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Max Huijgen
Think outside the box, Technology, European, Challenging your brain
Think outside the box, Technology, European, Challenging your brain

Max's posts

4,5,6 :)

and this time for real if I get more than five comments, I'm back on for those who care :)

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Trump strategy 'rope a grope? What a joker
The Daily News was right half a year ago. It's no wonder America is afraid of clowns.

Sometimes you wonder if we're not witnessing an elaborate wager: how long can I stay in the presidential race insulting as many people as possible.

He started out taking on individuals like John McCain Megyn Kelly and the mother of a war hero, but quickly stepped up his game to broader strikes. Latinos, muslims, tax-payers, women. Oh, and most Republicans...

Anyone left to insult? Time to grope a rope and get out

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The poor Guy; remembered for a failed plot

testing 1,2,3

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Never surrender: Charlie Hebdo will live / Pour que Charlie Vive

Cartoon by @LucilleClerc 

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Sounds like a compelling game
Did you try Factorio?

My new favorite game is Factorio ( It's like a cross between Minecraft, SimCity, and Civilization, and the result is massively better than any of them. The game is currently in "alpha", but I'm not sure why; it's far more polished and less buggy than many finished professional games I've played.

Overhead view. Like Minecraft, you start out punching trees for wood to craft a pickaxe with which you can then mine some ore to craft other things. But soon, you are building an automatic mining drill, then a conveyor belt to bring the ore to a smelting furnace, then robot arms to insert the ore into the furnace and take the smelted bars out, then more conveyor belts to bring those to other places where thy can be used. Eventually you can build power plants, labs to research new technologies, walls and turrets to defend against attackers, oil refineries, robot delivery drones, trains, and more.

The game is incredibly addictive (especially for programmers?). But what really impresses me is how the game illustrates the complexity of the real world. Factorio is a lesson in how logistics trump tactics and strategy ("strategy is for amateurs, logistics are for professionals"), and in how to build a complex system for changing requirements. The lessons are broadly applicable to the real world.

It's fairly easy to analogize Factorio to city planning. In your first game, you will quickly discover that the city you built for the early game is all wrong for the late game -- and then you realize: every real-life big city is a horrible mess and this is exactly why.

I also find myself comparing Factorio to software, especially distributed systems and networks. I find myself constantly using phrases like "buffer", "flow control", "back pressure", "throughput", "refactor", "under-utilized", etc.

One transition I find particularly interesting: around the middle of the game, you research the ability to build "logistics drones", which are basically like Amazon's quadcopter delivery drones. They can transport materials from point to point around your base -- you set up "request" points and "supply" points, and the drones pick up whatever items land in the supply points and bring them directly to whichever requester is requesting that item.

Up until this point, you mostly use conveyor belts for this task. When you first get logistics drones, you think "These are WAY more expensive than conveyor belts and have much lower throughput. Why would I ever want them?" But you quickly realize that the advantage of drones is that they are rapidly reconfigurable. Once your base is entirely drone-based, you can switch factories to build different items on a whim -- no need to re-route any conveyor belts. This gets more and more important in the late game as the number of different types of things you are building -- all with different input ingredients -- increases, and maintaining a spaghetti of conveyors becomes infeasible. This is tricky to grasp until you do it.

For a while, of course, you'll have part of your base running on drones while another part is still based on conveyors. It's like using Google Flights in your browser to search for airline tickets, while on the back end it is integrating with 60's-era mainframe-based flight scheduling software.

I can't help but imagine that conveyor belts and logistics drones represent two different programming languages (or, maybe, programming language paradigms). Choosing your programming language based on how easy it is to do something simple is totally wrong. The true measure of a good language is how it handles massive complexity and -- more importantly -- reconfiguration over time.

Another thought: In 10-20 years, when we have everything delivered to our houses via drones and self-driving taxis populating every major street, will we be able to just get rid of small residential side-roads? You won't need to drive a car up to your house anymore: it's easy enough to walk a couple blocks to the nearest major street and hop in a cab, or better yet to a train station. You don't need to carry cargo since it's delivered by drones. Delivery trucks: also replaced by drones. Will we suddenly be able to reclaim a ton of inner-city space? What will we do with it?

