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    I believe that OO affords building applications of anthropomorphic, polymorphic, loosely-coupled, role-playing, factory-created objects which communicate by sending messages.

    It seems to me that we should just stop trying to model data structures and algorithms as real-world things. Like hammering a square peg into a round hole.

    1. 3

      Why does it seem that way to you?

      1. 5

        Most professional code bases I’ve come across are objects all the way down. I blame universities for teaching OO as the one true way. C# and java code bases are naturally the worst offenders.

        1. 4

          I mostly agree, but feel part of the trouble is that we have to work against language, to fight past the baggage inherent in the word “object”. Even Alan Kay regrets having chosen “object” and wishes he could have emphasized “messaging” instead. The phrase object-oriented leads people to first, as you point out, model physical things, as that is a natural linguistic analog to “object”.

          In my undergraduate days, I encountered a required class with a project specifically intended to disavow students of that notion. The project specifically tempted you to model the world and go overboard with a needlessly deep inheritance hierarchy, whereas the problem was easily modeled with objects representing more intangible concepts or just directly naming classes after interactions.

          I suppose I have taken that “Aha!” moment for granted and can see how, in the absence of such an explicit lesson, it might be hard to discover the notion on your own. It is definitely a problem if OO concepts are presented universally good or without pitfalls.

          1. 4

            I encountered a required class with a project specifically intended to disavow students of that notion. The project specifically tempted you to model the world and go overboard with a needlessly deep inheritance hierarchy, whereas the problem was easily modeled with objects representing more intangible concepts or just directly naming classes after interactions.

            Can you remember some of the specifics of this? Sounds fascinating.

            1.  

              My memory is a bit fuzzy on it, but the project was about simulating a bank. Your bank program would be initialized with N walk-in windows, M drive-through windows and T tellers working that day. There might’ve been a second type of employee? The bank would be subjected to a stream of customers wanting to do some heterogeneous varieties of transactions, taking differing amounts of time.

              There did not need to be a teller at the drive-through window at all times if there was not a customer there, and there was some precedence rules about if a customer was at the drive-through and no teller was at the window, the next available teller had to go there.

              The goal was to produce a correct order of customers served, and order of transactions made, across a day.

              The neat part (pedagogically speaking) was the project description/spec. It went through so much effort to slowly describe and model the situation for you, full of distracting details (though very real-world ones), that it all-but-asked you to subclass things needlessly, much to your detriment. Are the multiple types of employees complete separate classes, or both sublcasses of an Employee? Should Customer and Employee both be subclasses of a Person class? After all, they share the properties of having a name to output later. What about DriveThroughWindow vs WalkInWindow? They share some behaviors, but aren’t quite the same.

              Most people here would realize those are the wrong questions to be ask. Even for a new programmer, the true challenge was gaining your first understandings of concurrency and following a spec rules for resource allocation. But said new programmer had just gone through a week or two on interfaces, inheritance and composition, and oh look, now there’s this project spec begging you to use them!

          2. 2

            Java and C# are the worst offenders and, for the most part, are not object-oriented in the way you would infer that concept from, for example, the Xerox or ParcPlace use of the term. They are C in which you can call your C functions “methods”.

            1.  

              At some point you have to just let go and accept the fact that the term has evolved into something different from the way it was originally intended. Language changes with time, and even Kay himself has said “message-oriented” is a better word for what he meant.

              1. 2

                Yeah, I’ve seen that argument used over the years. I might as well call it the no true Scotsman argument. Yes, they are multi-paradigm languages and I think that’s what made them more useful (my whole argument was that OOP isn’t for everything). Funnily enough, I’ve seen a lot of modern c# and java that decided message passing is the only way to do things and that multi-thread/process/service is the way to go for even simple problems.

                1. 4

                  The opposite of No True Scotsman is Humpty-Dumptyism, you can always find a logical fallacy to discount an argument you want to ignore :)

          3.  
            Square peg;  
            Round hole;  
            Hammer hammer;  
            hammer.Hit(peg, hole);
            
            1.  

              A common mistake.

              In object-orientation, an object knows how to do things itself. A peg knows how to be hit, i.e. peg.hit(…). In your example, your setting up your hammer, to be constantly changed and modified as it needs to be extended to handle different ways to hit new and different things. In other words, your breaking encapsulation by requiring your hammer to know about other objects internals.

            2.  

              your use of a real world simile is hopefully intentionally funny. :)

              1. 2

                That sounds great, as an AbstractSingletonProxyFactoryBean is not a real-world thing, though if I can come up with a powerful and useful metaphor, like the “button” metaphor in UIs, then it may still be valuable to model the code-only abstraction on its metaphorical partner.

                We need to be cautious that we don’t throw away the baby of modelling real world things as real world things at the same time that we throw away the bathwater.

                1. 2

                  Factory

                  A factory is a real world thing. The rest of that nonsense is just abstraction disease which is either used to work around language expressiveness problems or people adding an abstraction for the sake of making patterns.

                  We need to be cautious that we don’t throw away the baby of modelling real world things as real world things at the same time that we throw away the bathwater.

                  I think OOP has its place in the world, but it is not for every (majority?) of problems.

                  1.  

                    A factory in this context is a metaphor, not a real world thing. I haven’t actually represented a real factory in my code.

                    1.  

                      I know of one computer in a museum that if you boot it up, it complains about “Critical Error: Factory missing”.

                      (It’s a control computer for a factory, it’s still working, and I found that someone modeled that case and show an appropriate error the most charming thing)

                2.  

                  You need to write say a new air traffic control system, or a complex hotel reservation system, using just the concepts of data structures and algorithms? Are you serious?

                1. 1

                  glad to be watching this. Thinking about applying for a week at recurse as I like their mission.

                  1. 3

                    I work in the computer security industry so I can see the fear up close on what meltdown/spectre could do. Still, changing the fundamental operation of every single branch prediction on your CPU is far more wide ranging and troublesome. I can’t understand how anyone’s threat model for “bad JS on a web page” is different with M/S unless you have your nuke codes on your computer. It all feels like an overreaction to privileged memory reads and possible privileged execution. I think the detection of attempted exploitation makes a lot more sense that wholesale attempting to stop it using bolted on, performance devastating, fixes. (I don’t speak for my employer, or for folks with “serious” security concerns, I just think folks with “serious” concerns already had this in their threat model)

                    As is the cure seems worse than the disease (modulo script kiddie mass exploitation) and yea the entire processor was designed to run code you sort of trust, which was broken by the open trust model of the internet. Regardless, even if this was mass exploited I’d rather have my cake (fast speculative execution) and eat it (detect exploitation before loss) than just throw my cake in the gutter to keep anyone else from eating it. Linus seems pretty correct here and stuck between a haphazard patch rock and a designed in bug hard place.

