Sunday, 17 December

12:00 EST

Astronaut Trio Heads For Space Station To Continue Scientific Research [News : NPR]

Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov, (bottom); Japanese astronaut Norishige Kanai, middle; and U.S. astronaut Scott Tingle, above; wave prior to the launch of the Soyuz-FG rocket at the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Sunday.

The astronauts from the U.S., Russia and Japan blasted off early Sunday and are scheduled to arrive on Tuesday.

(Image credit: Shamil Zhumatov/AP)

Teachers Around The Country React To Investigation Into Ballou High School [News : NPR]

The year 2017 was a big one for Ballou High School: For the first time, every graduate applied and was accepted to college.

We've heard from teachers nationwide about our investigation into Ballou High School. They say they see the same where they are: chronic absenteeism and pressure on teachers to pass students.

(Image credit: Kate McGee/WAMU)

Tesla is prohibiting commercial drivers from using its Supercharger stations [The Verge - All Posts]

If you plan to buy a Tesla for your job, you won’t be able to use the company’s Supercharger stations anymore. The company recently released a new policy called Supercharger Fair Use, which prohibits new commercial drivers from using the red-and-white charging ports.

Tesla has been working to expand its network of charging stations, announcing in April that it hoped to have more than 10,000 Supercharger stations by the end of 2017. The expansion is needed to alleviate heavy traffic at the stations, which have become a congestion point for drivers. Last year, the company announced fees for charging, and said that it will begin charging drivers an additional fee if they leave their cars at the stations after they’ve finished charging.

T...

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Let’s talk about Star Wars: The Last Jedi’s most divisive part: porgs [The Verge - All Posts]

Porgs. When fans spotted the diminutive creatures of Star Wars: The Last Jedi in the first behind-the-scenes reel, they were immediately divided. Some fell utterly in love with them, creating fan art, buttons, and shirts right off the bat, while others dismissed them as a cheap marketing gimmick for the inevitable batch of toys that would hit stores.

The creatures’ next appearance in the film’s second trailer showed off one squawking alongside Chewbacca on the Millennium Falcon, which only further entrenched both sides of the love-them-or-hate-them argument. LucasFilm seems to have realized the marketing potential that the little guys had: they released a bunch of toys for Force Friday II in September, Target raffled off giant plush...

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Read an excerpt from Eliot Peper’s new science fiction thriller, Bandwidth [The Verge - All Posts]

A couple of years ago, I read Cumulus, a self-published book by Eliot Peper. The novel follows three characters in a near-future San Francisco, which is divided into a super-wealthy tech elite and the downtrodden customers who use their services. It’s an engaging satire of Silicon Valley, and it put Peper on my radar.

In May, Peper will publish his second book, called Bandwidth. It’s about a near-future Mexico City lawyer named Dag Calhoun, who begins to question the world he’s making by representing high-powered tech and energy executives. When he’s almost killed in a drive-by shooting, he discovers that a group of activists have been hijacking digital feeds to manipulate public opinion and global markets, and revealing their existence...

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11:00 EST

Windows 10 Bundled a Password Manager with a Security Flaw [Slashdot]

An anonymous reader writes: A Google security researcher has found and helped patch a severe vulnerability in Keeper, a password manager application that Microsoft has been bundling with some Windows 10 distributions this year... "This is a complete compromise of Keeper security, allowing any website to steal any password," Tavis Ormandy, the Google security researcher said, pointing out that the password manager was still vulnerable to a same vulnerability he reported in August 2016, which had apparently been reintroduced in the code. Based on user reports, Microsoft appears to have been bundling Keeper as part of Windows 10 Pro distributions since this past summer. The article reports that Keeper issued a fix -- browser extension version 11.4 -- within less than 24 hours.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Treat yourself with these 8 holiday deals [Boing Boing]

'Tis the season for gift-giving, but sometimes you need a little something for yourself to get through it all in one piece. As such, as a gift to you, you can take an extra 15% off the following items when you enter coupon code GIFTSHOP15 at checkout.

Graphene 8K HyperCharger PRO

This portable battery pack can charge 3 devices at once, and comes with a built-in connector in case you forget to bring a cable. And If you know you’re going to be away from home for a while, it sticks to the back of your device without any adhesive. Usually $80, we carry it for $39.99, and you can save 15% when you use GIFTSHOP15.

