A wish-I-could-illustrate ode to holiday with my son.
I wrote this for us, not for you,
but perhaps you’ll enjoy it too?
If not, that’s OK.
This is Lo, a boy in the world.
On his sixth December, his father explained,
The two of them would be boarding a plane.
“This winter,” said Dad, “instead of the zoo,
Or sitting around with nothing to do,
Or eating just candy ’til your face turns blue,
This year, we are doing something new.
At first, Lo thought this was no good at all!
He’d much rather stay home watching snow fall. …
Last month, I spent an unreasonable amount of time searching through AWS documentation trying to figure out how to:
If you’re here, you probably discovered that this is not straightforward. You’ve probably also cobbled together a solution from half a dozen different StackOverflow questions and fragmented blog posts. …
If you’ve recently played any mobile game — particularly the “free to play” — you’ve probably seen more full-screen interstitial ads for other mobile games than you could ever possibly want. The reason is simple: A North American mobile interstitial ad can earn a solid $5 CPM. Translated: Each viewed video is worth more than listening to one stream on Spotify. Today, you can reliably earn more by spamming the App Store with slot machine games than by recording an album.
In this particular flavor of predatory advertising, free games earn money by showing ads for other free games, bouncing users from one honeypot to another until they eventually land in one in which they’re willing to buy some honey. It’s equivalent to running ads for free tastes of soda between every sip of a water fountain — a momentary loss of willpower leads into another new land of dopamine stimulation. …
TL;DR: manipulations previously confined to stock markets are infecting every other corner of humanity. Politics. Insurance. Recruiting. What you read. Who you meet. Where you eat. What you eat. All of it, distilled into data feeds, at Internet scale. And we do not yet have an effective response.
While the role of data (and by proxy, math and statistics) has obviously grown in importance (machine learning, anyone?), it’s worth reminding ourselves that most of the world does not think quantitatively. (And we certainly don’t make decisions without significant contributions from intuitive, emotional, System 1 thinking). Only one-third of American adults receive college degrees at all, and fewer than 20% of those are in technical fields. We have more “business majors” than all of our engineers, math/statistics, and science majors combined. Less than 3% of the workforce works in computing or mathematical roles. The dominant quantitative skillsets in the modern economy relate exclusively to finance and accounting; there are more bookkeepers than software developers, more CEOs than statisticians and mathematicians. On the whole, our society doesn’t think in bias and statistical error; we live in a world of first-order effects. …
Now that I’m confident the statute of limitations has expired, I’d like to tell a story about adolescent software piracy. In the 80’s, before PC and Mac conquered our homes, we lived in a Babel’s tower of proprietary computers. There weren’t any billion-dollar software companies yet, just some enterprising nerds trying to make money in the brave new world of intangible goods. Microsoft, Electronic Arts, Activision, Psygnosis, Epyx — these are names with a deep personal connection for me. …