                    PS this was a rant not a well thought out argument, but I mostly agree with it ;)

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                      At least on Linux you can disable KPTI with a boot parameter, if you don’t feel the default is a good performance/security tradeoff for a particular case.

                      Cases where I could imagine it being reasonable: 1) scientific computing clusters, which tend to use an everyone-trusts-everyone security model anyway, 2) on-premises virtualization where you’re using virtualization just as a deployment/management mechanism, not for security boundaries, and 3) certain kinds of (hopefully well firewalled) database servers, where the performance impact seems to be particularly severe, and where most of the sensitive data is in userland anyway (the database), so the threat model of local privilege escalation isn’t your biggest worry.

                      But admins of those kinds of setups know what they’re doing enough to change the default. I think most people who don’t know what they want are better served by a more-secure default, even with a performance hit. There is so much code, from networking to browsers, that relies on these security boundaries not being easily bypassed, that I think a malware-detection approach to mitigating it is likely to be too much of a whack-a-mole game. Plus your average random server on the internet, or home desktop, isn’t even using its compute capacity most of the time anyway, so unsafe performance tuning is hardly necessary.

                      1. 1
                    1. 3

                      I ran 3.0.2 with a wide open JSON RPC host with an unpassword protected wallet for a month or so. Turns out no one was exploiting it in the wild on any sites I visited.

                      What’s a bitcoin worth these days anyways?

                      1. 3

                        Around $16,500, give or take a few %

                        Today’s high was $17,224, low of $16,187.

                        1. 2

                          This is good, but what’s weird is I read that article agreed with it… looked at the charts… saw they were just … bogus-ish and accepted the author’s arguments which weren’t founded in the data. But still an interesting deep dive into the data.

                          The ability of folks with high social reach to post stuff with less consideration than I (or this wesleyac.com author) give it on casual reading is odd isn’t it?

                          1. 1

                            This is very related to things I need to do over the next couple weeks. Thanks!

                            1. 2

                              Good to hear! Thank you for reading.

                            1. -1

                              Pretty amazing that someone I consider a leading mind in fuzzing and security can manage to start a post on currency with the barter system fiction. It would be like starting a discussion of unicode with its origins in the need for emoji… eek. which is to say I should’ve taken the ride through that to the next paragraph. I still disagree with some of the angles concerning the origins of coinage but overall it’s relatively solid.

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                                And then the next paragraph starts:

                                It is a nice parable, but it probably isn’t very true. It seems far more plausible that early societies relied on the concept of debt

                                1. 8

                                  I fail fast? 😳

                                  1. 2

                                    Ah, someone’s read David Graeber.

                                1. 0

                                  Clicked thinking this was in Joules… mildly disappointed, then mildly interested in whatever J the language is.

                                  1. 3

                                    J is one of many ASCII APLs.

                                    As usual when reading about languages like this I nod along until suddenly a sentence like this trips me up:

                                    Next I wrote a fill dyad that uses ‘gerunds’ to combine two verbs. The implementation is a bit out of scope, but all it does is replace 0’s in array with a given atom.

                                    1. 1

                                      appreciate all these comments giving some background to J / APL. My interest is piqued, but it usually takes a few years to go from piqued to into trying… not bad for a chain of languages that started in the late 50s. :D

                                      1. 1

                                        Yeah, that’s the part of the bit I’m least happy about. I try to write articles where every example presents exactly one new idea, but gerunds were so complicated that I just threw my hands up and said “don’t try to understand, this is J magic”. That doesn’t mean they’re unexplainable, just that explaining them would have taken the article too far off course.

                                        1. 3

                                          I liked the article because it showed a practical example that wasn’t “say you want to calculate the Eigenvector”. Kudos. Also great layout and presentation.

                                      2. 3

                                        J is from the APL family, which means it is all about manipulating arrays as concisely as possible. This means it has a lot of features that look really odd at first. The look of the language is one of them: the sort ‘function’ is /:~. It also has no operator precedence, and everything is strictly evaluated right to left. That means that 2 + 2 = 4 is 2, because it’s parsed as 2 + (2 = 4).

                                        On the other hand, it’s really, really good at manipulating arrays. Taking calculating the moving average of an array. Here’s a pure python way I grabbed off SO:

                                        mylist = [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]
                                        N = 3
                                        cumsum, moving_aves = [0], []
                                        
                                        for i, x in enumerate(mylist, 1):
                                            cumsum.append(cumsum[i-1] + x)
                                            if i>=N:
                                                moving_ave = (cumsum[i] - cumsum[i-N])/N
                                                #can do stuff with moving_ave here
                                                moving_aves.append(moving_ave)
                                        

                                        And here’s the moving average in J:

                                        mylist =: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
                                        N =: 3
                                        N (+/%#)\ mylist
                                        
                                        1. 2

                                          This would get very very useful if the syntax for going from a fixed array (mylist) to a stream of numbers wasn’t too cumbersome.

                                      1. 6

                                        I don’t mean to be a party pooper, but the obvious (as in first sentence of difference) between: https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Script vs the ethereum VM is that (1) you can write bugs into both (2) but you can much more easily write really bad bugs which only appear at scale in ethereum. This isn’t a deep technical analysis, it just an obvious difference. A lot more surface area for attacks and mistakes to appear on with Ethereum. That’s of course a huge benefit, these programmable contracts, but without any sort of mechanical proofs of code deployed to the EVM it seems like folks are apt to be exposed to varieties bug classes for the foreseeable future. Until such proofs are require, ethereum is just bugs as a service with some speculative (and realizable) value attached.

                                        1. 3

                                          Passing the bar exam is the equivalent of selling pickaxes in the complicatedly licensed software gold rush.

                                          1. 23

                                            A Haskell programmer in Silicon Valley might earn $150,000 a year, for example; a Haskell programmer in Des Moines probably won’t. Hell, there might not be any Haskell jobs in all of Iowa.

                                            I was born in Des Moines so maybe I took this a bit personally and I very much doubted this assumption. I think the author might imagine Des Moines to be a much smaller town than it is (and not thinking about the college towns in Iowa). A cursory search shows there are a few Haskell jobs in Des Moines and many many more for any other sort of language. I don’t see salaries starting above $150K, but I did see salaries between $80K and $130K which isn’t that far off.

                                            Silicon Valley certainly is a hub, but it shouldn’t be treated as the only place possible to get a tech job and maybe it is that assumption that is causing Silicon Valley to become too much of a hub.

                                            I will add the obvious factor which is that $130K/year would be worth a lot more in Des Moines. A decent one-bedroom apartment is as low as $600/month and a fancy South Of Grand mansion is somewhere between $500K and $2M. You may get a $20K or $30K upgrade in Silicon Valley, but the salary might not actually be worth the price of living there.

