Kathryn Chetkovich, Jonathan Franzen.
professional  literature  relationships 
13 days ago
GitHub - aphyr/distsys-class: Class materials for a distributed systems lecture series
This outline accompanies a 12-16 hour overview class on distributed systems fundamentals. The course aims to introduce software engineers to the practical basics of distributed systems, through lecture and discussion. Participants will gain an intuitive understanding of key distributed systems terms, an overview of the algorithmic landscape, and explore production concerns.
14 days ago
Brexit: in defence of Corbyn
“More importantly, I fear that Corbyn’s critics are are insufficiently sympathetic to the philosophical dilemma that Labour faces. On the one hand, Brexit is a stupid idea: escaping weak constraints upon state intervention in the economy is too small a gain to offset the cost of leaving the single market. But on the other, there is a clear mandate for it. As Phil says, seeing Brexit through is “the democratic thing to do.””

“This dilemma has little force for technocrats who think voters are Putin’s dupes or for paternalistic centrists. But it is a problem for the left. A big part of our philosophy is the desire to give working people greater voice in work and in public services. It’s difficult to say people should have more voice in boardrooms whilst denying that voice in a referendum*.

It is this dilemma, perhaps more so than electoral considerations, that justifies Labour’s ambivalence towards Brexit. What we need from Corbyn, then, is a way of retreating from Brexit whilst being able to show that there is a democratic mandate for doing so.”
brexit  uk  politics  eu 
16 days ago
The Dangers of Elite Projection — Human Transit
Elite projection is the belief, among relatively fortunate and influential people, that what those people find convenient or attractive is good for the society as a whole. Once you learn to recognize this simple mistake, you see it everywhere. It is perhaps the single most comprehensive barrier to prosperous, just, and liberating cities.

This is not a call to bash elites. I am making no claim about the proper distribution of wealth and opportunity, or about anyone’s entitlement to influence. But I am pointing out a mistake that elites are constantly at risk of making. The mistake is to forget that elites are always a minority, and that planning a city or transport network around the preferences of a minority routinely yields an outcome that doesn’t work for the majority. Even the elite minority won’t like the result in the end.
transport  economics 
18 days ago
Algorithms by Jeff Erickson
This web page contains a free electronic version of my (soon to be) self-published textbook Algorithms, along with other lecture notes I have written for various theoretical computer science classes at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign since 1998.
cs  algorithms  book 
21 days ago
Inside the Pentagon’s Plan to Win Over Silicon Valley
Inside the Pentagon, Google’s withdrawal brought a combination of frustration and distress—even anger—that has percolated ever since, according to five sources familiar with internal discussions on Maven, the military’s first big effort to utilize AI in warfare.

“We have stumbled unprepared into a contest over the strategic narrative,” said an internal Pentagon memo circulated to roughly 50 defense officials on June 28. The memo depicted a department caught flat-footed and newly at risk of alienating experts critical to the military’s artificial intelligence development plans.

“We will not compete effectively against our adversaries if we do not win the ‘hearts and minds’ of the key supporters,” it warned.

But one way or another, the Pentagon intends to integrate more AI into its weaponry. “We’re not going to sit on the sidelines as a new technology revolutionizes the battlefield,” Marcuse said. “It’s not fair to the American people, it’s not fair to our service members who we send into harm’s way, and it’s not fair to our allies who depend on us.”
machinelearning  ethics  military 
22 days ago
Packaging a python library | ionel's codelog
Put code in src.
Use tox and detox.
Test both with coverage measurements and without.
Use a generator script for tox.ini and .travis.ini.
Run the tests in Travis with tox to keep things consistent with local testing.
packaging  python 
23 days ago
What Most Remote Companies Don’t Tell You About Remote Work
"In contrast to a traditional office, remote work puts much more focus on output — what did you get done — rather than input — how many hours did you spend doing it."
remote  health 
23 days ago
It finally sinks in that some people aren’t white
“Being as accurate as possible is the right thing to do — it’s key to all of our jobs. It’s also essential as we work to hold onto the audiences we have and build relationships with new ones. And when we suggest that something is true of everyone — or of a group of people — when it’s really a more accurate description of what’s true of white people in that group, it alienates readers and destroys trust: If you’ve forgotten that people of color exist, what else have you missed?”
journalism  racism 
28 days ago
Kids Shouldn’t Have to Sacrifice Privacy for Education
“It is not just about the protection of data; it is a matter of letting children learn and grow without concern about how their early preferences, talents and habits could shape the opportunities they have in the future.”
children  parenting  education  Privacy 
4 weeks ago
Convoys — Convoys documentation
Predicting conversions is a really important problem for ecommerce, online advertising, and many other applications. In many cases when conversions are relatively quick, you can measure the response (e.g. whether the user bought the product) and use models like logistic regression to predict conversion.

