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    The sooner people donate the sooner it goes away.

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      Don’t we call that line of logic protection racketeering? ;-)

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      We do have a hide button next to threads that might serve that purpose for you.

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        Oh boy, I have a lot of feelings about this. Good on the author for bringing it up.

        Junior developers (having been one) are amazing to have around and, if handled properly, are a major force multiplier.

        Personally observed benefits of junior devs:

        • They are hungry. They are looking to get that paycheck, no matter how small it is compared to a senior developer, and since they’re often hourly they’ll actively look for additional work to do if managed properly to pad out beer money or rent or childcare or family care or whatever. Senior devs begin playing a game (if they’re smart) of “I am salaried…how can I exert minimum effort for maximum possible revenue?” Senior devs also know themselves better, and so they can often say “Yeah, $X is enough, I don’t see the personal upside in taking on more work even with a pecuniary benefit”.
        • They don’t know what is hard and what isn’t. They are juniors, and so they attack tasks (architectural and scutwork) with near equal optimism. You can give them something that’s impossible and they’ll come back with solutions that actually are good-enough fudges for business purposes.
        • They want to learn. The only way to become a senior developer is by learning things, and a lot of junior devs have a chip on their shoulder (acknowledged or not) about not knowing enough–so, they’ll go do new things and learn about them and try to show off that learning. Senior devs often go with tried-and-true knowledge because they know how to execute most quickly with it; a junior dev can help uncover better solutions that would be ignored otherwise.
        • They might know things you don’t. Hell, I learned React in from an excellent junior dev.
        • They’ll stick around longer. Similar to being hungry, the friction for a junior dev to switch companies is higher (they underestimate their own knowledge and value, remember?) than for a senior dev. So, if you display even marginal competence and compassion towards them, they probably won’t jump ship. Also, their pay scale starts so much lower so that you can keep giving real raises without worrying about breaking the bank.

        However, there are severe pathologies to junior devs:

        • They suffer extra from morale-stressing situations (modulo life experience). A junior dev can get stuck in a project or stuck with a bad situation and really just ground down by it, where in the same place a senior might go “well, this sucks, but we can see it through”. They haven’t had a lot of history of failed and successful projects, so they can take things too hard.
        • They love learning new things, and want to try them out all the time. Until trained properly, junior devs have very little conservatism in their engineering. They’ll switch from Backbone to Angular to React because they’re learning new and exciting things–even if the original domain just needed a static server-side page.
        • They are really bad at software estimates. Like, even moreso than normal, because they lack the breadth of experience to know what paths in a project are probably most filled with spiders and which ones are tedious but quick.
        • They are bad at managing others. Juniors are just barely getting their own career and projects in order, and usually lack the technical, political, and engineering proficiency to organize and communicate effectively with others in a leadership role. This does not mean they shouldn’t (with careful and direct supervision) be forced into it–after all, that’s how they learn!
        • Modulo life experience, they focus on tech more than customers. Due to their desire for knowledge and improvement, they often miss the essential chatting with customers/users of a software project that can pull out hidden requirements or even allow for shipping partially complete work.
        • They can make a huge mess. Given credentials to production system, or given large foundational architecture work, juniors can do bizarrely well-intentioned things that result in total chaos. Seniors can (and do!) have the same problems, but they’re usually more likely to ask for help or exercise caution.
        • Modulo life experience, they don’t understand themselves. Juniors have a hard time spotting when they’re getting overloaded or burned out, and they have a hard time figuring out why they feel a certain way about technical and interpersonal conflicts. This results in communication problems, chaos, and general bad vibes until addressed.
        • They will dutifully reproduce the dev practices around them. So, if all of the example code for solving something does weird shit, juniors will dutifully continue doing weird shit. If the build process is crackheaded and error-prone, the juniors will dutifully keep running it and running into problems and, as noted above, probably continue creating problems. And they’ll teach other more-junior devs to do the same!

        I’ve got thoughts on the care and feeding of junior devs, but this post is already rather long.

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          Thanks for sharing this, you’ve crystallized a lot of my own thoughts on junior devs excellently. I taught at a bootcamp for a while, and my favorite thing about new dev you summed up as, “They don’t know what is hard and what isn’t.” It was so cool to see these fresh students attack problems that I would have immediately dismissed simply because they didn’t know how hard it was. I think this is an excellent lesson for senior devs as well, a kind of “beginner’s mind” that’s hard to obtain.

          I think any project is like this: if you knew how tough it would be at the end, you probably wouldn’t have started it. Our ability to over- and under- estimate can sometimes be a huge boon.

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            If you get the urge to write about the care and feeding of junior devs, I would be interested in reading it.

            1. 2

              It’s not totally independent of the items you’ve listed, but one thing I’ve noticed about juniors is that they also don’t stop to think whether the things they build upon are designed to be taken to scale. So with juniors around, it can be dangerous to say “OK, let’s embrace the fact that we have 5-10 of these things currently, so we’ll do something quick that relies on this fact, and we’ll switch to something more sensible when we need to scale in this direction.”. The moment you look away, you’ll find that a junior has written a script to auto-generate thousands of those things and built an entire structure around it without questioning whether the rest of the system was ready for it (however obvious that might seem to you).

              I think the broader point here is that juniors are much more susceptible to tunnel vision, where they only focus on what they’re trying to solve at a given moment without considering the big picture.

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              Done. Now, how do I sponsor a boiling water emoji campaign?

              1. 5

                Slowly. You sponsor it slowly.

                1. 1

                  In Bitcoin.

                1. 4

                  As usual, David apparently fails or refuses to understand how and why PoW is useful and must attack it at every opportunity (using his favorite rhetorical technique of linking negatively connoted phrases to vaguely relevant websites).

                  That said, the article reminds me of a fun story - I went to a talk from a blockchain lead at <big bank> a while back and she related that a primary component of her job was assuring executives that, in fact, they did not need a blockchain for <random task>. This had become such a regular occurrence that she had attached this image to her desk.

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                    What would you consider a useful situation for PoW? In the sense that no other alternative could make up for the advantages in some real life use-case?

                    But otherwise, and maybe it’s just me, since I agree wuth his premise, but I see @David_Gerard as taking the opposite role of popular blockchain (over-)advocates, who claim that the technology is the holy grail for far too many problems. Even if one doesn’t agree with his conclusions, I enjoy reading his articles, and find them very informative, since he doesn’t just oppose blockchains from a opinion-based position, but he also seems to have the credentials to do so.

                    1. 1

                      Relying to @gerikson as well. I personally believe that decentralization and cryptographically anchored trust are extremely important (what David dismissively refers to as “conspiracy theory economics”). We know of two ways to achieve this: proof of work, and proof of stake. Proof of stake is interesting but has some issues and trade-offs. If you don’t believe that PoW mining is some sort of anti-environmental evil (I don’t) it seems to generally offer better properties than PoS (like superior surprise-fork resistance).

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                        I personally believe that decentralization and cryptographically anchored trust are extremely important

                        I personally also prefer decentralised or federalised systems, when they have a practical advantage over a centralized alternative. But I don’t see this to be the case with most application of the blockchain. Bitcoin, as a prime example, to my knowledge is too slow, too inconvenient, too unstable and too resource hungry to have a practical application, as a real substitute for money, either digital or virtual. One doesn’t have the time to wait 20m or more whenever one pays for lunch or buys some chewing gum at a corner shop, just because some other transactions got picked up first by a miner. It’s obviously different when you want to do something like micro-donations or buying illegal stuff, but I just claim that this isn’t the basis of a modern economy.

                        Cryptography is a substitute for authority, that is true, but I don’t belive that this is always wanted. Payments can’t be easily reveresed, addresses mean nothing, clients might loose support because the core developers arbitrarily change stuff. (I for example am stuck with 0.49mBTC from an old Electrum client, and I can’t do anything with it, since the whole system is a mess, but that’s rather unrelated.) This isn’t really the dynamic basis which capitalism has managed to survive on for this long. But even disregarding all of this, it simply is true that bitcoin isn’t a proper decentralized network like BitTorrent. Since the role of the wallet and the miner is (understandably) split, these two parts of the network don’t scale equally. In China gigantic mining farms are set up using specialized hardware to mine, mine, mine. I remember reading that there was one farm that predominated over at least 10% of the total mining power. All of this seems to run contrary to the proclaimed ideals. Proof of Work, well “works” in the most abstract sense, that it produces the intended results on one side, at the cost of disregarding everything can be disregarded, irrespective of whether it should be or not. And ultimately I prioritise other things over an anti-authority fetish, as do most people -which reminds us that even if everything I said is false that Bitcoin just doesn’t have the adoption to be significant enough to anyone but Crypto-Hobbiests, Looney Libertarians and some soon-to-fail startups in Silicon Valley.

