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I'm shocked and disheartened by how infrequently environmental concerns are brought up when discussing crypto. Proof of Work vs Proof of Stake, security, storage size - these are problems for the network and those that want to see it become a real part of our economy. (I am one of those)

But the amount of energy being used to mine bitcoin is a real problem - it's not just a technical challenge (like the problems above). This is something that literally affects every human being.

Of the 203 comments (at the time I am posting this), there are only two uses of the word "environment". One of these is about the "regulatory environment".

Let's say Bitcoin, Ethereum, or another coin achieves an economic value & level of efficiency that makes mining an accessible investment for low-income people. Instead of server farms in Iceland, mining would be done by millions of people around the world. Some of the energy used for this would be renewable - but plenty of this is going to be coming from coal. In that sense, the coin would create an economic incentive to pollute (there are plenty of these already), and there's no way to regulate that kind of decentralized network. (That's the whole point)

My favorite summary of crypto is something along the lines of: leaving your car running while it solves sudoku puzzles in exchange for drugs. The drugs part isn't as relevant anymore, but the rest is.

I'm not here with an answer. There are many problems that I think crypto can solve and I'm glad it is something on the horizon.

But we need to talk about the environment.

This product lets people send up to 10,000 emails[1] at once to a cold list of contacts (ie, not opted in). Let's not kid ourselves: The use case is spamming.

The reason it's making $115k/month is because most other ESPs (Mailchimp, etc) don't allow spamming, so spammers flock to (and pay for!) products that look the other way.

To the creator: Good on you for creating a successful business. I hope you take these resources and do something positive for the world.

[1] https://www.gmass.co/blog/you-can-now-send-10000-emails-with...

" I left a negative feedback about my manager Uwais Khan in the daily “Amazon Connect” survey. Amazon Connect team sent to me the report showing how my manager can calculate my answer. At our 1:1 meeting, Khan prohibited me to leave feedback in the system. Since then oppression started. Khan asked me to work on weekends. Then he asked HR how to prevent me from immigration benefits (not informing me about that)."

"My 3 yo daughter has a development delay and I need to bring her to therapy. For that, I asked Khan for work from home once a week like everybody else in our team. Khan prohibited me to work from home. Moreover, he asked me to come to office at 7 am and sit there alone. All the other team members came to office at 11 am and worked from home without restrictions. And their children were not disabled."

Holy crap is all I can say, honestly.

An enormous amount of energy used to support a tiny minority of people participating in a highly-manipulated wealth redistribution mechanism is, objectively, a complete fucking waste.

You cannot look at bitcoin by any measure and say that it's a practical success for any of its goals. And given the amount of energy it uses to perpetuate its own failure, it's nearly sinful to keep it going.

That said, I do support some form of decentralized currency. Not because people are ever going to be smart enough to be their own bank or because I think some currency will magically topple governments and financial structures, but mainly so people can transact without overly-censorious middle-men who take a cut while adding nearly no value.

We have the internet, now. Payment networks should have died years ago. I'm glad this problem is being worked on. However, it's possible to solve without using a country's-worth of energy to support a pathetic ~10 transactions per second.

>He noted that even if it did target the wrong person, "it doesn't mean they're going to get convicted or arrested, it just gives the detective a look at who could be involved."

...because no case has ever been so righteously pursued, with such a vigorous degree of righteous indignation, that an innocent person was ever thrown in prison[0], yeah?

This blasé attitude about sweeping-up data of innocent people is precisely how you arrive at it eventually being abused.

The eroding of rights isn't a flagrantly giant leap but tiny concessions that occur until it's too late to reverse what has essentially become the modus operandi.

[0] - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19186759

As a human it makes me so sad to read this post. I hope the rest of his life is meaningful, comfortable and pain-free.

As a doctor it makes me so mad. We talk about winning and losing against cancer like its some game or some foe personified. Just because there aren't any more chemo therapy options doesn't mean there aren't treatment options. Just because he'll be home and not in the hospital doesn't mean his doctors will stop caring for him. He and they will have different goals. Cure seems like a goal that isn't realistic anymore. But there are goals that are realistic. So I hope his doctors are trying to help him live a meaningful, comfortable and pain-free life, like they would for any other patient. And we need to make sure he doesn't think he lost anything. Its not fair and its incorrect. We need to change our language around cancer.

