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Burn After Reading - Issue #2

Burn After Reading - Issue #2
By Kristian Glass • Issue #2 • View online
Another assortment of things I’ve read and enjoyed over the last week or so.
With a 650% increase in subscribers since last week (from 2…), it’s clearly time for me to stick the word “crypto” somewhere and try to raise funds (hey, if it works for iced tea…).
More seriously, thanks to all subscribers - if you have feedback, if there’s things you liked or things you didn’t, I’d love to hear from you!

On the back of last week’s Twitter thread from Patrick McKenzie, Grey Baker sent me some fascinating reading about signalling: Feltovich, Harbaugh and To’s paper “Too cool for school? Signalling and countersignalling” (with a nice summary write-up in the Economist: “Signal failure?”) - e.g. looking at countersignalling (“CEO in a hoodie”) as a way of saving costs and/or signalling confidence and comfort.
This recipe for “Clarified Milk Punch” from the Cocktail Chemistry Lab caught my eye (GIF). While “fat-washing” may not sound especially appetising, it definitely looks like a neat trick - add a flavoured fatty liquid, then extract (most of) the fats while leaving the flavours and a little bit of the richness. I’ll be getting people to try it before I tell them how it’s made…!
This post by my ex-colleague Stig Brautaset on his experience being hired as a submarine sonar operator is a nice illustration of the danger of proxy requirements in hiring. Over-reliance on readily-measurable proxies is so easy to do, so prevalent, and so problematic, across so many fields - this is an excellent example.
Slate’s “Reducing Your Carbon Footprint Still Matters” is an interesting look at the value of individual action - it’s easy to feel like you can’t make a difference, even when you take into account things like the starfish principle, but with that action comes a signalling effect that can “inspire new social norms” and “aggregate to large-scale impacts”.
I’ll be catching up on this week’s Doctor Who after I hit send on this, and I really liked Lucy Jones’s article “Doctor Who backlash shows why it’s time to bin the phrase ‘politically correct’” (I think it’s long past that time, but headline-writing is a thing). I’ve not enjoyed some of this series’s episodes as much as previous ones - I much prefer “epic space stuff” to “historic exploration” - but I’m really liking the characters and dynamics.
I’ve nearly finished reading Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson’s “It Doesn’t Have To Be Crazy At Work” (shameless Amazon referral link that may or may not work). Much like Rework, it’s very much “here’s some things that are great, we’re doing them, you can too” while being relatively light on how you might actually get there (for which I highly recommend “Myths And Patterns Of Organizational Change” by Linda Rising) but it’s still a good read and useful set of examples and ideas.
Finally, I hope you enjoy this mash-up as much as I have: Rage Against Vanessa Carlton.
I found myself re-reading Jessica Kerr’s “The Origins of Opera and the Future of Programming” - it’s a fascinating piece covering the importance of teams, mental models, systems thinking, and learning together.
“DevOps” is a term so often frustratingly misused - more “reducing technical silos and increasing collaboration” and less “we fired our sysadmins and gave our developers root” please - but Atlassian’s “What Is DevOps?” was a great read and feels like it’s going to come in really useful for helping people understand and adopt DevOps culture, and not just “hire a DevOp” (ow).
A discussion I find myself having around once a year or so - Bjørn Johansen’s “To www or not to www - Should you use www or not in your domain?” is a nice summary of the various arguments and tradeoffs. His conclusion: go with www - a position I share - but it’s worth noting he doesn’t actually do that for his own site!
Cameron Lonsdale’s “What’s in a Docker image?” is a neat exploration. I’m providing “Dockerization services” over at Containerize My App, and though the primary audience is very much people who know what Docker is but want help working with it, part of that involves helping them understand more about the tools their using, and I expect this article to come in handy.
Finally, I never really got into graphics as an area of computing, so it’s all a bit magic to me, but Andy Sloane’s donut-shaped donut animation code feels like Proper Wizardry.
That’s all from me, I hope you enjoyed it - thanks for reading to the end!
I’d really appreciate any and all feedback you have, even if it’s just “meh”, that’s still useful data.
If you like it, please tell a friend and pass on the subscribe link:
Cheers, Kristian
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Kristian Glass

Things I've read, things I've liked, thoughts I've had

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