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                          there was one farm that predominated over at least 10% of the total mining power

                          There was one pool that was at 42% of the total mining power! such decentralization very security

                            1. 5

                              To be fair, that was one pool consisting of multiple miners. What I was talking about was a single miner controlling 10% of the total hashing power.

                              1. 7

                                That’s definitely true.

                                On the other hand, if you look at incident reports like https://github.com/bitcoin/bips/blob/master/bip-0050.mediawiki — the pool policies set by the operators (often a single person has this power for a given pool) directly and significantly affect the consensus.

                                Ghash.io itself did have incentives to avoid giving reasons for accusations that would tank Bitcoin, but being close to 50% makes a pool a very attractive attack target: take over their transaction and parent-block choice, and you take over the entire network.

                            2. 0

                              But I don’t see this to be the case with most application of the blockchain.

                              Then I would advise researching it.

                              One doesn’t have the time to wait 20m or more whenever one pays for lunch or buys some chewing gum at a corner shop

                              Not trying to be rude, but it’s clear whenever anyone makes this argument that they don’t know at all how our existing financial infrastructure works. In fact, it takes months for a credit card transaction to clear to anything resembling the permanence of a mined bitcoin transaction. Same story with credit cards.

                              Low-risk merchants (digital goods, face-to-face sales, etc.) rarely require the average 10 minute (not sure where you got 20 from) wait for a confirmation.

                              If you do want permanence, Bitcoin is infinitely superior to any popular payment mechanism. Look into the payment limits set by high-value fungible goods dealers (like gold warehouses) for bitcoin vs. credit card or check.

                              Bitcoin just doesn’t have the adoption to be significant enough to anyone but Crypto-Hobbiests, Looney Libertarians and some soon-to-fail startups in Silicon Valley.

                              Very interesting theory - do you think these strawmen you’ve put up have collective hundreds of billions of dollars? As an effort barometer, are you familiar with the CBOE?

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                                Please try to keep a civil tone here.

                                Also, it’s hard to buy a cup of coffee or a steam game or a pizza with bitcoin. Ditto stocks.

                                1. -4

                                  It’s hard to be nice when the quality of discourse on this topic is, for some reason, abysimally low compared to most technical topics on this site. It feels like people aren’t putting in any effort at all.

                                  For example, why did you respond with this list of complete non-sequiturs? It has nothing to do with what we’ve been discussing in this thread except insofar as it involves bitcoin. I feel like your comments are normally high-effort, so what’s going on? Does this topic sap people’s will to think carefully?

                                  (Civility is also reciprocal, and I’ve seen a lot of childish name-calling from the people I’m arguing with in this thread, including the linked article and the GP.)

                                  Beyond the fact that this list is not really relevant, it’s also not true; you could have just searched “bitcoin <any of those things>” and seen that you can buy any of those things pretty easily, perhaps with a layer of indirection (just as you need a layer of indirection to buy things in the US if you already have EUR). In that list you gave, perhaps the most interesting example in bitcoin’s disfavor is Steam; Steam stopped accepting bitcoin directly recently, presumably due to low interest. However, it’s still easy to buy games from other sources (like Humble) with BTC.

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                                    IMO, your comments are not very inspiring for quality. As someone who does not follow Bitcoin or the Blockchain all that much, I have not felt like any of your comments addressed anyone else’s comments. Instead, I have perceived you as coming off as defensive and with the attitude of “if you don’t get it you haven’t done enough research because I’m right” rather than trying to extol the virtues of the blockchain. Maybe you aren’t interested in correcting any of what you perceive as misinformation on here, and if so that’s even worse.

                                    For example, I do not know of any place I can buy pizza with bitcoin. But you say it is possible, but perhaps with a layer of indirection. I have no idea what this layer of indirection is and you have left it vague, which does not lend me to trusting your response.

                                    In one comment you are very dismissive of people’s Bitcoins getting hacked, but as a lay person, I see news stories on this all the time with substantial losses and no FDIC, so someone like me considers this a major issue but you gloss over it.

                                    Many of the comments I’ve read by you on this thread are a similar level of unhelpful, all the while claiming the person you’re responding to is some combination of lazy or acting dumb. Maybe that is the truth but, again, as an outsider, all I see is the person defending the idea coming off as kind of a jerk. Maybe for someone more educated on the matter you are spot on.

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                                      There is a religious quality to belief in the blockchain, particularly Bitcoin. It needs to be perfect in order to meet expectations for it: it can’t be “just” a distributed database, it has to be better than that. Bitcoin can’t be “just” a payment system, it has to be “the future of currency.” Check out David’s book if you’re interested in more detail.

                                2. 8

                                  In fact, it takes months for a credit card transaction to clear to anything resembling the permanence of a mined bitcoin transaction. Same story with credit cards.

                                  But I don’t have to wait months for both parties to be content the transaction is successful, only seconds, so this is really irrelevant to the point you are responding to, which is that if a Bitcoin transaction takes 10m to process then I heave to wait 10m for my transaction to be done, which people might not want to do.

                                  1. -1

                                    Again, as I said directly below the text you quoted, most merchants don’t require you to wait 10 minutes - only seconds.

                                  2. 5

                                    Then I would advise researching it.

                                    It is exactly because I looked into the inner workings of Bitcoin and the Blockchain - as a proponent I have to mention - that I became more and more skeptical about it. And I still do support various decentralized and federated systems: BitTorrent, IPFS, (proper) HTTP, Email, … but just because the structure offers the possibility for a decentralized network, doesn’t have to mean that this potential is realized or that it is necessarily superior.

                                    Not trying to be rude, but it’s clear whenever anyone makes this argument that they don’t know at all how our existing financial infrastructure works. In fact, it takes months for a credit card transaction to clear to anything resembling the permanence of a mined bitcoin transaction. Same story with credit cards.

                                    The crucial difference being that, let’s say the cashier nearly instantaneously hears a some beep and knows that it isn’t his responsibility, nor that of the shop, to make sure that the money is transfered. The Bank, the credit card company or whoever has signed a binding contract lining this technical part of the process out to be what they have to care about, and if they don’t, they can be sued since there is an absolute regulatory instance - the state - in the background. This mutual delegation of trust, gives everyone a sense of security (regardless of how true or false it is) that makes people spend money instead of hording it, investing into projects instead of trading it for more secure assets. Add Bitcoins aforementioned volatileness, and no reasonable person would want to use it as their primary financial medium.

                                    If you do want permanence, Bitcoin is infinitely superior to any popular payment mechanism.

                                    I wouldn’t conciser 3.3 to 7 transactions per second infinitely superior to, for example Visa with an average of 1,700 t/s. Even it you think about it, there are far more that just 7 purchases being made a second around the whole world for this to be realistically feasible. But on the other side, as @friendlysock Bitcoin makes up for it by not having too many things you can actually buy with it: The region I live in has approximately a million or something inhabitants, but according to CoinMap even by the most generous measures, only 5 shops (withing a 30km radius) accepting it as a payment method. And most of those just offer it to promote themselves anyway.

                                    Very interesting theory - do you think these strawmen you’ve put up have collective hundreds of billions of dollars? As an effort barometer, are you familiar with the CBOE?

                                    (I prefer to think about my phrasing as a exaggeration and a handful of other literary deviced, instead of a fallacy, but never mind that) I’ll give you this: It has been a while since I’ve properly engaged with Bitcoin, and I was always more interested in the technological than the economical side, since I have a bit of an aversion towards libertarian politics. And it might be true that money is invested, but that still doesn’t change anything about all the other issues. It remains a bubble, a volatile, unstable, unpredictable bubble, and as it is typical for bubbles, people invest disproportional sums into it - which in the end makes it a bubble.

