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Rodrigo Ipince
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The illusion of choice.
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The Stripe Capture The Flag (CTF) is back this year, this time with a focus on distributed systems and performance. I think it'll keep me busy this weekend:

https://stripe-ctf.com/

I did the security one 1.5 years ago and it was awesome. I highly recommend trying this one out.  They'll take it down on Wednesday, so hurry up!

(Last CTF problems and solutions: https://github.com/ipince/stripe-ctf-2.0 )
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Here we go again! Happy holidays!

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-23/venezuela-devalues-bolivar-for-tourist-dollars-to-boost-reserves.html

To be clear, these are "tourist" bolivares, which are those foreigners can buy when visiting the country. Except no tourist in their right mind would buy bolivares at 11.3 when they can make their dollars stretch 6x farther by buying at the parallel market rate of 64 bolivares/dollar.

Also, finally the subsidy on gas is being partially lifted, a much awaited and needed measure. The subsidy (a regressive economic policy) has been estimated to bleed ~17 billion dollars a year:
http://caracaschronicles.com/2013/12/03/deadweight-loss/

While 17B may not sound big for American standards, it is for Venezuela, whose international reserves at are a 9-year low of ~20B:
http://caracaschronicles.com/2013/11/23/the-trouble-with-those-international-reserve-numbers/

Of course, the policy change only comes after the Dec 8th elections, since it comes at an incredible political capital cost. My friend goes into more detail here on the reasoning behind a measure like this (in Spanish):

http://prodavinci.com/blogs/como-para-que-y-por-que-ahora-el-gobierno-quiere-subir-la-gasolina-por-jose-ramon-morales-arilla/
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Kinda late, but here's our latest performance at Cocomo's. Short and sweet :)

Que Hablen Los Habladores - Ritmo y Movimiento at Cocomo's
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Today I Read
(well, yesterday)

More dark streaks have been found on Mars, suggesting water flow at some times during the year. Has nice little map of Mars zones, places where rovers have landed, and places where streaks have been found. Also defines a "special zone", which is something I hadn't heard of before.
http://www.nature.com/news/water-seems-to-flow-freely-on-mars-1.14343?

Mentioned in previous article, so I wanted to learn more. In previous article's context, main concern is biological contamination, mostly going forward.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interplanetary_contamination

List of best practices for git flow models and commits
http://devcharm.com/pages/46-improve-your-git-workflow

One of the proposed git flows. Release off a prod branch while keeping development on a separate branch.
http://nvie.com/posts/a-successful-git-branching-model/

The simpler model used at GitHub: master is always deployable and deployed every hour or so. This was written in 2011 when they had 35 employees. Not sure how it has scaled now that they have many hundreds.
http://scottchacon.com/2011/08/31/github-flow.html

Interesting idea on funding open source projects. Not sure how effective giving out 2% of the money pool per commit would work out though. Seems like it would encourage useless commits for quick cash, or even discourage cleanup commits because the developer feels it isn't "worth" the 2% payout.
https://whispersystems.org/blog/bithub/

Interesting discussion on previous idea. Main rebuttal to crappy commit argument is that the savings in overhead trumps the potential loss due to bad team players.
https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6916751

Yuri Milner no longer investing $80k per YC startup. Khosla Ventures will do so instead.
http://blog.ycombinator.com/khosla-ventures-is-joining-the-ycvc-program

As I found out a family member had been prescribed this drug, I wanted to know more about it. I find the prescription rather odd and will further investigate the reasoning behind the prescription.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quetiapine
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Just beautiful, both visually and content-wise.
http://world.mathigon.org/

Find some time to go over it :-)  I just went over the symmetry section [1] and recalled how my awesome Algebra professor would always wear these crazy patterned shirts that depicted each of the 17 2-dimensional tessellation symmetry groups. Here's an example:
http://www-history.mcs.st-and.ac.uk/BigPictures/Artin_Michael.jpeg

[1] http://world.mathigon.org/Symmetry_and_Groups
The World of Mathematics
The World of Mathematics
world.mathigon.org
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Empathy ftw. Everyone has their reasons. I know practicing this often helps me lead a calmer life.

http://www.ted.com/talks/sam_richards_a_radical_experiment_in_empathy.html
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Pretty interesting read on how North Korea works.

Reminds me of an idea I've had for some time: to write a series of articles describing different aspects of life in Venezuela. Some topics to start with would be medicine (CDIs and lack of materials), job market (LOTTT, absenteeism), crime (murders, security measures), prisons (overpopulation, inmate control), economy (currency control, inflation, shortages), power, etc. And I guess later on whatever people want to see discussed.

What do you think?

http://www.nknews.org/2013/11/how-do-you-get-a-job-in-north-korea/
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Some interesting thoughts on bitcoin.

Answers some questions regarding usage, legality, ponzi scheme?
http://www.aarongreenspan.com/writing/essay.html?id=97

Argues it's a giant ponzi scheme.
http://www.garynorth.com/public/11828.cfm

Discusses the three major issues he sees with bitcoin
http://blog.samaltman.com/thoughts-on-bitcoin
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Interesting, I didn't know about London's tunnels.

What's more interesting is the cool machines they use to make the tunnels, which are anything but boring:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tunnel_boring_machine
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