What I'm reading 7/4-7/11

2016-07-11

How Complex Systems Fail - Richard I. Cook

  1. "All ambiguity is resolved by actions of practitioners at the sharp end of the system."
  2. "The complexity of these systems makes it impossible for them to run without multiple flaws being present."
  3. "The system continues to function because it contains so many redundancies and because people can make it function, despite the presence of many flaws."
  4. "All of the interesting systems (e.g. transportation, healthcare, power generation) are inherently and unavoidably hazardous by the own nature."

What If We Admitted to Children That Sex Is Primarily About Pleasure? - Alice Dreger

  1. "Our son asked why they didn't tell him this stuff at school. The mate explained that adults stupidly think that if you tell children the truth about sex, they'll have sex earlier than they really should. He added that the evidence indicates otherwise."

Parsing: The Solved Problem That Isn't - Laurence Tratt

  1. "After the creation of programming languages themselves, parsing was one of the first major areas tackled by theoretical computer science and, in many peoples eyes, one of its greatest successes."
  2. "PEGs are interesting because, unlike LL and LR, they're closed under composition: in other words, if you have two PEGs and compose them, you have a valid PEG."
  3. "To discover whether a given CFG is ambiguous or not we have to try every possible input: if no input triggers an ambiguous parse, the CFG is not ambiguous."

Mutable Value Chains - Joe Armstrong

  1. "The solution is blindingly simple (once you see it) - we represent the sequence as a set Key-Value pairs where the Keys are taken from an iterated sequence of SHA1 checksums."

On Technical Debt: Shoveling forward - Fred Hébert

  1. "The problem becomes that sooner or later, people start misinterpreting the original intent and thinking of technical debt the same way you could think about financial debt: a lever to use in order to get something now and then pay the accrued cost progressively over time."
  2. "The only way to fix it is by attacking whatever snow we have pushed ahead of us and getting rid of it, or working in another direction entirely, abandonning the halfway dug path we've made for ourselves and working another way."