in Weekly Reading Highlights

Weekly Reading Highlights (Dec 26th – Dec 31st)

Seductive Code

via “Public Object: Jesse Wilson on programming”

When a programming language, API, or design pattern is seductive its cosmetic beauty hides its structural limitations. I’m frustrated when making my code read better harms how efficiently it runs or how maintainable it is.

Deep Learning 2016: The Year in Review

via “Deep Learning Weekly”

I find it helpful to think of developments in deep learning as being driven by three major frontiers that limit the success of artificial intelligence in general and deep learning in particular. Firstly, there is the available computing power and infrastructure, such as fast GPUs, cloud services providers (have you checked out Amazon’s new EC2 P2 instance ?) and tools (Tensorflow, Torch, Keras etc), secondly, there is the amount and quality of the training data and thirdly, the algorithms (CNN, LSTM, SGD) using the training data and running on the hardware.


Why Europeans are reading Stefan Zweig again

via “The Economist”

AFTER this bleakest of years for Europe, glib talk of the 1930s is in the air. The bonds of trust between nations are fraying, and the old saw that the European Union advances only in times of crisis is being tested to destruction. Populists are on the march. Britain is on the way out. And Europe’s neighbours are either menacing it (Russia) or threatening to flood it with refugees. […] Small wonder that gloomy Europeans are starting to dust off their Stefan Zweig.


India Pale Ales: A history of the authentically global beer

via “The Economist”

This is a short story of the Indian pale ale (IPA for short). IPA was born out of the growing need to serve the tastes of British colonists overseas. Shortly thereafter, it vanished in obscurity, only to reemerge as beer craftsman hobby a few centuries later:

BEER is for drinking. But beer is also an occasion for conversation—and, if good enough, a subject for it, too. That is where India Pale Ales, or IPAs, come into their own. Few beers incite and enrich conversation as much. Their distinctive character—the “firm bitterness [that] lingers long and clean” in one, the “complex aromatic notes of citrus, berry, tropical fruit and pine” in another—spur discussions that spill over from tap rooms to websites with ease.

Born in monopoly, IPA is triumphing through diversity. Everyone can have a home-town brew and an opinion. That is bad news for the vast brewers that dominate the large but shrinking global lager market. The competition flourishes at a local level and on a modest scale that the big brewers hardly know how to understand. The beer giants can, and do, buy up smaller “craft brew” IPA-makers; but there is always the risk that discerning drinkers could switch allegiance from their mass-produced lagers. The tipple that helped create the world’s first brewing giants could yet undermine the beermaking behemoths of today.