Stories That Should be Banned from Hacker News: Immortality

Some stories on HN are a complete waste of time.  Little real knowledge is ever included in the threads.  No one learns anything. We just bullshit for a few hours.  And this happens a few times a year for each topic.

My first suggestion is stories related to immortality. Most of the comments immediately turn  philosophical.

“Death gives life meaning”

“It’ll only be for rich people”

“The money should be spent on something better.”

On HN, most people don’t  want to learn anything about aging.  No one discusses the basic science that we might gain by doing the research.  The knowledge gained could have benefits in other areas of medicine like heart disease and cancer, for example.  You aren’t going to want to live forever and have Alzheimer’s.

There are 7 billion people on the planet.  It’s not going to hurt if several thousand people work on basic research to understand aging.  From reading the current news headlines, robots and AI, will  soon leave many people without jobs. Perhaps basic research in all areas of science should be expanded to create jobs?

Finally, let’s not delude ourselves into thinking that death is going to be any easy disease to cure.  Maybe we’ll get a few breakthroughs over the next couple of decades and we’ll figure out how to add a few extra healthy years to the average person.  We definitely need to move beyond long term studies and peer deeper into our bodies.  By the way, the latest study says we need to take 15,000 steps a day to live a longer life.


5000 Swift URLs

Another 3 months and another 1000 URLs added to the collection.

There haven’t been any updates to the “search engine” in the past 3 months, and I don’t have much to add at this point that hasn’t already been said in the previous announcements:

Please let me know if anyone has any feature requests.  Also, don’t forget that all the URLs are in a tsv on Github:



Ghost in the Microwave


This morning our 8 year old (2008) GE microwave started turning on by itself in “Canned Vegetable” mode, a mode I don’t think we’ve ever used. I unplugged it several times for several minutes at a time, hoping the “reboot” might clear it up but it didnt’work.  At this point, I simply don’t trust it.

Anyway, I’m glad I was home. I don’t know if these things can start fires but having the microwave running for hours while we are away can’t be good.  Here’s the microwave information, in case you are experiencing a similar problem:

Model No: JVM1750SM1SS

Made in Malaysia

From what I’ve been reading on the Internet, it seems like the main circuit board is the culprit.

Someone else with the same model had the exact same complaint:

However, it does seem to be a common problem in other GE models:

4000 Swift URLs

The Swift Resources page reached 4000 URLs yesterday.

It has been 3 months since 3000 URLs, so Swift content is being generated quite quickly. iOS 10 will be announced in less than 2 months. At the current rate, we should expect 1000 iOS 10 Swift blogs and Github projects before it’s released in September.

In addition, over the past few months, I’ve added paywall links, although I haven’t gone back to add all the links. The content created by and is exceptional and well worth the money.

Finally, the iOS Swift books now has a search feature and I’m in the process of adding discount codes.

If you know of a book not on the list, please let me know.

We’re approaching the start of Swift’s third year, and it looks like everything is in place to accelerate its already rapid adoption.

The Convergence of Mobile Phones and Desktop Computers

I’ve been telling people for over 15 years that someday we’ll have smartphones that will transform into desktop computers. It’s finally actually starting to happen with feature’s like Microsoft’s Continuum.

My initial thought was that you’d simply place your phone next to an external keyboard, mouse, and monitor then they would all automatically and wirelessly connect to the phone.

This will happen but now there’s another far more interesting possibility. Phones, always with you, simply innovate beyond what you can do with a desktop.

Consider technologies like Google Glass, Microsoft’s HoloLens, or Magic Leap will be the display, providing the large and augmented view.


For enhanced user input, a combination of voice and gesture recognition will allow people to make more use of our phones while on the go. Minority Report is 14 years old. Intel and Google, along with manufacturers of VR headsets. are making rapid progress on recognizing hand gestures.

This Google Soli video demonstrates the emerging possibilities:

Over a billion smartphones are sold every year, generating hundreds of billions in profits. The revenue is being used to fund a smartphone arms race to build fresh and innovative mobile technologies (e.g. Apple Pencil, 3d Touch, TouchId).

Individually, each of these technologies might seem minor, but in aggregate they’ll make the smartphone of today appear antiquated within a few years. After all, companies need to give you a reason to update every few years.

All of these enhancements will give you fewer reasons to sit down at your desktop or reach for your laptop.  Personal computers will soon be the pickup trucks of computing.

You’re 8 Times More Likely to be Killed by a Police Officer than by Furniture

I can’t say that I figured this out directly but after reading this story on Hacker News that claims you’re 8 times more likely to be killed by a cop than a terrorist, I decide to investigate a little further.

After a little browsing on the Internet I stumbled upon this Atlantic article that claims you’re just as likely to be killed by your furniture as by a terrorist.

Since you have an equal chance of being killed by a terrorist as by your furniture, you can substitute one for the other and conclude that you’re 8 times more likely to be killed by a police officer than your furniture. This conclusion probably won’t lead to another heated debated on Hacker News but it should make you question anyone throwing out statistics to make a point.

Hacker News FAQ #1: How do I read an article behind a paywall?

This morning I commented that we needed an FAQ to explain how to find articles behind a paywall, and it turned into the usual downvote fest, along with “The FAQ says don’t complain about people asking for a paywall link.”

Unfortunately, as Hacker News grows the noise on the site will quickly drown out the signal. The quality of a secondary source might miss important information, or simply might not be that good; there’s a reason people get paid to write articles. Anyway, I thought I would offer up my solutions for bypassing some commonly used paywalls:

The Wall Street Journal ( Google it then find the link in your search results.

Financial Times ( Sign up for a free account. You get a dozen free articles a month

The New Yorker and New York Times: These sites are cookie based and offer several free articles per month. Clear your cookie or use a different device if you exhaust your limit.

Even if you can’t read the article, those people who can will be able to start the discussion. The salient points are usually summarized in the first couple of comments.

Finally, there’s nothing wrong with paying for content. I subscribe to the WSJ and pay for the New York Times, for example. The idea that everything must be free is wrong. If you truly believe that, quit your well-paying job and work for rms.