Read a more articulate explanation of the problem with language around cancer here: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaoncology/fullarticle/21...

I have long wondered how cryptocurrency fans would answer the question:

‘Would you be happy if the crypto-utopia you bring up happens in the next 10 years, and all value is stored/transacted through a cryptocurrency, but it was a coin that you do not possess now, nor could you transfer any of you current currencies into it?’

Say tomorrow someone releases the one true coin, but no one notices. All other cryptocurrencies drop to zero value, then a crypto miracle occurs - the one true coin is uncovered and almost overnight becomes the defacto monetary standard. Would crypto fans be satisfied?

This is a long way of asking: do you want cryptocurrency to succeed if you knew that you could not profit from it doing so?

Google recruiters call me a lot. I think I'd do a good if not stellar job working there. I've passed multiple FAANG interviews and been very successful as a senior developer.

In my email I have an "interview prep packet" from them that essentially tells me to brush up on algorithms and read Cracking the Coding Interview to prepare for their interview process.

I'm fairly happy in my job. If they offered more money or a really interesting project I'd consider working for them. But I'm pretty lazy about redo-ing college algorithms class during my free time at home to go work there, so I probably won't.

There's an opportunity cost with interviews like this where an M.S. and long career of getting shit done counts for very little and memorization of undergrad level topics that you can look up in two minutes in Knuth if you have a problem that requires it can make or break an interview.

I've made a career fixing a ton of horribly shitty, inefficient code that's been produced exclusively by people who pass these interviews.

At Mobile Jazz (7 years old now) and Bugfender (4-5 years old now) we always had the rule, that people could choose to work as much as they want and when they went. As long as the output and quality was there. Obviously to achieve high quality output you need to be there at certain times (overlap with other team members) and you need to do a certain amount of hours. The problems we had because of this are almost no-existent (specific people that then ended up not staying very long in the company) and the advantages by far outweigh the "loss of control". In the end myself as a business owner and managers have far less stress by trusting people and empowering them to do great work.

With this framework, people will take breaks whenever they feel like. They go doing sports, play with their kids, run errands. They even take whole days off to go surfing or skiing. And I really don't mind. Because I do the same.

But then, if a server goes down late at night, people all the sudden show up by themselves and fix problems. Also on a rainy Saturday or Sunday, people will all the sudden be online and working.

Give people the opportunity to be in charge of their own work schedule, give them the responsibility, make them feel that they're actually responsible and they will shine.

We also just released our company handbook which goes in a lot of detail on how we run a 20+ people remote business:

* https://mobilejazz.com/company-handbook (landing page, if you want to get email updates)

* https://mobilejazz.com/docs/company-handbook/mobile-jazz-com... (direct link to the PDF)

EDIT: Added some more details

The important thing to understand about this case is the background and what the SCotUS actually ruled on. It's actually rather narrow ruling even if it is extremely important. The court exercised judicial restraint here, and made the minimum ruling necessary.

Timbs was convicted of possession/sale/whatever, jailed for a year, and fined $1,200. The state confiscated his Range Rover as well.

Timbs sued or appealed the confiscation by Indiana, which he he could prove he didn't buy with drug money. The judge of the lower court of Indiana agreed.

The state appealed the judge's ruling. The Indiana Supreme Court reversed the lower court's decision, ruling that the 8th Amendment did not apply to the states.

The SCotUS unanimously disagreed and vacated the Indiana Supreme Court's ruling. The 8th Amendment does apply to the states. However, that's all that they ruled upon. They didn't not rule on whether or not confiscating the SUV was an excessive fine, and remanded the case back to the Indiana state courts.

Now the state of Indiana will be given an opportunity to prove in Indiana court that confiscating the SUV is not an excessive fine. That seems unlikely, however, since the charge Timbs was convicted of carried a statutory maximum fine of $10,000, well below the value of the SUV.

Having worked at large companies before, I'm almost certain that more than one person working on the product raised the point "this has a microphone, why isn't it documented?" or "this has privacy implications", but was silenced.

(Or it could be that everyone working at Google has been carefully chosen to not have such concerns; I do get that feeling sometimes too.)

No, we don't.

