Lance falling (it’s really about us)

Lance falling « The DYNAMITE! Files:

And we all know the aspects of Armstrong’s story that fascinated us: beating cancer and then beating everyone, a singular character with a single ball. Personally, I loved watching his movements on the bike, swaggering when he was out of the saddle, and the robotic, propulsive, high cadence when he was seated – a contained, measured ferocity. Yet most of the conversations that night weren’t about Armstrong or pro cycling, but about our own, more modest, adventures: where we had been riding, where we planned to ride or race, each of us glimpsing the others’ characters and experience (invariably much greater than mine) by learning about their cycling history.

[And so it remains. Whether you love or hate, care or not, the real gift of cycling is that you can climb on yourself, and sometimes fall off, pick yourself back up and continue. We make our own adventures.]

Armstrong falling on road to luz ardiden

Armstrong in Context

Armstrong in Context:

So what can one conclude from all of this information?

The fact that the performance of cyclists exhibits a broad peaking in the mid 1990’s is consistent with IPETs being used extensively in cycling during that period. The use of IPETs was not isolated to individuals, but appears to have been pervasive throughout professional cycling. The fact that speeds and climbing rates are reducing as a function of time points toward the success of stricter doping controls in the sport.
The reduced variability in performance indicates that natural ability, while obviously required, has been reduced in its impact upon determining success, and this appears to have been the case since the beginning of the 1990’s. (Comments about how EPO can reduce the impact of natural differences on performance among different riders, along with other discussions, can be found in Ref. [11].)
The data are consistent with Armstrong, upon his return, not doing anything obviously different from other elite cyclists in the TdF, though obviously, he just did it a little better. This is the “level playing field” scenario.
The data are consistent with the assertions made by LeMond regarding doping in cycling.
Finally, it is worth mentioning that the data analyzed in this work is but a small fraction of what could potentially be analyzed. One of the interesting features that was touched upon only in the analysis of the TdF prologue data, is the complete distribution of riders speeds in each event. If, in fact, IPETs that minimize the impact of natural ability in performance are being used, this trend should be clearly evident in the distribution of speeds in any given single event.
To close, the data that has been analyzed in this work points to the combined natural ability, race preparation and recovery of post-1999 Armstrong being consistent with, but slightly better than, other elite cyclists competing at that time. The strength of Armstrong’s performances in the collective events suggests that his preparation and recovery methods were shared with his team-mates.

My Thoughts (given these observations and conclusions)

If one is convinced that IPETs were used extensive during the period from the late 1980’s forward to today, it makes little sense to remove titles from those who confess to using IPETs, as there is a high probability that the runner up, who would be awarded the title, was also using IPETs in essentially the same way. I suggest that it was a mistake to strip Riis of his 1996 TdF title because each of the 9 riders below him in the general classification (GC) were also likely using IPETs. Further, it is likely desirable to create an environment in which offenders from the past can confess to using IPETs in past events as this may help in the development of future anti-doping protocols.
Stripping Armstrong of his titles, and awarding them to the runner ups, has the same problem discussed in the previous bullet-point. Given the data as presented here, and the fact that multiple members of his teams have admitted to using IPETs, it seems that there is high likelihood that the runner’s ups (through many placings in the GC) were also using IPETs.
If titles are stripped from Armstrong, then, in fairness, similar investigations should be launched against Indurain, as his performances have similarities to those of Armstrong. This could be generalized to all TdF winners since 1990.

[Fascinating stuff if you like charts and graphs. I’m left with a bunch of questions (about the analysis and some of the data).]

Did Apple and Google really spend more on patents than R&D?

Did Apple and Google really spend more on patents than R&D?Technovia:

Read the NYT piece, and you would think that the technology market has shifted from being about research and development of new products to being about acquisition of patents. Given that this is based on a single year, when some very big patent portfolios came on the market in one-off deals that aren’t likely to be repeated in the future, that’s a long way from the truth.

[I sincerely dislike when agenda is written as news.]