If conversions have substantial time lag (which is often the case) it gets a bit trickier. You know who converted, but if someone did not convert, they might still convert in the future. In other words, conversions are observed, but non-conversions are not observed.

The “hacky” way to address this is to define conversion as conversion at time X. This turns the problem into a simple binary classification problem, but the drawback is you are losing data by binarizing it. First of all, you can not learn from users that are younger than X. You also can not learn from users that convert after X. For an excellent introduction to this problem (and distributions like the Weibull distribution), here’s a blog post about implementing a recurrent neural network to predict churn.

Luckily, there is a somewhat similar field called survival analysis. It introduces the concept of censored data, which is data that we have not observed yet. Lifelines is a great Python package with excellent documentation that implements many classic models for survival analysis.

Unfortunately, fitting a distribution such as Weibull is not enough in the case of conversion rates, since not everyone converts in the end. Typically conversion rates stabilize at some fraction eventually. For that reason, we have to make the model a bit more complex and introduce the possibility that some items may never convert.
statistics  machinelearning  python 
5 weeks ago
Using Pip in a Conda Environment - Anaconda
In summary, when combining conda and pip, it is best to use an isolated conda environment. Only after conda has been used to install as many packages as possible should pip be used to install any remaining software. If modifications are needed to the environment, it is best to create a new environment rather than running conda after pip. When appropriate conda and pip requirements should be stored in text files.
python  packaging 
5 weeks ago
ModelDepot - Open, Transparent Machine Learning for Engineers
A platform for discovering, sharing, and discussing easy to use and pre-trained machine learning models.
7 weeks ago
California falling short on climate change goals because driving is increasing, report finds - Los Angeles Times
The state’s inability to curb the amount of driving puts it at risk of failing to meet overall climate change goals. The state hit its 2020 goal for reducing emissions below 1990 levels four years in advance largely because of major improvements to the electricity grid. But climate regulators warned that the state’s goal to cut emissions 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 won’t be met without a major turnaround in the transportation sector.

Dramatically increasing the amount of electric vehicles on the road will not solve the problem, the report said. Even if new car sales of zero-emission vehicles increase nearly tenfold from today, the state would still need to reduce vehicle miles traveled per capita by 25% to meet the 2030 goal.

“California will not achieve the necessary greenhouse gas emissions reductions to meet mandates for 2030 and beyond without significant changes to how communities and transportation systems are planned, funded and built,” the report said.
climatechange  transport  transit 
7 weeks ago
We are Google employees – Google must drop Dragonfly | Hacker News
Pretty bold. A lot of people are saying this wont work, but speaking from my own experience, you'd be surprised what companies are amicable to when it comes to business.

Im an engine mechanic by trade, and our shops handle bids for cash strapped local governments that outsource their motor pool maintenance. We do things like fire trucks and police cars, but we were working on a new regional idea as a "service center" for municipalities that purchased MRAP combat vehicles for their police departments. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MRAP

We all, especially the veterans I work with, hated this idea. MRAP's are for combat, not police work, and have a dangerous propensity to roll over in city streets or escalate already violent situations. 14 of us sent a signed letter to the owner and senior management detailing our major concerns and heard nothing back for about a month. Then out of the blue we got a call for a meeting with 3-4 very senior managers at a local irish bar.

They paid for dinner and tried to explain how the business would be extremely lucrative. we would all see major bonuses, we could hire more workers, and grow the business faster than just large truck repair. It took 3 very emotional hours, but we eventually talked down a handful of people from making a very wrong decision.

for a week after, we were all sort of stunned that it actually worked at all. Tire cages meant for MRAP tires were cut up and turned into random parts holders, or as new hangers for air lines...one even replaced our mailbox post.
ethics  tech 
7 weeks ago
Feminism's Tipping Point: Who Wins from Leaning in? | Dissent Magazine
Now, with Sandberg’s Lean In, we have a book that tells the story that she and Facebook want to tell about sexism: women can solve it themselves by working harder. This story works in the first instance to supplant a more structural feminist critique of the workplace, but beyond that it promotes Facebook as a cutting-edge work environment where men and women are encouraged to work “harder better faster stronger” in support of the company’s domination and success.

