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Rebecca Solnit · Diary: Google Invades · LRB 7 February 2013

Rebecca Solnit · Diary: Google Invades · LRB 7 February 2013
The buses roll up to San Francisco’s bus stops in the morning and evening, but they are unmarked, or nearly so, and not for the public. They have no signs or have discreet acronyms on the front windshield, and because they also have no rear doors they ingest and disgorge their passengers slowly, while the brightly lit funky orange public buses wait behind them. The luxury coach passengers ride for free and many take out their laptops and begin their work day on board; there is of course wifi. Most of them are gleaming white, with dark-tinted windows, like limousines, and some days I think of them as the spaceships on which our alien overlords have landed to rule over us. Other days I think of them as the company buses by which the coal miners get deposited at the minehead, and the work schedule involved would make a pit owner feel at home. Another friend of mine told me a story about the Apple bus from when he worked for Apple Inc. The Google Bus means so many things.

Blue Bottle VC funding: Not just for the coffee? Stephen Davidson (left) uses tech darling Square to take customer orders at Blue Bottle in San Francisco. (Liz Halifa/Chronicle) So what’s going on with Blue Bottle Coffee? As Re/Code reports the darling coffee shop of hipsters and techies announced a $25.75 million investment from a handful of big tech names today. Add in another $20 million from Google Ventures, Index Ventures, True Ventures, Instagram’s Kevin Systrom, Twitter co-founder Evan Williams and skate-boarding legend Tony Hawk back in 2012, and we are talking about a lot of cash for a string of urban coffee shops. On the surface, this seems like vanity investment. Certainly that’s part of it. “When we met [CEO James Freeman], it was instantly clear that Blue Bottle Coffee isn’t just about coffee drinks; it’s about so much more,” Tony Conrad of True Ventures wrote in a statement. We should be thinking less about the price of the cup of coffee but rather, the logistics it takes to create it.

Why Data God Jeffrey Hammerbacher Left Facebook To Found Cloudera It's almost mythic: Archetypical data scientist Jeffrey Hammerbacher is sitting across the table from archetypical journalist Charlie Rose in the infinite blackness of the television interview. Rose repeats to Hammerbacher--who's a founder of data analytics company Cloudera--a line from an interview he gave Businessweek back when he was an early employee hustling stats for Harvard bud Zuckerberg at Facebook: "The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads." And Rose, in his politeness, left off the last part of the line: "That sucks." There's a pregnant moment. Explaining the epitaph Looking back through the Businessweek article, the Hammerbacher of two years ago seemed a little peeved by the state of data in tech--thus the above admission. Sitting across from Rose, Hammerbacher shrugs off the characterization. The job to be done But he isn't. Instead, he wants to build tools to accelerate the pace of science. What Cloudera--And Big Data--Does

About Writing software is too hard and it takes too long. It's time for a new way to write software — especially application software, the user-facing software we use every day to talk to people and keep track of things. This new way should be radically simple. It should make it possible to build a prototype in a day or two, and a real production app in a few weeks. It should make everyday things easy, even when those everyday things involve hundreds of servers, millions of users, and integration with dozens of other systems. Today, there's a chance to create this new way — to build a new platform for cloud applications that will become as ubiquitous as previous platforms such as Unix, HTTP, and the relational database. It is not a small project. Meteor is our audacious attempt to solve all of these big problems, at least for a certain large class of everyday applications.

The Rhyme of History: Lessons of the Great War hough the era just before World War I, with its gas lighting and its horse-drawn carriages, seems very far off and quaint, it is similar in many ways—often unsettlingly so—to ours, as a look below the surface reveals. The decades leading up to 1914 were, like our own time, a period of dramatic shifts and upheavals, which those who experienced them thought of as unprecedented in speed and scale. The use of electricity to light streets and homes had become widespread; Einstein was developing his general theory of relativity; radical new ideas like psychoanalysis were finding a following; and the roots of the predatory ideologies of fascism and Soviet communism were taking hold. July 1915: The battleship Missouri steams through the Panama Canal, one of three U.S. warships traversing the canal together that month. ca. 2010: The Korean-built Corte Real container ship, one of the largest in the fleet of CMA CGM, a French-based maritime shipping company. Many Germans held reciprocal views.

(5) Integration (mathematics): What are some interesting improper integrals