I was disappointed to read the NY Times Review of Bill Gates’ book How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: the Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need. It dismisses Gates as a rich geek with limited knowledge on the subject, but in trying to stick to this storyline fails to grasp the incredible thoughtful and nuanced arguments made in this book. This is particularly sad because the reviewer seems to genuinely care (and know a lot) about climate, but his superficial review probably detracted many NY Times readers from picking up the book.

The reviewer describes the book as…

This recipe of ratatouille is a combination of Julia Child’s and Michel Richard’s (the latter shared by Bill Buford in his book “Dirt”). It is more complicated than most people would care to make, but the idea is that cooking all vegetables separately brings out more intense flavour.

I provide both text and videos, both saying essentially the same, so you can either read or watch!

Sweet peppers
Parsley or cilantro

1.Prep zucchini and eggplant — in advance
The night before you plan to make the ratatouille, or several hours before, cut up…

This crispy goodness came out of my oven. There are many great breads out there. Why bother making my own?

This bread was made with only three ingredients: grain, water and salt. I do not use commercial flour. I buy local grain and grind it in a small mill that sits on my countertop. I do not use commercial yeast. I grow my own using freshly milled flour and water (and bacteria in my home). I do not sift the flour and my mill does not discard any part of the grain during milling. …

When I ask my colleagues why mmap is faster than system calls, the answer is inevitably “system call overhead”: the cost of crossing the boundary between the user space and the kernel. It turns out that this overhead is more nuanced than I used to think, so let’s look under the hood to understand the performance differences.

Background (skip if you are OS expert):

System calls. A system call is a special function that lets you cross protection domains. When a program executes in user mode (an unprivileged protection domain) it is not allowed to do things that are permitted…

I’ve been hearing about ketosis for many years; first by way of the (in)famous Atkins diet, and then via other avenues. Even though I did not read about it deeply, I stayed largely skeptical. Like many others, I thought that getting into ketosis required restricting one’s diet to butter layered with cream over huge pieces of steak. To me, that was decidedly unappetizing. Then recently, a few months after I started following my “Japanese Diet”, which involved no steaks or cream, but lots of fish, green vegetables and (yes) butter, I accidently stumbled into ketosis. I realized two important things…

Ten months on “Japanese diet” improved diversity of my microbiome (from 75th percentile to 84th according to Ubiome), reduced my weight by 5kg, and generated lots of questions from my friends. This post is dedicated to answering the most common question: What do you actually eat?

I write “Japanese diet” in quotes, because, counterintuitively, it involves few Japanese recipes. Instead it follows the principles that I think are key to how Japanese people eat: diversity of vegetables, beans and legumes, lots of fish, few refined carbs and sweets. (My previous post explains this in detail).

To illustrate what my family…

On July 18, 2018 the European Commission issued Google an unprecedented fine of €4.34 billion for allegedly illegal competitive practices. In its statement it said:

Our case is about three types of restrictions that Google has imposed on Android device manufacturers and network operators to ensure that traffic on Android devices goes to the Google search engine.”

Wait, isn’t Android open source? (Yes.) If so, can’t anybody download the code and run it on their device in any way they want? (Yes.) Then how could Google impose any restrictions? …

My recent interest in human microbiome led me to explore the traditional Japanese diet. Not the weight loss diet, but their way of eating. In this post I will share the few bits that I learned about these fascinating subjects.

Human microbiome is the community of microbes that live inside us. Of particular interest is the microbiome of our guts. Researchers have linked the composition of the gut microbiome to various diseases, obesity, and even personality traits. Furthermore, using germ-free mice (special mice cultivated in the lab to have absolutely zero microbes in their guts), the researchers were able to…

When several threads run concurrently on the cores of a multicore processor they may need to share data. In a write-sharing mode, where one thread reads and another one writes, data needs to be protected in order to avoid race conditions, which may result in lost or corrupted data. This excellent article by Hans Boehm and Sarita Adve goes in depth about all the bad things that can happen if you don’t properly synchronize your accesses to shared variables.

Most programmers are aware that synchronization, typically performed with atomic instructions wrapped in locks or mutexes, is costly. Few, however, realize…

Alexandra (Sasha) Fedorova

I research computer systems, raise young scientists and consult in the area of systems performance. I am a professor at the University of British Columbia.

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