Twisty Glass Mini

This smoking accessory makes both rolling papers and pipes obsolete. It fits 0.5 grams of material at a time, and offers smooth hits through its multiple air chambers, and lets you eject ash with a quick twist of the mouthpiece. Save an extra 15% off our usual $39.99 price with coupon code GIFTSHOP15.

Guzzle Buddy™

The Guzzle Buddy fits on to a variety of glass bottles, so you can be the classiest person at the next festive gathering. It offers a tight seal, and may be put in the freezer for ice-free chilled beverages. It’s normally $19.99 in our store, but GIFTSHOP15 gets you an additional 15% off.

SaberLight Rechargeable Flameless Plasma Beam Lighter: 2-Pack

You can have a weather-proof flame with these SaberLight Plasma Beam Lighters. They’re rechargeable over USB, and you can keep ‘em in your carry-on luggage without fear of confiscation. A 2-pack typically goes for $29.99 and you can take an extra 15% off with code GIFTSHOP15.

DreamScreen HDTV Backlighting and Total Surround Kits

Make your TV’s picture extend past the bezels with a DreamScreen HDTV Backlighting and Total Surround Kit. It works with games, live TV shows, and movies at 60 FPS, and can be used to add ambience for music as well. We’ve got a kit for 45”-65” TV sets for $154.99, and you can use GIFTSHOP15 to save an additional 15%.

Winc Wine Delivery: 4 Bottles

Since it’s not always easy to find the perfect wine at the supermarket, Winc delivers hand-selected bottles to your doorstep. Each package comes with tasting notes and food pairing suggestions, so you can impress guests with your newfound sommelier knowledge. Our normal $26 price means you’re getting each bottle for about $7, but you can save 15% on top of that with coupon code GIFTSHOP15.

Star Wars 3D Mega Lamps

Celebrate the past and future of Star Wars with a 3D Mega Lamp. These custom-fabricated LEDs light up the night with an an eye-catching optical illusion, and are available in a variety of classic shapes like the Millennium Falcon, Darth Vader, and R2-D2. The MSRP is $99, we sell them for $39.99, and you can save an extra 15% off when you enter GIFTSHOP15 at checkout.

Fader Stealth Drone

The Fader Stealth Drone is capable of recording video in 720p, and beams footage to your device in real time for first-person POV flight. It’s got LEDs for nighttime flight, adjustable sensitivity for beginners, and a handful of pre-programmed maneuvers at the press of a button. Save about $10 off our normal $69.99 price with code GIFTSHOP15.

10:00 EST

Secret Pentagon Program Spent Millions To Research UFOs [News : NPR]

An aerial view of The Pentagon from Washington, DC on August 25, 2013.

A Pentagon program spent $22 million researching "unidentified aerial phenomena," according to multiple reports. It was backed by former Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada.

(Image credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Post-María, A Key Ecosystem In Puerto Rico Faces Slow Recovery [News : NPR]

Hurricane María

El Yunque National Forest is a world-renowned research site and one of the U.S. territory's top tourist attractions. The hurricane hit the rainforest hard, and it remains closed until further notice.

(Image credit: Greg Allen/NPR)

The composer behind the original Mega Man just released an incredible solo album [The Verge - All Posts]

Manami Matsumae is most closely associated with a tiny blue robot. The Tokyo-based composer is best known for her work on the Mega Man series, having crafted the sound of the Blue Bomber’s original outing, and later contributing tracks to games like Mega Man 10 and the ill-fated spiritual successor Mighty No. 9. Now, after a career that has spanned three decades and dozens of games, she’s finally releasing her first solo album called Three Movements. And while it may not be associated with any specific game, the album is structured like a tour through the history of video game music.

Three Movements starts out with the kinds of tracks you’d expect from Matsumae. The opening is a trio of bubbly chiptune songs that sound like they’re...

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08:00 EST

Do More People Use Firefox Than Edge and IE Combined? [Slashdot]

