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Who, then, would you say is in Mr. Musk's league?

Musk is in a league of his own. This is based on my own research and comparison. I believe I've watched every interview he's given, read his biography, read the in-depth profile on waitbutwhy.com, and followed his companies fairly closely. I've done the same with Bezos, since the day Amazon went public. While I highly respect Bezos, I believe if you did the same, you would come to the same conclusion.

No one is in the same league as HNs God King Musk.

Jeff is only worth about 50 billion dollars (only what, 4x Musk?). Plus his rocket company is only landing suborbital flights. What scrub.


Yea, this looks interesting. We've managed an internal sprint board with JIRA and treated the customer-facing task tracking systems as inputs and outputs of our sprints.

It'd definitely be nice to replace our internal system with something that was lighter-weight than JIRA and had integrations (bidirectionally) with the customer-facing task tracking systems. I'll run this by the team and we may give it a try.

One question: I don't see pricing or a paid version anywhere on the site. What's the business model for this product?


Great to hear, I actually use Taco as a lightweight JIRA UI myself (along with GitHub Issues, a few Wunderlist lists, and starred GMail emails).

Response on pricing above: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11565896


I'm really starting to think a startup that solves Jira's UI/UX problems would work.

I've only dabbled in SCA heavy — it takes a pretty big time commitment and I got really busy with my consultancy. It's a great time and a good way to get exercise. If you stick with it and train consistency, you'll be in good shape.

Most of the sport — at least where I am — is focused on 1:1 battles, but these large field battles are really fun to participate in.


I just discovered this yesterday. I'm excited to dig in and make sure it works well, but if it does it's very likely that we'll start using flexbox in our production stuff sooner rather than later.

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Personally, I care more about what an prospective employee was doing rather than the where. If you are a Software Engineer at Unknown Widgets Corp (UWC) that has been heading up a small team of engineers to build a complete product, then I'm more interested than if you're a Software Engineer that has been silo'd in a very specific area at Dell.

All that being said the company you're at does matter for a couple of reasons. One is there is a small level of bias towards known companies. If two engineers have been doing the same kind of work at Facebook or UWC, I'll probably have a slight unconscious bias towards the engineer from Facebook.

Ultimately, I think the best bet is to go where you think you'll be happiest and have the most opportunities to learn. It's good to think about the impact that decisions will have on your long-term career, but the best way to get ahead is to be a stellar engineer. The happier you are in your day-to-day work, the more effort you'll put in to growing as an engineer to meet the challenges. And the more challenges that you're faced with, and the more smart people that surround you, the better opportunity you'll have to grow.

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Most of the UBI programs I've seen suggested drastically cut entitlement spending. The UBI _becomes_ the social safety net.

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There's one school which argues for that (the Libertarian / Friedman argument typically runs along these lines).

My view is that UBI could substitute for many safety-net expenditures, but not all. It turns out that there are people with special needs or circumstances. The sick, disabled, mentally ill, children, military veterans.

Some specific targeted assistance will likely still remain.

But yes, the bulk of it should likely not be necessary.

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Things you couldn't cut: (1) Medicaid and Medicare spending and (2) all social security payments greater than $10K per year [of which there is a lot].

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I just don't actually believe you. I haven't observed a _single user ever_ who consistently maintains the behavior you describe across all interactions they have.

In doing usability design even for astronauts or pilots I don't think you could fully trust a user to behave as you describe.

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I think you're unfairly abridging the e-mail that was sent. I think a more representative abridged e-mail would be:

> Hey, we noticed you have special access, and we are trying to clean those up. You should either use the regular API with rate limits or our commercial offerings. Your special access will be terminated on Thursday, April 21st. Let me know if you have any questions.

On receiving an e-mail of that nature, I would very likely let my audience know that I was shutting down the service on Thursday, April 21st just as the blog post author did.

I would not assume "Let me know if you have questions" meant "Let me know if you'd like to clarify your situation and request an exemption from this policy". I would assume it meant I could inquire about the details and process of the shutdown, or ask questions about the Gnip service or other options that they discussed in the e-mail.

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See, my first action if I was running a free and open source service that used the API free would be to immediately respond and say, "Hey, I had free access because I'm running an open source project that uses this and it provides a free service. Is there no option for me to continue that in some way? If not, I'll have to shut down." Quick, simple, gets to the heart of the matter, and provides the department responsible at Twitter with the information most relevant to possibly letting me continue with free access.