Bitcoin is one way to use energy. There are hundreds of thousands of other ways.

When you say Bitcoin "hurts the environment", what, concretely do you mean? Presumably, you mean it in a stronger sense than "using energy to produce food hurts the environment" or "using energy to run an ER hurts the environment".

That is, you think that relative to the benefit provided, the use of (harmful) energy to run bitcoin miners doesn't justify its environmental cost.

Which is great, but I could say the same thing of Ferraris for show-off producers in LA, or Hello Kitty backpacks.

What justifies focusing our attention on Bitcoin per se, and not those? Do you plan to publish a universal, agreed-upon list of things whose social value doesn't justify its environmental cost?

The real problem is energy users not bearing the full environmental costs of what they do.

The thing is, we have a well known solution to that: cap the total carbon emissions, or tax them in a way that reflects the harm.

Yes, Bitcoin creates an incentive to use energy. And it will be spent by miners who weigh the costs of the energy against the value of the Bitcoins produced. Like every other good on the market, it will respond to incentives created by laws.

If the damage of energy isn't priced in, then there will be too many resources spent on mining relative to the environmental cost. But this is true of every other good as well.

All Bitcoin does is amplify the problems of the existing failure to appropriately price energy. But this is true of literally every other energy-using good in existence!

There is no reason to single out Bitcoin. To blame it for environmental problems is special pleading or privileging a hypothesis.

"I don't want wiggins at my university. They cheat!"

'Well, a certain percentage of any demographic is going to ch--'

"Irrelevant! We're talking about wiggins!"

EDIT: Should probably add the disclaimer that I'm long Bitcoin.

I think this might be a well-done satire showcasing the pitfalls of having insufficient training data. It's magnificent. Half the cats are adorable and half are, I believe, creatures from "The Thing".

Apple appears to be coming to some sort of head at this point. This is speaking as someone heavily invested in Apple products and shares.

Their iPhones have reached a peak, where it appears people are no longer willing to pay so much for them. They are too damn expensive, with nothing to justify their costs. I am one of the morons who upgraded to the XS, but only because I needed the 512GB storage. If not for the increased storage needs, I wouldn't have upgraded and I know for a fact there is really no difference after using it for several months. I have no plans on updating to the next one, the first time since iPhone 3.

MacBooks are worse now than they were since 2015. I won't upgrade until they get rid of the TouchBar. I would rather go back to Windows than use that stupid TouchBar.

Apple software is terrible. iTunes is still the worst piece of software that I'm forced to use. The bugs they've had are inexcusable.

Apple is the richest company in the world, and instead of paying their engineers top wages, they are wasting it on stock buybacks. Until their revenues decrease year-over-year they won't change their ways.

To put it bluntly, Apple is extremely, extremely arrogant and I hope they will pay their price in the next few years. It feels like all product lines are either too expensive and/or worse quality than even a few years previous. Many people unhappy or unimpressed with their products, but they don't give a damn.

I had a manager that took over from a previous person when I was working remote. There were a few issues, but the one that stands out is they flew me down to London for a week, set me up in a hotel, and had me take taxis back and fourth to the office and expense food etc.

After returning home, he rejected my expenses because of variance of costs of the taxis, despite me pointing out that I was using the stipulated vendor and the difference in cost was between me leaving the office at rush hour and me leaving the office around 9-10pm.

Not only did he reject the taxi expenses, but the hotel, the flights, the food, etc. The guy was obviously a class act in his 50s, rejecting the expenses of a fairly underpaid 25 year old employee living in Scotland.

Super illegal but ultimatly I quit, because life is too short to work for horrible people.

I want to preface this comment with a statement that in no way am I trying to blame the victim here, only to point out what can be learned from this situation.

This is certainly not the first time I've heard of Amazon being a shitty place to work at, and I don't see much reason to doubt the story of a vindictive boss doing everything they can to make an employee miserable after learning that the employee submitted bad feedback against them.

The two lessons I can extract from this post for myself are.

1. Never submit negative feedback via "anonymous" or "confidential" feedback processes at work, especially against a particular person, especially your boss.

It's been covered on HN before how these things are never really anonymous and confidential, and it should be kind of obvious to figure out if you think about it.

