Tuesday, 2019-10-15

The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine by Michael Lewis

I caught the movie adaptation of this book on a flight, and wanted to get some more background. Honestly, the movie does a good job of summarizing the contents, but also adds some humanizing touches such as the visit to the ground zero of the housing market: Florida. Both are recommended.

Monday, 2019-09-30

Saturday, 2019-08-31

Sunday, 2019-08-11

Introducing HN&&LO

HN&&LO is a web page that scrapes the APIs of Hacker News and Lobste.rs and collates those entries that share a URL.

This lets you easily follow the discussion on both sites for these links.

I wrote this tool because I’m much more active on Lobste.rs than on HN, but I would like to keep “tabs” on both sites. I’m especially interested in how the information is disseminated between the sites.

“Slow webapps”

I’ve long liked to grab stuff via a web API, stuff it into a DB, and output a web page based on the data. This project was a first attempt to use a templating engine in Perl, and I’m ashamed to say I’ve taken so long to understand the greatness of this approach.

The data updates hourly, there’s rarely more than a couple of new entries on Lobste.rs per hour.

In fact, this can illustrate the difference in scale between the two sites.

Time period: 5 Jul 2019 11:19 to 8 Aug 2019 23:59 (both times in UTC).

  • Number of submissions with URLS on Hacker News: 26,974
  • Number of submissions on Lobste.rs: 899

Average number of submissions per hour: 33 for HN, 1 for Lobste.rs.

Once updated, a static web page is generated. This keeps overhead low.

Differences between Hacker News and Lobste.rs

Coincidentally, while I was writing this post, an article was published in the New Yorker about the moderators (all two of them) of Hacker News. This sparked a discussion on HN (obviously) but also on Lobster.rs (see both linked here).

To me, what makes Lobste.rs better is that it’s much smaller (one can easily catch up with a day’s worth of comments), the editing tools are more sophisticated, and the tag system allows one to determine whether a post is interesting or not. HN is much harder to grasp.

I think the tendencies noted in the article are common to both sites - male, youngish software developers with a rationalist bent. But I think Lobste.rs is a bit more self-aware of this fact (or rather, critiques are more visible there). In some ways, Lobste.rs, being a reaction to HN, defines itself culturally both for and against the bigger site.

Source and TODO

If you’re interested in pedestrian Perl code, source is here.

TODO list is here

Wednesday, 2019-07-31

July

Vid Hede kyrka

Gamla stan

Jul 2018 | Jul 2017 | Jul 2016 | Jul 2015 | Jul 2014 | Jul 2013 | Jul 2012 | Jul 2011 | Jul 2010 | Jul 2009

Tuesday, 2019-07-30

Fotografiska, July 2019

Mandy Barker - Sea of Artifacts

An earnest exploration of plastic in seas and waterways. For some reason this exhibit was in a room even more dimly lit than usual at Fotografiska - and that’s saying something. Sadly nothing that’s not been said or done many times before.

Scarlett Hooft Graafland - Vanishing Traces

This grew on me. Staged images in different environments with surreal components (yet of course it’s all “analog” and there’s no manipulation). Impressive for the visuals and conceptions alone.

Vincent Peters - Light Within

Peters photographs our modern Hollywood idols like they where 1940s Hollywood idols.

James Nachtwey - Memoria

A visual onslaught of images from famines, wars, catastrophes and field hospitals. Almost unbearable in its intensity. I became numb after just a few walls. It depresses me that future epigones will have no shortage of similar subjects, all without having to travel that far.

Sunday, 2019-06-30

June

Kungsträdgården

Stensund

Jun 2018 | Jun 2017 | Jun 2016 | Jun 2015 | Jun 2014 | Jun 2013 | Jun 2012 | Jun 2011 | Jun 2010 | Jun 2009

Friday, 2019-05-31

Tuesday, 2019-04-30

Tuesday, 2019-04-02

The Gun by C. J. Chivers

A technical, social and political history of the AK-47 assault rifle and derivatives.

Chivers does a good job tying the design of the gun into Soviet defense policy, and compares the development of the weapon favorably compared to the US introduction of the M16.

The author explores the issues with the massive proliferation of these assault rifles worldwide, but he seems to have a blind spot for the similar proliferation of semi-automatic weapons with large magazine sizes in the US. He has faith that the situations that lead to the widespread uses of the AK-47 will never occur in the USA.