# Articles

The ground truth for internet denizens.

 Random Link ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Sep 18, 2018 » On DNA Testing 3 min; updated Nov 6, 2021 The human genome has sequences of nucleotide base pairs that are repeated over and over again. At each locus of interest, a person has two sets of repeats inherited from each parent. Each possible difference at a locus is an allele. The combinations of the possible differences at multiple loci form a DNA profile that can be used to tie suspects to a crime scene. The Accuracy of DNA Testing is Wanting 74/108 crime labs erroneously incriminated a suspect during a mock study.... Feb 12, 2020 » Financing the Disadvantaged 3 min; updated Nov 6, 2021 Short Term Loans A common narrative for loan providers is financial inclusion. 69% of global adult population is not covered by credit bureaus. Using non-traditional data (e.g. text messages, location, contacts, call logs), more people can get scored. If only $$x\%$$ of people pay you back, then $$\frac{x}{100}(1 + r) \ge 1$$ suggests $$r \ge \frac{100}{x} - 1$$. If $$75\%$$ tend to pay back, $$r = 33\frac{1}{3} \%$$.... May 6, 2020 » COVID-19 3 min; updated Nov 6, 2021 Contact Tracing “Apps” in this context means contact tracing apps released by public health authorities to do contact tracing. The APIs are limited to them. Big Picture Release APIs to enable apps to interoperate between Android and iOS devices. Bluetooth-based contact tracing baked into Android and iOS, such that no app is needed for broadcasting/listening. This ensures broad adoption, but will be on an opt-in basis.... Feb 14, 2020 » Signal Is Finally Bringing Its Secure Messaging To the Masses [Andy Greenberg] 3 min; updated Nov 6, 2021 Signal Is Finally Bringing Its Secure Messaging To the Masses. Andy Greenberg. https://www.wired.com/story/signal-encrypted-messaging-features-mainstream/ . https://it.slashdot.org/story/20/02/14/2216214/signal-is-finally-bringing-its-secure-messaging-to-the-masses#comments . https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22326731 . Feb 14, 2020. Attracting the Masses Brian Acton (WhatsApp cofounder) injected $50m into the Signal Foundation, allowing them to grow from 3 to 50 full-timers. You’d think that at Signal’s dominance, getting$ shouldn’t be a problem. But VCs expect a multiple return and Signal doesn’t look like it will monetize soon.... May 2, 2020 » On Learning 3 min; updated Oct 31, 2021 On “Doing Your Research” Of late, the phrase “do your research” has been popular , with some pushing back claiming that lay people tend to entrench their initial opinions and should defer to the consensus of scientific experts . How does one spot the scientific consensus? Maybe by surveying the publications of the relevant field. Indexing and abstracting services provide abstracts of publications and references to documents , and may thus prove useful.... Apr 26, 2020 » Philanthropy 3 min; updated Oct 20, 2021 Criticism/Defense Of Billionaire Philanthropy Taxes will probably not go to the same causes, e.g. reforming the bail system, grassroot efforts for migrants, etc. Admittedly, these are things that the government should be doing, but it seems that the government doesn’t do enough. Furthermore, some of these issues so politicized, e.g. immigrants, that government support can be fickle. Foundations are more effective than governments as they do their due diligence, e.... Apr 29, 2020 » Free Speech in Cyberspace 6 min; updated Sep 25, 2021 Should Platforms Be Neutral? Facebook banned praise, support and representation of white nationalism and separatism, because the two concepts cannot be meaningfully separated from white supremacy and organized hate groups. Furthermore, people that search for related terms will have “Life After Hate” suggested to them. Part of me is uncomfortable. Sure, Facebook is trying to do the right thing here. What if Facebook was replaced by some tyrannical government that censors opposition?... Nov 30, 2011 » How Doctors Die [Zocalo] 1 min; updated Sep 2, 2021 How Doctors Die. Ken Murray. https://www.zocalopublicsquare.org/2011/11/30/how-doctors-die/ideas/nexus/ . Nov 30, 2011. Doctors tend to be fairly serene when faced with death themselves. They know enough about modern medicine to know its limits. They go gently into that good night - no heroics; no CPR. Sometimes, a family really means ‘do everything’, but often they mean ‘do everything that’s reasonable.’ But they may not know what’s reasonable.... Jan 31, 2015 » [Summary] (SSC) The Parable of the Talents 2 min; updated Sep 2, 2021 The Parable of the Talents. Scott Alexander. https://slatestarcodex.com/2015/01/31/the-parable-of-the-talents/ . Jan 31, 2015. Overweight people, depressed people, and poor people aren’t fully to blame for their situation – and neither are unintelligent people. It’s accidents of birth all the way down. Srinivasa Ramanujan: Grew up in poverty in a one-room house in small-town India. But a lot of poor people in the US had better conditions/opportunities Either, a lot of intelligence is innate Or, those poor people are just not trying hard enough.... Feb 1, 2015 » [Summary] (Yudkowsky) Letting Go 2 min; updated Sep 2, 2021 Rationality: From AI to Zombies: Letting Go. Eliezer Yudkowsky. Feb 1, 2015. Learn when to admit failure It’s important to have a watershed moment and acknowledge a fundamental problem, instead of dividing it into palatable bite-size mistakes. LTCM were exploiting market inefficiencies. Other people learned of the tricks. LTCM didn’t lose hope. They borrowed more and more leverage to exploit tinier and tinier margins. And their math probably said the leverage was okay.... Apr 8, 2015 » [Summary] (Slate Star Codex) No Clarity Around Growth Mindset 2 min; updated Sep 2, 2021 No Clarity Around Growth Mindset. Scott Alexander. https://slatestarcodex.com/2015/04/08/no-clarity-around-growth-mindset-yet/ . Apr 8, 2015. Growth mindset: people who believe effort - and not ability - determines success are more resilient, skillful, hard-working, perseverant in the face of failure. Most of the growth mindset experiments prime their subjects, but recent priming experiments have famously failed to replicate. Dweck’s experiment: Group A: easy test (success) -> final bound-to-fail test Group B: hard test (told they’re not working hard enough) -> final bound-to-fail test Group B outperformed Group A.... Jun 17, 2016 » The Trade of the Century: When George Soros Broke the British Pound [Priceonomics] 2 min; updated Sep 2, 2021 The Trade of the Century: When George Soros Broke the British Pound. Rohin Dhar. https://priceonomics.com/the-trade-of-the-century-when-george-soros-broke/ . Jun 17, 2016. Before the EU, Europe had the ERM to fix their exchange rates with the Deutschmark within 6% of the agreed upon rate. Keeping the exchange rate fixed requires governments to nudge the rate, e.g. Use reserves of foreign currency to buy up their own currency Set high interest rates to entice lenders to buy their currency Margaret Thatcher (PM) opposed the fixed exchange rates but lost the vote to Major, an ERM proponent.... Jun 1, 2018 » The Psychology of Money [Morgan Housel] 1 min; updated Sep 2, 2021 The Psychology of Money. Morgan Housel. http://www.collaborativefund.com/blog/the-psychology-of-money/ . Jun 1, 2018. People underestimate the role played by luck. Given $$N$$ investors, if $$N$$ is large enough, a couple of them will luck their way into billions. But every investor seems to be doing due diligence. The successful ones will be more convinced that their methods really work. Considering the amount of investing books out there, we should be seeing a lot more Warren Buffets in the world.... Jun 15, 2018 » U.S. Files Criminal Charges Against Elizabeth Holmes and Ramesh Balwani [WSJ] 2 min; updated Sep 2, 2021 U.S. Files Criminal Charges Against Elizabeth Holmes and Ramesh Balwani. John Carreyrou. https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-files-criminal-charges-against-theranoss-elizabeth-holmes-ramesh-balwani-1529096005 . https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17323485 . Jun 15, 2018. (Ask HN) Holmes has 200 Patents. If tech didn't work, why not noticed? https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17328664 . Jun 18, 2018. Theranos Lessons. Morgan Housel. https://www.collaborativefund.com/blog/theranos-lessons/ . Jun 19, 2019. This CEO is Out for Blood. Roger Parloff. https://www.fortune.com/2014/06/12/theranos-blood-holmes/ .... Jun 25, 2018 » IBM Watson's Health Saga 2 min; updated Sep 2, 2021 