Blockchain newsletter

My curated recommended articles on blockchain.

Newsletter coming soon, for now enjoy the posts below, updated regularly.

Grab the source code for the blogpost here. For the past few months, I've been building a couple of toy dApp projects on Ethereum that ultilize zero knowledge proofs, specifically zk-SNARKs.
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It’s happening. Building smart contracts on Ethereum is slowly distancing itself from being a task better suited for Elon Musk’s friends on Mars, and looking more and more like something maybe doable by human beings.
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When we started out designing the Orchid privacy network, we faced the fundamental decision of which blockchain Layer 1 platform to build on. Deciding on the best solution required us to take a hard look at multiple options in the market, and the tradeoffs involved with each one.
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If you’ve been following the development of Embark you’re probably aware that we regularly put out alpha and beta releases for upcoming major or feature versions of Embark.
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We have three different components to help you solve all your smart contract needs. Each one builds on top of the previous one. Our contracts library is our cornerstone product, a secure foundation for your solidity needs.
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Decentralized finance, also referred to as “DeFi” or open finance, aims to recreate traditional financial systems (such as lending, borrowing, derivatives, and exchange) with automation in place of middlemen.
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2020 is shaping up to be a pivotal year for Ethereum 2 with the expected launch of the first phase, known as the beacon chain, accelerated work on additional phases, and growth of the supporting ecosystem.
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In the last edition of The 1.x files, we did a quick re-cap of where the Eth 1.x research initiative came from, what’s at stake, and what some possible solutions are. We ended with the concept of stateless ethereum, and left a more detailed examination of the stateless client for this post.
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Let’s start with a simple and powerful premise: distributed computing has the potential to make the world a better and freer place. Can this fast-evolving technology actually fulfill that grand promise? While early indicators are good, we also face a mortal enemy: ourselves.
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To go over the EIP 1167: Minimal Proxy Contract, my approach will be different to what you might expect. The challenge is to build a minimal proxy ourselves, from scratch, and with no Solidity code involved.
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Ethereum and Solidity were released in 2015. Compared to the decades long history of software development, smart contracts has a much shorter history. Developers going into the space for the first time are entering uncharted territory.
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solidity is an object-oriented, high-level language for implementing smart contracts. Smart contracts are programs which govern the behavior of accounts within the Ethereum state.
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Solidity is one of the oldest EVM-compilable languages around and indeed the winner of the EVM race, probably only akin in survivability to LLL, who finds itself being used in only very select places (like the Vyper compiler, for example) nowadays.
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Greetings! Glad to see you back. “Let’s Build: Cryptocurrency Native Mobile App With React Native + Redux — Chapter IV” is published by Indrek Lasn in codeburst
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The German parliament today passed a bill allowing banks to sell and store cryptocurrencies from next year.
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LONDON (Reuters) - HSBC aims to shift $20 billion worth of assets to a new blockchain-based custody platform by March, in one of the biggest deployments yet of the widely-hyped but still unproven technology by a global bank.
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BitTorrent’s protocol uses tit-for-tat game theory to encourage users to upload to others while they download. Still, if you use any torrent website you’ll notice a few things Let’s call our our torrent token “TRNT”.
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Creation of this list was spurred by product managers at ConsenSys who saw a need for better sharing of tools, development patterns, and components amongst both new and experienced blockchain developers.
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Odds are you’ve heard about the Ethereum blockchain, whether or not you know what it is. It’s been in the news a lot lately, including the cover of some major magazines, but reading those articles can be like gibberish if you don’t have a foundation for what exactly Ethereum is.
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An unbounded for loop is any loop that has no constraint on the number of iterations. In other words, cases where there is no obvious limit. It’s familiar-looking and deadly. In Solidity, we need to avoid that because it won’t scale.
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In this article, I am going to demonstrate a simple approach to caching Ethereum events. Here I won’t describe what events are as there are a lot of articles covering that topic (here is the perfect one).
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Aaron HayAug 13 · 6 min readDecentralized finance today is primary on top of Ethereum and has many cooperating, stacked components:Core consensus protocolAssetsSmart contract protocols
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This text was produced by Zero Knowledge, a podcast hosted by Anna Rose and Fredrik Harryson, which explores the decentralised technology that will power the emerging Web3 and the community building it.
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We’re very excited to announce that the pre-release of our Ethereum smart contract decompiler is available. We believe it will become a tool of choice for security auditors, vulnerability researchers, and reverse engineers examining opaque smart contracts running on Ethereum platforms.
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This is the first part of many (we hope) articles about Ethereum 2.0 as we get closer to its release. Serenity or Ethereum 2.
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The Ethereum network is close to reaching its maximum utilization. It appears, however, that one of the most heavily transacted tokens on the network is the most popular stable coin Tether (USDT).
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At Argent we’re committed to helping the Ethereum community flourish. We’re excited to share how we’ve built our own, open source, Swift library to interact with the Ethereum blockchain. Web3.
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This text was produced by Zero Knowledge, a podcast hosted by Anna Rose and Fredrik Harryson, which explores the decentralised technology that will power the emerging Web3 and the community building it.
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This is the first part of many (we hope) articles about Ethereum 2.0 as we get closer to its release. Serenity or Ethereum 2.
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IPFS, a distributed filesystem, offers a more decentralised way of storing and delivering web assets. This article explores how to integrate IPFS with React by fetching content from an IPFS gateway…
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In the previous article, we began exploring the technique of building an Ethereum smart contract DApp using Angular NgRx. In this post series, we will dive into a more complicated and interesting case of a Solidity smart contract named FleaMarket.
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During the next two to three years, all major ERP and CRM vendors will offer blockchain capabilities as an add-on feature for their software and SaaS products, according to a new report from Gartner.
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Is there a way to actually identify how many Ethereum nodes are running in cloud and on-premises? There is, and it’s easy enough. In this article, we are going to get the Ethereum mainnet node data and have a look at it.
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Blockchains like Ethereum‘s are often pitched as self-sovereign money networks that operate independently of states, financial institutions, and corporations — but recent research shows this might not be reality.
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You’ve probably heard IPFS referred to as the permanent web, or the immutable web. This is a big idea… an immutable store of all the world’s information. It all ties back to the idea of content addressing, which we’ve talked about before on this blog.
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The ERC-721 standard rose to prominence with the rise of Crypto Kitties, one of the first blockchain games to really achieve scale.
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This post is a continuation of my Getting Deep Into Series started in an effort to provide a deeper understanding of the internal workings and other cool stuff about Ethereum and blockchain in general which you will not find easily on the web. Here are the other parts of the Series:
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This guide will show you how to integrate Dai into your own smart contracts. Dai is the first decentralized stablecoin built on Ethereum by MakerDAO.
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Happy birthday Ethereum! The Ethereum main network turned four years old on July 30th. Let’s celebrate how much the Ethereum community has grown by highlighting a few new additions from July 2019. Click here if you’d like to be included in next month’s installment of 30 Days of ETH.
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TL;DR — Version 1.5.0 is a major overhaul from the previous release, introducing a new user interface and several new features, including IPFS support, an RPC testing app, and support for Geth 1.9.0 features (e.g. GraphQL, Görli).
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We are happy to introduce our latest on-boarding tool, the Raiden Wizard! The Raiden Wizard aims to make the installation of Raiden as easy as 1–2–3.
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The phase 0 spec is frozen. Clients are testing interop. Phase 2 research has exploded. What does all this mean for the future of Ethereum? I recently re-read Eric Raymond’s classic 1997 essay on open source development, “The Cathedral and the Bazaar.
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Solidity offers many high-level language abstractions, but these features make it hard to understand what’s really going on when my program is running. Reading the Solidity documentation still left me confused over very basic things.
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As developers, we like to believe in a consensus layer that takes care of all the hard distributed systems problems and lets us write applications. Miners live in the consensus layer, doing whatever it is miners do.
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As everyone in the Ethereum community knows, Gas is a necessary evil for the execution of smart contracts. If you specify too little, your transaction may not get picked up for processing in a timely manner — or, die in the middle of processing a smart contract action.
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Ethics newsletter