A funny thing happened when Net Applications' statistics began excluding fake traffic from ad-defrauding bots. Computerworld reports: Microsoft's Edge browser is less popular with Windows 10 users than earlier thought, if revised data from a U.S. analytics vendor can be believed. According to Net Applications of Aliso Viejo, Calif., Edge has been designated the primary browser by fewer than one in six Windows 10 users for more than a year and a half. That's a significant downgrading of Edge's user share statistics from the browser's portrayal before this month... By comparing Edge's old and new shares, it was evident that as much as half of the earlier Edge traffic had been faked by bots. The portion of Edge's share credited to bots fluctuated month to month, but fell below 30% in only 4 of the 19 months for which Net Applications provided data... Microsoft's legacy browser, Internet Explorer (IE) also was revealed as a Potemkin village. Under the old data regime, which included bots, IE's user share was overblown, at times more than double the no-bots reality. Take May 2016 as an example. With bots, Net Applications pegged IE at 33.7%; without bots, IE's user share dwindled to just 14.9%. Together, IE and Edge - in other words, Microsoft's browsers - accounted for only 16.3% of the global user share last month using Net Applications' new calculations... In fact, the combined IE and Edge now face a once unthinkable fate: falling beneath Mozilla's Firefox. StatCounter's stats on browser usage already show more people have already been using Firefox than both of Microsoft's browsers combined -- in 12 of the last 13 months.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

3 Ways Trump Or His Allies Might Try To Disrupt The Mueller Russia Probe [News : NPR]

Special counsel Robert Mueller (C) leaves after a closed meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 21, 2017, at the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Republican allies of the White House are setting the stage to disrupt the investigation of Russia special counsel Robert Mueller. Here are some ways they might try — and why it will be difficult.

(Image credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

07:00 EST

Holiday Parties Gone Wrong: Careful Where You Hang The Mistletoe [News : NPR]

Office holiday functions do serve a legitimate business purpose: They can boost morale and reward workers for jobs well done.

This year some employers are more nervous than usual about making sure holiday parties are free of any sexual harassment. Employment attorneys are advising clients on how to avoid problems.

(Image credit: mediaphotos/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

04:00 EST

Artificial Intelligence Is Killing the Uncanny Valley and Our Grasp On Reality [Slashdot]

rickih02 writes: In 2018, we will enter a new era of machine learning -- one in which AI-generated media looks and sounds completely real. The technologies underlying this shift will push us into new creative realms. But this boom will have a dark side, too. For Backchannel's 2018 predictions edition, Sandra Upson delves into the future of artificial intelligence and the double edged sword its increasing sophistication will present. "A world awash in AI-generated content is a classic case of a utopia that is also a dystopia," she writes. "It's messy, it's beautiful, and it's already here." "The algorithms powering style transfer are gaining precision, signalling the end of the Uncanny Valley -- the sense of unease that realistic computer-generated humans typically elicit..." the article argues. "But it's not hard to see how this creative explosion could all go very wrong."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

02:00 EST

Merits of immigration, explained simply [Philip Greenspun's Weblog]

From our town mailing list:

Sort of Off Topic since this forum is not ‘Wayland Talk’ but I noticed that some of those ‘Stop the Wayland Monster’ signs now cropping up in [Happy Valley] so I figured it has something become more relevant here. Does someone want to give a somewhat unbiased overview of the pros and cons of this development

Wayland is a suburb where a typical house sits on at least one acre of land (1/2 acre is the zoning minimum; Happy Valley has a 2-acre zoning minimum). A developer is trying to build a four-story apartment complex characterized by opponents as “89-bedroom” (about 45 apartments if they average two bedrooms each).

I know a passionate Bernie/Hillary supporter who lives near the site and summarized his point of view in my response to the list:

My understanding, from a Wayland resident who lives near one of these proposed buildings:

1) immigration into a nation of 325 million is good and needs to be supported with passionate political effort

2) immigration into a town of 13,444 is bad and needs to be fought with passionate political effort

This yielded a firestorm of responses. Example 1:

People who are living there locally are probably objecting to a huge development in their neighborhood that is going to overload the roads and services, add noise and will change the peaceful enjoyment of the area.

American-style auto-centric development is brutal. It makes sense to develop in either in areas with adequate public transportation and services or in small cities trying to reach a critical mass where transportation services other than cars become viable.

So we should grow the U.S. population, but make sure that our own “peaceful enjoyment” is not affected? There are other areas of the U.S. with uncongested roads and underutilized services where the next 100 million Americans will be happy to settle?

The hot-button word “immigration” sparked righteous thoughts, despite the fact that the “immigration” I was talking about was from Sudbury or Framingham to Wayland (i.e., most likely a native-born American moving from one suburb to another):

I missed something: How did this turn into an immigration debate?
Where should immigrants live if not in our cities and towns? Immigration works well if integration is possible, and that is best achieved for small numbers of immigrants in small communities.