Layoffs at Watson Health Reveal IBM’s Problem with AI. Eliza Strickland. https://spectrum.ieee.org/the-human-os/robotics/artificial-intelligence/layoffs-at-watson-health-reveal-ibms-problem-with-ai . https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17393560 . Jun 25, 2018. Jefferies gives IBM Watson a Wall Street reality check. John Mannes. https://techcrunch.com/2017/07/13/jefferies-gives-ibm-watson-a-wall-street-reality-check/ . https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14766793 . Jul 13, 2017. IBM acquired Phytel, Explorys and Truven for their troves of healthcare data and proprietary analytics. From 2010 to 2015, IBM has spent +$15bn and Watson is still not profitable.... Jul 1, 2018 » [Summary] (Morgan Housel) Immeasurably Important 1 min; updated Sep 2, 2021 Immeasurably Important. Morgan Housel. http://www.collaborativefund.com/blog/immeasurably-important/ . Jul 5, 2018. Filtering out information is an art, not a science, necessitated by the information overload that we live in. Watch out for the tendency to only preserve information that meshes with how we think the world should be. If you think the world is all art, you miss how much stuff is too complicated to think about intuitively.... Oct 24, 2018 » Humble Exits [Morgan Housel] 1 min; updated Sep 2, 2021 Humble Exits. Morgan Housel. https://www.collaborativefund.com/blog/humble-exits/ . Oct 24, 2018. Jack Welch declined$110m for a 10th season of Seinfeld because he was done with the show. He wanted to end the show on the same kind of peak. The show was based on recreating real events from his and Larry David’s normal life. They were running out of material because it had been so long since they experienced a normal life.... Nov 22, 2018 » You Probably Won't Make it to the Top [DHH] 1 min; updated Sep 2, 2021 You Probably Won't Make it to the Top. David Heinemeier Hansson (DHH). https://m.signalvnoise.com/youre-probably-won-t-make-it-to-the-top-8d2146abb790 . Nov 22, 2018. Fallacy: If you really set your mind to it, you can do it… That’s how I did it. I just wanted it more, worked hard, and eventually all my dreams came true. I won’t say it’s easy, but it’s up to you! Odds are overwhelmingly that you will not make it to the top.... Jan 22, 2019 » Monopolistic Tendencies in the Prescription Glasses Industry 2 min; updated Sep 2, 2021 Luxottica - Queen of the Seven Kingdoms Luxottica owns and licenses Armani, Brooks Brothers, Burberry, Chanel, Coach, DKNY, Dolce & Gabbana, Michael Kors, Oakley, Oliver Peoples, Persol, Polo Ralph Lauren, Ray-Ban, Tiffany, Valentino, Vogue and Versace. Italy’s Luxottica also runs EyeMed Vision Care, LensCrafters, Pearle Vision, Sears Optical, Sunglass Hut and Target Optical. It also merged with the world’s leading maker of prescription eyeglass lenses and contact lenses, to form EssilorLuxottica.... Feb 17, 2019 » The Shady Economics of Buy-One-Get-One Free Deals [The Hustle] 1 min; updated Sep 2, 2021 The Shady Economics of Buy-One-Get-One Free Deals. Zachary Crockett. https://thehustle.co/are-buy-one-get-one-free-deals-worth-it/ . Feb 17, 2019. BOGO goods are usually low-demand, non-efficient, lacking in quality and/or close to the expiration date. The BOGO deal is usually a 50% discount off of the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP). And oftentimes, this price is artificially marked up to begin with. MyPillow offered BOGO deal on their pillows, but really just doubled the price of the first pillow.... Jul 5, 2020 » Startup Ideation 4 min; updated Sep 2, 2021 How to Get Startup Ideas Err on the side of having competitors, but make sure that you have a thesis that everyone else is overlooking, e.g. Google wasn’t averse to users leaving google.com ASAP. The Startup Idea Matrix, ( B2B Edition , B2C Edition ) is a good start for knowing who to google. Big companies tend to be slow at changing their approach.... Apr 1, 2005 » The Submarine [Paul Graham] 1 min; updated Sep 2, 2021 The Submarine. Paul Graham. http://www.paulgraham.com/submarine.html . Apr 1, 2005. Many people rely on social proof to form opinions; therein lies the power of PR. PR firms are not dishonest for they need good reputation with news outlets. But PR firms serve overworked reporters with selective truths. The firms feed the same story to different publications at once. Readers see similar stories in multiple places and assume a new trend has come.... Jan 1, 2016 » [Summary] (Paul Graham) Life is Short 1 min; updated Sep 2, 2021 Life is Short. Paul Graham. http://www.paulgraham.com/vb.html . Jan 1, 2016. Some of it is our own fault (e.g. arguing online). Some of it is forced by circumstances that we choose to endure (e.g. unnecessary meetings at work) Choosing a bullshit minimizing path is error-prone. Your priorities change over time. Periodically evaluate where you are. It helps to have measurable aspects of your life. Nov 23, 2016 » What is Ergodicity? 