Immediately going public can backfire, depending on the specifics of your case. Now there are possibly competing interests at play, the public pressure to let them continue, and possibly some anger over at Twitter for not being given the smallest benefit of a doubt (when their project works because of the good grace your company exhibited in the first place) or even asked before playing hardball. If I was the person responsible for making the call at Twitter, I would probably acquiesce, but I would want to tell this person to go get bent.

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A form letter saying "Contact us if you have any questions" politely implies "We don't really want to hear your questions and no exceptions will be granted".

If they don't wish to communicate that message, the message should end with at the very least something like "We don't want to terminate a popular service in error, so please contact us today to tell us more about it."

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> In the email, we encourage people who believe their app is within the bounds of acceptable use cases on Twitter to contact us directly, and provide a link to do so.

As many others have pointed out, the e-mail from Twitter in the blog post absolutely does not state this. I add my voice to the chorus of others asking if there is an alternate e-mail, or if you and Twitter truly believe the e-mail in the blog post ever made this statement.

> The owner of this app elected to blog publicly about the situation before contacting us, which is unfortunate.

Again, joining in the chorus of voices, I want to ask why it was unfortunate that the developer made a public statement that his service would be ending? In the correspondence with him it was clearly stated "On Thursday, April 21st we will remove this elevation from your account" (contradicting your claim that you "asked them to clarify what they're doing"). I would argue that the developer has the responsibility to notify their audience that the service is going to be shut down at that time.

Why is a public response anything but appropriate given the content of the e-mail that Twitter sent to him? If the situation you describe here is truthful, then don't push blame onto the external developer when the e-mail didn't come close to communicating what the Twitter team thought it did.

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(I could be wrong about this, I haven't thought about it in great detail)

I think invoking the Anthropic principle only makes sense if we can demonstrate that there are a number of other "places" with varying "conditions". For such a selection bias to occur there needs to be a population to actually select from. For example, the Anthropic principle makes sense regarding the composition of the earth because we know that there are a large number of planets with a distribution of orbits and masses around a distribution of stars. Of course we will be on a planet that supports life as we know it.

To invoke the anthropic principle regarding a constant would imply — to me, at least — that there would need to be a number of universes with different constants. Or different regions of this universe where the constant would vary.

If there truly is only a single universe, and the constant is not changing in time or space, then it would seem we did actually just happen to get lucky.

Edit: of course, at this point we can't say definitely either way about our universe. We don't know if ours is one among many, or if its the solitary universe in existence. We also, clearly, have uncertainty about how constant this constant actually is.

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Another alternative was proposed by Hawking & Hertog (Phys Rev D, 2006, see below): walk the present values surface back to a superposition of possible universes and study the mechanisms that generate probabilities near one. That then is their way of asking about the degree of fine-tuning, with the anthropic principle being recasta as a constraint on the set of possible consistent histories.

H&H spend a lot of time comparing themselves to the approach of selecting an initial values surface in the early universe and marching it forward; they more or less do the same but flip the direction of the arrow of time and arrive at a superposed state. Re-flipping the arrow of time leads to relic fields like the CMB carrying evidence for the superposition.

Essentially this is just taking time-reversibility of local microscopic physics seriously (great), and absorbing the difference in degrees of freedom in macroscopic physics into a superposition (uh, ok). The problem of setting up a values surface remains pretty much the same. "Fine tuning" is just a way of saying that the system is sensitive to the values it evolves from (or to).

I'm not really convinced that that a present-day spacelike hypersurface is easier to write down than an early-time initial values surface.

ArXiv version: http://arxiv.org/abs/hep-th/0602091

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This paper looks very interesting, but it uses concepts a bit above my current understanding so I'll be studying it over the next week.

Thanks for the link, though! I'll get studying.

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I don't see why there needs to be other universes that actually exist in order for the anthropic principle to apply. It seems to make perfect sense to apply it to a set of conceivable universes, even if such universes don't actually exist and even if it's not physically possible for them to exist.

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Again, I could easily be wrong about all this.

I think this entire discussion is sensitive to exactly what one means by "The Anthropic Principle". If one's definition of the Anthropic Principle in this context simply means that an observed universe will be consistent with a universe that can be observed, then I find it to be trivially true and applicable to a single universe scenario.

I subscribe to a definition of the anthropic principle that invokes selection bias as its core mechanism. I think that, in order to have a selection bias, one needs to actually be selecting from a population. Hence my assertion that you need a multi-verse (with different constants in each universe) or a constant that is variable in space or time [2].

