webshit weekly

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the third week of March, 2017.

Chekhov: “Cultured people must, in my opinion, satisfy the following conditions”
March 15, 2017 (comments)
An internet rehosts snippets of Chekov on medium.com. Hackernews mostly trades advice on not being a piece of shit (a topic on which Hackernews apparently requires extensive manual training), with brief intermezzi in which they tell each other to read the original Russian instead.

An 85-year old millionaire hides $1M treasure in the Rocky Mountains (2016)
March 16, 2017 (comments)
A crank published a book of clues to the claimed location of hidden treasure. Hackernews bikesheds the process of hiding treasure, the process of seeing if anyone has found it, the process of claiming hidden treasure, the process of hiking, and the process of camping. A recurrent theme is that people have died in the wild and this is somehow an old person's fault, because the old person wrote a book.

GNU Guile 2.2.0
March 17, 2017 (comments)
Some religious extremists updated their cult-approved Scheme implementation. Hackernews is pleased that this version is bug-compatible with a bad text editor. One Hackernews asks if Guile is relevant, which produces a thread full of more affirmative answers than there are Guile programmers on Earth. Another asks why Lisp syntax looks the way it does; that post is used as a downvote repository while Hackernews holds forth on code generation and clarity. The longest explanations are from those who have never used Lisp, as usual.

Lack of Oxford Comma Could Cost Maine Company Millions in Overtime Dispute
March 18, 2017 (comments)
Maine's politicians are apparently not fully literate, and a company is in a world of shit for interpreting a vaguely-written law in a manner that saved them money. Of course Hackernews wonders why lawyers don't write laws in the style of computer programs, because nobody's ever managed to fuck up writing a computer program. One Hackernews wonders if unit tests would help. The rest of the comments are sob stories about being poorly treated at entry-level retail jobs and rehashed comma-usage arguments.

Intellectual Humility increases tolerance, improves decision-making
March 19, 2017 (comments)
Some academics would like people to be able to admit they might be wrong. Hackernews angrily proclaims such a sin would immediately lead to an ignoble death of impoverished starvation. One Hackernews floats the idea that perhaps one might admit to oneself that one might be wrong, while outwardly projecting an aura of infallibility. The rest of Hackernews is quick to insist that such behavior is not possible -- if you even entertain the notion that you are not the sole source of reliable truth, you will die alone.

Intel’s first Optane SSD: 375GB that you can also use as RAM
March 20, 2017 (comments)
Intel releases new expensive drives that are almost, but not really, fast enough to be used as random-access memory. The drives require an OS under your OS to live up to marketing hype. Hackernews debates whether the hype is worth believing by exchanging third-party blog posts on the topic, all of which were written before the product was announced and none of which are based on any actual testing. The "this is HUGE" post is made and Hackernews trades misconceptions about why. The rest of the comments speculate on which shitty database technology will get faster when the commenter's company shits money at Intel instead of fixing their code.

The Document Which Used to Be Called the MIT Lockpicking Guide (1992)
March 21, 2017 (comments)
An internet claims they're "linking to" a lockpicking guide "for educational purposes", then proceeds to host the document in its entirety. Hackernews decides that locks aren't enough, and in fact walls aren't enough. Some Hackernews bikeshed OCR, document typesetting, and file formats. One Hackernews keeps getting shit stolen at the gym. Hackernews advises to use a better lock, don't use a better lock, carry a safe around, leave all the shit at home, hire a security guard, or leave all the shit in a car.