This Week #StackOverflowKnows Magic Constants, Using the Force, and Paper Maps

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Once again, it's time for our bi-weekly roundup of questions that caught our eyes. But we're not the only eyes out there. So give attention to a great question and/or answer by tweeting it with the tag #StackOverflowKnows and we’ll consider them for future installments of this series.

Where do “magic” hashing constants like 0x9e3779b9 and 0x9e3779b1 come from?


We've discovered an ancient cargo cult that worships a magic constant. Well, not really. It’s more an artifact of how table designers use the golden ratio to efficiently scatter data.

Does an action-reaction pair always contain the same kind of force?


Always in balance, the force must be. If strong on one side, then strong on opposite side it must be. Merely an exchange of bosons force is.

How can an AI freely make decisions on a network?


It depends on what you mean by “freely.” Like, if you design a chess AI, it’s not going to be buying cars and designing killer robots.

As of 2019, why do mountaineering courses still teach how to use a paper map?


Paper still rules the Great Offlines. A paper map never warns of a low battery. It doesn’t need to connect to a server over a shaky or non-existent data connection. In the woods, no one can hear you tweet.

Functions that simply call another function, bad design choice?


Good function design is like the Mafia: only talk to your immediate friends. The more functions you gotta go through, the more chances you get caught by an exception.

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