Game Over (AntiRez leaves the twitterverse)

Game Over:

I also love open source, and guess what? It’s not a license. It’s a process of exchanging ideas, code, and information, freely. In short, I don’t want to be part of what I saw yesterday, ever. For me open source is a lot more than a job. For me the ability to express my ideas is more important than smiling to the community and accept the new rules I’m seeing in place.

As you guess, not everybody reacted like that. Actually most of my 10000+ followers either said nothing or encouraged me by private email or direct messages. Thank you, I don’t want to claim that everybody is like what I saw yesterday. However among the people that over reacted there were also well known figures of the programming community.

So what happens now? That I’m done with Twitter. I’m going to close my accounts, and I’ll use only the @redisfeed account to provide information to the Redis users about what happens about Redis. Releases, critical bugs, anticipations. It will be low traffic, and should be make more people able to be subscribed to that account.

I’ll still write about everything I do about Redis and about anything else I like or think and I want to share with the world, here in my blog. I’ll modify the blog code in the next days to make it better for short posts, that will be presented as short messages with a date directly in the front page. I’ll study a bit what is the best solution to have an easy to follow blog about development, with small continuous updates and bigger posts from time to time.

[So much for the twitterverse. One day people will see the incredible value of blogs. They’re not passé, done, dead, or over. They’re one of the single greatest things since Gutenberg. ]

Source: antirez weblog

Reply to an open minded reader

Reply to an open minded reader:

The second is even more important, and is about the data model. Redis is not the kind of system where you can insert data and then argue about how to fetch those data in creative ways. Not at all, the whole idea of its data model, and part of the fact that it will be so fast to retrieve your data, is that you need to think in terms of organising your data for fetching. You need to design with the query patterns in mind. In short most of the times your data inside Redis is stored in a way that is natural to query for your use case, that’s why is so fast apart from being in memory, there is no query analysis, optimisation, data reordering. You are just operating on data structures via primitive capabilities offered by those data structures. End of the story.

However, I would add the following perspective on that.

If you do judicious use of your memory, and exploit the fact that Redis sometimes can do a lot with little (see for instance Redis bit operations), and instead of just have a panic attack about your data growing outside the limits of the known universe you try to do your math and consider how much memory commodity servers nowadays have, you’ll discover that there are a tons and one more use cases where it’s ok to have the limit of your computer memory. Often this means tens of millions of active users in one server.

And another point about the data model: remember all those stories about DB denormalisation, and hordes of memcached or Redis farms to cache stuff, and things like that? The reality is that fancy queries are an awesome SQL capability (so incredible that it was hard for all us to escape this warm and comfortable paradigm), but not at scale. So anyway if your data needs to be composed to be served, you are not in good waters.

[No comment. Very important stuff, because the notion that you are composing for retrieval is very foreign to a lot of devs (seemingly).]

Source: antirez weblog

No, he didn’t

Scripting News: He called the President ‘boy’.:

Just tuned into a little of the Sunday morning news discussion on various networks. The big issue seems to be whether or not VP Biden was disrespectful of Congressman Ryan in the Wednesday debate.

Yes he was. But I haven’t forgotten what Mitt Romney said to President Obama. He said the President is like a boy who doesn’t tell the truth.

“Look, I’ve got five boys. I’m used to people saying something that’s not always true, but just keep on repeating it and ultimately hoping I’ll believe it.”

He called the President ‘boy’ — to his face.

[What a load. Dave, this is outrageous. I know how you react when people put words in your mouth, and he didn’t come close to saying what you’re claiming he said. I also disagree with your interpretation. And obviously, so do the people who would be most sensitive to your interpretation. Move along. There’s nothing here. Plenty of real stuff to be concerned about.]

