Less Wrong Than Yesterday

Why I knee-jerkedly favor decentralized over centralized communications

(This post is pursuant to a discussion on twitter.)

Amongst humans, centralized communication, centralized knowledge, centralized control, and centralized power seem to go together. That makes sense, as a lot of what Power is, in these times, is the ability to define what's acceptable discourse: what things are worth talking about, and how they should be talked about.

My history with Power has not been good. I tend to be the person talking about the wrong thing, often in the wrong way.

Therefore, in any group I will tend do better if there's less centralization1.

So my bias toward

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A Realization

In Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut wrote:

Like so many Americans, she was trying to construct a life that made sense from things she found in gift shops.

Haha! What a rube! But it occurs to me that I have spent decades trying to construct a life that makes sense from things I find in a University Library. (Well, I actually find them online, but.)

It's worked out OK. It's definitely more lucrative than shopping. I'm content with it. But I'm not 100% sure it makes me superior.

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How I Avoid Committing Passwords to Github

TL;DR: My pre-commit-hooks repo might help you avoid checking in passwords or other secrets. Also: a suggestion that any secret string should contain NOCOMMIT.

I once committed AWS keys to a public Github repository. 24 hours later, ~USD2000 had been spent mining bitcoins.

I was motivated to avoid doing that again.

So I began to use Yelp's pre-commit package. It comes with a checker (detect-aws-credentials) that looks to see if the contents of ~/.aws/credentials are in any of the files you're about to commit (or push).

I decided to be doubly-cautious and also check for the distinctive pattern

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A Checkin Checklist

I'm currently reading Schön's The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action. I plan a few summary posts.

Schön describes how practitioners' problem-solving method consists of poking at the problem with a partial solution, deciding what they think of its reaction, and deciding what to do next1. If satisfied with the reaction, they proceed further. If not, they regroup in a number of different ways.

This reminds me of software development in the style of the Mikado method or Corey's Haines' short-lived branches: you do some work, you think about it, you either commit/push or revert. As such,

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About the ancient Greeks:

Logic was the rage of the day; all over, at the marketplaces, in the streets, in private homes and in public buildings, at all times, sometimes all through the night, people engaged in dialectical disputations and flocked to hear the acknowledged masters of logical argument display their art. The writings of this period mirror this development in thought: drama as well as the dialogue bear witness to the power which the newborn science wielded over the imagination of men1.

About Renaissance painters:

It was said of Uccello that the discovery of perspective had so impressed

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