Week of July 30, 2018

A few things from around the Internet this week…

Tragic

I can’t imagine Schlitterbahn going away but this story paints a pretty grim picture.

It was a Sunday afternoon, August 7, 2016, the temperature a pleasant 78 degrees, as ten-year-old Caleb Schwab began the 264-step climb to the top of Verrückt, the world’s tallest waterslide, which loomed like a colossus over the forty-acre Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City. Caleb was a brown-eyed boy, his nose dotted with freckles. He had come to the park with his father, Scott, a state legislator; his mother, Michele; and his three brothers. That day, Schlitterbahn was offering free admission to Kansas elected officials and their families, along with a buffet lunch, and the Schwabs, who lived in the town of Olathe, southwest of Kansas City, were thrilled. A free day at Schlitterbahn. What could be better?

Crushing

A sexual harassment horror story at HSBC from David Dayer at Highline.

This tradition of silence and futility helps explain why, for all of the training seminars and employee tiplines and initiatives to promote women, banking hasn’t experienced the reckoning that other professional fields have. “Wall Street has had absolutely no reform,” says Nancy Erika Smith, whose sexual harassment cases include clients from the banking industry. “It’s a macho frat boy culture to this day.

Parenthood

Ben Carlson:

Life is not static so neither are your responsibilities, priorities, spending habits, savings goals, or risk profile. I’m sure the finances of having kids will change as they get older and I learn and adapt. I just have to remind myself that life is all about balance — spending vs. saving, enjoying the moment vs. delaying gratification, time spent working vs. time spent with family, and things we need vs. things we want.

These competing ideas are never in equilibrium but that’s the goal.

Ecosystem

I’ve always been interested in the locales chosen to house data centers. Everest Pipkin takes a look at these key pieces of Internet infrastructure.

The immensity and environmental costliness of server farms are undeniably bad optics, especially for an industry so committed to a vision of self that rests in futurity, promoting a high-tech potential that has nothing to do with the industrial revolution (and all of the pollution and disaffective labor of that era). Instead, the rhetoric of the internet, and especially storage on the internet, is that of a light, ephemeral place that requires neither work nor coal nor landscape to hold itself up. It is supposed to be a cloud.

Hello 🤖

Another crazy experiment and result at OpenAI.

Although the first humanoid hands were developed decades ago, using them to manipulate objects effectively has been a long-standing challenge in robotic control. Unlike other problems such as locomotion, progress on dextrous manipulation using traditional robotics approaches has been slow, and current techniques remain limited in their ability to manipulate objects in the real world.

Edge

Go Astros

We know what every person is doing on the field at all times. We know what the bat and the ball are doing on the field at all times. We now have information we didn’t dream we’d have a few years back. Developing models from all that information is going to be critical to the success of teams going forward. They can gain an edge—and an edge in terms of not only being first to use that technology but being able to implement it more quickly than the other teams. Because any edge we get, we know it’s just a matter of time before the other clubs catch up.