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Links for 2014-01-02

  • Dogs like to excrete in alignment with the Earth’s magnetic field

    Dogs preferred to excrete with the body being aligned along the North-south axis under calm magnetic field conditions.

    (tags: dogs poo excrement shit magnetic-field earth zoology papers)

  • Paul Graham and the Manic Pixie Dream Hacker

    Under Graham’s influence, Mark [Zuckerberg], like many in Silicon Valley, subscribes to the Manic Pixie Dream Hacker ideal, making self-started teenage hackers Facebook’s most desired recruiting targets, not even so much for their coding ability as their ability to serve as the faces of hacking culture. “Culture fit”, in this sense, is one’s ability to conform to the Valley’s boyish hacker fantasy, which is easier, obviously, the closer you are to a teenage boy. Like the Manic Pixie Dream Girl’s role of existing to serve the male film protagonist’s personal growth, the Manic Pixie Dream Hacker’s job is to embody the dream hacker role while growing the VC’s portfolio. This is why the dream hacker never ages, never visibly develops interests beyond hardware and code, and doesn’t question why nearly all the other people receiving funding look like him. Like the actress playing the pixie dream girl, the pixie dream boy isn’t being paid to question the role for which he has been cast. In this way, for all his supposed “disruptiveness”, the hacker pixie actually does exactly what he is told: to embody, while he can, the ideal hacker, until he is no longer young, mono-focused, and boyish-seeming enough to qualify for the role (at that point, vested equity may allow him to retire). And like in Hollywood, VCs will have already recruited newer, younger ones to play him.

    (tags: hackers manic-pixie-dream-girl culture-fit silicon-valley mark-zuckerberg paul-graham y-combinator vc work investment technology recruitment facebook ageism equality sexism)

  • The How and Why of Flapjack

    Flapjack aims to be a flexible notification system that handles: Alert routing (determining who should receive alerts based on interest, time of day, scheduled maintenance, etc); Alert summarisation (with per-user, per media summary thresholds); Your standard operational tasks (setting scheduled maintenance, acknowledgements, etc). Flapjack sits downstream of your check execution engine (like Nagios, Sensu, Icinga, or cron), processing events to determine if a problem has been detected, who should know about the problem, and how they should be told.

    (tags: flapjack notification alerts ops nagios paging sensu)