                                            1. 17

                                              Any non-SV city gets short shift in the estimation of SV denizens. I’ve never really understood why; after all, the ratio of available jobs to interested programmers matters a lot more than sheer numbers.

                                              1. 4

                                                I suspect SV’s denizens enjoy living there, but might feel need to rationalize the tradeoffs they make (and are aware of) by living there, such as high cost of living. It is probably also easy to internalize the mistaken belief that tech revolves around SV simply because they hear it so much.

                                                From the outside, it looks a bit odd and cultish. I do enjoy visiting both SF proper and Mountain View, though.

                                                1. 1

                                                  In my area, tech revolves around Microsoft, Cisco, Oracle, IBM, SAP, Apple, Facebook, and SnapChat. Everyone uses at least one of those for business or personal life. Uber is only SV name I hear much but most have cars here. They use it when their car breaks or (wise ones) if they know they’ll be too drunk to drive safely.

                                                  Mostly the legacy companies out here plus their stacks like .NET and Java.

                                              2. 3

                                                Some might also be able to comment on the culture difference between Silicon Valley and say Des Moines. Some people may like the small town feel, being able to afford a large house with grounds, traffic that actually moves, and co-workers and neighbors who, perhaps, care for things bigger than the stock market and social media.

                                                1. 2

                                                  The fact that we don’t have a good cost of living averaged salary baseline to compare across localities really hinders most discussions of employment opportunities. If we could say you get adjusted::100 in SF and adjusted::120 in another city, and agree on adjusted parity we’d be in a better spot debate wise.

                                                  The STL fed has done some recent work here: https://fredblog.stlouisfed.org/2017/07/regional-price-parities/

                                                  Here’s another one: https://fredblog.stlouisfed.org/2017/07/cost-of-living-and-per-capita-incomes-in-u-s-cities/

                                                1. 12

                                                  First to impress me and inspire my style of programming was the Cleanroom methdology for low-defect, software development. Best description was here:

                                                  http://infohost.nmt.edu/~al/cseet-paper.html

                                                  About anything about Design-by-Contract given assertions combined with lightweight provers (eg SPARK Ada) or spec-based generation of tests. Example I found with Google from Meyers:

                                                  http://se.inf.ethz.ch/~meyer/publications/computer/contract.pdf

                                                  Example of a company that delivers commercial solutions with SPARK using a Correct-by-Construction methodology with very, low defects.

                                                  http://www.anthonyhall.org/c_by_c_secure_system.pdf

                                                  For security, I prefer citing one of the inventors of INFOSEC (Paul Karger) whose evaluation of MULTICS found all kinds of problems that others kept re-discovering and getting credit for. They usually didn’t follow the solutions, though, that became the B3 and A1 criteria for developing secure systems. Maybe throw in Myers landmark work on subversion that followed to show you everything you couldn’t trust in the lifecycle. :) Karger later applied those lessons making the first, high-assurance VMM for VAX/VMS, a MLS-aware CPU, and a smartcard OS w/ provable security.

                                                  http://hack.org/mc/texts/classic-multics.pdf

                                                  http://seclab.cs.ucdavis.edu/projects/history/papers/myer80.pdf

                                                  Also worth bringing up, even though I discovered it late, was Margaret Hamilton et al’s work during Apollo program on their flight software and software assurance in general. They pretty much invented most aspects of software QA on their own in a vacuum. Then they made a formalism for describing & synthesizing systems correct on the first go. She later invented the term software engineering to describe how they did things. Pretty badass even if the tool had issues. See “Apollo Beginnings” in first document for a description of that process with next link describing capabilities of their tool from the 1980’s (was “higher-order software”).

                                                  http://htius.com/Articles/r12ham.pdf

                                                  http://htius.com/

                                                  1. 3

                                                    Clean room allows for compilation just not execution or testing, meaning (to me) it would work really nicely with OCaml but pretty badly with Python.

                                                    Looks like it would tie in well to a book I hype often “Engineering a Safer World” by Nancy Leveson

                                                    1. 2

                                                      The reason for that requirement was how access to compilers was limited and then the process time-consuming. No need to keep it now that people have computers in their pockets. ;) Not to mention execution has its own benefits. I’d ignore the statistical certification part, too.

                                                      Other than that, the methodology held up pretty well as is over time.

                                                  1. 2

                                                    Definitely interesting coming from seeing the initial presentation at DEFCON crypto and privacy village to this post. I think the argument is that secure in your browser window is secure in a technical definition but isn’t necessarily safe or secure for you the user. Educating the difference between paypal dot com and paypay dot com dot something else isn’t going to work any better than educating folks to drive safer before seatbelts and airbags.

                                                    The proper place for the lists and the check is browser-side. You already have the info of what sites a user uses, and trusts, and which ones are new visits, etc. Checking for a commonly used domain inside of an uncommon domain name could void the Secure and expand its meaning beyond just “did this site follow the rules for obtaining a zero cost certificate in order to serve encrypted information to you” which is meaningless to most everyone.

                                                    1. 53

                                                      Ha ha, it’s funny because a white supremacist hid a Nazi joke in a pop culture reference.

                                                      1. 10

                                                        I didn’t see that, was it in the article?

                                                        1. 89

                                                          Early in the article:

                                                          What is an app, anyway? It’s shared computing. Everyone’s data is one data structure, in one program, on one server, owned by one corporation.

                                                          This is a callout to the Nazi slogan Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer.

                                                          And then the only other time “shared computing” appears in the document:

                                                          To paraphrase Walter Sobchak: say what you want about the tenets of shared computing, but at least it’s an ethos.

                                                          In the movie The Big Lebowski, the protagonists are harassed by by nihilists that the sort-of militantly Jewish Walter initially assumes are Nazis. When it finally gets through to him, he says, stunned, “Say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, at least it’s an ethos.”

                                                          Yarvin is a deliberate, meticulous writer who prides himself on his references. This is not a coincidence, this is a white supremacist laughing at programmers not recognizing that he’s calling competing software Nazis. Well, I happen to be reading up on Yavin’s buddies and I understood that reference.

                                                          He’s laughing at programmers because he knows the technical and political are inseparable, and the longer programmers think so the longer he gets to use them to gain power.

                                                          1. 13

                                                            Fantastic explanation, thank you. I totally understand that the technical and political are inseparable. But one thing still doesn’t make sense to me: Urbit is designed to be “eventually-distributed”, meaning there is no central company (like Facebook or Google) that can control it (ofc Yarvin’s company, Tlon, owns a large part of the Urbit network, but for the sake of argument let’s give the benefit of the doubt and assume Tlon won’t be evil). As such, Yarvin believes he is fighting against technical fascism. And yet he is (or we believe him to be) a white supremacist; white supremacy as an ideology includes the idea of one race “ruling over” or being superior to another race – which is also a form of fascism. So even though Yarvin is building a product to subvert fascism, he also believes in fascist ideals? How do these two things make sense? I figure either

                                                            1. he’s lying about the “eventually-distributed” goal of Urbit, and actually he intends to use Tlon to enact some kind of elitism in the Urbit network. I’m thinking analogously to institutionalized racism, where gerrymandering and obscure laws can be (and have been) enacted to suppress votes from certain demographics.
                                                            2. his ideology is more nuanced than we give him credit for - perhaps what we read as “white supremacy” is something closer to “population genetics”.
                                                            3. he has compartmentalized his white supremacy so as to focus on the less controversial part of his ideology: fighting technical fascism.

