Monthly Curations — October 2022

  • I had initially dismissed this “crater full of ice” photo (on Mars) as too-good-to-be-true, but … it is real !
  • NeoVim is now just as much of an extensible editor (the easy use of Fennel for config has created an Emacs-Lisp counterpart !)
  • “Who made who” (from a HN comment, referencing links between cancers and fungi within them)
    • Sometimes I wonder if we’re just giant machines built by microorganisms. It would certainly make an interesting story, along the idea of a robot discovering they were made by somebody else, which I believe has already been explored
  • A talk on “Intelligence beyond the brain“, some notes:
    • Single-celled organisms are intelligent too
    • “Intelligent problem-solving in morphospace”
    • We can bio-engineer at a low-level, but not at a high-level
    • Cells can “recruit their neighbors” !!
    • Radically self-organizing
    • Experiments (some weird ones) show chemical intervention can “repair hardware defects”
  • “Systems at scale”, w.r.t. money laundering
  • Goddamnit, geeks have been righteously complaining about “feature-itis” and retreating to their hermit kingdoms for so long. Here is one such complaint all the way back in 1999 (!)
  • Elegant code, or inscrutable code golfing? You decide: “random walk in two lines
  • A somewhat despairing article, from the Economist (except it’s from 7 years ago, and things haven’t got any better …)
  • A “pre-historic” amputation (!)
  • I wanted the Moonlander but ergonomics led me to the Kinesis Advantage2. Today, you can get a mix of both, with the Kinesis Advantage360
  • Friedman describes the paradoxes we’ve been led to, in the absence of clear priorities
    • I understand why people want all five — now. I want all five! But they involve trade-offs, which too few of us want to acknowledge or debate. In an energy war like the one we’re in now, you need to be clear about your goals and priorities. As a country, and as a Western alliance, we have no ladder of priorities on energy, just competing aspirations and magical thinking that we can have it all.

  • On letting go of the GPL, by Martin Kleppman
    • For all these reasons, I think it no longer makes sense to cling on to the GPL and copyleft. Let them go. Instead, I would encourage you to adopt a permissive license for your projects (e.g. MIT, BSD, Apache 2.0), and then focus your energies on the things that will really make a difference to software freedom: counteracting the monopolising effects of cloud software, developing sustainable business models that allow open source software to thrive, and pushing for regulation that prioritises the interests of software users over the interests of vendors.

  • A phenomenal tour of the Great Pyramid, feels like I’m right there!

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