                                    1. 0

                                      The crucial difference being that, let’s say the cashier nearly instantaneously hears a some beep and knows that it isn’t his responsibility, nor that of the shop, to make sure that the money is transfered.

                                      Not quite. The shop doesn’t actually have the money. The customer can revoke that payment at any time in the next 90 or 180 days, depending. Credit card fraud (including fraudulent chargebacks) is a huge problem for businesses, especially online businesses. There are lots of good technical articles online about combatting this with machine learning which should give you an idea of the scope of the problem.

                                      makes people spend money instead of hording it,

                                      Basically any argument of this form (including arguments for inflation) don’t really make sense with the existence of arbitrage.

                                      Add Bitcoins aforementioned volatileness, and no reasonable person would want to use it as their primary financial medium.

                                      So it sounds like it would make people… spend money instead of hoarding it, which you were just arguing for?

                                      I wouldn’t conciser 3.3 to 7 transactions per second infinitely superior to, for example Visa with an average of 1,700 t/s.

                                      https://lightning.network

                                      as @friendlysock Bitcoin makes up for it by not having too many things you can actually buy with it

                                      This is just patently wrong. The number of web stores that take Bitcoin directly is substantial (both in number and traffic volume), and even the number of physical stores (at least in the US) is impressive given that it’s going up against a national currency. How many stores in the US take even EUR directly?

                                      Anything you can’t buy directly you can buy with some small indirection, like a BTC-USD forex card.

                                      It remains a bubble, a volatile, unstable, unpredictable bubble

                                      It’s certainly volatile, and it’s certainly unstable, but it may or may not be a bubble depending on your model for what Bitcoin’s role in global finance is going to become.

                                      1. 5

                                        Not quite. The shop doesn’t actually have the money. The customer can revoke that payment at any time in the next 90 or 180 days, depending

                                        You’ve still missed my point - it isn’t important if the money has been actually transfered, but that there is trust that a framework behind all of this will guarantee that the money will be there when it has to be, as well as a protocol specifying what has to be done if the payment is to be revoked, if a purchase wishes to be undone, etc.

                                        Credit card fraud (including fraudulent chargebacks) is a huge problem for businesses, especially online businesses.

                                        Part of the reason, I would suspect is that the Internet was never made to be a platform for online businesses - but I’m not going to deny the problem, I’m certainly not a defender of banks and credit card companies - just an opponent of Bitcoin.

                                        Basically any argument of this form (including arguments for inflation) don’t really make sense with the existence of arbitrage.

                                        Could you elaborate? You have missed my point a few times already, so I’d rather we understand each other instead of having two monologues.

                                        So it sounds like it would make people… spend money instead of hoarding it, which you were just arguing for?

                                        No, if it’s volatile people either won’t buy into it in the first place. And if a currency is unstable, like Bitcoin inflating and deflating all the time, people don’t even know what do do with it, if it were their main asset (which I was I understand you are promoting, but nobody does). I doubt it will ever happen, since if prices were insecure, the whole economy would suffer, because all the “usual” incentives would be distorted.

                                        https://lightning.network

                                        I haven’t heard of this until you mentioned it, but it seems like it’s quite new, so time has to test this yet-another-bitcoin-related project that has popped up. Even disregarding that it will again need to first to make a name of it self, then be accepted, then adopted, etc. from what I gather, it’s not the ultimate solution (but, I might be wrong), especially since it seems to encourage centralization, which I believe is what you are so afraid of.

                                        This is just patently wrong. The number of web stores that take Bitcoin directly is substantial (both in number and traffic volume),

                                        Sure, there might be a great quantity of shops (as I mentioned, who use Bitcoin as a medium to promote themselves), but I, and from what I know most people, don’t really care about these small, frankly often dodgy online shops. Can I use it to pay directly on Amazon? Ebay? Sure, you can convert it back and forth, but all that means it that Bitcoin and other crypto currencies are just an extra step for life stylists and hipster, with no added benefit. And these shops don’t even accept Bitcoin directly, to my knowledge always just so they can convert it into their national currency - i.e. the one they actually use and Bitcoins value is always compared to. What is even Bitcoin without the USD, the currency it hates but can’t stop comparing itself to?

                                        and even the number of physical stores (at least in the US) is impressive given that it’s going up against a national currency.

                                        The same problems apply as I’ve already mentioned, but I wonder: have you actually ever used Bitcoin to pay in a shop? I’ve done it once and it was a hassle - in the end I just bought it with regular money like a normal person because it was frankly too embarrassing to have the cashier have to find the right QR code, me to take out my phone, wait for me got get an internet connection, try and scan the code, wait, wait, wait…. And that is of course only if you want to make the trip to buy for the sake of spending money, and decide to make a trip to some place you’d usually never go to buy something you don’t even need.

                                        Ok when you’re buying drugs online or doing something with microdonations, but otherwise… meh.

                                        How many stores in the US take even EUR directly?

                                        Why should they? And even if they do, they convert it back to US dollars, because that’s the common currency - there isn’t really a point in a currency (one could even question if it is one), when nobody you economically interact with uses it.

                                        Anything you can’t buy directly you can buy with some small indirection, like a BTC-USD forex card.

                                        So a round-about payment over a centralized instance - this is the future? Seriously, this dishonesty of Bitcoin advocates (and Libertarians in general) is why you guys are so unpopular. I am deeply disgusted that I have ever advocated for this mess.

                                        It’s certainly volatile, and it’s certainly unstable, but it may or may not be a bubble depending on your model for what Bitcoin’s role in global finance is going to become.

                                        So you admit that is has none of the necessary preconditions to be a currency… but for some reason it will… do what exactly? If you respond to anything I mentioned here, at least tell me this: What is your “model” for what Bitcoin’s role is going to be?

                                3. 14

                                  Why don’t you believe it is anti-enviromental? It certainly seems to be pretty power hungry. In fact it’s hunger for power is part of why it’s effective. All of the same arguments about using less power should apply.

                                  1. -1

                                    Trying to reduce energy consumption is counterproductive. Energy abundance is one of the primary driving forces of civilizational advancement. Much better is to generate more, cleaner energy. Expending a few terrawatts on substantially improved economic infrastructure is a perfectly reasonable trade-off.

                                    Blaming bitcoin for consuming energy is like blaming almond farmers for using water. If their use of a resource is a problem, you should either get more of it or fix your economic system so externalities are priced in. Rationing is not an effective solution.

                                    1. 10

                                      on substantially improved economic infrastructure

                                      This claim definitely needs substantiation, given that in practice bitcoin does everything worse than the alternatives.

                                      1. -1

                                        bitcoin does everything worse than the alternatives.

                                        Come on David, we’ve been over this before and discovered that you just have a crazy definition of “better” explicitly selected to rule out cryptocurrencies.

                                        Here’s a way Bitcoin is better than any of its traditional digital alternatives; bitcoin transactions can’t be busted. As you’ve stated before, you think going back on transactions at the whim of network operators is a good thing, and as I stated before I think that’s silly. This is getting tiring.

                                        A few more, for which you no doubt have some other excuse for why this is actually a bad thing; Bitcoin can’t be taken without the user’s permission (let me guess; “but people get hacked sometimes”, right?). Bitcoin doesn’t impose an inflationary loss on its users (“but what will the fed do?!”). Bitcoin isn’t vulnerable to economic censorship (don’t know if we’ve argued about this one; I’m guessing you’re going to claim that capital controls are critical for national security or something.). The list goes on, but I’m pretty sure we’ve gone over most of it before.

                                        I’ll admit that bitcoin isn’t a panacea, but “it does everything worse” is clearly a silly nonsensical claim.

                                      2. 4

                                        Reducing total energy consumption may or may not be counterproductive. But almost every industry I can name has a vested interest in being more power efficient for it’s particular usage of energy. The purpose of a car isn’t to burn gasoline it is to get people places. If it can do that with less gasoline people are generally happier with it.

