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Ahmed FASIH @22@octodon.social

"Doesn't our workplace feel like an anime?"
"Tell me when it's the beach episode."

(Yes I’m still thinking about Steve Yegge’s sites.google.com/site/steveyeg and Anders Ericsson and the thread from last month: octodon.social/@22/99637730196)

This is exactly how I feel about coders. We get paid to write code for years. We ship products. We mentor and interview. We *have* to be good, right? Maybe, maybe not. We lack a way to measure how good we are, we have very slow feedback (only later do bugs and inextensible design become apparent). I bet I’m pretty bad at programming relative to how great I think I am.

2/2 “… Psychologists who test police officers’ ability to spot lies in a controlled setting find a big gap between their confidence and their skill. And that gap grows as officers become more experienced and they assume, not unreasonably, that their experience has made them better lie detectors.” — and Gardner.

1/2 “ officers spend a lot of time figuring out who is telling the truth and who is lying, but research has found they aren’t nearly as good at it as they think they are and they tend not to get better with experience. That’s because experience isn’t enough. It must be accompanied by clear feedback. …” —Tetlock & Gardner.

" could only add and subtract right up to the time of his appointment to the Admiralty, but then quickly learned to multiply and divide to spare himself embarrassment. … You can learn what you need, even the technical stuff, at the moment you need it or shortly before."
—John Taylor , *Underground history of American education* (archive.org/stream/TheUndergro)

Read this fifteen or more years ago, see its truth every day.

Oh no. StackOverflow must have recently started customizing its front page, now I'm seeing all these interesting numerical Python and JavaScript questions when I go to stackoverflow.com (which I maybe do once or twice a day), and I'm contributing to someone at StackExchange's satisfaction at seeing engagement increase with this new system!

Grownup achievement unlocked: we ordered family cards (like business cards, but to hand out to personal friends we make, also called contact cards, with parents+kids' names).

Ahmed FASIH boosted

are hypotheses to be tested, not treasures to be guarded.”

*Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction*, by Philip E. Tetlock

"I don’t believe in a traditional , but if I did, the God who I’d believe in is one who’s constantly tipping the scales of fate toward horribleness—a God who regularly causes catastrophes to happen, even when all the rational signs point toward their not happening… The one positive thing to be said about my God is that, unlike the just and merciful kind, I find that mine rarely lets me down." —Scott Aaronson, scottaaronson.com/blog/?p=3654

“be prepared to accept that what seems obviously true now may turn out to be false later.” —Philip E. Tetlock, *Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction*

Words to live by. This book is 🔥.

Juicy nerd details: because history can change, analytics data (like the number of editors seen each day) is recomputed starting from the beginning of time. This is a huge computational burden so such daily data served by their REST API is updated only once a month! Yesterday's edits data will be available only around May 1.

The thread mentions some optimizations that Wikimedia will get to some day, and also other ways to get real-time data, but this was really cool.

Forgot to post this: lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/

For almost ten years, Wikipedia has had a RevDel system, where an admin can permanently purge an edit even from history (e.g., for copyright infringement or illegal content). This could never be done if Wikipedia used an append-only system now in vogue (Secure Scuttlebutt, Dat, blockchains, &c).

Details: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedi

Cool paper: andrew-g-west.com/docs/wikisym

This makes life hard for analytics, but is critical for social/legal reasons.

CC0 license/public domain—setting your data totally free since 2009 🙌 brings a joyful tear to my eye.


TFW you want to upload your fifteen lines of Python that do something stupidly simple (combine multiple univariate/bivariate populations' sample means/variances into one), and you end up with ninety lines of code (original + unit test, docstrings, and fixes for Python2), README, UNLICENSE, requirements.txt, and requirements-test.txt in the git repo.

😳. I (sometimes) love the smell of professionalism in the morning.


Our bodies are like planets for the microbes that live on and in us. The planets sometimes come close enough to touch, and some tourists are exchanged, but most microbes stay home.

Ed Yong gave us this image in *I Contain Multitudes*.

Having said all that—about the quality-of-life improvement when you lose the assholes (& the well-meaning people who showcase assholes to ridicule them, which makes Twitter impossible), regaining positive feelings and energy—there's always this nagging feeling…

Because the assholes are still out there, festering, scheming, till maybe one day I wake up with a tag round my neck and boarding a train like this kid circa 1942.

We need saints—Gandhi, MLK—to engage them. Being a saint is too hard.

"You will make progress faster if you move with people who want to move with you than if you waste time arguing with those who don't." —bobhaugen drops righteous truth (viewer.scuttlebot.io/%25NCqUUe)

So shoutout to @CobaltVelvet and all the others making Octodon a good home for us to hang our hats. Thank you.