Eric Mead: The magic of the placebo

“Sugar pills, injections of nothing — studies show that, more often than you’d expect, placebos really work. At TEDMED, magician Eric Mead does a trick to prove that, even when you know something’s not real, you can still react as powerfully as if it is. (Warning: This talk is not suitable for viewers who are disturbed by needles or blood.) …”

Wt, C++ Web Toolkit

“Wt (pronounced as witty) is a C++ library for developing web applications.

The API is widget-centric and uses well-tested patterns of desktop GUI development tailored to the web. To the developer, it offers abstraction of many web-specific implementation details, including client-server protocols (HTTP, Ajax, WebSockets), and frees the developer from tedious JavaScript manipulations of HTML and dealing with cross-browser issues. Instead, with Wt, you can focus on actual functionality with a rich set of feature-complete widgets…”

The L.i.S.P book and code

“The exact title of this book stands for “Lisp in Small Pieces”. This book covers Lisp, Scheme and other related dialects, their interpretation, semantics and compilation. To sum it up in a few figures: 500 pages, 11 chapters, 11 interpreters and 2 compilers.

This book was first written in French. It was published by InterÉditions, under title “Les Langages Lisp“. See exact bibliographic reference or cover page . Unfortunately this edition is now out of press. A new (slightly revised) edition will be issued by February 2007. It will bear a new title “Principes d’implantation de Scheme et Lisp“. See Paracamplus for more details.

The book also exists in English, published by Cambridge University Press, under title “Lisp in Small Pieces” (£40.00/$49.95). See exact bibliographic reference or cover page.

The programs of this book are available on the net. These programs used to run with some Scheme systems around 1994…”

How tcmalloc Works

tcmalloc is a memory allocator that’s optimized for high concurrency situations. The tc in tcmalloc stands for thread cache — the mechanism through which this particular allocator is able to satisfy certain (often most) allocations locklessly. It’s probably the most well-conceived piece of software I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading, and although I can’t realistically cover every detail, I’ll do my best to go over the important points…”

The Math Behind Bitcoin

“One reason bitcoin can be confusing for beginners is that the technology behind it redefines the concept of ownership.

To own something in the traditional sense, be it a house or a sum of money, means either having personal custody of the thing or granting custody to a trusted entity such as a bank.

With bitcoin the case is different. Bitcoins themselves are not stored either centrally or locally and so no one entity is their custodian. They exist as records on a distributed ledger called the block chain, copies of which are shared by a volunteer network of connected computers. To “own” a bitcoin simply means having the ability to transfer control of it to someone else by creating a record of the transfer in the block chain. What grants this ability? Access to an ECDSA private and public key pair. What does that mean and how does that secure bitcoin?

Let’s have a look under the hood…”