The mandate of having 10% affordable housing is very reasonable and needs to be enforced in some way, otherwise it is not going to happen. Wayland proved that point. I am grateful to those in our town who have worked hard to make sure we have 10% of affordable housing, not just because it protects us from unwanted developments, but because diversity is good for all of us.

I.e., diversity is good, but maybe 89 new people (average of 1 per bedroom) is too many for a town of 13,444? A pro-immigration sentiment from another anti-development fellow citizen:

Thank you! And, we should remember that all of us were immigrants at one time, unless you are Native American.

Some of us are first generation, and some of us 5th or more, but, immigrants all.

[To my knowledge there aren’t any Native Americans who have chosen to purchase 2-acre lots in our town so we didn’t hear from them regarding how immigration has worked out from their perspective.]

The simplest response to my note:

Well said. I personally find the Wayland persons comment bigoted and ignorant.

Related:

Nature versus Science [Philip Greenspun's Weblog]

“Investigation finds Swedish scientists committed scientific misconduct” is a featured piece in Nature about a purportedly fraudulent paper published in… Science (coincidentally, Nature‘s main competition).

01:00 EST

Ask Slashdot: How Can Programmers Explain Their Work To Non-Programmers? [Slashdot]

Slashdot reader Grady Martin writes: I disrespect people who describe their work in highfalutin terms... However, describing my own work as "programming solutions to problems" is little more than codifying what just about anyone can perceive through intuition. Case in point: Home for the holidays, I was asked about recent accomplishments and attempted to explain the process of producing compact visualizations of branched undo/redo histories. Responses ranged from, "Well, duh," to, "I can already do that in Word"... It's the "duh" that I want to address, because of course an elegant solution seem obvious after the fact: Such is the nature of elegance itself. Does anyone have advice on making elegance sound impressive? An anonymous Slashdot reader left this suggestion for explaining your work to non-programmers. "Don't. I get sick when I hear the bullshit artists spew crap out of their mouth when they have no idea wtf they're talking about. Especially managers..." But how about the rest of you? How can programmers explain their work to non-programmers?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

00:00 EST

Making the Biggest Decisions [Tynan | Life Outside the Box]

I wanted to write a post about making the Biggest Decisions. Before doing so, I thought I'd jot down some of mine and look for commonalities. What surprised me most was how few decisions of this magnitude there were. Depending on where I set the bar, I've probably only made 10 huge decisions in my entire life. I made the first about 20 years ago, so I make one every two years.

Here are some of what I consider to be the biggest decisions:

1. Dropping out of school
2. Deciding to travel around the world for an extended period of time
3. Moving to Las Vegas (as well as other moves)
4. Living in an RV
5. Focusing entirely on pickup for 1-2 years
6. Getting married

It was interesting to realize how few there were, especially while keeping in mind the enormous changes they've made in my life. In other words, they are even higher leverage than I had subconsciously considered them to be.

You may be surprised at some things that aren't on that list. I consider my group real estate purchases to be relatively small decisions. While they've had a big impact, none of them were huge investments or difficult to decide. I don't count starting or stopping various businesses because I just assume that if I didn't start CruiseSheet, for example, I would have started something else. And those decisions are also easy.

I'm not actually married yet, so we can discount that one for the sake of discussion. If you're familiar with my work, though, you probably know about the others. They were all pivotal points in my life that radically changed my results.

It is, of course, impossible to know if any of them were the right decisions. To me they feel like they are, because I'm 100% satisfied with my life and all of them were major contributors. But perhaps if I didn't travel, something much better would have happened during that time. Hard to imagine, but I would have never imagined my life as it is anyway.

The thing is, this is always how these decisions are. You never know whether you made the right ones or not. It's important to be comfortable with that, because if you aren't then you will be scared to make the decisions. Big decisions can be scary, and that's how they're sometimes supposed to be. Part of the skill in making these decisions is being comfortable with that discomfort and having faith in yourself to make the best of them.

The biggest mistake I see people make with big decisions, ironically, is thinking too much about them. Around half of mine were time sensitive and would have been more difficult or impossible if I deliberated too long. In the same way that debt insidiously siphons money out of your bank account without you really noticing, excessive deliberating siphons away your years. I think we all know plenty of people who stayed at a job or in a relationship for years too long, or waited years to start a project or make a move they should have done years ago.

