts but this one...
culture  machine-learning  humor 
4 weeks ago
The Gun Control We Deserve | Online Only | n+1
<<Given that today’s Aversive Minimalists include many white liberals whose primary concerns vis-à-vis “gun violence” more or less boil down to making high-profile rampage killings disappear from their newsfeeds, the possibility that they will embrace measures that gesture at solving that problem while doubling down on militarized policing, surveillance, and America’s overcrowded prisons is depressingly easy to imagine.>>

Who needs to imagine? Already the conventional wisdom among liberals has become that the natural next step is to press the no-due-process no-fly-list into service as a no-gun-list, the next step in enshrining it as a politically untouchable all-purpose blacklist of unpeople.
weaponry  regulation  law  culture  united-states 
4 weeks ago
Close Encounters of The Java Memory Model Kind
Nearly all of these pitfalls come from jerks trying to be clever and not grab locks.
concurrency  java  programming 
4 weeks ago
Alan Kay's Reading List
Interesting how much of this is mediocre stuff that was popular in the 60's and 70's.
books  to-read-maybe 
4 weeks ago
Site Reliability Engineering: How Google Runs Production Systems 1, Chris Jones, Jennifer Petoff, Betsy Beyer, Niall Richard Murphy, eBook - AmazonSmile
Finished 2016-06-19. "The SRE book". Long-winded and somewhat variable in quality (for example, the chapter on testing is pedantic, uninformative, and frequently syntactically garbled; and the chapter on Borgmon may be a crime against humanity). Yet this is the frustrating sort of book which has just enough good content that you can't actually ignore or skip most of it entirely, but not enough density of good content that you will enjoy reading it all the way through. I wish a more tightly edited version of this book exited.

However keep in mind that I worked at Google and interacted a decent amount with SRE so other readers may derive more value from its correspondingly greater novelty than I did.
booklog  finished:2016  software-engineering  google  devops 
4 weeks ago
The Practice of Cloud System Administration, by Thomas A. Limoncelli, Strata R. Chalup, Christina J. Hogan (@Kindle)
Finished 206-06-??. Recommended, although you should skip liberally based on your experience. Probably somewhat better than "the SRE book" IMO.
booklog  finished:2016  software-engineering  devops  google 
4 weeks ago
Bill would drug test rich people who get tax breaks, The Guardian reports | NOLA.com
<<A Democratic congresswoman is proposing a bill that would mandate drug testing the richest taxpayers before they receive itemized tax deductions, according to The Guardian. 

U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis., planned to file the proposal in Congress on Thursday, making it clear it's a response to Republican efforts in several states to require drug testing for welfare recipients. >>
plutocracy  politics  legislation-as-an-expressive-medium 
4 weeks ago
A Persistent Union-Find Data Structure
<<The problem of disjoint sets, also known as union-find, consists
in maintaining a partition of a finite set within a data structure.
This structure provides two operations: a function find returning
the class of an element and a function union merging two classes.
An optimal and imperative solution is known since 1975. However,
the imperative nature of this data structure may be a drawback
when it is used in a backtracking algorithm. This paper details the
implementation of a persistent union-find data structure as efficient
as its imperative counterpart. To achieve this result, our solution
makes heavy use of imperative features and thus it is a significant
example of a data structure whose side effects are safely hidden
behind a persistent interface.>>
data-structures  functional-programming 
6 weeks ago
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