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Adam Bliss
Attended Harvey Mudd College
Lives in portland, or
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Adam Bliss

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I think that https://sandstorm.io is just the bee's knees, and probably the best possible solution to the (big, important) problem of centralization of webservers within the walled gardens of advertising megacorps, but...

But now I'm wondering, why do we need webservers at all?
I look at the webapps at https://apps.sandstorm.io/ ,
and think about the ones that are missing (google web search, facebook social network, twitter microblogging, etc.), and all i seem to see is:

65% static content
15% logins and ACLs
10% advertising
5% indexing and search
4% notification / pubsub
1% actual serverside computation that can't be moved client-side

Nowadays, I think that the vast majority of corpi that people actually want to index+search is small enough to actually slurp down and do the index+search client side. You still need google to run a server-side search because downloading the entire web to your client in order search it isn't feasible . But it seems like 99% of the "web of services" could actually be totally decentralized (with all content distributed and all execution local to your client) if we just put the right UI on it.

People are finally realizing that the webservices shouldn't be doing logons. And public-key crypto has a (slightly thorny, but perfectly functional) answer to ACLs.

So what am I missing?
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Adam Bliss

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Greenwald makes a convincing argument that "Russian cyberwarriors" is this decade's "Iraqi WMDs".
The "anything goes" media mentality when it comes to Russia strikes again.
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I didn't see any evidence that Russian hacking is being pushed through by a president for personal reasons against the beliefs and wills of all intelligence officials.
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Yikes... This year's Steam Sale is absolutely ravaging my wish list.
The Steam Winter Sale is on now, featuring great discounts on thousands of incredible games.
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Hopefully next they'll run a deep discount on "extra hours in the day".
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I think this may be the best NYT article ever. Every human should read this.
 
An inside look at the Google Brain team

For the past few months, we've had NY Times Magazine reporter +Gideon Lewis-Kraus visit the Google Brain team several times and hang out with us for a few days at a time, with an eye towards writing an article about how our research team operates and what we're working on. We gave him pretty open access to our building, the people in the team, many of our meetings, etc., and over the course of several visits, he decided to focus his story on the origins of the Brain team, and on our in-progress collaboration with the Google Translate team to replace the old phrase-based translation system with a neural machine translation system (essentially part of the article is a behind-the-scenes look at how the scientific work in https://arxiv.org/abs/1609.08144 and https://arxiv.org/abs/1611.04558 came about).

This long article is the result of his visits and synthesis of what he learned. Gideon, I think the article turned out really well!



How Google used artificial intelligence to transform Google Translate, one of its more popular services — and how machine learning is poised to reinvent computing itself.
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Adam Bliss

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+Jerry Morrison​ Looks like my Tracked Song this year is "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas". Points are doubled before Thanksgiving so I start the game with 2.
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Does anyone know a place to read rational responses to NASA's EM-drive paper? Every forum I've checked quickly devolves into Crackpots who don't believe in conservation of momentum and Serious Physicists who refuse to even consider the measurements.

After trawling these as a layman, here's what I've been able to glean:
1. Having no understanding of the theoretical physics at play, but having what I consider a pretty well-tuned Bullshit detector, I feel safe saying that section 10's musings about "pushing off the vacuum" are probably worthless and should have been omitted from the paper.
2. I gather that the treatment of systematic error in section 8 is not up to the standards of experimental physicists on the cutting edge of chasing the next decimal place of precision. But there's no reason to expect it to be. It seems like an honest, solid effort to me.
3. The paper's two methods for separating a hypothesized thermal effect from a hypothesized thrust effect are both sketchy, under-explained, and likely sources of error.
4. Nonetheless, looking at the data I cannot imagine how thermal effects could explain all of the measured displacement. It certainly seems like there's a real thrust (i.e. hidden momentum transfer) at work.
5. The wide range of measured thrusts at the same power, well outside the estimated error bars, is troubling. With only these 12 points of such noisy data, I see very little support for their claim of a linear relationship between thrust and power.
6. The effect does demand some kind of explanation, and for all its faults this paper has done a great service by showing that the effect persists (and at similar magnitude) in a vacuum. This seems to rule out the "asymmetrical air currents" theory.
7. I absolutely think this topic warrants more experimentation. In particular I'd like to see:
a. more replication attempts, hopefully with methods published before data collection.
b. bolt on a thermocouple + resistive heater + PIC thermostat and try to keep the test article at an approximately constant temp. This might make the data a lot less noisy.
c. Is it somehow ejecting electrons? Unground the test article and see whether it builds up a static electric charge.
d. Is it ablating neutral copper atoms? Run the test for longer periods and measure the mass of the test article before and after. Someone also suggested using a SEM to look for changes in atomic-level surface texture.

Even if c or d turn out to be the cause, I still think a physical explanation is missing, and the effect is still possibly useful. Until we understand how it scales, it seems silly to write it off.
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I think my thermostat idea might not work because of inadequate radiative cooling capacity. But this should be easy: measure the temperature on a few runs to collect a thermal profile. Program the heater to mimic a similar heating cycle. Now alternate randomly between (a) experimental thrust runs and (b) simulated thermal runs. Pass the collected data to a blinded collaborator to try to estimate the separation of thermal and thrust. Do they get significantly different answers for the two types of runs?
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Neat! Maybe you're still collaborating with hosted walled gardens like Slack and Gdocs, because you don't care about privacy, security, philosophy, lock-in, or continuity of support. If so, check this out: Sandstorm is growing killer features which the others can't match.
 
Capability/Powerbox-based sharing via Rocket.Chat on Sandstorm proves really useful.

You can't do this with Slack! With Slack, when you share e.g. a Google Doc in a channel, it only shows others a preview of the doc -- it doesn't give them access. And, indeed, there are technical reasons why it would be pretty hard for them to fix that.

+Mark Miller
Take control of your web by running your own personal cloud server with Sandstorm.
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Why does the practice of mathematics often fall short of our ideals and hopes? How can the deeply human themes that drive us to do mathematics be channeled to build a more beautiful and just world…
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And +Ali Michael​ too.
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Proposed rule: Once a UI control has been displayed to a user on a touch screen, it must never be removed, or change its size, position, or function, except in response to a user action. (Changing appearance and enabled/disabled state is allowed but discouraged).

Seems simple enough to implement and would save a lot of user rage. What do you think?
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I see you've been using Chrome's autobox 
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I would like to nominate thhis article for Garden Path Headline Of The Year 2016. Any other good candidates I should know about?
The only time you'll be glad to see your head on a stake.
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+Brian Bliss​ especially may enjoy the barnyard talents of Google Home (which I guess doesn't have an official Plus Page?!)
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This gawker article from March is even more fun to read in October.
Ted Cruz has a new theory: the American political media is in possession of “bombshell” stories about Donald Trump that could ruin him, but are choosing to not publish them for some reason. Ted, I’m here to tell you: we’ve got nothing, and we’re all really fucking freaked out about it.
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Work
Occupation
Software Engineer
Employment
  • Funemployed, 2012 - present
  • Google
    Software Engineer, 2005 - 2012
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Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
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portland, or
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Bangkok, Thailand - Mountain View, CA - midland, mi - plainfield, il - greenville, sc - beavercreek, oh - lawrenceville, ga - claremont, ca - budapest, hungary - albany, or - los angeles, ca - berkeley, ca - cambridge, ma
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Think Midas, but without the tragic ending.
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  • Harvey Mudd College
    Math, 1999 - 2003
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