                                        PoW however tries to maximizes power consumption, via second order effects , with the goal of making it expensive to try to subvert the chain. It’s clever because it leverages economics to keep it in everyone’s best interest to not fork but it’s not the same as something like a car where reducing energy consumption is part of the value add.

                                        I think that this makes PoW significantly different than just about any other use of energy that I can think of.

                                        1. 3

                                          Indeed. The underlying idea of Bitcoin is to simulate the mining of gold (or any other finite, valuable resource). By ensuring that an asset is always difficult to procure (a block reward every 10 minutes, block reward halving every 4 years), there’s a guard against some entity devaluing the currency (literally by fiat).

                                          This means of course that no matter how fast or efficient the hardware used to process transactions becomes, the difficulty will always rise to compensate for it. The energy per hash calculation has fallen precipitously, but the number of hash calculations required to find a block has risen to compensate.

                                    2. 6

                                      We’ve been doing each a long time without proof of work. There’s lots of systems that are decentralized with parties that have to look out for each other a bit. The banking system is an example. They have protocols and lawyers to take care of most problems. Things work fine most of the time. There are also cryptographically-anchored trust systems like trusted timestamping and CA’s who do what they’re set up to do within their incentives. If we can do both in isolation without PoW, we can probably do both together without PoW using some combination of what’s already worked.

                                      I also think we haven’t even begun to explore the possibilities of building more trustworthy charters, organizational incentives, contracts, and so on. The failings people speak of with centralized organizations are almost always about for-profit companies or strong-arming governments whose structure, incentives, and culture is prone to causing problems like that. So, maybe we eliminate root cause instead of tools root cause uses to bring problems since they’ll probably just bring new forms of problems. Regulations, disruption, or bans of decentralized payment is what I predicted would be response with some reactions already happening. They just got quite lucky that big banks like Bank of America got interested in subverting it through the legal and financial system for their own gains. Those heavyweights are probably all that held the government dogs back. Ironically, the same ones that killed Wikileaks by cutting off its payments.

                                  2. 8

                                    In what context do you view proof-of-work as useful?

                                    1. 11

                                      You have addressed 0 of the actual content of the article.

                                    1. 3

                                      That’s neat, but man it makes me happy I don’t talk to my databases with Haskell.

                                      1. 7

                                        solely about hardware or not about hardware at all.

                                        Then I’m a bit curious if it’s actually about the Internet of Things. Isn’t the nominal point of IoT that we’re extending the fabric of computing and networking into more everyday physical objects (e.g., hardware)?

                                        I’m against this mainly because IoT has become marketing buzzword spam, and any particular thing that might be topical here that would be tagged IoT is probably better addressed with the tags we already have.

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                                          Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.

                                          We have no elected government, nor are we likely to have one, so I address you with no greater authority than that with which liberty itself always speaks. I declare the global social space we are building to be naturally independent of the tyrannies you seek to impose on us. You have no moral right to rule us nor do you possess any methods of enforcement we have true reason to fear.

                                          Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. You have neither solicited nor received ours. We did not invite you. You do not know us, nor do you know our world. Cyberspace does not lie within your borders. Do not think that you can build it, as though it were a public construction project. You cannot. It is an act of nature and it grows itself through our collective actions.

                                          You have not engaged in our great and gathering conversation, nor did you create the wealth of our marketplaces. You do not know our culture, our ethics, or the unwritten codes that already provide our society more order than could be obtained by any of your impositions.

                                          You claim there are problems among us that you need to solve. You use this claim as an excuse to invade our precincts. Many of these problems don’t exist. Where there are real conflicts, where there are wrongs, we will identify them and address them by our means. We are forming our own Social Contract. This governance will arise according to the conditions of our world, not yours. Our world is different.

                                          Cyberspace consists of transactions, relationships, and thought itself, arrayed like a standing wave in the web of our communications. Ours is a world that is both everywhere and nowhere, but it is not where bodies live.

                                          We are creating a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth.

                                          We are creating a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity.

                                          Your legal concepts of property, expression, identity, movement, and context do not apply to us. They are all based on matter, and there is no matter here.

                                          Our identities have no bodies, so, unlike you, we cannot obtain order by physical coercion. We believe that from ethics, enlightened self-interest, and the commonweal, our governance will emerge. Our identities may be distributed across many of your jurisdictions. The only law that all our constituent cultures would generally recognize is the Golden Rule. We hope we will be able to build our particular solutions on that basis. But we cannot accept the solutions you are attempting to impose.

                                          In the United States, you have today created a law, the Telecommunications Reform Act, which repudiates your own Constitution and insults the dreams of Jefferson, Washington, Mill, Madison, DeToqueville, and Brandeis. These dreams must now be born anew in us.

                                          You are terrified of your own children, since they are natives in a world where you will always be immigrants. Because you fear them, you entrust your bureaucracies with the parental responsibilities you are too cowardly to confront yourselves. In our world, all the sentiments and expressions of humanity, from the debasing to the angelic, are parts of a seamless whole, the global conversation of bits. We cannot separate the air that chokes from the air upon which wings beat.

                                          In China, Germany, France, Russia, Singapore, Italy and the United States, you are trying to ward off the virus of liberty by erecting guard posts at the frontiers of Cyberspace. These may keep out the contagion for a small time, but they will not work in a world that will soon be blanketed in bit-bearing media.

                                          Your increasingly obsolete information industries would perpetuate themselves by proposing laws, in America and elsewhere, that claim to own speech itself throughout the world. These laws would declare ideas to be another industrial product, no more noble than pig iron. In our world, whatever the human mind may create can be reproduced and distributed infinitely at no cost. The global conveyance of thought no longer requires your factories to accomplish.

                                          These increasingly hostile and colonial measures place us in the same position as those previous lovers of freedom and self-determination who had to reject the authorities of distant, uninformed powers. We must declare our virtual selves immune to your sovereignty, even as we continue to consent to your rule over our bodies. We will spread ourselves across the Planet so that no one can arrest our thoughts.

                                          We will create a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace. May it be more humane and fair than the world your governments have made before.

                                          Requiescat in pace, sir.

                                          o7

                                          V.v.V

                                          1. 3

                                            I remember reading this in my teenage years. It really had an impact on me. It changed how I thought about computers, the internet, security, privacy, government, identity, and everything else the Declaration addresses. The Hacker Manifesto had previously spoken to me and this was, in some ways, a more mature and natural extension of some of those ideas. This was those early teenage years when you start to realize your new mental capabilities, ones you didn’t really have a few years earlier, when you start to gain the ability to really think deeply about things—a time when you’re really impressionable.

                                            This piece really shaped who I’ve become. Rest in peace, Mr. Barlow. Thanks for everything.

                                          1. 14

                                            This is often undervalued, but shouldn’t be! Moore’s Law doesn’t apply to humans, and you can’t effectively or cost efficiently scale up by throwing more bodies at a project. Python is one of the best languages (and ecosystems!) that make the development experience fun, high quality, and very efficient.

                                            As a Python programmer, this is a perspective that has never entirely made sense to me. Well, I should say hasn’t made sense to me for the last few years, at least. I feel like many people have this held-over dichotomy in their heads where Python is expressive and enjoyable, and thus one can write production code quickly, whereas other languages are not expressive and not enjoyable and thus code takes a long time to write. But while this might have been true in the past—while your performant options in the past might have all been some variation on fighting with the compiler, diagnosing obscure compilation errors, waiting for interminable builds—none of those are actually hallmarks of development in a typed, performant language anymore (except for C++). But modern compilers are fast, languages like Nim and D and Haskell are expressive and have powerful type inference. And generally speaking we are now in an era where a type system is not just a necessary evil for a compiler that’s too stupid to know how to interpret any variable without being explicitly told; they are universally recognized to be programmer aids, helping in writing correct code as well as performance. Without wading into the types vs tests debate, at the very least there is one—at the very least there’s a recognition that type systems, too, are for making the devlopment experience high quality and very efficient.

                                            If I were being cynical I would say that sometimes arguments like this feel like it’s really mostly about the “fun” part. That “programmer happiness” part, which is often conflated with programmer efficiency and expressiveness, but isn’t actually the same. It can almost feel like a hostage job—“I better enjoy the language I’m writing in, otherwise I couldn’t possibly be productive in it!”