2. If you are at your job as part of your Visa process, you are essentially a slave with a slave's rights to match, and you are better off not rocking the boat if you want to complete the process.

> to the creator: Good on you for creating a successful business. I hope you take these resources and do something positive for the world.

Not good on him. It's an immoral business. I don't see why the hn community would endorse this just because it makes money.

If the emails were also a tool for privacy, decentralisation or some good objective behind it, i could see the pros and cons. But here it's all pros for him, and all cons for the rest of the world.

Contrast this to Amazon: during design of the original Echo at Lab126, an engineering discussion took place where they determined that implementing the mute function in software would be less expensive in terms of component requirements than implementing a physical disconnect of the mic circuit.

The engineering team refused to take the less expensive route, and insisted that the mute button physically disconnect the circuit, so that no future engineering team could decide to stealth "unmute" the microphone through software.

To this day, you can disassemble an Amazon Echo device and you will find a physical disconnect of the mic circuitry when you push the mute button. Don't want an "always listening" smart speaker? Just keep it muted, and a red LED circle informs you that the mic is physically disconnected.

I'm proud of the approach that Amazon takes to privacy. Privacy of customer data is considered the most important thing to Amazon, and this customer obsession (the #1 leadership principle) permeates the organization.

Disclaimer: I'm a principal engineer at Amazon.

I was diagnosed with lymphoma about 8 years ago. It's been undetectable since six months later, and I haven't had any treatment since the three years of chemo ended, but that's not to say it won't return.

I've always disliked the "winning/losing" paradigm, and also terms like "struggle" and "battle". To me, they all imply that there was or is something that I personally could have done to change the outcome. If I hadn't been fortunate enough to respond well the treatment, that I'd "lost" or "didn't fight hard enough."

I'm grateful to the physicians and scientists who devised my treatments, and to the doctors and nurses who cared for me. I myself played no part in any of this, though. A freak genetic accident caused an affliction, and I followed the prescribed script. I never once felt that I was battling something, or that I had to try harder. I don't feel like I've won anything. If it returns, I won't feel that I've lost anything or that I have to try harder. If it returns and I die, it won't be because I've given up or didn't fight enough. It will be because the currently available solutions to this problem are insufficient for the particular conditions of my body.

My condolences to Alex and his loved ones.

This reminds me of a story about hen breeding:

Selecting the hen who lays the most eggs doesn't necessarily get you the most efficient egg-laying metabolism. It may get you the most dominant hen, that pecked its way to the top of the pecking order at the expense of other hens. Individual selection doesn't necessarily work to the benefit of the group, but a farm's productivity is determined by group outputs.

Indeed, for some strange reason, the individual breeding programs which had been so successful at increasing egg production now required hens to have their beaks clipped, or be housed in individual cages, or they would peck each other to death.

While the conditions for group selection are only rarely right in Nature, one can readily impose genuine group selection in the laboratory. After only 6 generations of artificially imposed group selection - breeding from the hens in the best groups, rather than the best individual hens - average days of survival increased from 160 to 348, and egg mass per bird increased from 5.3 to 13.3 kg. At 58 weeks of age, the selected line had 20% mortality compared to the control group at 54%. A commercial line of hens, allowed to grow up with unclipped beaks, had 89% mortality at 58 weeks.


The article goes into this, but reminder that cancer survival rates must be carefully considered as a part of a bigger picture. In short, if cancer patients are surviving on average 5 more years than, say, X years ago, but cancer is at the same time being detected 5 years earlier, then the expected length of life for a cancer patient remains the same. This is well-understood phenomenon in cancer statistics but often glossed over in press pieces and not particularly well understood by the general public.

>On Sunday, Matt Watson, a video blogger, posted a 20-minute clip detailing how comments on YouTube were used to identify certain videos in which young girls were in activities that could be construed as sexually suggestive, such as posing in front of a mirror and doing gymnastics.

I looked at some of the videos that appeared in his report and it's basically family videos of young girls, the same kind of videos my own sisters would shoot with our dad's camcorder. His first example are videos that come up when you search https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=orbeez+bath.

I'm sure these videos do attract some weirdos in the comments, and in the next paragraph Youtube says that they want to moderate that activity, but what else do you do here? Ban kids uploading a video of their innocent pool party because some creeps might enjoy it?

