Back on the timely release schedule! This week I read some excellent pieces, including one on reading in the meta, and I am really excited to share them. They cover the wildness in tech IPOs, interesting reads on performance and dev tooling, some papers on examining bias and approximating species diversity, and some killer nature photographer. Enjoy!
My Favorite Link
About Reading 100 Books. I’ve always read for pleasure. Ever since I could read, it’s something I’ve always enjoyed doing, and I end up reading between 20-30 books a year just because I can’t help myself. This article makes an interesting case for the value prop of reading, which I found interesting, especially since I don’t really care about it. I read because I’m curious, because I enjoy the feeling of losing myself in a book, and because I honestly can’t help myself. But, if you’re the type of person who chooses their hobbies based on how these hobbies will benefit them, I’m all for encouraging folks to read more. To wit, here’s my favorite except from this piece: “reading is not about getting outside gains. It’s primarily about taming your inner demons and finding comfort in your own skin. Once you start accepting yourself the way you are, eventually, positive consequences will follow.”
The Year on TikTok. I don’t use TikTok because I waste enough time online as it is but I after watching some of these videos I get how people can spend so much time on it. Creeps me out.
How Iowa Mishandled the Coronavirus Pandemic. I’m lucky to have the privilege to be as insulated from Covid as anyone else in this country, and so each week I try to read something to keep the direness of the pandemic as close to the front of my mind as possible.
Performance · microsoft/TypeScript Wiki · GitHub. Performance, like most things in software engineering, is a tradeoff, but for folks who are interested in considering potential opportunities for speeding up TypeScript apps, this wiki outlines many concrete steps that developers can follow to do that.
Bias in word embeddings. This paper examines bias in word embeddings, and how that bias carries forward into models that are trained using them. There are definitely some dangers to be aware of here, but also some cause for hope as we also see that bias can be detected, measured, and mitigated.
Haskell Documentation with Haddock: Wishes’n’Tips. Haskell has a reputation both internally and externally for having-poorly documented libraries (it’s the 2nd-most cited reason for folks’ unwillingness to embrace the language). And I kinda get it; I personally think Haskell code does read quite clearly once you’ve spent some time grokking functional programming. However, I also think that documentation and “here’s what this code literally does” are two different things, and Haskell could certainly improve in the “documentation”, i.e. “here’s why we chose to implement the code this way, and what we imagined the use case that method/library is solving” category. That’s where this blog post shines; Haskell has a excellent documentation toolchain, and I think that when it’s done well (Mercury’s codebase, for example, is one of the better-commented ones that I’ve seen), Haskell can have as good of documentation as any language – frankly, I think it can be one of the best, since the language itself does such a good job of explaining the “how” that the comments need only focus on the “why”.
How to Run a Ponzi Scheme for Tech People. This post is cuttingly sarcastic and calls out some folks that I know personally in the tech writing community, but I think it’s more of an indictment of the people who buy these courses than the folks who make them. Really, I think it’s mostly trying to say is that the author is frustrated by all the folks in tech who are taking advantage of less-motivated but well-wheeled technologists who are desperate for any edge on finding fulfillment and satisfaction that doesn’t involve working hard or taking risks. Can’t blame him.
Transparent Octopus Caught by Blackwater Photographer Interview. This is an absolutely mind-boggling bit of photography, and I love how the photographer makes a point to talk about how the majority of these wild, transparent creatures that live deep down are mostly larval forms of adult animals that may look much more “normal” to our eyes. Larval forms of terrestrial animals are superwild, and it’s cool to see similar bizarre appearances from aquatic larvae.