                                            1. 8

                                              I find typed/compiled languages more fun actually, even C++. Because it drives me absolutely fucking bonkers to run a program and get a really stupid type error, fix, re-run, and get another type error. The compiler just tells you all the type/syntax problems up front and you can fix all of them with minimal rage.

                                              1. 6

                                                yeah, mypy and typescript have been a boon to productivity. Especially strict null checks.

                                                The advantages of the weaker languages is not having to play the “I have to make containers for all my thingy” games. Sometimes just a tuple is nice.

                                                Some of the existing typed languages don’t always follow the “if it’s conceptually simple, or if it’s easy for a computer to do, it should be simple in practice” rule. Especially when you’re crossing library boundaries and now spending a bunch of time marshalling/unmarshalling (sometimes necessary of course!) functionally equivalent stuff.

                                                Devil in the details of course

                                              2. 6

                                                I think your confidence in compilers is perhaps misplaced. It’s not just a matter of speed–other factors, like memory usage and even ability to compile period are relevant.

                                                none of those are actually hallmarks of development in a typed, performant language anymore (except for C++).

                                                I’d argue that the only widely-used performant typed language is C++, possibly Fortran (thought rust is getting close).

                                                The reason for this is that the farther you get into the problem domain (and the more comfortable it is for you), the farther you move away from actual silicon running instructions. It’s not a false dichotomy.

                                                The best-performing code will be written in assembly, but it’ll be terrible to deal with as a human (because we aren’t computers). The most comfortable code will be written in a high-level language (ultimately taken to extreme of “hey, grad student, write me a program to do X”), which is exactly not what runs on silicon.

                                                1. 4

                                                  I think your confidence in compilers is perhaps misplaced.

                                                  Now include python on the same plot, and the axes will stretch so far that GHC will look indistinguishable from GCC.

                                                  the farther you get into the problem domain (and the more comfortable it is for you), the farther you move away from actual silicon running instructions. It’s not a false dichotomy.

                                                  It’s only a true dichotomy if the human is better at telling the silicon how to implement the problem than the compiler is, which gets less true every day. It’s already the case that GCC will often beat hand-coded assembly when trying to solve the same problem. And my experience is that on real business-sized problems with ordinary levels of programmer skill and limited time available to produce an optimised solution, Haskell will often comfortably outperform C++.

                                                  The best-performing code will be written in assembly, but it’ll be terrible to deal with as a human (because we aren’t computers).

                                                  These days assembly is a long way away from reflecting what the actual silicon does. To first order the only thing that matters for performance these days is how well you’re using the cache hierarchy, and that’s not visible in assembly code; minor tweaks to your assembly can lead to radically different performance characteristics.

                                              1. 57

                                                Meaningful is…overrated, perhaps.

                                                A survey of last four jobs (not counting contracting and consulting gigs, because I think the mindset is very different)

                                                • Engineer at small CAD software startup, 50K/yr, working on AEC design and project management software comfortably 10 years ahead of whatever Autodesk and others were offering at the time. Was exciting and felt very important, turned out not to matter.
                                                • Cofounder at productivity startup, no income, felt tremendously important and exciting. We bootstrapped and ran out of cash, and even though the problems were exciting they weren’t super important. Felt meaningful because it was our baby, and because we’d used shitty tools before. We imploded after running out of runway, very bad time in life, stress and burnout.
                                                • Engineering lead at medical startup, 60K/yr, working on health tech comfortably 20 years ahead of the curve of Epic, Cerner, Allscripts, a bunch of other folks. Literally saving babies, saving lives. I found the work very interesting and meaningful, but the internal and external politics of the company and marketplace soured me and burned me out after two years.
                                                • Senior engineer at a packaging company, 120K/yr, working on better packaging. The importance of our product is not large, but hey, everybody needs it. Probably the best job I’ve ever had after DJing in highschool. Great team, fun tech, straightforward problem space.

                                                The “meaningful” stuff that happened in the rest of life:

                                                • 3 relationships with wonderful partners, lots of other dating with great folks
                                                • rather broken family starting to knit together slowly, first of a new generation of socks has been brought into the world
                                                • exciting and fun contracting gigs with friends
                                                • two papers coauthored in robotics with some pals in academia on a whim
                                                • some successful hackathons
                                                • interesting reflections on online communities and myself
                                                • weddings of close friends
                                                • a lot of really rewarding personal technical growth through side projects
                                                • a decent amount of teaching, mentoring, and community involvement in technology and entrepreneurship
                                                • various other things

                                                I’m a bit counter-culture in this, but I think that trying to do things “meaningful for humanity” is the wrong mindset. Look after your tribe, whatever and whoever they are, the more local the better. Help your family, help your friends, help the community in which you live.

                                                Work–at least in our field!–is almost certainly not going to help humanity. The majority of devs are helping run arbitrage on efficiencies of scale (myself included). The work, though, can free up resources for you to go and do things locally to help. Meaningful things, like:

                                                • Paying for friend’s healthcare
                                                • Buying extra tech gear and donating the balance to friends’ siblings or local teaching organizations
                                                • Giving extra food or meals to local homeless
                                                • Patronizing local shops and artisans to help them stay in business
                                                • Supporting local artists by going to their shows or buying their art
                                                • Paying taxes

                                                Those are the things I find meaningful…my job is just a way of giving me fuckaround money while I pursue them.

                                                1. 14

                                                  I’m a bit counter-culture in this, but I think that trying to do things “meaningful for humanity” is the wrong mindset. Look after your tribe, whatever and whoever they are, the more local the better. Help your family, help your friends, help the community in which you live.

                                                  Same (in the sense that I have the same mindset as you, but I’m not sure there is anything right or wrong about it). I sometimes think it is counter-culture to say this out loud. But as far as I can tell, despite what anyone says, most peoples’ actions seem to be consistent with this mindset.

                                                  There was an interesting House episode on this phenomenon. A patient seemingly believed and acted as if locality wasn’t significant. He valued his own child about the same as any other child (for example).

                                                  1. 9

                                                    I pretty much agree with this. Very few people have the privilege of making their living doing something “meaningful” because we live within a system where financial gains do not correspond to “meaningful” productivity. That’s not to say you shouldn’t seek out jobs that are more helpful to the world at large, but not having one of those rare jobs shouldn’t be too discouraging.

                                                    1. 4

                                                      Meaningful is…overrated, perhaps.

                                                      I think specifically the reason I asked is because I find it so thoroughly dissatisfying to be doing truly meaningless work. It would be nice to be in a situation where I wake up and don’t wonder if the work I spend 1/3rd of my life on is contributing to people’s well-being in the world or actively harming them.

                                                      Even ignoring “the world,” it would be nice to optimize for the kind of fulfillment I get out of automating the worst parts of my wife’s job, mentoring people in tech, or the foundational tech that @cflewis talks about here.

                                                      Work–at least in our field!–is almost certainly not going to help humanity. The majority of devs are helping run arbitrage on efficiencies of scale (myself included).

                                                      I think about this a lot.

                                                      1. 10

                                                        In general I find capitalism and being trapped inside of capitalism to generally be antithetical to meaningful work in the sense that you’ll rarely win at capitalism if you want to do good for the world, no matter what portion of the world you’re interested in helping.

                                                        A solution I found for this is to attain a point where financially I don’t have to work anymore to maintain my standard of living. It’s a project in the making, but essentially, passive income needs to surpass recurring costs and you’re pretty much good to go. To achieve that, you can increase the passive income, diminish the recurring costs, or both (which you probably want to be doing. Which i want to be doing, anyway.

                                                        As your passive income increases, you (potentially) get to diminish your working hours until you don’t have to do it anymore (or you use all the extra money to make that happen faster). Freedom is far away. Between now and then, there won’t be a lot of “meaningful” work going on, at least, not software related.

                                                        [Edit: whoever marked me as incorrect, would you mind telling me where? I’m genuinely interested in this; I thought I was careful in exposing this in a very “this is an opinion” voice, but if my judgement is fundamentally flawed somehow, knowing how and why will help me correct it. Thanks.]

