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Paul Baclace
Eschew Obfuscation.
Eschew Obfuscation.

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25 years since those early days of the cypherpunks and the start of EFF. Once again, there are government calls to weaken encryption for spying.

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RSVP keeps coming back.
Technologically assisted speed reading.  Your eyes don't move; the words do. Various forms of this trick, known as Rapid Serial Visual Presentation  have been around for decades. This new tweak uses a constant red letter placement for greater ease of reading. I can do 600 wpm easily. I'd like to try a whole book this way. Has anyone done that?

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Earlier this year, I was telling Julian Hyde (optiq) that there should be a Jira crowd-funding plugin that would make it easy to sponsor issues. Today I found out about 

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An early example of science vs. policy vs. the multitude:  the 1930s Dust Bowl could have been avoided.  [freely accessible]

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RStudio has an interesting spinoff,, which organizes and publishes R code in a literary programming style. I spotted this posting that is really a presentation without R, but is about the benefits of making analysis reproducible (and re-analyzable, cross-checked, etc.) See for recently updated "notebooks".

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One of my cars seems to have a lateral vibration at certain speeds, so I want to verify this with an accelerometer app. I found the free iSeismometer app that is perfect for the task. It is well done without being dumbed down:  charting of both xyz readings and spectrum with history, uploading, plus ability to send data via UDP for realtime collection. The app was written for a college level class at Long Island University.

I'm going to mount the iphone to the car floor with gaffer tape and take a drive. Comparing the difference in spectrum when the vibration is present or not should show something. The tire RPMs should be related to the frequency of the lateral vibration. 

Now that everyone has unicode and can obtain free fonts, why not bring back the style of APL and just use special chars for metachars in regex so we can be done with the spilled toothpicks? (Escaping the special chars themselves would still be a problem, but one would be hard pressed to identify a real need for that, except for a meta-recursive...(snipped (to preserve (sanity)))).  Then support translation to and from the legacy implementations. There! Permanently saved from n-deep backslashes. 

(I actually prefer lex and yacc to (ab)use of regular expressions ; I would not mention this except that people have used regex instead of real parsers to parse html. That means web crawlers, which are are very good at find parasitic cases, eventually get stuck on one web page after spending hours parsing one page. Stuck is not quite accurate. It is more like shoe shining the disk in some n^2 passes where n=10^6 and the input is reloaded every pass. How long does it take to seek 10^12 times? About 100 years. (Okay, I exaggerate... number of seeks would really be reduced by average token size, so maybe 10 years, perhaps it would finish before the disk dies.)

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"Parallel Program Archetypes" by Berna L. Massingill , K. Mani Chandy in 1997 almost spelled out MapReduce except for the distributed filesystem and the ability to handle machine failure. Those are big pragmatic additions, of course, but it describes splits, shuffle, merge sorts.

I just noticed it in an old stash of PDFs from 1998; I was looking for parallel design patterns at the time and found it worth saving.

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Algorithmic Rationality: Adding Cost of Computation to Game Theory

"[...] many concerns expressed by the emerging field of behavioral economics (pioneered by Kahneman and Tversky [1981]) can be accounted for by simple assumptions about players’ cost of computation, without resorting to ad hoc cognitive or psychological models."

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