If you look at my list, I literally did not take more than a day to think about any of the big decisions I made. I always had it in the back of my head that I would probably drop out some day, but I did it on the same day that I seriously considered it for the first time. I bought my place in Vegas the same day I found it, without even seeing it. Within fifteen minutes of seeing a spot open up in the Project Hollywood pickup house, I committed to move. The first time my fiancée and I talked about getting married in the near future, we set a date three months out.

I tried very hard to come up with a big decision that I consider to have worked out poorly. I can't think of any. The closest I can come up with are a few investments I've made, but overall my investments have drastically outpaced the market and as an ex pro gambler, I know it's the nature of the game that not every bet will pay off.

I can, however, think of times where I made a mistake by not making a decision fast enough. There were relationships that I knew should end, but I put off by months. There are several businesses I should have started early or ended more quickly.

This isn't so much about me as much as it is about the nature of these sorts of decisions. With the right attitude and a little bit of grit, I think that very few of what we see as Biggest Decisions actually end up poorly.

In most cases, these decisions fit the mold of having very large potential upsides and very small potential downsides. We are often more scared of the uncertainty of the situation than we are with the actual worst case scenario.

For example, it might be scary to drop everything and travel around the world, but at the end of the day you can always fly back. If it turns out it's not for you, you've paid for a plane ticket or two more than you should have. If it IS for you, then maybe you've changed your whole life.

Focusing on pickup was the one from my list that had perhaps the biggest potential downside. If it didn't work, I would have given up a year or two of productivity. And I would have felt like an idiot, which is probably the more visceral and emotional downside. The upside was enormous, though. While some alternative paths are unclear, I'm completely certain that I would not be in as good a relationship with as excellent of a girl as I am now. I simply didn't have the skills to find that person, let alone keep her.

A fundamental bargain in life is the trading of discomfort for gain. We all do it, and the most successful among us do it a lot. With the asymmetry of big decisions, having huge tangible potential upsides versus moderate fear-based emotional downsides, it's important to build the habit and skill of taking the less comfortable path.

Eventually you get to the point where you are conditioned to enjoy the discomfort because you associate it with an eventual reward. This doesn't happen quickly, but it does happen. And when it does, you make even faster progress because these Biggest Decisions become hills rather than mountains.

###

Photo is the giant spider sculpture at Roppongi Hills, Tokyo

Sorry for the big delay on the gear post. I'm still waiting on some items and still trying to evaluate a few. It will be worth it! Lots of good stuff this year.

Also, I still haven't sent out more information and payment requests for Superhuman Event #1 attendees. As you can probably gather, I've been extremely busy. I believe the event is full now, but feel free to e-mail to be on the waiting list and I'll give you a spot if anyone changes their mind.

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Saturday, 16 December

23:00 EST

Bitcoin Jumps Another 10% in 24 Hours, Sets New Record at $19,000 [Slashdot]

An anonymous reader quotes Ars Technica: Bitcoin's price set a new record on Saturday as the virtual currency rose above $19,000 for the first time on the Bitstamp exchange. The gains came just hours after the currency crossed the $18,000 mark. Bitcoin's value has doubled over the last three weeks, and it's up more than 20-fold over the last year. Bitcoin's value keeps rising despite a growing chorus of experts who say the currency value is an unsustainable bubble. One CNBC survey this week found that 80 percent of Wall Street economists and market strategists saw bitcoin's rise as a bubble, compared to just two percent who said the currency's value was justified. Another survey reported by The Wall Street Journal this week found that 51 out of 53 economists surveyed thought bitcoin's price was an unsustainable bubble. Less than a month ago, Bitcoin was selling for $8,000.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

20:00 EST

Bitcoin jumps another 10 percent in 24 hours to pass $19,000 [Ars Technica]

Enlarge / A Soyuz rocket launches from Baikonur, Kazakhstan. (credit: NASA)

Bitcoin's price set a new record on Saturday as the virtual currency rose above $19,000 for the first time on the Bitstamp exchange. The gains came just hours after the currency crossed the $18,000 mark. Bitcoin's value has doubled over the last three weeks, and it's up more than 20-fold over the last year.

Bitcoin's value keeps rising despite a growing chorus of experts who say the currency value is an unsustainable bubble. One CNBC survey this week found that 80 percent of Wall Street economists and market strategists saw bitcoin's rise as a bubble, compared to just two percent who said the currency's value was justified. Another survey reported by The Wall Street Journal this week found that 51 out of 53 economists surveyed thought bitcoin's price was an unsustainable bubble.

