Secure Secure Shell

What it sounds like — a guide to making sure your use of SSH is secure.

An introduction to Japanese Syntax, Grammar, and Language

Ratas - A hierarchical timer wheel

Last week I needed a timer wheel for a hobby project. That’s a data structure that’s been reimplemented over and over in the last three decades, but for various reasons I couldn’t get excited by any of the freely available ones. Obviously this means that one more implementation was needed, hence Ratas - a hierarchical timer wheel . Unfortunately my vacation ran out before I could get back to the original project, but that’s the nature of yak shaving. In this post I’ll first explain briefly what timer wheels are - you might want to read one of the references instead if you’ve got the time - and then go into more detail on why I wrote a new one. Timer wheels are one way of implementing timer queues, which in turn are used to to schedule events to happen at some future time. If you have tens or hundreds of timers, it doesn’t matter much how they’re stored. An unsorted list will do just fine. To handle millions of timers you need something a bit more sophisticated.

Project Gemini FAQ

Gemini is a new application-level internet protocol for the distribution of arbitrary files, with some special consideration for serving a lightweight hypertext format which facilitates linking between files. You may think of Gemini as “the web, stripped right back to its essence” or as “Gopher, souped up and modernised just a little”, depending upon your perspective (the latter view is probably more accurate).

Gopher is akin to Mercury, and the web is akin to Apollo. Gemini hopes to sit between the two, doing more with less.


What’s psychonautics?

a methodology for discovering altered or non-ordinary states of consciousness — typically those produced by meditation and hallucinogenic substances — as well as to a phenomenological research paradigm which attempts to navigate these states to gain deeper insight into the nature, structure, and processes of the human psyche and unconscious mind

A Browsable Petascale Reconstruction of the Human Cortex

The Lichtman laboratory at Harvard University and the Connectomics at Google team are releasing the “H01” dataset and companion paper. H01 is a 1.4 petabyte volume of a small sample of human brain tissue. The sample was imaged at nanoscale-resolution by serial section electron microscopy, reconstructed and annotated by automated computational techniques, and analyzed for preliminary insights into the structure of human cortex. The dataset comprises roughly one cubic millimeter of imaging data, including tens of thousands of reconstructed neurons, millions of neuron fragments, 183 million annotated synapses, 100 proofread cells, and many additional subcellular annotations and structures — all easily accessible with the Neuroglancer browser interface .

Rare Greek Variables ·

Distribution of Greek alphabet letter frequencies in Arxiv.

/I scrape Arxiv to find underused Greek variables which can add some diversity to math; the top 10 underused letters are ϰ, ς, υ, ϖ, Υ, Ξ, ι, ϱ, ϑ, & Π. Avoid overused letters like λ, and spice up your next paper with some memorable variables!/

The Moral Foundations of Progress (Applied Divinity Studies)

economic growth has maximized certain values, and left others to rot. In hindsight, it looks like we’ve made monotonic progress, but only due to survivorship bias. The only values we have left are the ones growth has promoted.

Civilization is, in this view, no more than a complex ponzi scheme in which yesterday’s costs must be paid for by an endless expansion. […] But remember, in Cowen’s view, we’re only concerned about the next 700 years. On that time scale, a ponzi scheme may be sustainable

Growth may be the root cause of American exceptionalism—things consistently got better every decade largely because we were growing. People from other countries wanted to live here, we led the world in technological innovation, social mobility was high because everyone was getting richer, and we had the resources to get involved around the world.

you should be very concerned about aging in government and industry

Research agenda:

  1. Is economic growth tractable?
  2. Is moral progress possible?
  3. How does growth impact risk?

Thanks to the Effective Altruism movement, we have a good sense of the dollar to QALY conversion rate, but I’m still not sure what the dollar to AI Risk Reduction rate looks like, and am even less certain about how to “purchase” accelerated growth

Considering the variety of historical values, it’s tempting to reduce everything to a utilitarian framework, and simply consider how much suffering has been alleviated through adherence to various instrumental values. But maybe that perspective is precisely my problem. If we cast aside plural moral values now, will we ever have a chance to recover them? Perhaps Sacred Principles are an Exhaustible Resource, and all the money in the world won’t make up for a dystopian future where humans see themselves merely as producers and consumers of material goods. Unless this is resolved, we can expect the growth imperative to face substantial resistance. Bykvist, Ord, and MacAskill call for investment in pure moral progress, but it’s not clear that this is even possible in isolation.

That’s to say, don’t worry too much about “field building” or what happens at the meta-level. Simply embark on a quest to rigorously answer important questions, and invite others to join in the adventure.

IQ Shredders

Torpor, Sloth and Gluttony Part 1: Americans ate a LOT in 1939

The 1939 USDA Yearbook of Agriculture3, “Food and Life”, has a chapter called Present-Day Diets in the United States. It goes into great detail about what people actually ate in the late 30s. White flour. Sugar. Meat. Potatoes. Vegetables. Fruit. Butter. Milk. Eggs. Lots of all of them.

Notice the attitude at the time: the more spent on food, the better the diet. There is literally zero hand-wringing in this article about “but watch your calories.” Calories weren’t a problem then. If you made more money, if you were a wealthy person working a sedentary job (bankers, ad executives, lawyers, wall street), you bought and presumably ate more food and it was all to the good. How much food? 4400 calories per day or so. At 4400 calories per day a sedentary male was expected to weigh 154 lbs.

Immersive Light Field Video with a Layered Mesh Representation

Google Siggraph 2020 paper, impressive.

This program attempts to maximize realized income (avoiding taxes) over the next N years, particularly around ISOs at a now public company. The main assumption it makes is that share price remains constant of the time period.

(Using Z3)

Returns to Scale in Broken Windows | Fantastic Anachronism

Everyone is familiar with Bastiat’s broken window fallacy: breaking a window may seem to generate economic activity through its repair, but it’s actually a loss once you take the opportunity cost into account. But what if there were positive returns to scale in breaking windows? There is a fascinating subgenre of economic research which involves looking at large-scale destruction, analyzing the long-term effects, and then concluding that the disaster was /Good, Actually/.


Hades (I’ve been really enjoying this game):

Relatedly a 3 1/2 hour video on The Mythology Behind Hades.