weekly reel January 28, 2018

Music, with Powder Surf 101 on Debussy's Clair de lune. Thx Rufin for making me notice he's not riding a snowboard, but an Äsmo surf 🙂.

Claude Debussy - Clair de lune (Powder Surf 101) (player.vimeo.com)


  • Reality has a surprising amount of detail, 👍. HN.

    It’s tempting to [dismiss these carpentry details] as incidental or specific to stair carpentry. And they are specific to stair carpentry; that’s what makes them details. But the existence of a surprising number of meaningful details is not specific to stairs. Surprising detail is a near universal property of getting up close and personal with reality.

    You can see this everywhere if you look. For example, you’ve probably had the experience of doing something for the first time, maybe growing vegetables or using a Haskell package for the first time, and being frustrated by how many annoying snags there were. Then you got more practice and then you told yourself ‘man, it was so simple all along, I don’t know why I had so much trouble’. We run into a fundamental property of the universe and mistake it for a personal failing.

    If you’re a programmer, you might think that the fiddliness of programming is a special feature of programming, but really it’s that everything is fiddly, but you only notice the fiddliness when you’re new, and in programming you do new things more often.

    You might think the fiddly detailiness of things is limited to human centric domains, and that physics itself is simple and elegant. That’s true in some sense – the physical laws themselves tend to be quite simple – but the manifestation of those laws is often complex and counterintuitive.


    Before you’ve noticed important details they are, of course, basically invisible. It’s hard to put your attention on them because you don’t even know what you’re looking for. But after you see them they quickly become so integrated into your intuitive models of the world that they become essentially transparent. Do you remember the insights that were crucial in learning to ride a bike or drive? How about the details and insights you have that led you to be good at the things you’re good at?

    This means it’s really easy to get stuck. Stuck in your current way of seeing and thinking about things. Frames are made out of the details that seem important to you. The important details you haven’t noticed are invisible to you, and the details you have noticed seem completely obvious and you see right through them. This all makes makes it difficult to imagine how you could be missing something important.


    If you wish to not get stuck, seek to perceive what you have not yet perceived.

  • Sivers: Art doesn’t end at the edge of the canvas.
  • [fr] Turquie : Des éboueurs créent une bibliothèque avec les livres jetés à la poubelle. Via Nouveau Projet.
  • [fr] Être huttérite en 2018. Via Nouveau Projet.
  • David Cain: If it’s important, learn it repeatedly.
  • Kottke: Tango, an inventive time-looping animated film.
  • Cyanide & Happiness 2018.01.27: Dickman.
  • Tech:
    • 10 Laws of UX, digested. HN.
    • Stephanie Hurlburt answers "What are your work hours like?", via Julia Evans. Travel, business dev, software dev; 5 hours workday.
    • Microservice madness. HN, where user shitloadofbooks posts a 👍 comment:

      I think "microservices" is so appealing because so many Developers love the idea of tearing down the "old" (written >12 months ago), "crusty" (using a language they don't like/isn't in vogue) and "bloated" (using a pattern/model they don't agree with) "monolith" and turning it into a swarm of microservices.

      As an Infrastructure guy, the pattern I've seen time and time again is Developers thinking the previous generation had no idea what they were doing and they'll do it way better. They usually nail the first 80%, then hit a new edge case not well handled by their architecture/model (but was by the old system) and/or start adding swathes of new features during the rewrite.

      In my opinion, only the extremely good developers seem to comprehend that they are almost always writing what will be considered the "technical debt" of 5 years from now when paradigms shift again.

    • Linus shouting at kernel dev, Episode XXVI: shitty meltdown patches. HN.
    • jwz: Stay klassy, Bezos.
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