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Hacker News Classics (2018) (jsomers.net)
311 points by dsalzman 13 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 42 comments

'The PhD Octopus' is incredible. Can't believe the PhD was already a bankrupt concept in 1903.


I seem to remember that Adam Smith devotes a chapter to examining why different countries have significantly different durations of degree study, for the same eventual career.

"But are we Americans ourselves destined after all to hunger after similar vanities on an infinitely more contemptible scale?" Yes!

"And is individuality with us also going to count for nothing unless stamped and licensed and authenticated by some title-giving machine?" Yes!

"Let us pray that our ancient national genius may long preserve vitality enough to guard us from a future so unmanly and so unbeautiful!" Perhaps it was childlike, not ancient, genius that was destined to fade as we matured.

At least the concept of PhD as a requisite credential. That was a really interesting read—thanks for linking it.

What a great speech. Can anyone tell me what the "Mandarin disease" referred to by the speaker is?

I’ll bet it’s a reference to the Imperial Civil Service Exam[0], which in its later years became notorious in the same ways mentioned in the link. Government officials, who had all passed the exam, were known as Mandarins (at least to the West).

[0]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_examination

I enjoy that it's a long list that is loaded in its entirety instead of using infinite paging or some sort of virtualization. It's simple and ctrl-f just works, unlike on say, twitter.

Infinite scrolling is the worst. It’s such a pain to be forced to open all links inside new tabs as most implementations in the wild are breaking the “previous page” functionality of browsers.

It’s such a joy to have to scroll down n times to try to go where you were. It’s even better when on some websites, the “infinite scrolling” is not sequential but somewhat randomized.

I understand it’s way easier to scale pagination that way, but please, just stop.

Infinite scrolling, in its current form, needs to die. Please stop using it!

infinite scrolling is very bad! especially on mobile because on mobile you can accidentally tap on a link or whatever while swipping. happens to me all the time with the youtube app!! infinite scroll needs to go away!

Some of the same websites also break middle click functionality. Sometimes, if you fail to load the next 'page', you can't have another go at loading it unless you refresh and scroll down n 'pages' again.

Facebook has the most Fun with tabs: you go to the new tab and wait for it to load everything. And then it loads everything again in a slightly different overlay! You have to open it in a new tab, of course, or the video you're trying to watch will vibrate around your screen from comment sections growing above it, and pop out into a different view.

There are limits to this technique, browsers are still not able to handle very large files well. Especially on mobile these pages can be quite painful to use.

> browsers are still not able to handle very large files well

They are. But every improvement is matched by websites getting even larger.


coincidentally, HN has his own "Classic" page too[1] But it is focused on classic users. The idea is that users who have been around for a while will post quality articles. I just don't know how the threshold works.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/classic

Ranking (and thus visibility) is dominated by the majority of accounts, so even if classic users submitted and voted on articles which reflected the early character of the site, they wouldn't get to see each much of each other's articles. Such a "classic" view can only work meaningfully (i.e. generating content that reflected the classic userbase) if classic users use it exclusively.

Any link to read up on this? Like what is "classic view", how exactly it's different from the main page, what are "classic users", what was the "early character of the site" like etc?

I write from memory when PG was doing these experiments, if you do a HN search over PG & classic should be able to dig it out.

The word I would use to describe this is, beautiful. Being able to place in order, casual or niche ideas that would become relevant up to 100 years later - as the effect of hundreds or even thousands of people reading them and discussing them in a modern context - is really striking.

Many of these ideas (alexander, feynman, NASA typography) are the kinds of insights that were only available to a rarefied audience at the time of their publication, but would go on to be the foundation ideas for really significant cultural changes. I'd say this has relevance well beyond this forum.

I thought this was going to be a collection of classic HN Posts/Comments, like cperciva's Putnam comment[0] or the pessimistic dropbox comments (and the retrospective by the commenters).

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=35079

Of these, I'm just reading https://www.wanttoknow.info/warisaracket again, and can't stop wondering how pertinent it is.


>How I Turned Down $300,000 from Microsoft to go Full-Time on GitHub (2008) (preston-werner.com)

... Welp.

wow there are some real gems there. Maybe to avoid the many duplicate url's run the whole list through something like a

  cat output |sort|unique 
otherwise it'll be a lot of links repeated. (example "Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness" but many others)

This list is awesome, but if it wants to function as a long lived archive or library, it should maybe point to the Internet Archive version? Many of the links are currently broken :\

If you were confused like I was: the list is in chronological order.

I clicked the first 4 links, 2 dead 2 alive. Linkrot is a shame

If your subs appear on the list three or more times, you might have a problem living in the present. (Spoiler: I do.)

Thank you for making this. I have opened a few links and all happened to be outstanding. Saved for the weekend reading.

107 comments from Feb 23, 2018: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16442888

I was freaked out by the fact that it has a green topbar - and thought that it had somehow sucked in my HN settings, which also specify a green topbar.

Turns out that it's just a coincidence. Yikes.

I wish the HN settings would also change the background of the Y icon to match the rest of the topbar.

This is wonderful.

From https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2014/04/h-g-wells-it-s...

Stalin (to HG Wells): Planned economy tries to abolish unemployment. Let us suppose it is possible, while preserving the capitalist system, to reduce unemployment to a certain minimum. But surely, no capitalist would ever agree to the complete abolition of unemployment, to the abolition of the reserve army of unemployed, the purpose of which is to bring pressure on the labour market, to ensure a supply of cheap labour.

Surprisingly orthodox piece of economics there. The normal mechanism of controlling (wage/price) inflation through interest rates works by that mechanism indirectly.

Methinks sir has misplaced their regex given that everything starts from 1900.

FWIW, it's sorted by the year. There are submissions with articles from as late as 2010 at the bottom.

Maybe you were thinking as I originally did that it was going to be classics from 2018?

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