Precis-18.10.2021

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Leave no trace: how a teenage hacker lost himself online | Hacking | The Guardian

On forums he met like-minded kids his age from all over the world who spent entire days at their computers and made the kinds of social connections online that they couldn’t in the real world. Quiet and reclusive kids, mostly. Cloaked in made-up identities, they chatted about computers, girls and going out, and devised tricks to infiltrate private computer networks.

Online, Edwin was either xS or YUI – the latter a nod to the Japanese singer Yui, of whom he was a big fan. As YUI, he was different. Bolder, more self-assured. Online, quiet Edwin with the shy smile came alive. On chat channels he met an Australian, “Dwaan”, and an American, “Sabu”, in 2011. The three talked about hacking, and his new friends showed Edwin places they had managed to break in.

‘The Billion Dollar Code’ Netflix Review: Stream It Or Skip It?

The Gist: In 2014, the German software company ART+COM sued Google, claiming that the search behemoth used code from their product Terravision to create Google Earth. In the four-part series The Billion Dollar Code, viewers go back and forth between a 2017 deposition for the case, where middle-aged versions of artist Carsten Schlüter (Mark Waschke) and hacker Juri Müller (Misel Maticevic) give their testimony, and the 1993-94 time period when the two met and invented their revolutionary software.

HTTP is obsolete. It’s time for the distributed, permanent web

It is inconceivable for me to even think about what life would be like without it. HTTP dropped the cost of publishing content to almost nothing, an innovation that took a sledgehammer to the top-down economic, political, and cultural control over distribution of information (music, ideas, video, news, games, everything). As a result of liquifying information and making it the publication of it more egalitarian and accessible, HTTP has made almost everything about our culture better.

42 years later, how ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ has endured : NPR

But it’s most well-known as a book, first published in October 1979. And after 42 years, fans still find joy in the humorous characters, absurd plots and subtle lessons that have kept the cultural legacy strong.

Shamini Bundell, a science video journalist at Nature.org, says her obsession with The Hitchhiker’s Guide began early.

Is Nuclear Power Our Best Bet Against Climate Change? | Boston Review

It is unsurprising that mass evacuations and skin-melting radiation poisoning from nuclear accidents would provoke more visceral fear than the slow violence of fossil fuels. Further encumbering nuclear energy is its unfortunate, inextricable association with weapons of mass destruction, and the fact that it operates on atomic principles more opaque than the logic of burning fossilized biomass. It’s college physics versus campfires. On top of all this, both ordinary citizens and policy experts have awful track records in assessing and mitigating complex risks. The massive investment in antiterrorism and simultaneous neglect of climate change mitigation measures in the early 2000s is perhaps the most vivid recent example of flawed risk assessment, but there are many others, from high tolerance for traffic deaths—about 38,000 in the U.S. and 1.3 million globally every year—to high-risk personal consumption habits like fast food, smoking, and drinking, along with widespread fear of relatively low-risk threats such as shark attacks, wolves, or vaccine complications. In many parts of the world, due to both unfounded fears and justified caution, public opinion can be deeply skeptical of nuclear energy.

The booming business of knitting together the world’s electricity grids | The Economist

All this has resulted in surging order-books for cable-makers and -layers like Nexans, the Nexans Aurora’s eponymous French owner. Credit Suisse, a bank, forecasts undersea wiring alone to bring in revenue of around €5.5bn ($6.4bn) in 2022, up from €4.5bn this year. It expects cable firms’ revenues from offshore wind installations to more than treble in size between 2020 and 2035. Investors’ enthusiasm around electric cables has sent share prices of Nexans and the industry’s two other European giants, NKT and Prysmian, up by 48-125% in the past two years (see chart 2). In February Nexans announced that it would soon spin out its non-electric cables business (catering to industry and data centres) to focus on transmission lines.

The High-Frequency Trading Arms Race: Frequent Batch Auctions as a Market Design Response * | The Quarterly Journal of Economics | Oxford Academic

We argue that the high-frequency trading arms race is a symptom of a basic flaw in the design of modern financial exchanges: continuous-time trading . That is, under the continuous limit order book market design that is currently predominant, it is possible to buy or sell stocks or other exchange-traded financial instruments at any instant during the trading day. 2 We propose a simple alternative: discrete-time trading . More precisely, we propose a market design in which the trading day is divided into extremely frequent but discrete time intervals; to fix ideas, say, 100 milliseconds. All trade requests received during the same interval are treated as having arrived at the same (discrete) time. Then, at the end of each interval, all outstanding orders are processed in batch, using a uniform-price auction, as opposed to the serial processing that occurs in the continuous market. We call this market design frequent batch auctions . Our argument against continuous limit order books and in favor of frequent batch auctions has three parts.

The High-Frequency Trading Arms Race: Frequent Batch Auctions as a Market Design Response * | The Quarterly Journal of Economics | Oxford Academic

We argue that the high-frequency trading arms race is a symptom of a basic flaw in the design of modern financial exchanges: continuous-time trading . That is, under the continuous limit order book market design that is currently predominant, it is possible to buy or sell stocks or other exchange-traded financial instruments at any instant during the trading day. 2 We propose a simple alternative: discrete-time trading . More precisely, we propose a market design in which the trading day is divided into extremely frequent but discrete time intervals; to fix ideas, say, 100 milliseconds. All trade requests received during the same interval are treated as having arrived at the same (discrete) time. Then, at the end of each interval, all outstanding orders are processed in batch, using a uniform-price auction, as opposed to the serial processing that occurs in the continuous market. We call this market design frequent batch auctions . Our argument against continuous limit order books and in favor of frequent batch auctions has three parts.

How quickly do algorithms improve? | MIT News | Massachusetts Institute of Technology

In total, the team looked at 113 “algorithm families,” sets of algorithms solving the same problem that had been highlighted as most important by computer science textbooks. For each of the 113, the team reconstructed its history, tracking each time a new algorithm was proposed for the problem and making special note of those that were more efficient. Ranging in performance and separated by decades, starting from the 1940s to now, the team found an average of eight algorithms per family, of which a couple improved its efficiency. To share this assembled database of knowledge, the team also created Algorithm-Wiki.org.

The scientists charted how quickly these families had improved, focusing on the most-analyzed feature of the algorithms — how fast they could guarantee to solve the problem (in computer speak: “worst-case time complexity”). What emerged was enormous variability, but also important insights on how transformative algorithmic improvement has been for computer science.