webshit weekly

An annotated digest of the top "Hacker" "News" posts for the last week of July, 2019.

How to assess the quality of garments (2014)
July 22, 2019 (comments)
An Internet provides information about how to tell whether an article of clothing is a piece of shit. Since none of the evaluated metrics are accessible over HTTP, none of these practices are available to Hackernews. Therefore, Hackernews turns to a topic of conversation in which they are all experts: economics. The few Hackernews who have been exposed to high-quality clothing express some unobjectionable opinions on the matter, but all of the subsequent comments turn into arguments about brands.

No CS Degree – Interviews with self-taught developers
July 23, 2019 (comments)
A webshit conflates computer science and programming. Every Hackernews who accidentally majored in something other than being rich rushes to conspicuous contemplation about the soft skills which, when applied to computer programming, provide context and insight to the important collaborative undertaking to which all of humanity is today utterly devoted. It helps with things that aren't adtech, as well.

Some items from my “reliability list”
July 24, 2019 (comments)
An Internet shares some ways to tell that you've hung your jacket on a shaky nail. Hackernews regurgitates best practice advice from mid-1980s systems administration, which is now socially acceptable because someone at Google made it available in epub format and gave it a different name. Half the comments are an epistemological dialogue on the fundamental intent of the foundation of all status codes, but the enigma of HTTP status codes persists. Attention soon turns to JSON's failure to encapsulate all possible data.

Decades-Old Computer Science Conjecture Solved in Two Pages
July 25, 2019 (comments)
A mathematician knocks one out of the park. Hackernews struggles to make intuitive sense of a conclusion which took years of dedication for an expert to produce. All of the comments are Hackernews incorrecting each other about related concepts or trying to steer the conversation to unrelated topics that Hackernews has a better grasp of. Because of the nature of the content, this submission manages to exceed the arbitrarily magical 10:1 vote-to-comment ratio.

How is China able to provide enough food to feed over 1B people?
July 26, 2019 (comments)
The answer is "by growing food." A moderate amount of detail is provided. Hackernews argues about whether the Chinese people are doing it right and whether the answerer in the linked article is a government stooge. Nobody actually cares about those topics, so everyone starts talking about economic theory instead.

Adblocking: How about Nah?
July 27, 2019 (comments)
An Internet posts a rambling essay with an incoherent headline, which appears to have hastily been cut for length, but which apparently expresses an opinion about advertising on the web. Hackernews marshals a defense of their deeply-held conviction that it is impossible for two human beings to communicate without at least one other human being receiving money in the process. People suggesting otherwise are immediately demonized and those who do not patiently accept corporate lobbying are declared parasites on modern society. Some Hackernews timidly suggest that maybe more advertising would be tolerated if it weren't implemented as a panopticon-style javascript Rube Goldberg machine, but this too is clearly sinister anti-social psychopathy.

Malicious code in the purescript NPM installer
July 28, 2019 (comments)
A webshit discovers a flaw in a javascript Rube Goldberg machine. Hackernews declares this deficiency common in the most popular javascript package managers, never stopping to notice that every source code package manager invented since Kurt Cobain died has been a complete engineering failure, tolerated only due to a systemic industry-wide deficiency in education. Stopgap measures are the topic of the day, but no conclusions are reached.

Megapack: Utility-Scale Energy Storage
July 29, 2019 (comments)
A car company announces discovery of a brand new way to lose money. Hackernews insists that regulatory capture has fucked over electrical utilities the world over, but do not consider the press release at hand, which is a naked declaration of intent to commit regulatory capture, to fall into the class of problematic corporate molestation of national infrastructure. The rest of the comments attempt to understand what problem is addressed by the proposed solution, but the best shot they have is reconstructing the economics of utility services from first principles.

Math Basics for Computer Science and Machine Learning [pdf]
July 30, 2019 (comments)
An academic desperately tries to spackle in the cracks of modern software engineering, which leads to a two-thousand-page textbook. Hackernews starts out by recommending shorter books on the topics, then shorters books on other topics, then a series of YouTube videos, and finally just declaring that nobody actually needs math.

Advertising Is a Cancer on Society
July 31, 2019 (comments)
An Internet refuses to apologize for apostasy. Hackernews loves the commitment and the good-faith effort to lay out a comprehensive and consistent argument, and recognizes it as a valuable springboard from which to declare advertising as a fundamental building-block of human nature, like copyright law, HTTP, and food. This position is, of course, defended from a position firmly rooted in a strong and clearheaded grasp of economics, and in no sense is anyone involved constantly affirming the consequent.