                                                        1. 8

                                                          Agree re. ‘get out of capitalism any way you can’, but I don’t agree with passive income. One aspect of capitalism is maximum extraction for minimum effort, and this is what passive income is. If you plan to consciously bleed the old system dry whole you do something which is better and compensates, passive income would be reasonable; if you want to create social structures that are as healthy as possible for as many people as possible, passive income is a hypocrisy.

                                                          I prefer getting as much resource (social capital, extreme low cost of living) as fast as possible so you can exit capitalism as quickly as possible.

                                                          1. 1

                                                            Are you talking about the difference between, say, rental income (passive income) and owning equities (stockpile)? Or do you mean just having a lot of cash?

                                                            1. 1

                                                              Yes, if you want to live outside capitalism you need assets that are as far as possible conceptually and with least dependencies on capitalism whilst supporting your wellbeing. Cash is good. Social capital, access to land and resource to sustain yourself without needing cash would be lovely, but that’s pretty hard right now while the nation state and capitalism are hard to separate.

                                                              1. 1

                                                                Do you ever worry about 70’s (or worse) style inflation eroding the value of cash? In this day and age, you can’t even live off the land without money for property taxes.

                                                      2. 3

                                                        Work–at least in our field!–is almost certainly not going to help humanity. The majority of devs are helping run arbitrage on efficiencies of scale (myself included).

                                                        This 100%. A for-profit company can’t make decisions that benefit humanity as their entire goal is to take more than they give (AKA profit).

                                                        1. 2

                                                          Sure they can. They just have to charge for a beneficial produce at a rate higher than the cost. Food, utilities, housing, entertainment products, safety products… these come to mind.

                                                          From there, a for-profit company selling a wasteful or damaging product might still invest profits into good products/services or just charity. So, they can be beneficial as well just more selectively.

                                                        2. 2

                                                          I think you’re hitting at a similar truth that I was poking at in my response, but from perhaps a different angle. I would bet my bottom dollar that you found meaning in the jobs you cited you most enjoyed, but perhaps not “for humanity” as the OP indicated.

                                                          1. 1

                                                            What is the exact meaning of “run arbitrage on efficiencies of scale”? I like the phrase and want to make sure I understand it correctly.

                                                            1. 5

                                                              So, arbitrage is “taking advantage of the price difference in two or more markets”.

                                                              As technologists, we’re in the business of efficiency, and more importantly, efficiency of scale. Given how annoying it is to write software, and how software is duplicated effortlessly (mostly, sorta, if your ansible scripts are good or if you can pay the Dread Pirate Bezos for AWS), we find that our talents yield the best result when applied to large-scale problems.

                                                              That being the case, our work naturally tends towards creating things that are used to help create vast price differences by way of reducing the costs of operating at scale. The difference between, for example, having a loose federation of call centers and taxis versus having a phone app that contractors use. Or, the difference between having to place classified ads in multiple papers with a phone call and a mailed check versus having a site where people just put up ads in the appropriate section and email servers with autogenerated forwarding rules handle most of the rest.

                                                              The systems we build, almost by definition, are required to:

                                                              • remove as many humans from the equation as possible (along with their jobs)
                                                              • encode specialist knowledge into expert systems and self-tuning intelligences, none of which are humans
                                                              • reduce variety and special-cases in economic and creative transactions
                                                              • recast human labor, where it still exists, into a simple unskilled transactional model with interchangeable parties (every laborer is interchangeable, every task is as simple as possible because expertise are in the systems)
                                                              • pass on the savings at scale to the people who pay us (not even the shareholding public, as companies are staying private longer)

                                                              It is almost unthinkable that anything we do is going to benefit humanity as a whole on a long-enough timescale–at least, given the last requirement.

                                                            2. 1

                                                              Care about your tribe, but also care about other tribes. Don’t get so into this small scope thinking that you can’t see outside of it. Otherwise your tribe will lack the social connections to survive.

                                                              Edit: it’s likely my mental frame is tainted by being angry at LibertarianLlama, so please take this comment as generously as possible :).

                                                              1. 1

                                                                Speaking of that, is there any democratic process that we could go through such that someone gets banned from the community? Also what are the limits of discussion in this community?

                                                            1. 8

                                                              I’ve wrestled with this question during my career too. Recently I’ve joined a technology cooperative and I’m finding a lot of meaning and satisfaction in supporting my colleagues and helping other coops to form and do the same. Although the work I do hasn’t changed too fundamentally (working with Rails and doing some data analysis) it feels more meaningful to me.

                                                              1. 5

                                                                technology cooperative

                                                                Would you mind elaborating on this concept?

                                                                1. 10

                                                                  We’re structured as a Worker Cooperative which means in practice that we all own the business equally and there are no external share holders. In addition we’ve commited to following the “7 principles” - although exactly how we do that is one of the most interesting parts for me of running an organisation like ours. There’s a growing network of worker-owned cooperatives in the technology sector in the UK called CoTech which is very interesting to be a part of. There’s some really interesting things happening around how we cooperate between companies.

                                                                  Does that help? I’d be happy to answer any questions!

                                                                  1. 5

                                                                    Here are three I saw on HN a while back: Loomio, IO Cooperative, and Feeltrain.

                                                                1. 22

                                                                  In November of last year, RC announced that they’d be experimenting with “mini” one-week batches. Being away from work for just one week felt very reasonable - it’s about as disruptive as going to a conference, but much more educational! It seemed like my time had come!

                                                                  Well, this suddenly makes attending the Recurse Center much more appealing.

                                                                  1. 6

                                                                    You should attend! It was a great experience.

                                                                    1. 4

                                                                      I would apply if I could find a project I thought I could focus on! As a mere self-taught web developer, I feel like I’m not ready yet. I have a long way to go in terms of basic knowledge (mostly low level languages, some algorithms) before being able to focus on something meaty for a week. But I would like to do something compiler related.

                                                                      1. 7

                                                                        As a mere self-taught web developer, I feel like I’m not ready yet.

                                                                        If you knew you were ready then there wouldn’t be anything to learn. :)

                                                                        1. 6

                                                                          NAND2Tetris is a pretty popular choice for people wanting to learn more low-level computing. And I don’t think “mere” is a good word to describe someone learning enough of a complex topic with several different paradigms at work like full-stack web dev up to a level that they can be gainfully employed at it.

                                                                          Edit: Also, I think people see the applying similarly to tech job interviewing. The shape is there, but Recurse doesn’t strongly filter on technical ability. If someone can write programs and want to learn more, that’s enough.

                                                                          1. 1

                                                                            NAND2Tetris is a pretty popular choice for people wanting to learn more low-level computing.

                                                                            That is a neat book. It would definitely be a fun project for RC given it covers several areas simultaneously… CPU, compilers, low-level software… without overwhelming reader.

                                                                            Only thing skimming it made me wonder was what would be next thing to read on that topic to build digital design skills. Something that was an incremental step giving useful skills instead of a huge leap. Did you or anyone else here get a solid recommendation about what to read next?

                                                                          2. 3

                                                                            I would apply if I could find a project I thought I could focus on!

                                                                            That’s me. The write-up’s people have done about the RC experience make it seem pretty incredible. I’d love to go there to just chill, focus on some projects, and listen to all those other people are doing. I’m just not sure what one or two things I’d focus on with a whole week of free time and good environment. I’d kind of want to make that time really count with the right projects. Staying focused is also a personal weakness of mine, though, as many have probably noticed.

                                                                            1. 4

                                                                              Then find the time for it. Take an hour out of your free time to organize your free time, i.e. find what you can cut out of your schedule to start working on “the right project.”

                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                That’s good advice. I guess it’s a discipline thing I gotta work out. I’m too easily distracted esp by good learning opportunities. :)

                                                                      1. 1

                                                                        Note that you can do a lot of damage to yourself with electricity if you’re not careful. Don’t take too many liberties with these sorts of circuits, and be extremely careful about grounding and power supplies.

                                                                        1. 1

                                                                          This would be fun. I’ll see what things are like in July–tentatively yes.

                                                                          1. 1

                                                                            Is this a press release or “please come work here” post?

                                                                            Also, what is Matrix and what does it do?

                                                                            1. 2

                                                                              Basically IRC or XMPP, (federated chat) but with JSON.

