1. Data Stuff: Universal Truths

    This is the fourth edition of Data Stuff, a weekly newsletter about databases by Arjun Narayan and Justin Jaffray, which is still inexplicably written in the first person....

  2. Data Stuff: Etched in Stone

    This is the third edition of Data Stuff, a weekly newsletter about databases by Arjun Narayan and Justin Jaffray....

  3. Reporter might have to rollback Aurora story

    This is the second edition of Data Stuff, a weekly newsletter about databases by Arjun Narayan and Justin Jaffray....

  4. Data Stuff: Flora and Fauna

    This is Data Stuff, a weekly newsletter about databases by the distributed team of Justin Jaffray and Arjun Narayan, speaking with the illusion of a single monolithic server....

  5. Electronic Voting is Bad

    Election security is not the problem. Common knowledge is....

  6. DoD paranoia on Chinese tech transfer

    I recently came across a DoD report on the threat of China stealing US innovations that I found interesting....

  7. Assorted Links
    1. The Hipster Antitrust movement scares me, possibly more than anything else to do with the tech industry. I believe that a bipartisan coalition is building to move against Silicon Valley, and destroy the last remaining sector of innovation in the western economy....

  8. Announcement: If you're reading this post in a feed reader, you should probably unsubscribe

    I've reworked the RSS feeds for this blog, and you should now be subscribing to individual user RSS feeds. If you're seeing this post show up as a new post in an RSS feed, you're subscribed to the sitewide feed. You probably don't want that....

  9. The Philosophy of Computational Complexity

    Tyler Cowen asks: Has there been progress in philosophy? He cheats a bit, pointing mainly to progress in science in his 16 answers. Perhaps that is the point....

  10. The "PostgreSQL" in CockroachDB — Why?

    Note: the original version of this article is available here....

  11. The "Open Source" in CockroachDB

    Note: the original version of this article is available here....

  12. The "Wow" effect in CockroachDB

    Note: the original version of this article is available here....

  13. A Mild Generalization of Linearizability

    CockroachDB (the product I work on) isn’t linearizable in the colloquial sense. Spencer Kimball gives a good outline of this in Living Without Atomic Clocks. Despite this, its guarantees with respect to real-time ordering are slightly stronger than “nothing”. Transactions obey a timestamp ordering, it’s just that the order in which timestamps are allocated in a distributed system such as Cockroach don’t necessarily respect what we would think of as “real-time ordering”. Or do they?...

  14. Good blockchain governance is at least a decade away.

    Elaine Ou writes that a blockchain’s lack of a centralized governance mechanism is its main feature. Nobody controls Bitcoin, its core governance decisions were locked-in since v0.1, and that’s a plus. Other cryptocurrencies that experiment with more centralized decision making authorities miss the point: it’s the anarchy after the initial rules are set that’s the true feature. The post hit upon something I’ve been thinking about for a while, and I wish to push back on this view....

  15. Silicon Valley is about scaling organizations, not software

    Tyler Cowen asks whether tech companies should run everything. Trolling title aside, you should read his post, as he presents three competing worldviews that each try to explain silicon valley’s core value. I have a fourth contender: the core competency of silicon valley is avoiding organizational complacency....

  16. A Brief History of Log Structured Merge Trees

    LSMs have been around for the past two decades, popularized by their usage inside Google infrastructure. As Google infrastructure has been cloned outside Google, the usage of LSMs to store sorted data has as well. I’ve been searching for a history of log-structured merge trees, for a while. Not finding one, this is my best shot at writing a start. While I asked people at my workplace for their personal recollections from their time at Google, all errors are solely my own. I welcome any and all input you might have, and will make an effort to keep this updated....

  17. A History of Transaction Histories

    I’ve been trying to understand database transactions for a long time, and recently spent some time researching this with Justin Jaffray. Here’s an attempt to summarize what we’ve learned....

  18. Harberger Taxation has an elegant application that has been overlooked: Taxing Intellectual Property

    Too much of the conversation around IP laws has been focused on copyright term extension fights. This is blinkered....

  19. International treaties bake in policies for generations. Fewer policies should be set by treaty.

    When the TPP was still a matter of active debate, there was one downside to the process that didn’t seem to come up in the various policy debates. Some of the critiques were that it was “undemocratic”, but I think that’s basically wrong. If you need 12 democratic parties to agree on a single document, at some point you’re going to have to go through reconciliation. Each party doesn’t get to make changes (because then that amended draft has to get re-approved by all other 11 parties). So everyone signs off on some preliminary thing - that part goes through the normal democratic processes of democratically elected appointees negotiating. Then that goes through reconciliation. Then all 12 parties simply do up-or-down votes on the final document. Now you have a single document that 12 parties agree to....

  20. About: Arjun Narayan

    Ristret is an experimental blog platform that I wrote, partly to learn about CMSes, partly to get more experience writing database queries in an actual production setting, and partly because I needed to fulfill my urge to write more. I combined all those desires in one long project, hence this blogging platform/blog....