Interesting Things #11 — Generative Art


This is Beng Tan and welcome to Interesting Things, a curation of interesting stories and links from tech, indie biz, science, and related fields.

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A First Look Into Generative Art — My experience with generative art and some of the things I have discovered so far about it.

Incident writeup as sociological storytelling — A good incident writeup is a sociological story about our system. (hn)

Software development is a creative process — Understanding you cannot have both a fixed plan and changing requirements helps everyone involved.

How databases handle 10 million devices in high-cardinality benchmarks — Learn more about high-cardinality and how to benchmark database performance with this type of data.

understanding thread stack sizes and how alpine is different — It is my opinion that if your program is crashing on Alpine, your program is not actually portable. (hn)

Copying all of MySQL’s dumbest decisions — We replicate some very odd behavior of MySQL because we promised.

A closer look at Acorn, our open source precision farming rover — Help produce healthier food, reduce harmful agricultural poisons, and fight climate change. (hn)

A Vim Guide For Veteran Users — Discover Vim’s keystrokes for INSERT mode completion, abbreviations, how work the viminfo file, and more!

Measuring memory usage in Python: it’s tricky! — It turns out, however, that measuring memory usage isn’t as straightforward as you’d think. (hn)

The State of Python Packaging in 2021 — Every year, I revisit the current best practices for Python packaging. This is my 2021 edition. (hn)

Bash Function Names Can Be Almost Anything — My guess is Bash behaves this way to preserve backwards compatibility.

When To Rewrite — A working system is a valuable asset. It works. It lets you test new ideas cheaply. Don’t take that for granted.

Teaching Open Source Software in North Korea — The patches submitted from this class might be the first ever open source contributions to come from North Korea.

How We Are Able To Hack Any Company By Sending Message — Find a hack. Report it. Make $20,000. (hn)

How not to break a search engine or: What I learned about unglamorous engineering — Gruntwork, if not glamorous, is certainly valuable. I wish we grasped its value a bit better.

How to Recover a Bitcoin Passphrase — Perform a Breadth-First search on typos of increasing Damerau-Levenshtein distances from an initial guess. (hn)

Solve software problems by adding more — I continued building more pieces without realising removing the first piece is the better solution. (hn)

Damn Vulnerable GraphQL Application — An app that is intentionally vulnerable so you can poke around and learn about app security.

What is simplicity in programming and why does it matter? — Clojure is about simplicity. Simplicity means ‘untangling things’ (such as concepts) and requires hard work. (hn)

Unicode sorting is hard and why browsers added special emoji matching to regexp — Unicode text sorting is so annoying in the modern day.

Semgrep: The Surgical Static Analysis Tool — Why I like Semgrep. Why I think you should use it. How I use Semgrep. (hn)

Bare Necessities for All Log Lines (May 2021) — Help Your Future Self. Context is Everything.

Cross-Branch Testing — There’s a certain class of problems that’s hard to test. (hn)

Ten years of nCine — A retrospective on ten years of developing a cross-platform 2D game engine.

What should the CPU usage be of a fully-loaded CPU that has been throttled? — One theory says this should report 100% CPU usage. Another says this should report 50% CPU usage. (hn)

DevOps; a decade of confusion and frustration — What is “DevOps”? is a question I’ve heard a lot, often I’ve asked it implicitly to myself. (hn)

Hands-Free Coding — How I develop software using dictation and eye-tracking. (hn)

Getting unstuck — Being stuck can come in two shades. The first is when you’re missing information.

Image color replacement with numerical optimization — It’s a challenging problem and while the results are far from perfect, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. (hn)


Product Validation Frameworks are Mostly Useless Without Taste — Here’s why you can’t build new products without having good taste. (hn)

It’s Finally Clear Why Amazon Bought Whole Foods — A massive nationwide chain of Amazon Fresh stores might just be Trojan horses for Amazon’s actual goal. (hn)


No One Imagined Giant Lizard Nests Would Be This Weird — People didn’t know where yellow-spotted goannas laid their eggs, until one team started digging. (hn)

Flying car completes test flight between airports — A prototype flying car has completed a 35-minute flight between international airports.

How Underground Fiber Optics Spy on Humans Moving Above — Researchers have turned an underground telecom fiber optic cable into a kind of scientific surveillance device.

Advancing AI to make shopping easier for everyone — Our latest AI advancements could power entirely new future shopping experiences.

Same or Different? The Question Flummoxes Neural Networks. — AI systems can’t seem to generalize the concepts of ‘same’ and ‘different’. Without that, the quest for AI may be hopeless. (hn)

Will We Ever Fly Supersonically Over Land? — By turning sonic booms into sonic thumps, engineers hope to domesticate faster-than-sound transport.

One man’s plan to resurrect the animal species we can’t save — The backup plan? Freeze their cells to preserve their genes.

Scientists are teaching drones to hunt down human screams — Researchers developed a drone-carried acoustics system to find people calling out for help

Why bigger species live longer, and what we can learn from it — Why does lifespan decrease with body mass intraspecies, and increase with body mass interspecies?

How farmers and scientists are engineering your food — Scientists create better-tasting produce by manipulating genes, but is it necessary?


The Job Juggle: Gen Z and millennial employees embrace the concept of ‘Polywork’ — The professional workforce is increasingly rejecting the concept of a full-time job. (hn)

Harder Than It Looks, Not As Fun as It Seems — Almost everything looks better from the outside. It’s the same for people.

5 Hidden Mistakes That Can Ruin a Developer’s Career — Have you lost a development job without knowing why? (hn)

It’s Time to Fight for a Dual Product Management Career Path — If you pressure individual contributors to climb a management ladder, you end up losing talent.

NFTs and me: meet the people trying to sell their memes for millions — Once, people who owned viral photos made little money from them. Now, they can sell for an enormous sum.

Many people don’t want to work unless it’s from home — There are more remote jobs than ever. That doesn’t mean you’ll get one.

IQ tests can’t measure it, but ‘cognitive flexibility’ is key to learning and creativity — Are you good at changing perspectives? If so, it may benefit you in more ways than you imagine.

What Deadlines Do to Lifetimes — Can we find a balance between structuring our time and squandering it?

Mate Selection for Modernity — An increasing cohort of successful women are chasing a shrinking number of high-value, commitment-averse men. (hn)

Truth Is a Weird Shape — It is only through gazing at the truth from as many different angles as possible that we may finally begin to see it’s shape. (hn)


Is This Some Kind of Code? You Can Solve the … — Mathematically inspired typefaces that are also puzzles. (hn)


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Enjoy your reading and have a good day, Beng