3 min; updated Sep 2, 2021 A random process is ergodic if all of its statistics can be determined from a sample function of the process. That is, the ensemble averages equal the corresponding time averages with probability one. Role of Ergodicity in Human Inference A newspaper has previously printed some inaccurate information, therefore, the newspaper is going to publish inaccurate information in the future. Fair. Ensemble of published articles is more or less ergodic.... Jul 20, 2017 » Betting on Things That Never Change [Morgan Housel] 1 min; updated Sep 2, 2021 Betting on Things That Never Change. Morgan Housel. https://www.collaborativefund.com/blog/betting-on-things-that-never-change/ . Jul 20, 2017. Change by itself is hard. Investors have to spot it before it’s obvious. Consumers have to change their behaviors to make it viable. These two points repel each other. Sears bet the Internet changed nothing. Beenz bet the Internet changed everything - creating a points-based currency valid only at online merchants. Amazon bet the Internet changed distribution, but rooted its strategy in selection and low prices.... Sep 17, 2018 » Why Mathematicians Can't Find the Hay in a Haystack [Quanta Magazine] 1 min; updated Sep 2, 2021 Why Mathematicians Can’t Find the Hay in a Haystack. Kevin Hartnett. https://www.quantamagazine.org/why-mathematicians-cant-find-the-hay-in-a-haystack-20180917/ . Sep 17, 2018. Irrational numbers occupy most of the number line. If you were to pick a number on the number line at random, there is literally a 100% chance that it will be irrational (probabilities with inifinities are spooky). Yet, we almost never encounter irrational numbers for we can’t write them down.... Nov 5, 2019 » AT&T to pay $60m in settlement for slowing cellphone data on unlimited plans 1 min; updated Sep 2, 2021 AT&T to pay$60m in settlement for slowing cellphone data on unlimited plans. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-at-t-settlement/att-will-pay-60-million-over-u-s-allegations-it-lied-in-unlimited-data-pledge-government-idUSKBN1XF26Q . Nov 5, 2019. Complaint filed in 2014 by the FTC: AT&T charged smartphone users for ‘unlimited’ data plans, but throttled them after ~2GB within a month. AT&T: None of these allegations were ever proved in court. We were fully prepared to defend ourselves, but decided settling was in the best interests of consumers.... Nov 20, 2019 » Book Review: All Therapy Books [Scott Alexander] 2 min; updated Sep 2, 2021 Book Review: All Therapy Books. Scott Alexander. https://slatestarcodex.com/2019/11/20/book-review-all-therapy-books/ . Nov 20, 2019. Scott’s thesis: Each of the therapy books on their own can be convincing. But they should be taken in the context of All Therapy Books, which as a category are pretty worrying. Dodo Bird Verdict : All psychotherapies are about equally good, and the only things that matters are “nonspecific factors” like how much patients like their therapist.... May 2, 2020 » Wall Street University: USD 101 3 min; updated Sep 2, 2021 Short Selling Say $A shares are selling at$100, but I think they’re overpriced. So I borrow 10 shares, pay my brokerage interest and post some collateral. I then sell the shares for $1,000. Whoever buys my shares has no idea that I do not own them. In a naked short, I do not actually borrow or ensure that the security can be borrowed within the standard 3-day settlement period.... May 17, 2020 » On Distributed Systems 2 min; updated Sep 2, 2021 Mergeable Replicated Data Types On a distributed system, each replica should [eventually] converge to the same state. Commutative Replicated Data Types (CRDTs) can accept updates and