#60

I have to change to stay the same.
— Willem de Kooning, Artist

The Speed Dial - An abbreviated set of articles for the reader who has limited time.

The Sound and the Fury: Inside the Mystery of the Havana Embassy
[propublica]

More than a year after American diplomats began to suffer strange, concussion-like symptoms in Cuba, a U.S. investigation is no closer to determining how they were hurt or by whom, and the FBI and CIA are at odds over the case. A ProPublica investigation reveals the many layers to the mystery — and the political maneuvering that is reshaping U.S.-Cuba relations

 

Run Less Software
[blog.intercom]

The exponential rate of change in software means the temptation for many people is to throw themselves into the latest technologies to try get ahead. In fact, they should be focusing on using less technology, not more. Our Senior Director of Engineering, Rich Archbold, explains.

 

Thirty-six minutes after the gold medal was won, the Olympics happened
[washingtonpost]

The Mexican, German Madrazo, 43, looked halting through his last stretch. He looked as if his body might fold in on itself. For a second, it seemed he might not make it and that after all that fight against all that backup ski and ice that all the other skiers had made, he and his Mexican flag might tumble into the snow. The remaining crowd cheered him on, with a few Swiss flags here, Norwegian flags there, South Korean flags here, all waving in support, for this moment, of Mexico.
 

 

Management/Culture

How to Cultivate Gratitude, Compassion, and Pride on Your Team
[hbr]

As a leader, what traits should you cultivate in your employees? Grit – the ability to persevere in the face of challenges? Sure. A willingness to accept some sacrifices and work hard toward a successful future are essential for the members of any team. But I believe there’s another component that matters just as much: grace. I don’t mean the ability to move elegantly or anything religious. Rather, I mean qualities of decency, respect, and generosity, all of which mark a person as someone with whom others want to cooperate.

 

Master the Art of Influence — Persuasion as a Skill and Habit
[firstround]

Tyler Odean kicked off our meeting with a contentious statement: “For startups and founders, being persuasive is way more important than having vision.” Given how many thousands of articles have been written about finding and nailing down mission and vision statements, this is jarring to hear. But when he explains, it makes sense.

 

Development/Releases

On Pioneers, Settlers, Town Planners and Theft.
[blog.gardeviance]

I often talk about the use of cell based structures (e.g. think Amazon Two Pizza, Starfish model) which are populated not only with aptitude (the skill to do something) but the right attitude (type of people).

 

What Shape is Your Project? – Tackling Software with a High “Complexity to Visibility” Ratio;
[spin.atomicobject]

Debugging a recent project has been surprisingly challenging. It’s a complicated product with multiple components, but that’s nothing new. The customer’s QA department has done great work, but it still feels like this is harder than it should be.

 

Nobody's just reading your code
[akkartik]

Most programmers agree that we don't read enough code. The interviews in Peter Seibel's book, “Coders at work” highlight a comical contradiction: almost all the programmers interviewed by Seibel recommend that others read code for fun, but none of them routinely do so themselves. 

 

Technical

Abstraction & Composition
[medium]

The more I mature in software development, the more I value the fundamentals — insights that seemed trivial when I was a beginner, but now hold profound significance with the benefit of experience.

 

Discovering Types for Entity Disambiguation
[blog.openai]

We’ve built a system for automatically figuring out which object is meant by a word by having a neural network decide if the word belongs to each of about 100 automatically-discovered “types” (non-exclusive categories).

 

News/Other

Behold The Most Prestigious Prize In Hollywood: The John C. Reilly Award
[fivethirtyeight]

You know, he’s that guy in that thing.

 

China will scrap limit on presidential terms, meaning Xi Jinping can stay on
[scmp]

China will remove the constitutional restriction on the maximum number of terms the president and vice-president can serve, Xinhua reported on Sunday, paving the way for President Xi Jinping to stay on beyond 2023.

 

North Korea is quietly increasing aid to Syria’s chemical, missile programs, U.N. says
[washingtonpost]

North Korea appears to have stepped up its covert assistance to a Syrian government agency responsible for producing that country’s chemical weapons and advanced missiles, a U.N. panel has concluded in a confidential report.

 

Creativity is a skill
[medium]

Despite what we convince to ourselves, we can learn to be more creative.

 

How Craft Breweries Are Helping to Revive Local Economies
[nytimes]

The travelers, who came from Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, snapped up as many cans and bottles as they could buy, at $16 a four-pack. After a sip or two by tailgates, some headed out in search of a meal, their tourist dollars funneled into a downtown betting on a rebound.

 

Make the Papal States Great Again
[foreignpolicy]

Italy’s most dangerous populists are the immigrant-hating Catholic fundamentalists of Forza Nuova.

 

After years of testing, The Wall Street Journal has built a paywall that bends to the individual reader
[niemanlab]

Non-subscribers visiting WSJ.com now get a score, based on dozens of signals, that indicates how likely they’ll be to subscribe. The paywall tightens or loosens accordingly: “The content you see is the output of the paywall, rather than an input.”

 

Nobody Wants to Let Google Win the War for Maps All Over Again
[bloomberg]

Self-driving cars need painfully detailed data on every inch of street. Can automakers solve the problem without the reigning superpower of maps?

 

Why Russia will prevail in Syria
[washingtonpost]

Russia's end goal has remained consistent: to preserve Assad’s regime and weaken U.S. influence in Syria, and the Middle East more broadly.

 

Terrible people have learned to exploit the internet. Yasmin Green is fighting back.
[technologyreview]

The Jigsaw team at Alphabet brings people who were radicalized online back from the brink, one video at a time.

 

Assessing Cardiovascular Risk Factors with Computer Vision
[research.googleblog]

Heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular (CV) diseases continue to be among the top public health issues. Assessing this risk is critical first step toward reducing the likelihood that a patient suffers a CV event in the future. To do this assessment, doctors take into account a variety of risk factors — some genetic (like age and sex), some with lifestyle components (like smoking and blood pressure). While most of these factors can be obtained by simply asking the patient, others factors, like cholesterol, require a blood draw. Doctors also take into account whether or not a patient has another disease, such as diabetes, which is associated with significantly increased risk of CV events.

 

Books/Podcasts/Videos

Managed Retreat
[99percentinvisible]

Sometimes, moving a building (like a lighthouse) is about preserving historic architecture or cultural heritage. But for one significant structure in Guadalajara, Mexico, the stakes were considerably higher