                                                            That’s all I can think of. Not sure how much time I want to spend analyzing this stuff. Urbit is technically interesting, but politically confusing, so is it worth investigating? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

                                                            1. 63

                                                              He’s not subverting fascism, he’s enacting a fuedalist fascism. The Nazism references are a winking joke.

                                                              Look back at early docs before he’d invented all the jargon obscuring it. He’s not building a flat, distributed system, he’s building a hierarchy where he and his handpicked buddies literally own the world. Everything else (like the crowdsale) is just a noisy distraction.

                                                              Yarvin believes that some humans exist to be ruled and that historical racial oppressions should be regarded as the normal, desirable expressions of this state of affairs. He also knows that a lot of this is outside the Overton window, so he dances around how he expresses things, burying it under tens of thousands of words of historical references and smirking “but of course I never actually said that” when someone summarizes it or he accidentally says something a little too on the nose.

                                                              Urbit’s fundamental technical structure is an expression of Yarvin’s political philosophy. Urbit exists to create a new serfdom.

                                                              1. 12

                                                                That’s a pretty solidly damning link to that design doc, and it makes the rest of your argument seem a lot sounder to me.

                                                                1. 5

                                                                  And yet, from the same doc he goes on to talk about how to avoid monopoly ownership.

                                                                  Therefore, the solution to decentralization is to distribute rootkeys as broadly as possible, in such a way that it is as unlikely as possible that they will coalesce.

                                                                  1. 3

                                                                    I wouldn’t be so quick to condemn a metaphor. Feudalism isn’t necessarily fascist, although certain feudal lords could certainly employ fascist devices like taking people’s wages or limiting speech. The question should be: is specifically Urbit fascist? I’m not convinced either way (yet).

                                                                    1. 21

                                                                      I wouldn’t be so quick to condemn a metaphor.

                                                                      Programming is metaphor reified.

                                                                      1. -5

                                                                        As long as we are condemning metaphors, why are so many OSS projects named after women? Cassandra, MariaDB, Apache Jena. I always thought it was creepy the way we name databases especially - you know that place we inject our data into - after women. Freud would have a heyday with the OSS community.

                                                                      2. 4

                                                                        He’s not building a flat, distributed system, he’s building a hierarchy where he and his handpicked buddies literally own the world. Everything else (like the crowdsale) is just a noisy distraction.

                                                                        That’s the bit I agree with–I’m not fascism is the correct term either. But the feudal aspect is pretty undeniable.

                                                                        Yarvin justifies it as:

                                                                        My answer is simple. The dukes are the developers of Urbit. They created it - they get to own it. This is standard Lockean libertarian homesteading theory. Lend a hand - earn a slice. Thus Urbit, unlike most open-source projects, offers a rational motivation for contribution. For starters, everyone invited to the urbit-dukes mailing list is, if he accepts, a duke. One may decline this honor, of course.

                                                                        1. 38

                                                                          Yarvin on feudalism:

                                                                          Someday I will read all of Froude’s twelve-volume history of England from Henry VIII through Elizabeth I, but I have only read a bit of the first volume. That bit was so impressive and stunning that I thought I might want to wait a year or two before taking in any more.

                                                                          Froude describes a Tudor society which is completely ordered - which consists, from top to bottom, king to knave, of these relationships of mutual obligation. They are relationships of family, of feudalism, of guild traditions such as apprenticeship, of the Church, of political patronage, of commercial patronage and monopoly, and of course of law and government. It was impossible to live a normal human life outside this tapestry, and nor is it at all clear why anyone would have wanted to.

                                                                          This dazzling idea has been seen recently and is why I also use the term “fascist”. To quote from “They Thought They Were Free”, a 1955 book on the lives of the unexceptional civilians who enabled Nazi Germany:

                                                                          Herr Kessler went on after a pause, “it was not just a matter of how it would look for the Party. There was something else. You ask why the hospitals would call the Party office when a soldier died who had left the Church. It was because people called the Party in all difficulties arising from the reconstruction of the country, and the Party always helped. This pattern was established from the first, long before the war. It was what made the Party so strong–it would always help. In religious matters, in domestic problems, in everything. It really watched over the lives of the people, not spying on them, but caring about them.

                                                                          “You know, Herr Professor, we are told that not a sparrow falls without God’s care; I am not being light when I say this– thhat not a person ‘fell,’ fell ill or in need, lost his job or his house, without the Party’s caring. No organization had ever done this before in Germany, maybe nowhere else. Believe me, such an organiztion is irresistible to men. No one in Germany was alone in his troubles–”

                                                                          Yarvin says “feudal” because he expects a multipolar world, but the system he describes is a fascist one. A place for everyone, and everyone in their place. Not a “place”, really, but the lowest-order bits of a variable-length bitfield encoded as syllables to form the address of a node in an internet-overlaying virtual network running code distributed hierarchically and written in a mostly-punctuation programming language compiled down through an intermediate language to an abstract lambda-calculus-like core language with every single thing given a new name and defined only with reference to their own lower-level terminology until you’re so overwhelmed you can’t see the shape of the whole thing is that he gets to be king and you get to be a serf.

                                                                          And then when it’s boiled down, Yarvin smirks “but I never said that” and anyone who skimmed one technical document goes, “well, let’s not be hasty here”.

                                                                          I challenge anyone who thinks I’m mischaracterizing the system to find Yarvin describing what it means for the namespace to be “hierarchical” in standard technical language. What specific power does a “duke” (I think this is “galaxy” in the current branding) have over their vassals? I don’t think you can find such a document. That’s the con. Everything else exists to distract you from the power he wants to wield over you.

                                                                          1. 13

                                                                            Someday I will read all of Froude’s twelve-volume history of England from Henry VIII through Elizabeth I, but I have only read a bit of the first volume.

                                                                            snip

                                                                            It was impossible to live a normal human life outside this tapestry, and nor is it at all clear why anyone would have wanted to.

                                                                            Lord. “I read an overview of the organizational structure of feudal England, skipped all the messy parts where it was an increasingly intolerable mess, and so I have trouble understanding the impulse to reform it”.

                                                                            1. 7

                                                                              What specific power does a “duke” (I think this is “galaxy” in the current branding) have over their vassals?

