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Ironic to see a particular kind of freedom we'll likely never see in the US in a country which is less free in so many other ways.

Poor people selling their organs really doesn't qualify as "freedom" except in the most meaningless, pedantic sense.

Why not? That's a serious question; I'd love to hear your opinion.

It seems to me that if they freely consent to sell their kidney, then they'll only do it because it's a better option than not doing it. Sure, in a perfect world everyone would have enough money to survive, and there would be no need for this. But is it really ethical to deny them options?


But you are ok with the "Freedom" to die on needless waiting lists, while willing donors would be available if payment was possible?

I don't think this is even slightly true of the protagonists of the two most popular examples of the genre (Worm and HPMoR).

Glad to hear it, but the article writer hasn't conveyed it well. It really sounds like he's describing fiction about the clash of hyperrational superminds who aren't held back by petty things like "mistakes" or "emotions."

Also--the article mainly uses the term "rationalist fiction," which is fine, but the title is "rational fiction," which is rather a turn-off. It reminds me of L. Ron Hubbard rattling on about how he doesn't write fantasy because fantasy is for stupids who can't write good, and he is a smart because he writes science fiction which is for smarts.

The whole tone of the article is kind of self-congratulatory. If that doesn't reflect the actual stories, well, good.


FYI, http://lesswrong.com/lw/iv/the_futility_of_emergence/ might explain why people are objecting to your comment.

A precise definition could probably be cobbled together using computational complexity. Something like, a phenomenon which results as a product of deterministic processes that cannot be fully modeled by a polynomial time algorithm.

I think that's what people are really getting at, you can know how every piece of something works, and yet seeing how it works together can be much harder (potentially impossible).

Maybe that just makes it a synonym for chaos theory...


Yea, I think you're talking about chaos, whereas people are gesturing at something different when they talk about emergent complexity. Vaguely, the idea is that the "regular" degrees of freedom (i.e., the ones that are relatively predictable and from which the important objects are constructed) at large scales are not simply related to the microscopic degrees of freedom. There are probably more rigorous things to say, but it definitely requires more than just unpredictability or sensitivity to initial conditions.

I don't mean to suggest that it will magically appear, but certainly abiogenesis is difficult to reduce to it's lowest level. There was just a piece on HN the other day that talked about new research that tries to explain how self replication began in the Precambrian. We can get to the moon, but we still don't understand how many interactions can just accidentally lead to something meaningful and lasting. Emergence doesn't have to be perceived as dogma. In fact, doing so would tend to discount the nature of the evolution of the human brain (leaving creation out of the equation for this context).

I learned a lot from reading the Django codebase. I didn't read it like a book, I read parts of it as I tried to figure out how to do things in Django, but I never felt like the code was bad. This was around 5 years ago so it's possible things have gotten more convoluted since then.

If the OP wants to grok a small, discrete codebase then I agree that Django is not what he's looking for.

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iTunes also used to randomly delete music on updates. And they deliberately deleted non-iTunes Store music at one point (which AFAICT was a separate thing).

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Do you have a citation on the deliberately deleting non-iTunes Store music? I've used iTunes since version 3 and updated along the way. I've NEVER had a file deleted (and 95% of my music is non-iTunes Store)

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Purely anecdotal, but it happened to me. I had ripped (using iTunes) about 200 CDs I own, over the course of a couple of months of throwing in a CD whenever I wasn't doing anything too important otherwise. These 200 CDs were joined by about 10GB of legally purchased MP3s from sources other than iTunes. In fact, I've only ever bought two albums on the iTunes store.

Anyway, some time after I had ripped and cataloged all of that old music, I decided it might be a good idea to back it all up to an external hard drive for safekeeping. I hadn't really paid much attention to file sizes or anything, but I knew I had about 36GB total. Curiously, after copying to the hard drive, I saw I only had about 25GB on there. This was too big a discrepancy even knowing I hadn't really looked at my library before copying. So I dug in, and I realized that the vast majority of MP3s purchased online were missing completely. There was an odd song here or there, but there wasn't a complete album (and I almost always buy the whole album in MP3 format) either on the backup or in iTunes itself. From what I could tell, all of my ripped music was there, but it was as if iTunes decided to "forget" that I also had all those purchased MP3s, and somehow had deleted them from my library without asking me.

Further investigation revealed that the few remaining MP3s were all available in the iTunes Store for purchase, and almost all the missing music was not available for purchase from Apple. It's mostly indie and obscure stuff so that in itself isn't surprising, but I found it intriguing that iTunes somehow deleted music that it couldn't have sold me. I honestly think that's more coincidence than anything, since a small percentage of the deleted music was available from Apple at the time, but it was frustrating nonetheless.