The youtuber's video includes the provocative phrase "Sexual Exploitation of Children", but I only saw harmless videos of kids having fun when I looked at his own examples. He also focuses a lot on the comments themselves which is a much different argument.

A surprise to see my page on HN! For those of you curious about the tech:

Diagrams are in SVG. Canvas would be faster but SVG is easier for me to work with, especially for attaching mouse events to each hexagon. It also automatically scales to high dpi displays. With SVG and HTML accessed the same way, I can use the same code for updating text/samples as I do for updating diagrams. This includes interpolating values as noted by anchpop.

I don't use a build step for the JS code. It's just <script> tags, like it's 1999! You can View Source and see them all. I realize it'd be better if I minified bundled etc. but I'm lazy and this was easier. The page is implemented differently from a "single page app". For that, you might want something like JSX so that you can stay on the JS side, and output HTML+CSS as needed. For this kind of page, I mostly write HTML+CSS, and I tap into JS when needed using Vue.js. For example, I want the text "w = 2 * size" to be next to the rest of the text for that paragraph, instead of in a separate JS file:

          Next we want to put several hexagons together.
          In the {{layout}} orientation, a hexagon 
          has width
          <code v-if="layout === 'flat'">w = 2 * size</code>
          <code v-else="">w = sqrt(3) * size</code>
I do use a build step for the HTML+SVG. Although the page works without this step (see pre-index.html), the user experience is a little bit better if I generate it on the server. I use cheesy pre-rendering for this: "$(CHROME) --headless --disable-gpu --dump-dom". It means more bytes :( but having all the HTML/SVG load at once is better for linking to a section, hitting the back button, etc. You don't lose the scroll position. Bonus: the page loads if you have Javascript turned off!

The static SVG on the server doesn't include the interactive parts. I use InteractionObserver to replace the static diagram with an interactive one as soon as you scroll to that section of the page.

I said I don't have a JS build step, but that's not quite true. The core hexagon algorithms were originally implemented in Haxe, compiled to Javascript. At the time (2013), I was curious about Haxe as an alternative to Javascript. Because I was either bored or crazy or both, in 2015 I implemented a code generator that used Haxe macros to parse the algorithms in Haxe-ish syntax[1] and then generate C++, Javascript, Python, and other output. The Javascript output from that is what now powers the page. Well, it's even more convoluted than that. The Haxe code generates Typescript[2], which I turn into Javascript[3]. I don't know what I was thinking! Well, I do — I wanted my readers to be able to use my unit-tested hexagon algorithms even if they were using a different programming language.

I wrote [4] describing the process of making an interactive page like this with D3.js. Check out [5] for a collection of interactive explanations from other people.

It's unlikely that you will print the page, but if you do, it will show endnotes for all the links so that you can see the URLs.[6]

[1] https://www.redblobgames.com/grids/hexagons/codegen/Codegen.... [2] https://www.redblobgames.com/grids/hexagons/codegen/output/l... [3] https://www.redblobgames.com/grids/hexagons/codegen/output/l... [4] https://www.redblobgames.com/making-of/line-drawing/ [5] https://explorabl.es/ [6] https://simblob.blogspot.com/2018/12/printing-my-pages.html

The idea is to follow plain ASCII given that Redis handles strings as binary blobs. So after round Z we are going to do round [, followed by \ and ].

> YouTube makes it pretty clear you are publishing your video to the public when you upload the file

After working in tech for long enough, you realize that no one reads anything, even if its absolutely clear in the UI. And they will blame you for it.

I will never get bored of the intellectual stimulace of my job, but yes, I did start to yearn for something more physical. Having kids pretty much solved that desire for me. I'm now a full time roboticist and a part time cook, people mover, negotiator, lab manager, construction foreman, fitness coach, gym spotter, goalie, wanderer, professional wrestler, cleaner, etc.

I'm surprised every week by what it's like to be a parent. I never expected it to round my life out in such a healthy way, both mentally and physically. Not just because I have offspring but because I'm doing a ton of things I haven't done in years, decades.