The difference, to me, is this:

If you are selecting from a population the Anthropic Principle can actually help explain why a value is what it is. Under our understanding of planetary bodies, we often invoke the Anthropic Principle to explain why the earth falls in the habitable-zone. Earth falls in the habitable-zone because — we think — life is most likely to arise on a planet in that zone.

However, if you are not selecting from a population, I don't find that the Anthropic Principle explains why a value is what it is. In the scenario where there is only a single value, I think the Anthropic Principle simply demonstrates that that particular value must support life.

Put another way, if all planets we observed were the exact same distance from their star as Earth [1], then we couldn't use the Anthropic Principle to explain why Earth is that particular distance from the sun. We would have to find other astronomical reasons to explain why planets form at that specific distance from a star. In this single-distance scenario the only thing the Anthropic Principle actually does for us is confirm that such a distance supports life.

[1] Well, not distance per se, but placed such that they received the same amount of stellar energy in their orbits.

[2] This final sentence of the introduction of the Anthropic Principle also makes some reference to this saying: "Most often such arguments draw upon some notion of the multiverse for there to be a statistical population of universes to select from and from which selection bias (our observance of only this universe, compatible with life) could occur."

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> If one's definition of the Anthropic Principle in this context simply means that an observed universe will be consistent with a universe that can be observed, then I find it to be trivially true and applicable to a single universe scenario.

It is "trivially" true in a sense. It's a tautology. But it's still useful for thinking about things. I think it applies just as well to a single universe or a multiverse, because even with a single universe you can at least hypothesize about other ways the single universe could behave.

> However, if you are not selecting from a population, I don't find that the Anthropic Principle explains why a value is what it is. In the scenario where there is only a single value, I think the Anthropic Principle simply demonstrates that that particular value must support life.

It might not answer the extremely broad and ill-defined question "why" to your satisfaction, but I find it fairly satisfying. If things were another way, then I wouldn't be observing the universe because I wouldn't exist. So it's not strange that the universe is this way, given that I exist.

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The goal is to explain "why is the number this value and not some other value". Unless the number actually takes on multiple values, the anthropic principle has no explanatory power.

If there is only one value, the universe can't "plan" or "choose" a value that is conducive to life, and so pointing to its suitability for life is a teleological argument-- it explains a cause (the value of the constant) in terms of its effect (the eventual existence of life). That's backwards and circular-- causes come before effects.

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Think of it in terms of Bayes theorem. The probability of observing a constant that doesn't support life is 0, since we wouldn't exist. So the probability of observing constants that just happen to support life is 1, and so it shouldn't be surprising at all. If it wasn't that way, we just wouldn't exist to ask the question.

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What on Earth has that got to do with Bayes' theorem? What's your prior? All you did was re-state the anthropic principle.

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I think the point is that there's no question of causality between values of constants and the existence of life, just conditionality, which is what Bayes knows how to talk about.

That is, the anthropic principle doesn't try to "explain" why a constant takes a value. It just notes that the conditional property of us observing that value (given that we exist) is 1, regardless of what the unconditional property might be (or even whether it's variable to begin with).

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If this is Bayes, then what is the prior probability distribution over the values the fine structure constant could take?

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If something is truly a universal constant, then it's part of the definition of what it is to be the universe. That we can imagine the constant being different is really just an artifact of the imperfect symbolic language we've developed to describe the universe.

Edit: It's hard to come up with a good analogy because obviously I don't have that "perfect" language at my disposal. But for example, a triangle fundamentally has 3 angles. We can imagine polygons with more angles, but it doesn't make sense to imagine a triangle with any other number of angles. If "the whole universe" were synonymous with "triangle", the notion of "universe with 4 angles" would be absurd. The ideal description would not even allow for that possibility.

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ISTM the different measured values of α described in TFA constitute evidence of "other places with varying conditions"?

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Yes, if we were able to consistently measure different values of α over space and/or time it would be significant and help to strengthen the anthropic principle as it could be applied here.

There are a couple challenges to these measurements, though. Sean Carrol presents a theoretical challenge in his blog post "The Fine Structure Constant is Probably Constant"[1]. Chad Orzel has a more observational critique of the results in "Why I’m Skeptical About the Changing Fine-Structure Constant" [2].

To be fair, these critiques are from 2010 and Webb, et al. has published several papers since these critiques were made. I haven't seen updated debate or discussion over Webb, et al's findings. Still, I would think we have some potential evidence that the constant may vary, but I don't think this evidence is near conclusive yet.

[1] http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/2010/10/18/the-fine...

[2] http://scienceblogs.com/principles/2010/09/14/httpksjtracker...

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