We recently asked two experts on the history of bubbles about bitcoin, and both saw echoes of earlier bubbles in the current bitcoin boom.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

'State of JavaScript' Survey Results: Good News for React and TypeScript [Slashdot]

"The JavaScript world is richer and messier than ever," reports this year's annual "State of JavaScript" survey, which collected data from over 28,000 developers on everything from favorite frameworks to flavors of JavaScript. SD Times reports: "A few years back, a JavaScript survey would've been a simple matter. Question 1: are you using jQuery? Question 2: any comments? Boom, done!," the developers wrote. "But as we all know, things have changed. The JavaScript ecosystem is richer than ever, and even the most experienced developer can start to hesitate when considering the multitude of options available at every stage"... On the front end, React remains the dominant framework. However, the survey found interest in Vue is steadily increasing, while Angular is losing steam. Developers are at a 3.8 [on a scale up to 5] when it comes to their overall happiness with front-end tools. On the back end, Express is by far the most popular contender with Koa, Meteor and Hapi slowly making their way behind Express. For testing, Jest and Enzyme stand out with high satisfaction ratings. In 2016 only 9,000 developers responded for the survey, which had ultimately announced that "Depending on who you ask, right now JavaScript is either turning into a modern, reliable language, or a bloated, overly complex dependency hell. Or maybe both?" InfoWorld notes that this year more than 28% of the survey's respondent's said they'd used TypeScript, Microsoft's typed superset of JavaScript, and that they'd use it again. And while React was the most popular framework, the second most-popular framework was "none," with 9,493 JavaScript developers saying they didn't use one.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Democrat Ruben Kihuen Won't Seek Re-Election Following Sexual Harassment Allegations [News : NPR]

Freshman Rep. Ruben Kihuen D-Nev., won

His announcement comes a day after the House Ethics Committee said it opened an investigation into the harassment allegations leveled at the 37-year-old freshman congressman from Nevada.

(Image credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

19:00 EST

The US Military Admits It Spent $22 Million Investigating UFOs [Slashdot]

Long-time Slashdot reader Joosy writes, "Until 2012 the Pentagon had a program, the 'Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program', that tracked unidentified flying objects." An anonymous reader writes: The Pentagon finally acknowledged the existence of the $22 million program today to the New York Times, while also claiming that they closed the program five years ago. "But its backers say that, while the Pentagon ended funding for the effort at that time, the program remains in existence. For the past five years, they say, officials with the program have continued to investigate episodes brought to them by service members, while also carrying out their other Defense Department duties." Over the years the program "produced documents that describe sightings of aircraft that seemed to move at very high velocities with no visible signs of propulsion, or that hovered with no apparent means of lift. Officials with the program have also studied videos of encounters between unknown objects and U.S. military aircraft." But ultimately, a Pentagon spokesman said, "It was determined that there were other, higher priority issues that merited funding, and it was in the best interest of the DoD to make a change."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

18:00 EST

The Man Who Taught Me How to Invest [The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss]

“Holding a grudge is a symptom of not knowing how you want to spend the gift of the day.” 
– Mike Maples, Jr.

Mike Maples, Jr. (@m2jr) is the man who taught me how to invest. He’s one of my favorite people and a personal mentor.

He is a partner at Floodgate, a venture capital firm that specializes in micro-cap investments in startups. He has been on the Forbes Midas List since 2010 and named one of Fortune magazine’s  “8 Rising VC Stars.” Before becoming a full-time investor, Mike was inolved as a founder and operating executive at back-to-back starup IPOs, including Tivoli Systems (acquired by IBM) and Motive (acquired by Alcatel-Lucent). Some of Mike’s investments include Twitter, Twitch.tv. ngmoco, Weebly, Chegg, Bazaar-voice, Spiceworks, Okta, and Demandforce.

Enjoy!

TF-ItunesButtonTF-StitcherButton

Want to hear a conversation with a mentor from Tribe of Mentors? Listen to this episode with Tim Urban, in which we discuss the future, how to deal with procrastination, AI, and much much more. Listen to it here (stream below or right-click to download):

Managing Procrastination, Predicting the Future, and Finding Happiness - Tim Urban


This podcast is brought to you by ConvertKit. After trying the competition, this is the only email tool that has made email marketing intuitive for my team without sacrificing any of the features and benefits I need to run a profitable business. It’s easy-to-use systems, split testing, resending technology, automation, targeted content, high rates of deliverability, integration with more than 70 services — like WordPress, Shopify, and Sumo — and excellent customer service are the reason I made it my go-to ESP.

