1. 26
  1.  

  2. 11

    So, a few things stuck out at me:

    • Why the hell are there news names for everything? Irksome.
    • What is the benefit for using Nock? Still not clear.
    • What is the expected overhead of optimizing the common idioms (e.g., decrement) in Hoon? How much will that waste?
    • What’s to prevent another goldrush on the galaxy/planet/etc. address space?
    • How is this different (from an end-user standpoint) when compare with Ethereum/IPFS? What’s it do better?

    It’s nifty and impressive–I’m just on the fence as to whether it is clever, crazy, or both.

    1. 3
      • The new names bother me, too. More than that, they seem to be living alongside a certain anti-intellectual policy in place. Lots of names are used so that old concepts can be reused but appear as an act of reinvention. Beyond that, they allow for certain metaphors and comparisons to be made which are nice and drive toward a certain perspective on how things should be used… but they also sort of leave the reader in the rhetorical grips of Urbit since you have to climb pretty far outside of the new notation to get to the happy path of Googling things to expand on ideas.
      • Nock seems to just be an VM language of sorts. You can ship around Nock interpreters as VMs and since it’s fixed you’ll never have to execute an upgrade that can’t be done using Avro’s hot-reload system.
      • At least in the early days the “ship” namespace was actually controlled by asking for a few of them from Urbit HQ. So, I guess they’re shooting for an invite system? Once you’ve got a section of address space you can spin off smaller “subidentities” to your heart’s content IIRC.
      • I’m not really sure how to compare with Ethereum. There’s much, much more involved in Urbit. The commonalities, to my eye, seem to end somewhere around “shared global namespace” so I’d be more likely to compare Urbit and DNS.
    2. 7

      I have this personal policy whereby I don’t argue against something until I can argue for it, thereby proving that I understand it well enough to have an informed opinion on the matter. That said, I’ve tried to argue both for and against Moldbug’s ideas, and failed both times. Sometimes I think he’s a raging white supremacist, others I think he might just be too smart for his own good and mistreating political ideas without understanding the historical context of the ideas and concepts with which he engages. At the end of the day, I conclude that Moldbug’s writings are slippery and his arguments hard to pin down, which points to not philosophy or politics, but sophistry (in the Greek/Socratic sense, whereby rhetoric is used for persuasion, not constructive argumentation), and should be avoided.

      Although, we can sometimes learn things from sophists. Nietzsche certainly did. The first parts of the talk that described the Nock interpreter were pretty interesting, although I’m certainly not an expert on compiler/interpreter design. It would be nice to contrast Yarvin’s Nock interpreter design with designs from the literature.

      I also like the comments on syntax (42 minutes in) and the renaming of ASCII chars. It seems strange at first, but after you get used to it, it actually rolls of the tongue nicely. Its easy enough to write a script (such as this one) to help you learn the names. The design of Arvo seems nice too. A VCS built into the filesystem is awesome, although not a new idea. Lisp Machines had it back in the day, naturally. The address space (~54 minutes) is cool. No idea if its original or not, but it seems easy to read and remember than IP addresses.

      1. 3

        Thanks for sharing. I always enjoy it when urbit talks/papers come around.

        1. 5

          Given all of the controversy leading up to lambdaconf, and about the presenter, you would think that this talk is all about white supremacy, or slavery. IT IS NOT! IT IS SAFE TO WATCH!

          1. 14

            As someone who was significantly disappointed at the inclusion of this presenter at LambdaConf, I am in no way surprised that the talk was entirely technical without references to that crap (though I didn’t actually watch the video, so I’m going on faith here).

            My objection was not to the possibility of the presenter “slipping” on accident or on purpose, though that would suck. My objection was in giving a place of honor to someone who strongly proselytizes that people are inferior based on their skin color. I don’t care how good he is at programming; we, as an industry, have no obligation to further his career.

            1. 11

              We used Nazis to get to the moon. Haber has a Nobel Prize despite being pivotal in developing chemical warfare.

              It’s shortsighted to ignore the accomplishments of people because you disagree with their politics.

              People like you, unable to recognize the intrinsic value of others' work because of prejudice, are the same folks who hurt folks like Turing. Same mechanism.

              EDIT: Folks, please don’t downvote something as “troll” just because you disagree with it–that’s what “incorrect” is for.

              1. 6

                As someone who is probably somewhat in agreement with listrophy here, I want to be clear that I don’t think anyone should feel bad for participating with Urbit technically. I don’t think it should be ignored. I do think that someone’s politics is not so inseparable from their person, though, so I feel we should question the politics of those who represent and lead parts of our communities.

                I also disagree about the Turing, bit. Turing wasn’t hurt, to my understanding anyway, so much because we failed to recognize the impact of his ideas, but instead because we believed that his person was morally indecent and that the state had a right to act to destroy these indecencies. I question Yarvin’s position because he reflects ideas similar to that one—but I’m more than happy to investigate Urbit in the mean time.

                That all said… I think if we want to continue this conversation, it’d be better to do it in email rather than in this thread.

                1. 14

                  Intolerance and intolerance-of-intolerance aren’t equivalent. An open society isn’t required to let hate speech stand freely next to everything else.

                  I like weird software. I think Urbit is interesting. But I’m also not one of the groups Yarvin has spewed bile at, and I’m not willing to exclude all of them and their ideas just to give him a chance to prove Urbit’s worth.

                  1. 6

                    Is it necessary to exclude people in order to evaluate Urbit? Why?

                    1. 15

                      Because Yarvin’s presence has side-effects.

                      Or, at least, that’s the case to be made; I recognize that opinions differ on whether it’s true and to what extent.

                      We had this conversation a month or two ago, and it was productive but demanded a lot of attention, so I would like to leave it at that, this time around. :)

                2. [Comment removed by author]

                  1. 6

                    He’s put plenty out there. You can start with his Wikipedia page and branch out from there, especially the References section. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curtis_Yarvin

                    1. [Comment removed by author]

                      1. 8

                        Um. No. I just don’t wanna do your research for you. I’m sorry, but I’m busy, and I really don’t feel like diving into his screeds right now.

                        1. [Comment removed by author]

                          1. 5

                            PM me if you want links. It’s not worth cluttering up a thread here with the details–we should be focusing on the technical merits of the work, not whatever wingbat shit the author may/may not believe in.

                  2. 1

                    Can you or someone else summarize his opinions on race?

                    When you say “are inferior based on their skin color”, are you referring to the belief that black people generally have lower IQs than white people, or that white people have lower IQs than asians? Or is there more to it than that?

                    I see the slavery stuff, but I also see him denying any support for slavery as an institution.

                    1. 7

                      I believe what he literally said is that some races are better suited to slavery, particularly of the agricultural plantation variety, in much the same way that some breeds of horse are better suited to pull a plow than others. There is then considerable debate and disagreement about what he really meant because the whole topic of race is rife with dog whistle politics, such that he can say one thing but everybody “knows” what he’s really talking about. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog-whistle_politics