Lance Armstrong’s Endgame: Doping in Pro Cycling

Lance Armstrong’s Endgame: Doping in Pro Cycling:

His ultimate legacy most likely is out of our hands. Fans who may not yet be alive will decide who he was. To us, today, Eddy Merckx is the greatest cyclist who ever lived, not a fraud who tested positive for a stimulant while leading the 1969 Giro d’Italia and had his 1973 Giro di Lombardia win stripped for the same. Joop Zoetemelk is the hardman who started and finished 16 Tours—a record—and won one. He’s not a reprobate who was caught doping at the 1979 Tour, received a paltry penalty of a 10-minute time addition, and maintained his second-place podium spot. Jacques Anquetil is the five-time Tour winner who in 1961 took the yellow jersey on Stage 1 and wore it all the way to Paris, not a boastful cheater who said, during a French television interview, “Leave me in peace—everybody takes dope.” And Fausto Coppi is il campionissimo, the champion of champions, not an admitted doper who said on Italian television that he only took drugs when necessary—”which is nearly always.”
We live in a different age, one that may not allow the forgiveness of Lance Armstrong, that may hold him to be the creator rather than the product of the era he reigned over. We might even judge this champion’s cheating and lying too vile to permit the remembrance of the part of him that, even now, convinced that he doped to win the Tour, I can’t stop being a fan of: the plain fact that he was, as even his bitter enemy Floyd Landis told me when we spoke last year, “a badass on a bike.”

[And this sat well with me. It’s a sport. People cheat. It’ll be forevermore be the case. And the folks that win are all badasses. You don’t win if you’re not regardless of what you may or may not take.]

Injustice for All: USADA & Lance Armstrong | Bicycling Magazine:

What would happen to the jerseys would be an absurdity.

Probably the most notable outcome is that Jan Ullrich becomes a unique champion, a four-time winner of the Tour, more decorated than Greg LeMond. Ullrich is, of course, an admitted and convicted doper. The farce on top of this farce would be the continued possession of a yellow jersey by Bjarne Riis. After the 1996 Tour winner admitted in 2007 that he’d used EPO to achieve his victory, the race organizers told him not to attend that year’s edition, and in the official listing of winners in the online archive and elsewhere, a blank space ­appeared where his name once was. The next year, he was back at the Tour as a directeur sportif, and his name was back on the list.

If Armstrong is found by USADA to have doped but, like Riis, somehow is granted possession of his bounty, thanks to his celebrity a Hadron Collider-worthy impact will occur between our society’s ideal of morality and the real-life ethical relativism of cycling (and just about every other pursuit in life involving money and fame). It’s a black hole—one that already swallowed Floyd Landis and Alberto Contador, who doped and, unlike Riis, lost their jerseys.

[And that’s the critical point. The record books are already a mess beyond fixing. Forget them. They are nothing.]

Outline your Twitter conversations.

Thread: Outline your Twitter conversations.:

I just released a tool called Microliner that lets you outline your conversations on Twitter.

I don’t think anyone has ever had a tool like this, so I’d better explain how it works.

1. Open up the Microliner Workspace window. Enter an idea. 140 characters or less, please. :-)

2. Click the Tweet button. It goes out to all your followers on Twitter.

3. Wait a minute or so. Click the Replies button. Microliner calls Twitter and gets the replies, and arranges them under the messages they are in response to.

4. You can then reply to the replies, and so on. Once you get going, you can participate in a dozen conversations at once, and not lose track of where you are or who you’re conversing with. It really works.

The tool is available now:

I thought I was done developing on Twitter as a platform, and then I get an idea like this, and I have to do it, whether or not its advisable. :-)

[Nice idea. Twitter has really made a mess of stuff like this.]

Source: Scripting News

Marveling at the existence of the greatest phone ever made.

Marveling at the existence of the greatest phone ever made:

If I tell you the greatest thing about the iPhone 5 is how it “feels,” you’ll accuse me of being a superficial aesthete who cares more for form than function. You don’t care how a phone was built or how it looks; you just want it to work. But I think that argument misses something important about what it means for a phone to “work well”: When you’re holding a device all the time, how it feels affects its functionality. Or, as Steve Jobs might say, how it feels is how it works.

[I know this to be true from objects I craft myself. If people are going to touch it, how it feels is a huge part of how it works. I recently built some objects that were “so nice” that the folks they were built for refused to use them as they were designed. In short, they put a cover on them. An utter failure.]