The loser in the Lean In vision of work isn’t one version of feminism or another—other feminist organizations and publications will continue to flourish alongside Lean In, though they may receive less media attention—but uncapitalized, unmonetized life itself. Just as Facebook relies on users to faithfully upload their data to drive site growth, Facebook relies on its employees to devote ever greater time to growing Facebook’s empire.
feminism  facebook  capitalism 
7 weeks ago
Reflections on Random Kitchen Sinks – arg min blog
The alchemy talk...

"Batch Norm is a technique that speeds up gradient descent on deep nets. You sprinkle it between your layers and gradient descent goes faster. I think it’s ok to use techniques we don’t understand. I only vaguely understand how an airplane works, and I was fine taking one to this conference. But it’s always better if we build systems on top of things we do understand deeply."
7 weeks ago
I hate manager READMEs – Camille Fournier – Medium
If you want to build trust, you do that by showing up, talking to your team both individually and as a team, and behaving in an ethical, reliable manner. Over, and over, and over again. You don’t get it from writing a doc about how you deserve their trust.

One of the worst parts of these docs is the airing of your own perceived personality faults. I suck at niceties. I get heated sometimes in discussions. I don’t give praise very much. If you know you have foibles/quirks that you in fact want to change about yourself, do the work. Don’t put them out there for your team to praise you for the intention to do the work, just do it. And while you get to decide which of your foibles/quirks/challenges you will or will not change about yourself, as the manager, it is on you to make your team effective and that may in fact mean changing some things about yourself that you don’t want to change. Writing them down feels good, like you’ve been honest and vulnerable and no one can be surprised when you behave badly, after all you warned them! But it does not excuse these bad behaviors, and it certainly does not take the sting away when someone feels shut down by your rudeness or unhappy from a lack of positive feedback. If you must write a README, please skip this section. Keep your bad behaviors to yourself, and hold yourself accountable for their impact.
8 weeks ago
A Brief History of DevOps, Part IV: Continuous Delivery and Continuous Deployment
“Continuous delivery is the practice of ensuring that software is always ready to be deployed. Part of that insurance is testing every change you’ve made (a.k.a. continuous integration). In addition, you’ve also made the effort to package up the actual artifacts that are going to be deployed — perhaps you’ve already deployed those artifacts to a staging environment.”
8 weeks ago
Brazil’s Election Is The End Of The Far-Right, Populist Wave. Now We Live With The Results.
“The way the world is using their phones is almost completely dominated by a few Silicon Valley companies. The abuse that is happening is due to their inability to manage that responsibility. All of this has become so normalized in the three years since it first began to manifest that we just assume now that platforms like Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, and Twitter will exacerbate political and social instability”

“Chances are, by now, your country has some, if not all, of the following. First off, you probably have some kind of local internet troll problem, like the MAGAsphere in the US, the Netto-uyoku in Japan, Fujitrolls in Peru, or AK-trolls in Turkey. Your trolls will probably have been radicalized online via some kind of community for young men like Gamergate, Jeuxvideo.com ("videogames.com") in France, ForoCoches ("Cars Forum") in Spain, Ilbe Storehouse in South Korea, 2chan in Japan, or banter Facebook pages in the UK.

Then far-right influencers start appearing, aided by algorithms recommending content that increases user watch time. They will use Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to transmit and amplify content and organize harassment and intimidation campaigns. If these influencers become sophisticated enough, they will try to organize protests or rallies. The mini fascist comic cons they organize will be livestreamed and operate as an augmented reality game for the people watching at home. Violence and doxxing will follow them.”
politics  facebook  twitter 
8 weeks ago
Faked Out — Real Life
As long as mass media has existed in the West, there have been complaints about social acceleration, uncertainty, and the loss of a real, knowable world. In other words, our current conversations about the loss of reality are familiar; while each writer attempts to sound innovative, the concerns are evergreen. If the term “infocalypse” is useful, it is as a synonym for modernity, where truth is always two decades ago and dying today, and a new dark age always on the horizon.
media  journalism 
8 weeks ago
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