In any case, thanks to +Michael Powell and +Brian Swetland for introducing me to this game!

PS. Factorio is multiplayer! We've been having a lot of fun with it at LAN parties, and I just completed a coop game with +Jade Q Wang, who is also addicted. We tend to forget to do things like eat or sleep when we're playing.

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Marilyn blown away

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Now I understand this week's headlines about Google seeking a partner to make a car

We don’t particularly want to become a car maker, we are talking [with] and looking for partners.  said +Chris Urmson head of the self-driving car project.

Some design work is in order... 

With a maximum speed of 40 km/u ( 25 mph) we will have all the time in the world to appreciate the vehicle so looks are important.

We shouldn't repeat the mistake of a century ago when cars initially looked like the horse carriages they replaced, but find a new challenging design language for self-driving cars.

This looks like two rear-ends of the original Fiat 500 glued together.

If a real car manufacturer would be involved I'm sure they would come up with something bolder, more exciting. 

And it's just a prototype is no excuse: no car designer would accept this as a first incarnation as it will define public reaction.

(and you can't park two next to each other or Google earth will have to be censored. Maybe they should each bring half a bra to cover up ;) A joke started by +Sakari Maaranen 
Today we’re unwrapping the best holiday gift we could’ve imagined: the first real build of our self-driving vehicle prototype.  

The vehicle we unveiled in May ( was an early mockup—it didn’t even have real headlights! Since then, we’ve been working on different prototypes-of-prototypes, each designed to test different systems of a self-driving car—for example, the typical “car” parts like steering and braking, as well as the “self-driving” parts like the computer and sensors. We’ve now put all those systems together in this fully functional vehicle—our first complete prototype for fully autonomous driving.

We’re going to be spending the holidays zipping around our test track, and we hope to see you on the streets of Northern California in the new year.  Our safety drivers will continue to oversee the vehicle for a while longer, using temporary manual controls as needed while we continue to test and learn.  Happy holidays!

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I was almost in awe of a Dutch singer covering 'Ne Me Quitte Pas'
until I listened to the original again. What a song, what a coverage. No match for our local talent and even Nina Simone has a hard time improving on the original.  

Nina is over here

Who do you think covered it best? (And Jacques Brel is an allowed answer ;)

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Now what? Kim Oba-ma to strike back at North-Korean Christmas movies?
Straight from the horse's mouth, the chief-commander of the US of A speaking about the Sony hack: "We will respond, we will respond proportionally, and in a place and time that we choose. It’s not something that I will announce here today at this press conference.”

Weirdest hack ever. Sony cracked under the pressure and understandably so. This had nothing to do with cinemas refusing to show the movie. It was about blackmail: keep the film from the public and we will stop releasing more compromising data.

“Very wise to cancel ‘the interview’ it will be very useful for you,” read the message. “We ensure the purity of your data and as long as you make no more trouble.”

The freedom to release anal humor movies is a great good, but if every day that you hold on strong, more details of your operations, finance, your email exchanges and business practises are released, pulling a movie is the easier option.

Limiting the damages at the expense of the free word is an easy one for a corporation. Now what's next? Cyber wars over a remake of Lawrence of Arabia?

Salman Rushdie published his Satanic Verses at a high cost to his personal life., Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was brutally killed for his work on a anti-Islam movie. Heroes of intellectual freedom.

But who wants to die for a comedy? And which company is willing to pay the price of near destruction over a holiday box office hit? The reality is that Obama is left without the means to respond in an effective way. 

Sure a few extra sanctions and deleting the porn collection on Kim Jong-un's laptop will be within the capabilities of the US, but how do you prevent the blackmailing of corporations over ideological issues?

#SonyHack #TheInterview #Blackmail   #Cyberwar  
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