What I'm reading 12/21-12/28


ISIS is a revolution - Scott Atran

  1. "What inspires the most lethal assailants in the world today is not so much the Quran or religious teachings but rather a thrilling cause and a call to action that promises glory and esteem in the eyes of friends."

  2. "The Caliphate is an attractor to all of these young people, providing purpose and freedom from what they have come to see as the vice of a meaningless, material world."

  3. "Besides, brutal terror scares the hell out of enemies and fence-sitters."

  4. "Asymmetric operations involving spectacular killings to destabilise the social order is a tactic that has been around as long as recorded history."

  5. "Without an overarching national identity and the liberal values and institutions to sustain it, popular choice and elections lead only to a tyranny of the majority, as both ancient Athens and post-Saddam Iraq confirm."

The Great Republican Revolt - David Frum

  1. "You can measure their pessimism in polls that ask about their expectations for their lives—and for those of their children. On both counts, whites without a college degree express the bleakest view."

  2. "The country has recovered from the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression. Most of its people have not. Many Republicans haven’t shared in the recovery and continued upward flight of their more affluent fellow partisans."

  3. "Trump Republicans were not ideologically militant. Just 13 percent said they were very conservative; 19 percent described themselves as moderate. Nor were they highly religious by Republican standards."

The Drake Effect Is Real, But The Nicki Effect Is Bigger - Allison McCann

  1. "For songs in the top quartile of streams, a Nicki feature was streamed 46 percent more often, on average, compared with 25 percent more often for Drake."

how to make the internet not suck (as much) - Dan Pollock

  1. "Use this file to prevent your computer from connecting to selectedinternet hosts."

Did Apple Just Give Up? - Sean Geraghty

  1. "Apple's emphasis of making things minimal and unobtrusive is actually having the opposite effect to what they're after. Instead of increasing the beauty and simplicity of their products, they're instead leading people to have to search for ways around things."

GPL enforcement is a social good - Matthew Garrett

  1. "Toys that have a 'Guaranteed to work until' date, and then suddenly Barbie goes dead and you're forced to have an unexpected conversation about API mortality with your 5-year old child."

Santa Claus confirms NSA attack on naughty or nice database - Joe McNamee

  1. "The NSA further pointed out that Mr Claus set up the database without any authorisation and, crucially, chose to avoid providing either encryption keys or an encryption backdoor to the United States or any of its five-eyes allies."

Landmark Algorithm Breaks 30-Year Impasse - Erica Klarreich

  1. "Babai's new algorithm starts by taking a small set of nodes in the first graph and virtually 'painting' each one a different color. Then it begins to look for an isomorphism by making an initial guess about which nodes in the second graph might correspond to these nodes, and it paints those nodes the same colors as their corresponding nodes in the first graph. The algorithm eventually cycles through all possible guesses."

The Rise And Fall Of Venture-Backed News Readers In One Chart

  1. "Specifically, we looked at the wave of venture financing deals into the news reader space since January 2010 – and the subsequent rash of acquisitions or shutdowns that began in 2013."

A Scala Writer Monad - Alex Baranosky

  1. "In essence Writer Monad is a sort of immutable, functional Builder pattern."