Four short links: 6 Mar 2017

Container Paperwork, Security 101, HR Advice, and Claude Shannon

By Nat Torkington
March 6, 2017
Four short links.
  1. Blockchain? (NYT) — Maersk had found that a single container could require stamps and approvals from as many as 30 people, including customs, tax officials, and health authorities. While the containers themselves can be loaded on a ship in a matter of minutes, a container can be held up in port for days because a piece of paper goes missing, while the goods inside spoil. The cost of moving and keeping track of all this paperwork often equals the cost of physically moving the container around the world. (via Marginal Revolution)
  2. Security 101 for SaaS Startups — capable of being endlessly debated, but the first part has a lot of things that I do when I set up a new company, so it passes the sniff test.
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  4. Thirteen Thousand, Four Hundred, Fifty-Five Minutes of Talking to Get One Job — quantified job hunting, with advice for HR departments. My best, though most unrealistic, suggestion to make this process better is to require everyone who is part of the hiring process at your company to go through the interview process somewhere else regularly. Of course, there is serious risk to this, but it is absolutely the best way to understand just how broken the system is, and it forces you to develop empathy (assuming you aren’t a sociopath).
  5. Claude Shannon Turns 1100100Shannon built a machine that did arithmetic with Roman numerals, naming it THROBAC I, for Thrifty Roman-Numeral Backward-Looking Computer. He built a flame-throwing trumpet and a rocket-powered Frisbee. He built a chess-playing automaton that, after its opponent moved, made witty remarks. Inspired by the late artificial-intelligence pioneer Marvin Minsky, he designed what was dubbed the Ultimate Machine: flick the switch to “On” and a box opens up; out comes a mechanical hand, which flicks the switch back to “Off” and retreats inside the box. Shannon’s home, in Winchester, Massachusetts (Entropy House, he called it), was full of his gizmos, and his garage contained at least 30 idiosyncratic unicycles—one without pedals, one with a square tire, and a particularly confounding unicycle built for two.
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