                                                                            1. 5

                                                                              Product placement and press release. :(

                                                                              1. 4

                                                                                This is significant news in an important sector of our industry. Your reflexive negativity is destructive to this website.

                                                                                1. 8

                                                                                  I don’t think the personal attack was necessary here.

                                                                                  1. 11

                                                                                    This is significant news in an important sector of our industry.

                                                                                    Sure, but unfortunately we have somewhat limited space and attention bandwidth here, and if we were to support posting every piece of significant news in important sectors of our industry, we’d find ourselves flooded. There is a great site with news for hackers–this sort of stuff is a great fit for that other site!

                                                                                    Your reflexive negativity is destructive to this website.

                                                                                    I’m sorry if that’s how this is perceived. I’ve gone to some lengths to do better in terms of negativity. Unfortunately, it’s hard to be positive when pointing out pathological community behaviors that have actively ruined and destroyed other sites.

                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                      I think you’re somewhat right– I would have posted a more technical take like this one but didn’t see any posts about it at the time. After the other one was posted, I would have deleted this one if I was able to.

                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                  How much would we have to donate to get a picture of Theo (and/or @tedu) with a lobster on his head?

                                                                                  1. 7

                                                                                    I know you’re joking, but jokes aside, the software released by the project should already provide sufficient incentive to make a donation.

                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                      two Iridium donations might encourage the foundation to ask for them for a picture…or the whole 2018 target?

                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                      Suggest visualization.

                                                                                      Is this really a privacy thing? This is behavior explicitly advertised by the product.

                                                                                      I’m not sure that getting a lot of “look at this totally expected behavior of modsern products” posts here is good. Tends to lead to clickbaity stuff.

                                                                                      1. 5

                                                                                        I think really this isn’t the advertised behavior. While Strava does advertise activity tracking, it’s not until you mix in the occupation related PT required in the military that this emergent behavior appears where you can see very regimented fitness activity often in areas that otherwise wouldn’t have it. Together, you see the initially surprising - but entirely reasonable in hindsight - ability to locate bases. It’s something that makes you go “huh!”.

                                                                                        Strava advertises fitness activity tracking. The military takes fitness seriously. Combined, Stava can be used to identify the location of abnormal areas of activity, ie, military bases.

                                                                                        This is the tweet that really sums it up: https://twitter.com/gavinsblog/status/957786002751332354

                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                          The users of these devices had an expectation of privacy which has been violated. I doubt they believed their use of a fitness device could reveal their position to the enemy.

                                                                                          I think it’s decent news and worthy of attention/discussion.

                                                                                          1. 3

                                                                                            Have you used Strava? I have, and it is very clear when you are posting an activity publicly. (My understanding based on discussion elsewhere is that private activities are not included in the heat map. Strava also provides a feature whereby you can post an activity publicly but hide the start/end points so that your home address isn’t apparent; my understanding is that these hidden sections of public activities are also omitted from the heat map.)

                                                                                            I have no more expectation of privacy when I post a public activity to Strava than when I post a public photo to Instagram, or a comment to Lobste.rs.

                                                                                        1. 14

                                                                                          I also think it should include Hedy Lamarr, who invented frequency-hopping spread-spectrum transmission.

                                                                                          1. 8

                                                                                            That would be great for electrical engineering, but didn’t involve computers. :)

                                                                                            Apparently she got into the field from her first husband who ran a munitions company. I bet she’d be an awesome person to have dinner with and talk to…another one for the historical figures dinner party list.

                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                              Wireless SoC’s or networking? And does frequency-hopping, spread spectrum work without computer algorithms doing signal processing?

                                                                                              1. 8

                                                                                                It was originally implemented by Lamarr on rolls of punched taped running mux/demux stuff. So, yes. :)

                                                                                          1. 4

                                                                                            A solid list, with one question mark.

                                                                                            Lynn Conway started life as a man. does this mean he/then her achievements give equally credited to men/women?

                                                                                            1. 52

                                                                                              No. Trans women are women.

                                                                                              1. 10

                                                                                                Thank you . I want to live in a world where this is just taken as a given. Lets start with our little world here people.

                                                                                                1. 8

                                                                                                  What is the goal of creating a list of women in CS? If it’s to demonstrate to young girls that they can enter the field, it seems unproductive to include someone who grew up experiencing life as a man.

                                                                                                  If the goal of creating the list is some kind of contest, then it’s counterproductive for entirely different reasons.

                                                                                                  1. 28

                                                                                                    someone who grew up experiencing life as a man

                                                                                                    Do you know any trans women who have said they grew up experiencing life as a man? I know quite a few and none of them have expressed anything like this, and my own experience was certainly not like that.

                                                                                                    However, if you mean that we were treated like men, with the privilege it brings in many areas, then yes, that became even more obvious to me the moment I came out.

                                                                                                    Regardless, trans folks need role models too, and we don’t get a lot of respectful representation.

                                                                                                    1. 21
                                                                                                      $ curl https://www.hillelwayne.com/post/important-women-in-cs/ | grep girl | wc -l
                                                                                                      0
                                                                                                      

                                                                                                      The motivation for the post are clearly layed out in the first paragraph:

                                                                                                      I’m tired of hearing about Grace Hopper, Margaret Hamilton, and Ada Lovelace. Can’t we think of someone else for once?

                                                                                                      It’s a pretty pure writeup for the sake of being a list you can refer to.

                                                                                                      On your statement about “girls”. It’s quite bad to assume a list of women is just for kids, it’s also bad to assume trans women can’t be examples to (possibly themselves trans) girls.

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                                                                                                        That’s not a motivation, that’s a tagline.

                                                                                                        The primary reason I would refer to a list like this is if I was demonstrating to a young woman considering CS that, perhaps despite appearances, many women have historically made major contributions to the field. I’m not sure what else I would need something like this for.

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                                                                                                          Maybe its not for you to distribute but for women to discover …

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                                                                                                          I don’t see why it’s bad to assume that. It feels like it would be a pretty serious turn off to me if I we’re looking for successful women and found people who were men into adulthood. I find it hard to imagine that I’m unique in that feeling. I’m sure it feels good for trans people but I’d that’s your goal admit the trade-off rather than just telling people they’re women and not transwomen.

                                                                                                          You can berate people for not considering trans-women to be the same as born women but it will likely just keep them quiet rather than convince them to be inspired.

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                                                                                                            people who were men into adulthood

                                                                                                            Now I’m curious what your criteria are, if not self-identification. When did this person cease to be a man, to you?

                                                                                                            When they changed their name?

                                                                                                            When they changed their legal gender?

                                                                                                            When they started hormones?

                                                                                                            When they changed their presentation?

                                                                                                            When they got surgery?

                                                                                                            What about trans people who do none of that? E.g. I’ve changed my name and legal gender (only because governments insist on putting it in passports and whatnot,) because I had the means to do so and it bothered me enough that I did, is that enough? What about trans people who don’t have the means, option, or desire to do so?

                                                                                                            When biologist say that there’s not one parameter that overrides the others when it comes to determining sex¹, and that it makes more sense to just go by a person’s gender identity if you for whatever reason must label them as male/female, why is that same gender identity not enough to determine someone’s own gender?

                                                                                                            1. http://www.nature.com/news/sex-redefined-1.16943
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                                                                                                          If it’s to demonstrate to young girls that they can enter the field, it seems unproductive to include someone who grew up experiencing life as a man.

                                                                                                          This is a misunderstanding of transexuality. She grew up experiencing life as a woman, but also as a woman housed in a foreign-feeling body and facing a tendency by others to mistake her gender.

                                                                                                          Does that mean she faced a different childhood from many other women? Sure. But she also shared many of the disadvantages they faced, frequently to a much stronger degree. Women face difficulty if they present as “femme” in this field, but it is much more intense if they present as femme AND people mis-bucket them into the “male” mental box.

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                                                                                                        If they identified as a woman at the time of accomplishment, it seems quite reasonable that it’d count. For future work, just think about it in terms of trans-woman extends base class woman or at least implements the woman interface.