achieve consistent without remote synchronization. The Need for Commutativity Say we have a queue $$1 \to 2$$. Suppose two replicas, $$r_1$$ and $$r_2$$, independently call pop(). Each replica will have $$2$$ on their queue. However, on receiving an update that the other replica popped, each replica will call pop() to be consistent, thereby deleting $$2$$.... Dec 18, 2020 » Lean Startups vs. VC Money 2 min; updated Sep 2, 2021 20 years later, JetBrains is valued at$7b without taking VC money. HN users praise JetBrains for being user-focused, and the prevailing argument is that VC money comes with growth-hacking attached. Is the Lean Startup Dead? Katzenberg (Paramount, Disney Studios & DreamWorks) has raised $1.75b for NewTV, a startup banking on consumers wanting a subscription for 10-minute programs on mobile. They renamed to quibi.com/ . At least that makes them more searchable on Google.... Apr 16, 2018 » An Apology for the Internet - How It Went Wrong [Intelligencer] 2 min; updated Mar 14, 2021 An Apology for the Internet - How It Went Wrong. Noah Kulwin. NY Mag. http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/04/an-apology-for-the-internet-from-the-people-who-built-it.html . Apr 16, 2018. Start with hippie good intentions. A generation embracing new technology as a tool to transform the world for good. Can Duruk: You were going to Facebook not to work but to make the world more open and connected. Mix in capitalism on steroids. To save the world, you first need to take it over.... Oct 1, 2018 » The Wolf that Tried to Play Nice [SoECS] 1 min; updated Mar 14, 2021 AT&T restricted FaceTime from running on some data plans. Justifications? FaceTime is preloaded, therefore 100% of users have it FaceTime wasn’t efficient in network usage. The capacity was asymmetrical, but video chat is symmetrical Interestingly enough, AT&T required Apple to greenlight it, which they did. AT&T worked with top developers to teach network etiquette. Oct 1, 2018 » Kernighan's Remarks on the Digital Humanities 1 min; updated Mar 14, 2021 OCR tends to miss (sometimes) really important context. Make use of derived data, e.g. age at marriage, gender differences, mortality rates, mapping migrations, last names Don’t spend all your time cleaning data. Try a sequence of things, not one big idea. Don’t expect existing tools to do the whole job. All the while, building new tools is not as straightforward. Sample Digital Humanities Projects ORBIS by Stanford .... Oct 1, 2018 » How Does a Market Work? [CS Colloquia] 1 min; updated Mar 14, 2021 Objectives: low latency, high throughput & high reliability. The messages are quite brief, e.g. the ITCH protocol uses 32 bytes per message. Trading firm listens to broadcasts on buys, sells, deletes on ITCH broadcasts. Online sorting to identify profitable trades. Matching engine operates on a first-come-first-served basis. Earlier orders with better price get traded first. Markets run at 50 microsecond scales. Single market peaks at 10Gbps. Peaks are correlated, e.g. “Shit!... Jan 25, 2019 » Facebook Monetizing Encrypted Messaging by Analyzing Metadata [Twitter] 1 min; updated Mar 14, 2021 Facebook Monetizing Encrypted Messaging by Analyzing Metadata. @SarahJamieLewis. https://twitter.com/SarahJamieLewis/status/1088914192847917056 . Jan 25, 2019. Claim: FB will track relationships and social groups and make that information accessible to law enforcement. FB is a corporation that needs to make money; surveillance makes them money. Contention: Actual privacy and security must protect metadata as well as content. Cwtch by OpenPrivacy aims to minimize metadata exposed by apps used.... Jan 29, 2020 » Facebook to Pay$550 Million to Settle Facial Recognition Suit 1 min; updated Mar 14, 2021 Facebook to Pay $550 Million to Settle Facial Recognition Suit. Natasha Singer; Mike Isaac. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/29/technology/facebook-privacy-lawsuit-earnings.html . Jan 29, 2020. Illinois' biometric privacy law requires companies to obtain written permission before collecting a person’s biometrics. Residents have the right to sue for up to$5,000 per violation. Facebook’s Tag Suggestions harvested facial data without getting written consent nor telling Illinois users for how long the data would be kept....