This Week:
9.26.17

Santa Monica, CA, 2017Santa Monica, CA, 2017

  • How we grow junior developers at the BBC - The saying there’s no such thing as a stupid question’ also applies here. Asking questions is encouraged, and it’s not unusual for more senior members of the team to ask questions just for the sake of junior developers or new developers in the team.”

  • The History of Sears Predicts Nearly Everything Amazon Is Doing - One hundred years ago, a retail giant that shipped millions of products by mail moved swiftly into the brick-and-mortar business, changing it forever. Is that happening again?”

  • The Stand by Stephen King - When a man escapes from a biological testing facility, he sets in motion a deadly domino effect, spreading a mutated strain of the flu that will wipe out 99 percent of humanity within a few weeks. The survivors who remain are scared, bewildered, and in need of a leader. Two emerge–Mother Abagail, the benevolent 108-year-old woman who urges them to build a community in Boulder, Colorado; and Randall Flagg, the nefarious Dark Man,” who delights in chaos and violence.”

This Week:
5.19.17

San Francisco, 2017San Francisco, 2017

  • Inside Apple’s Insanely Great (Or Just Insane) New Mothership - Inside the 755-foot tunnel, the white tiles along the wall gleam like a recently installed high-end bathroom; it’s what the Lincoln Tunnel must have looked like the day it opened, before the first smudge of soot sullied its walls. And as we emerge into the light, the Ring comes into view. As the Jeep orbits it, the sun glistens off the building’s curved glass surface. The canopies”—white fins that protrude from the glass at every floor—give it an exotic, retro-­future feel, evoking illustrations from science fiction pulp magazines of the 1950s”

  • How to Resolve Fights over Reclining Airplane Seats: Use Behavioral Economics - Recliners wanted on average $41 to refrain from reclining, while reclinees were willing to pay only $18 on average. Only about 21 percent of the time would ownership of the 4 inches change hands.”

  • American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road - In 2011, a twenty-six-year-old libertarian programmer named Ross Ulbricht launched the ultimate free market: the Silk Road, a clandestine Web site hosted on the Dark Web where anyone could trade anything—drugs, hacking software, forged passports, counterfeit cash, poisons—free of the government’s watchful eye.

This Week:
4.18.16

Portland, ORPortland, OR

  • The Battle Over the Sea-Monkey Fortune - A few years after her husband’s death in 2003, Signorelli von Braunhut licensed out part of the labor of his multimillion dollar Sea-Monkey enterprise, mostly packaging and distribution, to Big Time. If you’ve ever been 8 years old, then you know that Sea-Monkeys arrive in a small plastic aquarium with several small packets that include the tiny brine-shrimp critters, which reanimate once you add water — by way of a secret formula that Signorelli von Braunhut keeps locked in a vault in Manhattan.”

  • Why The FBI Director Puts Tape Over His Webcam - ‘I saw something in the news, so I copied it. I put a piece of tape — I have obviously a laptop, personal laptop — I put a piece of tape over the camera. Because I saw somebody smarter than I am had a piece of tape over their camera.’”

  • What I Learned Selling A Software Business - You basically make a list of accounts that the business controls — Stripe, email, hosting provider, etc etc — and put them in a PDF file.”

  • The Mastermind - He was a brilliant programmer and a vicious cartel boss, who became a prized U.S. government asset. The Atavist Magazine presents a story of an elusive criminal kingpin, told in weekly installments.”

This Week:
1.12.16

NY TimesNY Times

  • 52 Places to Go in 2016

  • Netflix Secret Categories - A directory of all the secret” Netflix categories.

  • The Search for the Killer Bot - But in the fall of 2013 Brown chose to write a bot — a simple piece of software that, when sent a message, returned a single lunch option from among the 20 or so restaurants and food trucks that Brown entered into its database. Lunchbot, as Brown called it, was a simple technology that soon grew more sophisticated. Other employees added restaurants to the program; later, an updated version accounted for places the team had recently ordered from, preventing consecutive visits to Torchy’s.”

The Best Things I’ve Read This Week:
10.7.15

  • The Martian - After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.”

  • The Night They Drove the Price of Electricity Down - In the wee hours of the morning on Sunday, the mighty state of Texas was asleep. The honky-tonks in Austin were shuttered, the air-conditioned office towers of Houston were powered down, and the wind whistled through the dogwood trees and live oaks on the gracious lawns of Preston Hollow. Out in the desolate flats of West Texas, the same wind was turning hundreds of wind turbines, producing tons of electricity at a time when comparatively little supply was needed.”

  • What Refugees Bring When They Run for Their Lives - Refugees travel light, for their trek is as dangerous as it is arduous. They are detained, shot at, hungry. Smugglers routinely exploit them, promising safety for a price, only to squeeze them like sardines into tiny boats. Most have no option but to shed whatever meager belongings they may have salvaged from their journeys. Those allowed to bring extra baggage aboard often toss it overboard, frantically dumping extra weight as the leaky boats take on water.”

  • The Big Meh - Remember Douglas Adams’s 1979 novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”? It began with some technology snark, dismissing Earth as a planet whose life-forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.” But that was then, in the early stages of the information technology revolution.

Since then we’ve moved on to much more significant things, so much so that the big technology idea of 2015, so far, is a digital watch. But this one tells you to stand up if you’ve been sitting too long!”

The Best Things I’ve Read This Week:
6.15.15

  • You Remind Me of Me - You Remind Me of Me begins with a series of separate incidents: In 1977, a little boy is savagely attacked by his mother’s pet Doberman; in 1997 another little boy disappears from his grandmother’s backyard on a sunny summer morning; in 1966, a pregnant teenager admits herself to a maternity home, with the intention of giving her child up for adoption; in 1991, a young man drifts toward a career as a drug dealer, even as he hopes for something better.”

  • Digital Darth Vader’ Charles C. Johnson on Manipulating Politics and Media - I’m not sure when I first became aware of Charles C. Johnson. It may have been from a few tweets he directed at me. It might have been from one of the numerous controversial profiles of him in the New York Times, Politico, Gawker and other places. I do specifically recall being tagged in a tweet for a $500 bounty he’d put on anyone who could get an advertiser to pull out of Al Sharpton’s TV show.”

  • A bad job is harder on your mental health than unemployment - Although employment is associated with health benefits over unemployment, the psychosocial characteristics of work also influence health. We used longitudinal data to investigate whether the benefits of having a job depend on its psychosocial quality (levels of control, demands and complexity, job insecurity, and unfair pay), and whether poor quality jobs are associated with better mental health than unemployment.”

  • Can Reading Make You Happier? - We draw on the same brain networks when we’re reading stories and when we’re trying to guess at another person’s feelings.”