                                                                                                        In any event, your comment is quite off-topic. Rehashing this sort of stuff is an exercise that while interesting is better kept literally anywhere else on the internet–if you have questions of this variety, please seek enlightenment via private message with somebody you think may be helpful on the matter, and don’t derail here.

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                                                                                                          The point of this is not to give more achievements to women… It’s to showcase people who were most likely marginalized.

                                                                                                          1. [Comment removed by author]

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                                                                                                              This is definitely not what life is like for trans people pre-transition.

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                                                                                                            It’s rude to talk about people’s gender like this fyi

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                                                                                                              It’s ridiculous to allow this framing to suppress a reasonable point.

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                                                                                                                It’s not a reasonable point. This is not the place to make whatever point you’re trying to make.

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                                                                                                              Depends on where a person is on political spectrum. I’d probably note they’re trans if targeting a wide audience, not if a liberal one, and leave person off if a right-leaning one.

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                                                                                                                what they dont know wont hurt them. As far as the right is concerned , she is a woman …

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                                                                                                                It is irrelevant, and you asking this is offensive.

                                                                                                                1. -1

                                                                                                                  Interesting question. I think it may be met with hostility, as it brings to mind the contradiction inherent in both claiming that sex/gender is arbitrary or constructed and also intentionally emphasizing the achievements of one gender. Based on the subset of my social circle that engages in this kind of thing, these activities are usually highly correlated. Picking one or the other seems to get people labeled as, respectively, some slang variation of “nerd”, or a “TERF”.

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                                                                                                                    Can we please not for once? Every time anything similar to this comes up the thread turns into a pissfight over Gender Studies 101. Let’s just celebrate Conway’s contributions and not get into an argument about whether she “counts”.

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                                                                                                                      Much as I sympathize, transgender is controversial enough that merely putting a trans person on a list that claims all its members are a specific gender will generate reactions like that due to a huge chunk of the population not recognizing the gender claim. That will always happen unless the audience totally agrees. So, one will always have to choose between not mentioning them to avoid noise or including them combating noise.

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                                                                                                                        I would like to live in a world where trangender isnt controversial and we dont have to waste energy discussing this. Can lobsters be that world please ?

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                                                                                                                          Perhaps this is why we get accused of pushing some kind of agenda or bringing politics into things, by merely existing/being visible around people who find us ”controversial” or start questioning whether our gender is legit or what have you. I usually stay out of such discussions, but sometimes feel the need to respond to claims about trans folks that I feel come from a place of ignorance rather than bigotry or malice, but most of the time I’m proven wrong and they aren’t really interested in the science or whatever they claim, they just want an excuse to say hateful things about us. I’ve had a better than average experience on this website, when it comes to responses.

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                                                                                                                            I cant speak for everyone on the side that denies trans identity. Just my group I guess. For us and partly for others, the root of the problem is there is a status quo with massive evidence and inertia about how we categorize gender that a small segment are countering in a more subjective way. We dont think the counters carry the weight of status quo. We also prefer objective criteria about anything involving biology or human categorization where possible. I know you’ve heard the details so I spare you that

                                                                                                                            That means there will be people objecting every time a case comes up. If it seems mean, remember that there’s leftists who will be quick to counter anything they think shouldn’t be tolerated on a forum (eg language policing) on their principles. For me, Im just courteous with the pronouns and such since it has no real effect on me in most circumstances: I can default on kindness until forced to be more specific by a question or debate happening. Trans people are still people to me. So, I avoid bringing this stuff up much as possible.

                                                                                                                            The dont-rock-the-boat, kinder approach wouldve been for person rejecting the gender claim to just ignore talking about the person he or she didnt think was a woman to focus on others. The thread wouldve stayed on topic. Positive things would be said about about deserving people. And so on. Someone had to stir shit up, though. (Sighs)

                                                                                                                            And I agree Lobsters have handled these things much better than other places. I usually like this community even on the days it’s irritating. Relatively at least. ;)

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                                                                                                                              For us and partly for others, the root of the problem is there is a status quo with massive evidence and inertia about how we categorize gender that a small segment are countering in a more subjective way.

                                                                                                                              I know you’re a cool dude and would be more than happy to discuss this with you in private, but I think we all mostly agree that this is now pretty outside the realm of tech, so continuing to discuss it publicly would be getting off topic :) I’ll DM you?

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                                                                                                                                I was just answering a question at this point as I had nothing else to say. Personally, Id rather the political topics stay off Lobsters as I voted in community guidelines thread. This tangent couldnt end sooner given how off topic and conflict-creating it is.

                                                                                                                                Here’s something for you to try I did earlier. Just click the minus next to Derek’s comment. This whole thread instantly looks the way it should have in first place. :)

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                                                                                                                                I find the idea that everyone who disagrees with these things should avoid rocking the boat extremely disconcerting. It feels like a duty to rock it on behalf of those who agree but are too polite or afraid for their jobs or reputations to state their actual opinions, to normalize speaking honestly about uncomfortable topics.

                                                                                                                                I mean, I also think it’s on topic to debate the political point made by the list.

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                                                                                                                                  I agree with those points. It’s why I’m in the sub-thread. The disagreement is a practical one a few others are noting:

                                                                                                                                  “I mean, I also think it’s on topic to debate the political point made by the list.”

                                                                                                                                  I agree. I told someone that in private plus said it here in this thread. Whether we want to bring it up, though, should depend on what the goal is. My goal is the site stays focused on interesting, preferably-deep topics with pleasant experience with minimal noise. There’s political debates and flamewars available all over the Internet with the experience that’s typical of Lobsters being a rarity. So, I’d just have not brought it up here.

                                                                                                                                  When someone did, the early response was a mix of people saying it’s off-topic/unnecessary (my side) and a group decreeing their political views as undeniable truth or standards for the forum. Aside from no consensus on those views, prior metas on these things showed that even those people believed our standards would be defined by what we spoke for and against with silence itself being a vote for something. So, a few of us with different views on political angle, who still opposed the comment, had to speak to ensure the totality of the community was represented. It’s necessary as long as (a) we do politics here and (b) any group intends to make its politics a standard or enforeable rule. Countering that political maneuvering was all I was doing except for a larger comment where I just answered someone’s question.

                                                                                                                                  Well, that plus reinforcing I’m against these political angles being on the site period like I vote in metas. You can easily test my hypothesis/preference. Precondition: A site that’s usually low noise with on-topic, productive comments. Goal: Identify, discuss, and celebrate the achievements of women on a list or in the comments maintaining that precondition. Test: count the comments talking about one or more women versus the gender identity of one (aka political views). It’s easier to visualize what my rule would be like if you collapse Derek’s comment tree. The whole thread meets the precondition and goal. You can also assess those active more on politics than the main topic by adding up who contributed something about an undisputed woman in CompSci and who just talked about the politics. Last I looked, there were more users doing the politics than highlighting women in CompSci as well. Precondition and goal failed on two measurements early on in discussion. There’s a lot of on-topic comments right now, though, so leaned back in good direction.

                                                                                                                                  Time and place for everything. I’d rather this stuff stay off Lobsters with me only speaking on it where others force it. It’s not like those interested can’t message each other, set up a gender identity thread on another forum, load up IRC, and so on to discuss it. They’re smart people. There’s many mediums. A few of us here just want one to be better than the rest in quality and focus. That’s all. :) And it arguably was without that comment tree.

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                                                                                                                                  So, I avoid bringing this stuff up much as possible.

                                                                                                                                  Keep working on this

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                                                                                                                                    The dont-rock-the-boat, kinder approach wouldve been for person rejecting the gender claim to just ignore talking about the person he or she didnt think was a woman to focus on others. The thread wouldve stayed on topic. Positive things would be said about about deserving people.

                                                                                                                                    Do you believe the most deserving will be talked about most? If you have a population that talks positively about people whether or not they are trans, and you have a smaller population that talks only about non trans people and ignores the trans people, Which people will be talked about most in aggregate? It isn’t kinder to ignore people and their accomplishments.

                                                                                                                                    It is also very strange for technology people to reject a technology that changes your gender. What if you had a magic gun and you can be a women for a day, and then be a man the next, why the hell not? We have a technology now where you can be a man or a women or neither or both if you wanted to. Isn’t technology amazing? You tech person you!