                                                                              It’s an address-space.. The owner of an address-space can grant a piece of it to you, and take it away again. This has been an explicit & core idea of Urbit since the first incomprehensible blog posts.

                                                                              1. 24

                                                                                Revocation is not actually listed in this article. I have no charity left for this project or author, so I don’t believe this is the only omission.

                                                                                1. 6

                                                                                  I oversimplified the rules, but they’re spelled out in detail in the whitepaper that page links to - the deed to a moon belongs to its parent, but planets, stars & galaxies are self-owned and can change parents.

                                                                                  “I haven’t read the documentation but this is definitely a sinister Trojan horse in some way that I can’t specify” is not much of an argument.

                                                                                  1. 18

                                                                                    My actual argument is “I have read way too much of his smirking bullshit and believe the author when he says he wants to recreate feudalism.”

                                                                                    1. 4

                                                                                      I agree! But I also think that Urbit is interesting, and “it’s dangerous, don’t look at it!” is a unsatisfying & ineffective response to it.

                                                                                      1. 11

                                                                                        Then you should keep an eye out for people who have made that claim.

                                                                            2. 0

                                                                              Well, what is so bad about feudalism? From a historical perspective, feudalism was great at distributing a region’s economic/agricultural risk across smaller fiefdoms. With nation-states and globalism, all the risk is centralized, so one error between e.g. Russia and the US could lead to disastrous consequences for the rest of the world. In feudalism, two fiefs warring will not affect the entire world or even country. (This argument has been made by many historians, I recently found it in DeLanda’s 1000 Years of Nonlinear History, which I highly recommend, it’s an exciting read.)

                                                                              As for the second block quote, this sounds much like what we have now. For the most part, the people controlling the development of Linux are Linus and his lieutenants, the people that own most of the IPs are some governments and companies that got in when the internet was just starting. Of course new ones come along but they don’t have as large of a slice. But Urbit isn’t competing with Linux, it’s competing with Facebook and Google, which is about as centralized and dictatorial as you get. Feudalism could be an improvement over a Facebook dictatorship.

                                                                              1. 23

                                                                                Well, what is so bad about feudalism?

                                                                                Well, from a historical perspective, it was an absolute dogshit deal for the 99.99999% of humanity who wasn’t king or at best lord. Zero freedom of movement, no possessions, no say in governance, your station in life determined entirely by the accident of your birth, wild inequality in legal treatment, zero freedom of religious belief, etc, etc. It’s rather well documented in all those things societies wrote while they were in the midst of overthrowing these systems. Those French peasants were certainly rather powerfully mad about something.

                                                                                The “region’s” (aka, the one guy who owns everything) risk is well distributed? Hard to care about that.

                                                                                In feudalism, two fiefs warring will not affect the entire world or even country.

                                                                                Because they were fighting with pointy pieces of metal and not nuclear warheads. Feudalism had nothing to do with the limited scope of the conflict. If Russia and the US wanted to go to war with broadswords it would be a lot less dangerous, too.

                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                  Yes but you’re comparing it with the improvements that came after. Was feudalism not an improvement on what came before it? Anyway, the French peasants revolted against monarchy, not feudalism.

                                                                                  Perhaps it’d be best to avoid the medieval baggage by simple arguing in favor of federalism, something that’s easier to agree with.

                                                                                  1. 17

                                                                                    Yes but you’re comparing it with the improvements that came after. Was feudalism not an improvement on what came before it?

                                                                                    Sure, just like amputating a limb because of a broken bone was better than dying of sepsis. There’s still rather a lot bad about needlessly cutting off limbs, though.

                                                                                    And since we’re discussing Yarvin’s political theories for the modern world it’s also a wee bit important to consider how much worse it is than the current state of affairs.

                                                                                    Anyway, the French peasants revolted against monarchy, not feudalism.

                                                                                    Both, actually. They coexisted in various forms until 1789 when the revolutionary National Assembly passed a set of Manorial reforms that put a final end to vassalage (theoretically the peasants were supposed to pay out the seigneuriage, but they refused, so that theory didn’t last long and by 1800 it was well and truly dead)

                                                                                    1. 5

                                                                                      And since we’re discussing Yarvin’s political theories for the modern world it’s also a wee bit important to consider how much worse it is than the current state of affairs.

                                                                                      The current state of affairs is Google and Facebook own most of the trust w.r.t. user identities and data, thus they own most of the users' computing abilities. This makes a Muslim registry very easy to create, for example. It’s not as easy to do under Urbit’s identity model because its decentralized.

                                                                                      1. 3

                                                                                        Thanks for the history lesson!

                                                                                        Anyway, I was just rereading the Urbit page on address space, and all the references are to republicanism, not feudalism.

                                                                                        In either case, the emphasis is on decentralized federation.

                                                                          2. 6

                                                                            You wanna get even more freaked out? They have custom phonetic representations for all the punctuation (runes) their language uses. This includes ‘~’, pronounced ‘sig’. So what is their logo? A sig rune…!

                                                                            (Personally I don’t give a shit about the politics and find these stupid edgy jokes almost hilarious. I wouldn’t take it too seriously, given that this stuff is probably less likely to help and more likely to harm their prospects in the long run…)

                                                                            1. 22

                                                                              Personally I don’t give a shit about the politics and find these stupid edgy jokes almost hilarious.

                                                                              I don’t know you from Adam, but maybe give some thought to the idea that it’s possible to be a little too uncaring about politics when you’ve reached the point where “we need to overthrow democracy and return to the good ol' days of feudalist monarchy” merits just another “yeah whatever politics is politics” shrug.

                                                                              Some things are legitimately crazy enough that they should cause almost anyone to raise an eyebrow.

                                                                              1. 6

                                                                                You’re right, I shouldn’t be so flippant.

                                                                                I’ve actually thought about Urbit quite a bit. I believe the federated system could potentially offer a lot more freedom than the current web.

                                                                                A lot of my feminist friends are incensed by the idea that Facebook bans female nipples - they believe they have the right to freedom of expression, but on Facebook, there’s nowhere else to go. We’re all serfs to Facebook.

                                                                                If these people had, say, planets on a star which started revoking the right to post nipples, everybody would have the freedom to up sticks and move to a star more amenable to freedom of expression.

                                                                                At least, that’s how it should work in theory. I like to believe that despite Yarvin’s political leanings, one can put together a libertarian, or even a progressivist argument for Urbit’s architecture - we all want roughly the same thing, freedom. And this is why I am willing to overlook his politics.

                                                                                1. 3

                                                                                  If these people had, say, planets on a star which started revoking the right to post nipples, everybody would have the freedom to up sticks and move to a star more amenable to freedom of expression.

                                                                                  Isn’t that like up and leaving Facebook for a social network you control or have influence over - or at least one that’s friendlier to the content you want to express? I’m sure there are examples of websites where the users can post with more autonomy than Facebook without having to invent a new paradigm for computing.

