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February Reading Recommendations

Published: at 10:30 AM



How AI Is Helping Us Learn About Birds

Everyone is writing about AI these days, but only language models. I tire of it to be honest, and I found this article interesting. Its about “traditional” AI and how BirdCast uses good old machine learning to categorise radar data to identify bird movements and forecast how those birds will migrate.

How to read 2000 year old scrolls from a library buried in lava

2000 yeard ago a library was buried when Vesuvius erupted. The library was discovered, and the charred lumps of coal have been kept in the library of Naples. The scrolls are so fragile that they can’t be unrolled, so they use X-ray tomography to scan the scrolls and then “unroll” them virtually. They then use a machine learning based algorithm for ink detection to read the letters and words.


Interactive css has guide

Just a good guide on how to use this relatively new CSS selector.


Against Disruption: On the Bulletpointization of Books

This isn’t a book, but its about books so I put it here. There are many apps or services now that lets you “read” a book in 15 minutes (for example blinkist). This article argues that this trend is completely deranged. No book can be summed up in 15 minutes and still have any meaning left. This pullquote from the article sums it up:

A recent Blinkist post titled “7 Blinks To Understand the Conflict Between Israel and Hamas,” may give you some idea of the scale of such bullet point derangement.

If you don’t like books, then consume some other type of media. Why try to make books into something they are not?

Tidy First by Kent Beck

I mentioned this book last month, now I have finished it! I don’t have much to add compared to last month, so I will just pull out some interesting quotes and tidbits.

He has a few funny humblebrags, like this one:

I had recently invented test-driven development (TDD), […]

The mental models he has for reasoning about refactoring or tidyings are very good, I would recommend reading the book only for that aspect of it.

In a chaotic situation, options are better than things, so create options in the face of uncertainty.

Most important, though, is you. Will tidying bring peace, satisfaction, and joy to your programming? Maybe some. This is important because if you are your best self, you are a better programmer. You can’t be your best self if you’re always rushing, if you’re always changing code that’s painful to change.