• pareidolianoun the tendency to interpret vague stimuli as something familiar.





  • Fresh produce, brought to you by robots. The cost of human labor required for indoor hydroponic farms has made their produce infeasibly expensive. Robotics and AI can cut down these costs by 80 percent. More significantly, these farms also use 90 percent less water than outdoor farms, require no arable land and alleviate the need for herbicides and pesticides.
  • Why washing machines are learning to play the harp. “Appliance makers believe more and better chimes, alerts, and jingles make for happier customers. Are they right?” While not the general gist of the article, I wanted to note two points. On the influence that sound can have on us:
    A wealth of studies in consumer psychology attests to the power of sound to affect our decision making. In one famous experiment from the ’90s, British wine shoppers bought five times as many French bottles as German bottles when French accordions played in the store; when an oompah band sounded, German wine outsold the French. Still other studies have suggested that slot-machine noises, often high-pitched and in major keys, can nudge gamblers to keep playing and can even encourage riskier bets.
    But then there’s the tragedy of commons of sound:
    Too many sounds, carefully designed though they may be, runs the risk of turning into an irritant, or worse. Dexter Garcia, a co-founder of Audio UX, pointed me to a 2010 article in The Boston Globe describing “alarm fatigue.” Nurses at Massachusetts General Hospital had become so bombarded by constant alerts, they ignored the critical beeps signaling a dying patient. The problem is pervasive: In a study at Johns Hopkins Hospital, nearly 60,000 alarms were recorded over 12 days—that’s 350 alarms per patient, per day, hammering staff ears.
  • Logo mashups of fast food rivals. Some interesting brain teasing going on there.


  • It’s not that we’ve failed to rein in Facebook and Google. We’ve not even tried. “The logic of surveillance capitalism begins with unilaterally claiming private human experience as free raw material for production and sales.” “As one data scientist explained to me: ‘We can engineer the context around a particular behaviour and force change that way … We are learning how to write the music, and then we let the music make them dance.’”

Best things I heard at Altitude London

The most exciting things I heard about yesterday at Altitude London were QUIC and HTTP/3, BBR, TLS 1.3 and some of the exciting things that you can soon do on the edge with VCL.

Patrick McManus on TLS 1.3: “It includes a performance dessert to make the security vegetables go down better.”

Moving TLS negotiation to the edge is in itself a performance improvement.

Ilya


  • The Johari window is a technique that helps people better understand their relationship with themselves and others.

Purchase data tips off babies and divorce

A few old stories (from 2012 and 2010), but the references come up from time to time: how supermarket loyalty programs know you’re pregnant and how credit card companies can predict divorce.

Ilya




  • Bloomberg Businessweek: Germ-killing brands now want to sell you germs. I remember reading about David Whitlock’s experiments with ammonia-eating bacteria years ago and have been fascinated by this ever since. Exciting to see that it’s still progressing.



  • “Time management” is not a solution — it’s actually part of the problem.
    Being prolific is not about time management. There are a limited number of hours in the day, and focusing on time management just makes us more aware of how many of those hours we waste. A better option is attention management: Prioritize the people and projects that matter, and it won’t matter how long anything takes.
    This reminds me of agreeing to a fixed scope: all emphasis is placed on delivering a set number of features irrespective of their value or quality. In fact, in this situation, the only thing that can give is quality.

  • Wilfred Hughes: The siren song of little languages. “Sometimes a usable language struggles simply because it’s too much fun to write your own. Developers end up building their own implementation rather than actually using the language.”

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Beared souls

caught together