                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                    You really don’t remember what the web used to be do you? It used to be decentralized. Our ISP uses to be run by some guy down the street with a closet full of computers. Our email was run by that guy or our university, or ourselves. Social networks were links across websites and web rings. It became decentralized when all the corporations decided they wanted to own the internet and the web. The future isn’t decentralized, the past was. We forget what we lost.

                                                                                  2. 3

                                                                                    Eh, they’re just words. Words will never, ever, get more than a shrug from me, no matter what they are (c.f. “sticks and stones…”). I’m willing to at least half entertain almost any notion, and bounce it around in my head for a bit, even if I disagree.

                                                                                    I’ll believe Moldbug wants to “overthrow democracy” when I see him leading a crowd of people with guns.

                                                                                    1. 12

                                                                                      I’ll believe Moldbug wants to overthrow the government when I see him leading a crowd of people with guns.

                                                                                      Do you also turn up your nose at preventative healthcare? Is there no benefit in nipping fascism in the bud, or do people have to die before we take action?

                                                                                2. 2

                                                                                  He’s not subverting fascism, he’s enacting a feudalist fascism.

                                                                                  I’m not sure whether you can have feudalism (lords controlling independent fiefs) and fascism (authoritarian nationalism) at the same time, since feudalism is federated and fascism is centralized.

                                                                                  I do think you’re on to something with the feudalism label… but that could actually be an improvement for the internet, though it would be a regression in real life.

                                                                                  The internet is currently a wild-west that relies on trust. We’re bumping up against the limits of that now. Spam, sibyl attacks, centralized DNS (which can and does have outages)… Urbit provides a more robust, federated structure.

                                                                                  1. 6

                                                                                    I’m not sure whether you can have feudalism (lords controlling independent fiefs) and fascism (authoritarian nationalism) at the same time, since feudalism is federated and fascism is centralized.

                                                                                    Feudalism was historically widespread because it enabled taxation and control in ways that were otherwise uneconomical. It was created and promulgated to support centralization, and began to fall away once centralization could exist without it.

                                                                                    1. 3

                                                                                      What’s a more decentralized alternative to federation? Other than complete non-communication.

                                                                                      1. 3

                                                                                        Fully automated luxury space communism

                                                                                        1. 1

                                                                                          I wonder what that would look like manifested as internet architecture :) resource-sharing of some kind?

                                                                                        2. 2

                                                                                          polycentric law

                                                                                      2. 4

                                                                                        Urbit provides a more robust, federated structure.

                                                                                        In what meaningful sense of the word “robust” is a niche project dealing with less than one one-millionth (one-billionth, even) of the traffic, issues, or attacks the DNS system currently withstands “more robust”?

                                                                                        1. 9

                                                                                          Architecturally and conceptually robust. Admittedly their system is not under heavy load so I have no idea how much traffic they can actually handle, but that’s not what I was driving at.

                                                                                          Let’s face it, the architecture of the internet is broken. There are so many systems which rely on trust to operate.

                                                                                          • BGP requires a router to trust its neighbors, and is easily spoofed. Accidental spoofing can cause massive outages.
                                                                                          • DNS relies on you to trust your provider, and is trivially middle-manned by any network operator. Public wifi does this all the time in order to force you to accept a EULA. There is a whole host of issues listed on Wikipedia. DnsSec is a band-aid.
                                                                                          • TLS helps solve the problem of cryptographically asserting a website’s identity, but relies on centralized certificate authorities who (until the advent of LetsEncrypt) charged thousands of dollars per year for a certificate. Certificate authorities are open to government subversion.
                                                                                          • TCP’s complete lack of cryptography allows injection/spoofing attacks, replay attacks, SYN flooding, etc.
                                                                                          • Rogue DHCP servers are able to perform man-in-the-middle attacks on the network they are plugged into.

                                                                                          There’s almost no end to the ways in which the current internet is totally busted. We keep trying to paper over the flaws, but the system simply was not designed for security from the beginning.

                                                                                          In contrast, Urbit:

                                                                                          • Uses a functional and minimal base language Nock, which is useful for doing proofs.
                                                                                          • Cryptographic identity means you know you’re communicating with the intended target.
                                                                                          • Scarce identity (32-bit “planets”) helps to prevent sibyl attacks, and reputation helps to prevent spam.
                                                                                          • The address space is an interesting middle-ground between raw IP addresses, which are hard to memorize, and DNS names, which are human readable but require lookup.
                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                            The Internet is not broken. It worked the day it was turned on an has never been turned off. What’s broken is our governments, economies, and laws.

                                                                                      3. 1

                                                                                        Thank you, great detective work. So many things pissed me off about Unit’s network model. I learned more and decided it was created by fascists. This is the final nail and damning proof for me.

                                                                                    2. 8

                                                                                      great analysis… ugh. deep crap there. Did you see Politico mention that Bannon and Yarvin chat: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/02/steve-bannon-books-reading-list-214745 followed by this denial: http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/2/7/14533876/mencius-moldbug-steve-bannon-neoreactionary-curtis-yarvin I was more afraid that urbit.gov was in the works.

                                                                                      That said technically it’s interesting… kind of like the V2 I suppose.

                                                                                      Not even sure how we got to this point of Godwin’s Law becoming Godwin’s Presidency. The ‘ethos’ of National Socialism was so half baked (and then fully baked in firebombing hue hue hue) that I don’t really understand how people could dig it up when there’s so much new and classical thinking that supports fair and just treatment of all humans. These blips of self imagined superiority always get stomped by unified diversity, yet here we are watching one pop up like a case of idea acne here in 21st century.

                                                                                      1. 4

                                                                                        When I heard about Urbit and learned the network structure, I was like “what is this neo fudalist bullshit. I thought this was p2p”. Then read Yarvins work and was like “oh, how cute, a fascist. That makes sense”. Nope, won’t touch with a ten foot pole.

                                                                                        1. 5

                                                                                          I think you might be reading too much into this.

                                                                                          1. 42

                                                                                            You have accurately identified the point of his rhetorical style: unambiguous to supporters but subtle enough to deny publicly. Maybe when he starts talking about 14-word network packets or 88-bit computing.

                                                                                            1. 10

                                                                                              Hah!

                                                                                              To be fair, I generally disagree with dogwhistling as a concept (because it’s waaaay too convenient as an argument for arbitrarily unpersoning somebody or creating an outgroup), but given the other evidence you’ve linked as well as reading more of his stuff myself I’m inclined to agree with your assessment.

                                                                                              Edit: Why was this downvoted “troll”? I agreed with @pushcx, and did so politely.