The story has a happy ending though: I had previously backed up my purchased MP3s onto DVD-R media, so I never actually lost anything. But that was the last day I ever used iTunes for anything.

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I've got a very similar anecdote.

Added songs to iTunes outside of the iTunes store, and months later went back to play the song but couldn't find it in iTunes.

The first few times I chucked it up to me being crazy and misremembering but by the third and fourth time I was sure I wasn't.

I started putting my iTunes directory in a git repo but that didn't highlight any files that got spontaneously deleted which made me wonder if they were really gone. I checked the filesystem and they were right there where they should be.

I'm glad to hear that it wasn't just me, for the longest time I though I messed something up because my friends who use the iTunes store almost exclusively had no such problem.

I'm still on the lookout for an acceptable iTunes replacement that is open source and that can talk to my newish iPod. (Smart playlists are a must)

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I've used iTunes since OS 9 and have had a number of songs go missing over the years. This hasn't happened in a long time, but I always suspected that iTunes had somehow removed them due to mismanagement of the library. I didn't investigate further, but now I'm interested to hear how many others might have run into similar issues.

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It's happened to me as well, with albums I purchased from iTunes. It may be anecdotal, but I've heard it enough to take it as fact.

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Lawsuit Claims Apple Deleted Users' Songs From iTunes Competitors

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/lawsuit-apple-delete-...

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The music itself or the playlist? I've seen iTunes corrupt its playlist, but the physical music files always remain. Don't get me wrong, it is still a huge pain in the butt, and one of the reasons I uploaded all of my music to Google Music and got an All Access subscription.

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I had the underlying files deleted - 1-2 songs missing from what used to be a full album, and iTunes' XML index still had references to the files. This was several years ago, long enough that I don't remember what the iTunes version numbers.

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I know it's beside the point, but Pocket is actually a great product and I actively use it in Chrome and Android.

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Living in Manhattan is not a right. I don't see anything wrong with a shorter commute being more expensive.

I would very happily pay more for services that get more expensive because workers demand higher wages for their longer commutes (etc.), in exchange for the drop in market-rate rent (which I pay) that would come from throwing out rent regulation.

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> People have previously mentioned hallway discussions at Google routinely devolve into bragging about SAT scores and GPAs.

I've been at Google for 3.5 years (in the NY office) and have never heard this. I don't think I've ever even seen anyone wear a college t-shirt/sweater.

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It's probably a pathological case centered around the mountain view office: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5534904 / https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3473308

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From that second link:

> These aren't Googlers I'm talking about, except the boyfriend.... remember that most of these conversations happened when I was actually in college (a few even before then, while applying to schools), and I just have a really long memory

Sounds like someone who's just into remembering people's SAT scores?

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I've never seen it in MTV either. But it's a big campus, so who knows?

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I worked in one of the Mountain View offices for a year and a half with people who had never even been to college, and never heard that. Doesn't mean it never happened but the idea that it's even close to common is just laughable.

I do wear my college t-shirt though. My graduating CS class was three people, so have to have a little pride there!

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Ah yes but you were one of the three right? So you could brag about being best of the three :-)

I jest.

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> I don't accept that competitive, winner-take-all behavior is at all "natural"

You don't have to accept that the sky is blue either, but we are all the descendants of those who obtained the most resources for themselves and their offspring.

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I think it's a matter of scale, rather than quality - we obviously use languages and frameworks and patterns at Google.

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Scale of operations at Google, or conceptual scale of the diagram?

And if you feel like language and framework choice plays a significant enough role at Google that "stack" in the more traditional sense is something that's carefully considered by engineering, I'd love to hear about the details.

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The scale of the diagram, though obviously a diagram of that scale can only be drawn for an organization with operations at that scale - so kind of both.

I've mostly done backend/data stuff at Google, so I can't speak to traditional web dev decisions, but I've written design docs which discuss the tradeoffs between using Bigtable and Spanner, or Flume vs. Mapreduce, or one serving strategy vs. another, for some specific thing. Maybe those choices are vaguely analogous to choosing between Postgres or Mongo, nginx or Apache, etc. I imagine the guys who write webapps (not Search, obviously, but internal apps or things like our help pages) consider whether to use App Engine, Angular, Django, etc. on a per-app basis.

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This diagram is about services that run o a machine and vend data to other machines, not the libraries or frameworks (GWT, etc) that implement the services. This diagram is more "zoomed out"

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