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Whether for personal use or business, you’re in good company with WordPress — used by The New Yorker, Jay Z, FiveThirtyEight, TechCrunch, TED, CNN, and Time, just to name a few. A source at Google told me that WordPress offers “the best out-of-the-box SEO imaginable,” which is probably why it runs nearly 30% of the Internet. Go to WordPress.com/Tim to get 15% off your website today!

QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Selected Links from the Episode

  • Connect with Mike Maples, Jr.:

Floodgate | Twitter | Medium

Show Notes

  • Introduction. [05:30]
  • How we did market research back in the day. [10:15]
  • When he first hit the scene, Mike had trouble getting hired as a venture capitalist. [13:17]
  • How did Mike connect with our mutual friend Kevin Rose? [16:19]
  • Sometimes great introductions make up for lackluster investments. [18:03]
  • Mike’s not a man who holds many grudges. Here’s why. [23:09]
  • What happened when Mike invested in podcasting platform Odeo, and how its failure led to an opportunity to invest in Twitter. [25:30]
  • Rehearsing my SXSW talk in front of three chihuahuas. [34:51]
  • Overcoming technical difficulties when it came time to give the real talk. [35:49]
  • What Mike considers one of the most fun things about being an investor in contrast to being a founder. [36:34]
  • Without children of my own, some might wonder why I often ask guests for their parenting advice. Mike’s responses are one reason. [38:39]
  • What does Mike say to bolster the morale of entrepreneurs who are going through a rough patch? [41:48]
  • Why Mike thinks he might be “the worst person to talk to depressed people.” [46:35]
  • How Mike helped me act simple. [47:59]
  • One investment that seemed like a bad idea at the time but paid off very well, and how investment decisions happen at Floodgate. [52:28]
  • How does Mike know when to persist, quit, pivot, or double down with an idea? [56:53]
  • Mike explains how investment is like surfing. [1:00:19]
  • Early encouragement and advice about first principles thinking. [1:03:00]
  • What does Mike really think about the concept of social proof? [1:04:21]
  • Good first principles in action. [1:04:28]
  • The lessons Mike hopes to drive home for entrepreneurial students at Stanford. [1:07:25]
  • How does Mike recommend people find their unique gift, and what blocks that quest? [1:11:02]
  • I’ve recently moved to Austin. Where else might I have ended up? [1:14:16]
  • What books does Mike recommend and gift the most? [1:15:31]
  • Thoughts on death, grief, and grieving. [1:17:41]
  • What emerging technologies does Mike believe are most promising for anti-authoritarian disruption? [1:19:53]
  • Why Mike isn’t afraid that cryptocurrency adoption will disrupt venture capitalism. [1:26:16]
  • Mike’s view of the government’s role and how cryptocurrency helps separate politics from economics. [1:29:10]
  • Early traits that made Mike successful. [1:30:30]
  • Why did Mike’s dad tell him not to have heroes? [1:34:54]
  • What would Mike put on his billboard? [1:36:26]
  • Mike’s take on Jim Rohn’s famous, “you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” [1:38:35]
  • Powerful new truths I’ve come to realize. [1:40:25]
  • On applying loving-kindness meditation. [1:44:52]
  • What is Mike’s 60-second idea to change the world? [1:45:47]
  • Parting thoughts. [1:46:31]

People Mentioned

Predictive Keyboard Tries To Write a New Harry Potter Chapter [Slashdot]

Long-time Slashdot reader Baron_Yam writes, "Some AI news items are amusing. This is one of those." ProKras reports: What do you get when a predictive keyboard app tries to write a new Harry Potter story? Apparently, you get Chapter 13 from Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash. The folks at Botnik Studios trained their keyboard using all 7 Harry Potter novels by J.K. Rowling. They used one set of training data for narration and another for dialogue. Then a bunch of team members got together in a chat room and pitched the best (worst?) lines created using the keyboard, and Botnik editors assembled them into a cohesive(ish) chapter of a story. The results are about as ridiculous as you might imagine. For example, at one point Ron Weasley "saw Harry and immediately began to eat Hermione's family. Ron's Ron shirt was just as bad as Ron himself." It is never explained how Hermonie knew that the password to a certain locked door was "BEEF WOMEN," nor why "the pig of Hufflepuff pulsed like a large bullfrog." Maybe that was covered in Chapter 12.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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