                                                                                          2. 2

                                                                                            He’s not wrong, though, is he? Some companies are better about exporting data, but everyone’s Facebook emails and messages are in one data structure, shuffled by proprietary source code, in one company’s control, and restricted from access via anything but the interfaces they create & permit. Last I checked, Facebook isn’t run by a democratically elected leader, either…

                                                                                            1. -1

                                                                                              He’s clearly describing the “one"s of apps as undesirable qualities.

                                                                                              That bit from The Big Lebowski is a pretty standard joke.

                                                                                              There’s plenty to object to in his writings, you don’t need to stretch like this.

                                                                                          3. 9

                                                                                            I think this is the first time we’ve had a slayed dragon (see “2017-02-09 19:44:02” entry). Kudos to @pushcx, @angersock, @bsima, @matt, @bsima, @ChadSki and others for pulling it back from the brink :)

                                                                                            1. 3

                                                                                              I have no idea what’s that supposed to mean.

                                                                                              1. 4

                                                                                                Contentious threads are flagged as “dragons”. This one was briefly a dragon before being unflagged (see the moderation log).

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                                                                                                1. 5

                                                                                                  Curtis Yarvin (whose alter ego is Mencius Moldbug) has been discussed a fair amount here before - just search for his name to get a taste.

                                                                                              2. 1

                                                                                                Attack the work, not the man. Cmon dude.

                                                                                                1. 41

                                                                                                  It’s totally reasonable to reject someone’s work if they’re using it to propel an agenda of dividing the community. The idea that we should blindly accept contributions independent of social consequences is a bit half baked. It’s one thing if someone is just a dick, it’s another entirely if they are actively trying to divide the community arbitrarily for the sake of personal gain. This is after all what ________ supremacists do, and to overlook it is genuinely harmful to the progress of open source. In short, if someone isn’t willing to listen or respect others, they don’t get to demand respect.

                                                                                                  1. 8

                                                                                                    If we’re willing to abandon tools and techniques because the people who came up with them don’t agree with our ideology, we’re doing ourselves a disservice and we will be surpassed by people who do not use such a subjective metric.

                                                                                                    To bring out some old examples…should we have ignored rocketry because von Braun was an actual Nazi (a Major in the SS)? Should we have given up synthetic fertilizers because Haber basically invented chemical warfare?

                                                                                                    Or on the other side, should Turing’s work been disowned because he was a homosexual and his existence divided the (nominally God-fearing, straight) English community? Should English and German banks have avoided the practice of interest-bearing loans pioneered by the Jews that they viewed as an other (which is actually a fascinating bit of history into itself)?

                                                                                                    Only somebody who lives with either extreme luxury or extreme fundamentalism that can afford the position you’re advocating.

                                                                                                    1. 5

                                                                                                      It depends how much of the repellent ideology is encoded into the tools, and how much ‘not giving it up’ helps the repellent causes.

                                                                                                      Also, your counterfactual is kind of weird, as through various points in history English and German financial instruments did (and many Islamic financial instruments still do) avoid interest as a mechanism for deriving profit, and Turing’s work was stopped (through the mechanism of Turing dying) due to the state disliking his sexuality, and I would argue that operation paperclip (and other similar efforts) were disastrous for the world - we should have executed all the Nazis, and just potentially taken longer to build rockets.

                                                                                                      So, this is more akin to rejecting (say) credit default obligations - an invention that encoded the repellent idea of the traders call and byzantification, while claiming to produce miraculous wealth decoupled from the underlying economy.

                                                                                                      1. 8

                                                                                                        This is a ridiculous mischaracterization. Try to engage in good faith here.

                                                                                                        should we have ignored rocketry because von Braun was an actual Nazi

                                                                                                        He didn’t have a monopoly on the idea of rocketry. We could have courtmartialed him for war crimes instead of celebrating him.

                                                                                                        Should we have given up synthetic fertilizers because Haber basically invented chemical warfare?

                                                                                                        Haber didn’t have a monopoly on fertilizer ideas. We should give up chemical warfare, and refuse to support Haber personally for his crimes.

                                                                                                        Urbit is owned by moldbug and his mates. Contributing to it is contributing to his prosperity.

                                                                                                        1. 4

                                                                                                          We could have courtmartialed him for war crimes […]

                                                                                                          I don’t these some of those words mean what you think they mean.

                                                                                                          We should give up chemical warfare, and refuse to support Haber personally for his crimes.

                                                                                                          If you’re replying to @angersock, I think you need to engage in good faith. We aren’t going to give up chemical warfare because other groups who want power aren’t going to give it up.

                                                                                                          And your revisionist history isn’t helpful. Other people were working on rockets, chemical warfare, nukes, cryptography, modern financial instruments, and hell probably agriculture; but, when the race is on for power, societies back winning teams. Operation Paperclip wasn’t a one-time thing, it’s happened numerous times throughout history.

                                                                                                          “Bad” people have, time and time again, made “bad” things for “good” people.

                                                                                                          (I note that you didn’t even touch @angersocks' “on the other side” examples. Goddamn, have I been trolled?)

                                                                                                          1. 1

                                                                                                            I don’t these some of those words mean what you think they mean.

                                                                                                            Good spot - tried would be more appropriate (and very kind of you to soften the blow by reordering your words)

                                                                                                            We aren’t going to give up chemical warfare because other groups who want power aren’t going to give it up.

                                                                                                            Most major powers have agreed to give up the proliferation of weapons that cause excessive collateral damage.

                                                                                                            “Bad” people have, time and time again, made “bad” things for “good” people.

                                                                                                            Yep - and I don’t have a problem with using the things - but I do have a problem with supporting their creators.

                                                                                                            (I note that you didn’t even touch @angersocks' “on the other side” examples. Goddamn, have I been trolled?)

                                                                                                            My time isn’t unlimited; the principles in my response extend just fine to the rest of his examples.

                                                                                                            If you have a moral problem with homosexuality it’s follows naturally that you would not want to support Turing.

                                                                                                          2. 4

                                                                                                            Haber didn’t have a monopoly on fertilizer ideas.

                                                                                                            Yeah he actually kinda did. There’s a reason it’s referred to as the Haber Process. It was fucking huge.

                                                                                                            We could have courtmartialed him for war crimes instead of celebrating him.

                                                                                                            And then the Apollo program never would’ve happened, because he and the rest of the Operation Paperclip scientists were instrumental in the United States being able to catch up with the Soviets who had both the German rockets and tooling and the engineering talent to reverse and improve them.

                                                                                                            You know, this in turn resulting in the free world losing to a USSR with functional theater and ballistic missles.

                                                                                                            Urbit is owned by moldbug and his mates. Contributing to it is contributing to his prosperity.

                                                                                                            But the architecture and source is open-source, and so anybody is free to improve on it and use it for their own gain. Yarvin himself even says as much.

                                                                                                            ~

                                                                                                            To quote a certain movie:

                                                                                                            Forget it, Donny, you’re out of your element!

