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Bryan Mills
The price of reliability is the pursuit of the utmost simplicity. — C. A. R. Hoare
The price of reliability is the pursuit of the utmost simplicity. — C. A. R. Hoare


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Stumbled upon a neat "parallel fold" pattern in Go this weekend, roughly following `sort.Interface`.

A sketch:

func Fold(n int, f func(dst, src int)) (final int) {
ready := make(chan int, 1)
var wg sync.WaitGroup
for i := 0; i < n; i++ {
go func(dst int) {
for {
select {
case ready <- dst:
case src := <-ready:
f(dst, src)
return <-ready

(Incorporating errors and/or cancellation is left as an exercise for the reader.)
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Here's the letter I sent to Senator Pat Toomey today.

Regardless of how you feel about specific policies, I hope we can all agree on the importance of maintaining a true democracy and resisting the pull of authoritarianism.


Senator Toomey,

I am writing to encourage you to exercise your Constitutional authority as the democratically-elected Senate representative of the people of Pennsylvania.

Whether you agree with President Trump's overall policy aims or not, surely you can agree that the laws of this country need to originate in Congress and the Constitution and serve the interests of the American people, not the whims of the executive.

President Trump has so far shown a great disregard for the role of Congress in American democracy. He has ejected two Senate-confirmed advisors from the National Security Council, replacing them with Mr. Bannon — whom the Senate has not even reviewed, let alone approved. He has attempted to implement his policy goals unilaterally, without public debate or Congressional review and without proper consultation with Senate-confirmed department heads. He has appointed advisors with clear conflicts of interest, placing his own personal connections and family gain above the safety, freedom, and well-being of the Americans who elected him.

I am concerned that if you and your fellow members of Congress continue to neglect your Constitutional duty to oversee the actions and appointees of the executive, President Trump may well act to consolidate his own personal authority and permanently remove your de facto ability to influence policy and oversee the administration of the rule of law. I urge you to take action immediately to restore the proper checks and balances of the American government and reassert the authority of Congress — not the President — to set federal policy in the interest of all Americans.

Bryan C. Mills (Ind.)
Pittsburgh, PA
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A Liberal Decalogue - by Bertrand Russell

1: Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.

2: Do not think it worthwhile to produce belief by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.

3: Never try to discourage thinking, for you are sure to succeed.

4: When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavor to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.

5: Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.

6: Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.

7: Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.

8: Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent than in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.

9: Be scrupulously truthful, even when truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.

10. Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool’s paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness.

The article this is taken from is well worth reading:
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I voted. Not for your candidate, of course - no matter who your candidate is. I'm registered independent, and Pennsylvania has closed primaries.

I voted anyway. What's the point of a protest vote if you don't cast it?
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Why is it so cool when someone takes something easy and makes it ridiculously complicated? I don't know either, but it is.
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The national news media -- television networks, newspapers, opinion magazines, and the most popular news bloggers -- have an ideological bias.

All of these sources draw far more heavily from people with college educations, especially college educations from the most prestigious schools, than does the population at large. But we know that education increases ideological orthodoxy. This is likely because the features which make a good student are also those which make a good ideologue. Moreover, an ideological frame is almost unavoidable in the humanities, helping students learn to discuss topics in ideological terms and creating the expectation that they are the right terms.

So the media has this ideological bias; it favors ideological explanations over other kinds. This is a significant problem because the world is strongly biased towards heterodoxy, most especially the world of personal opinion. Ideologues tend to miss this point and, in its place, build an ideological misinterpretation of the world around them. When I read FiveThirtyEight discuss how a third of all primary voters throw a wrench into the predictive works, I wonder how big a role ideological framing plays. How does it influence the categories, questions, and coding? 

This isn't a quibble. For many years, studies showed that conservatives had a better understanding of economics. They would, contrary to their liberal counterparts, correctly identify supply-and-demand problems, where economic gains could be found, and so on. It turned out, however, that this was a problem with the researchers' perception of economics. Polling the issues which are ideologically coded as economic -- regulation, wages, etc. -- showed conservatives have a better understanding. But once you polled based on issues considered by economists -- regulations and wages, yes, but also prison, war, and so on -- the differences evaporated. Liberals and conservatives understood economics insofar as their ideologies happened to line up with it and, really, no further.

The lesson here is simple: people discuss topics in the frame they are most comfortable using; if that frame is not large enough, they will be wrong more often than they should be. The ideological frame is rather small.
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It's a shame for the current employees, but this is unambiguously good news for air quality in the Pittsburgh region. Shenango is one of the largest point sources of air pollution in the region, and (according to the Clean Air Council) frequently runs outside the legal emissions limits.
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