Florida is a perfect storm of retirees who should have had their licenses revoked years ago, car-centric exurban non-planning, big trucks as culture, and weather so hot and prone to unexpected storms that few people cycle for anything other than recreation and thus most riders are seen as ridiculous wannabe racers, or just some drunk who lost their drivers' license. Everything is spread out and connected by 6-lane divided highways with bike lanes "generously" thrown into the shoulder by FDOT, and everyone is distracted by their phones because they're bored because they spend enormous amounts of time sitting in traffic.

I lived in Florida for most of my early life, was car-free for a lot of it, and don't miss riding there at all. The cycling community in Miami used to joke that in the rest of the country, you ride like you're invisible - but in South Florida, you ride like the drivers can see you and are actively trying to kill you. Stay safe.

This is such nonsense. First of all, there are absolutely people who come from dirt poverty and become wildly successful. Second of all, plenty of people receive lots of help from their parents and amount to precisely nothing. IMO it's fair to refer to your success as "self made" if you exceed the median success level of your class peer group by a substantial margin.

If you immigrate from Africa with nothing, and you get yourself a law degree and an upper middle class income - that's self made success. If you're born in the US and your entire family is lawyers, maybe that same accomplishment is not "self made success". But if you say, start Microsoft and become a billionaire i'd say that it's fair to call that self-made success.

I feel like this trope that self-made success is a myth comes almost entirely from people like the author of this article. People who were born with lots of advantages, who still couldn't hack it. They want to justify their own failure to live up to their family's expectations by tearing other people down. Whether or not self-made success is a thing, self-made failure certainly is, and i'd say the author of this article more than qualifies for it.

Bloody hell.

It's his announcement. If he feels it is a battle he has lost, well I can fully understand why, I'm not going to criticise his choice of word.

Only the title and first sentence contain an expression you heavy handedly dislike. I don't see him ruling out palliative care, or any of the other criticisms you level. The rest of the short post is a poignant summary and thanks. It's disappointing, but rather typical of HN, that the top comment and most of the comments are now around the language of cancer, not Alex, his life or work.

Interesting. I used to work on legged locomotion in the 1990s.[1]

The notes point out that locomotion on the flat is a special case. Too much work on legged locomotion assumes flat ground. On the flat, balance dominates the problem. Once you get off a flat surface, slip/traction control dominates.

Slip control is like "ABS for feet". You have to keep the forces applied parallel to the ground below the point where slip starts. That changes the shape of the problem. Classically, most robot control is positional. Slip control is in force space. Until you have slip control, hill climbing will not work. So the first step is to constrain those forces to stay below the break-loose point.

I pointed out in the 1990s that legs with three joints allow manipulating the contact force vector and the position independently.[2] This is visible once you watch people climbing hills, and even clearer with horses, where the leg bones are closer to being of equal length.

Most legged robots don't make fast starts and stops or fast turns. Even the Boston Dynamics machines usually start by trotting in place and then shifting to forward. Motion with high accelerations is traction-limited.

The first step is like ABS, constraining the forces below the break-loose point. You need that because in the real world bad stuff is going to happen and recovery involves backing off the forces until traction is regained. The second step is considering forces when planning, so that movements get near the limits of traction but don't exceed them. This is where you can begin to do more aggressive movements.

The lesson notes are finally going in the right direction, looking at this as a two-point boundary value problem. Most previous work has focused on finding some expression that measures stability and maintaining that. If you want agility, you have to give up stability maintenance throughout the gait cycle. You need good landings. Everything else is secondary.

You have a set of constraints that apply at a landing, as a foot touches down - be within slip tolerance on forces, joints not too close to limits, impact not too high. And, importantly, the situation must be within the basket that allows stability recovery during the ground contact phase. Land, stabilize, launch, reposition for landing while in air, repeat.

Most work focuses on stabilization. That's only part of the problem. What to do in the air is classic rocket science trajectory planning. Launch control is mostly force-limited, and that's when you get to apply big forces and get big accelerations.

How far ahead do you plan? One landing ahead for basic locomotion, two landings ahead for athletics. If you plan two landings ahead, the stability criterion for the first landing can be relaxed somewhat. You might fail to zero out rotation in yaw because that will be fixed at the next landing, for example.

This stuff is cool, but there's no market. It was fun to work on, though. In the end, I sold much of the technology to a game middleware company, so it worked out OK.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kc5n0iTw-NU [2] http://www.animats.com/papers/articulated/articulated.html


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