                                                                                                            1. 2

                                                                                                              Haber didn’t have a monopoly on fertilizer ideas.

                                                                                                              Yeah he actually kinda did. There’s a reason it’s referred to as the Haber Process.

                                                                                                              That is just one of many processes. In fact, it’s predated by the Ostwald Process. The Haber Process was a great idea, but it wasn’t the only idea.

                                                                                                              1. 4

                                                                                                                You’ve mixed up the two processes as interchangable–they’re not.

                                                                                                                The Ostwald produces nitric acid from ammonia–the ammonia is made by the Haber process.

                                                                                                                From your link:

                                                                                                                Frank-Caro process and Ostwald process dominated the industrial fixation of nitrogen until the discovery of the Haber process in 1909.

                                                                                                                The Haber process was markedly more efficient than the Frank-Caro process.You probably mean to compare it with the Frank-Caro or similar cyanamide methods for producing ammonia. All those methods are not similar at all in yield to the Haber process, and require a lot more energy and, I believe, material.

                                                                                                              2. 1

                                                                                                                Yes, some free world we seem to have here. I bet we can do better

                                                                                                                1. 1

                                                                                                                  Yeah he actually kinda did. There’s a reason it’s referred to as the Haber Process. It was fucking huge.

                                                                                                                  He also invented it before doing any work at all on chemical weapons.

                                                                                                                  And then the Apollo program never would’ve happened, because he and the rest of the Operation Paperclip scientists were instrumental in the United States being able to catch up with the Soviets who had both the German rockets and tooling and the engineering talent to reverse and improve them.

                                                                                                                  Just so I’m clear here: is your argument that the US should pardon anyone who is likely to prove useful to national security, regardless of their crimes? (I don’t think they should, but that’s at least a coherent, self-consistent argument).

                                                                                                                  But the architecture and source is open-source, and so anybody is free to improve on it and use it for their own gain. Yarvin himself even says as much.

                                                                                                                  I have no problem with a forked universe. I’m calling on you not to support Yarvin.

                                                                                                                  To quote a certain movie:

                                                                                                                  I am indeed - ad hominem attacks have never been my strong suit.

                                                                                                              3. 2

                                                                                                                That’s not what I said, but cool argument against whatever ghost it is you’re fighting.

                                                                                                              4. 3

                                                                                                                I am unable to find any indication anywhere that Urbit is being used to propel an agenda of dividing the community. There are indeed things he says that I find disagreeable but Urbit has nothing nothing to do with any of them.

                                                                                                              5. 21

                                                                                                                Clever Nazi references are now part of the work.

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                                                                                                                  1. 19

                                                                                                                    Yep: https://lobste.rs/s/z5j1hq/urbit_2017/comments/n4bfai#c_n4bfai

                                                                                                                    I should’ve done it in the original comment, I’m sorry. I wasn’t trying to be exclusive. It reached out and poked me in the eye. It honestly didn’t occur to me that someone else would miss it.

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                                                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                                                        And to read tealeaves and viscera!

                                                                                                            1. 7

                                                                                                              I’ve been slightly obsessed with Setun in spite of never totally understanding its inner workings. I once found an emulator in javascript which is probably just a google away. Unfortunately for a monolinguist like myself I couldn’t make head nor tail of the Russian labels. There was an interesting ‘art book’ written about Setun (in english/german) which I purchased. Has some neat photos, a good interview with the inventor and a cool aesthetic: http://neural.it/2008/09/francis-hunger-setun-an-inquiry-into-the-soviet-ternary-computer/ but it isn’t a technical exegesis.

                                                                                                              Thanks for the link, as it seems to get a bit deeper into the way it worked, not just why.

                                                                                                              1. 2

                                                                                                                Everyone should use Source Code Pro I think. Includes powerline symbols now, etc. And it’s just prettier.

                                                                                                                https://github.com/adobe-fonts/source-code-pro

                                                                                                                1. 2

                                                                                                                  And it’s just prettier.

                                                                                                                  Good that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

                                                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                                                    Does it contain a gopher? :)

                                                                                                                    1. 2

                                                                                                                      Monospace font for programming? Never! I use Lucida Grande for my text editor, a proportional font.

                                                                                                                    1. 1

                                                                                                                      Nature is working on becoming magic err I mean illusion magazine?

                                                                                                                      1. 9

                                                                                                                        No. Illusion/trickery/magic is the means in this experiment, not the goal. The result of the experiment is articulated in the last paragraph:

                                                                                                                        “These findings suggest that if I’m fooled into thinking that I endorse a view, I’ll do the work myself to come up with my own reasons [for endorsing it],”

                                                                                                                        1. 5

                                                                                                                          People can be tricked into reversing their opinions on moral issues, even to the point of constructing good arguments to support the opposite of their original positions, researchers report today in PLoS ONE

                                                                                                                          Actual article is here: “Lifting the Veil of Morality: Choice Blindness and Attitude Reversals on a Self-Transforming Survey”

                                                                                                                        1. 4

                                                                                                                          The biggest mystery I see is W1. If that’s a closed protocol or reworking of bluetooth… It’s definitely an… interesting move. The lag on bluetooth devices can become borderline hysterical (worst I’ve seen is the amazon tap) so if:

                                                                                                                          • jitter
                                                                                                                          • latency
                                                                                                                          • bandwidth
                                                                                                                          • pairing

                                                                                                                          can be pulled off by a proprietary extension to bluetooth or proprietary wireless protocol, this could have real meaning. If it’s just a really good bluetooth 4.1 implementation then, that’s probably great, but if it’s more of a power play, then we’ll see how the rest of the industry responds.

                                                                                                                          1. 5

                                                                                                                            My guess is Bluetooth with a proprietary protocol. (Bluetooth has enough bandwidth, but Bluetooth audio profiles are very lossy.) It works on Macs and any iOS device with version 10, and those don’t have any super strange radios. In addition, there’s likely some strange pairing going on.

                                                                                                                            1. 1

                                                                                                                              With a bit more reporting out I still haven’t seen specifics. It is known that Bluetooth 5 is launching in late 2016 or early 2017. By some measures we are in late 2016, so perhaps it’s bluetooth 5 or upgradable. https://www.bluetooth.com/news/pressreleases/2016/06/16/-bluetooth5-quadruples-rangedoubles-speedincreases-data-broadcasting-capacity-by-800

                                                                                                                              At any rate I’m fine on the S release cycle, when they bring back the 3.5mm jack… right… right?

                                                                                                                              1. 1

                                                                                                                                Again, it goes all the way back to the iPhone 5, and supports Macs will well-documented BT controllers.

                                                                                                                          1. 3

                                                                                                                            I mean it’s sort of useful so you won’t find yourself wasting a stamp sending email to possibly invalid addresses.