My curated recommended articles on ethics and technology.

Newsletter coming soon, for now enjoy the posts below, updated regularly .

Perhaps you’ve heard of AI conducting interviews. Or maybe you’ve been interviewed by one yourself. Companies like HireVue claim their software can analyze video interviews to figure out a candidate’s “employability score.
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Summary: How ethically mature are your user-research practices? Assess your current state of ethical maturity by answering these simple questions. Many organizations have flourishing design teams who conduct user research on a regular basis.
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Jesse Aguirre’s workday at Slack starts with a standard engineering meeting—programmers call them “standups”—where he and his co-workers plan the day’s agenda. Around the circle stand graduates from Silicon Valley’s top companies and the nation’s top universities.
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Facial recognition technology has progressed to point where it now interprets emotions in facial expressions. This type of analysis is increasingly used in daily life. For example, companies can use facial recognition software to help with hiring decisions.
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On Monday, at the opening of one of the world’s largest gatherings of AI researchers, Celeste Kidd addressed thousands of attendees in a room nearly twice the size of a football field. She was not pulling her punches.
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It seems like only yesterday. There we were, waddling about the halls of CES and other fine tech conferences. And there they were, women in bikinis enticing us to buy, sometimes by dancing.
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1972, a Swedish woman named Lena Söderberg accepted a modeling job from the photographer Dwight Hooker. Söderberg was 21, new to the United States, and broke. The name of Hooker’s employer, Playboy, didn’t mean much to her; the contract definitely did.
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After speaking at an MIT conference on emerging AI technology earlier this year, I entered a lobby full of industry vendors and noticed an open doorway leading to tall grass and shrubbery recreating a slice of the African plains.
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“When people fail to follow these bizarre, secret rules, and the machine does the wrong thing, its operators are blamed for not understanding the machine, for not following its rigid specifications. With everyday objects, the result is frustration.
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Ever feel like you’re being prompted into going along with something you don’t want because better options aren’t clearly being presented? You probably just found a dark pattern. “Dark patterns” are designs that deliberately trick you into doing what a company wants.
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Dark design patterns use all of the powers of visual design with the flair of a magician’s misdirection, and the language of a shady sideshow barker (dare you to say ‘shady sideshow barker’ eight times in a row).
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Why should we believe any of the people responsible for the ongoing tech bubble when they claim what they’re doing has great benefit for humanity? Listening to them, you might think that rising inequality, rampant tax evasion, and ecological devastation are simply capitalism run amok.
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The scientists who make apps addictive

from The Economist 1843
In 1930, a psychologist at Harvard University called B.F. Skinner made a box and placed a hungry rat inside it. The box had a lever on one side. As the rat moved about it would accidentally knock the lever and, when it did so, a food pellet would drop into the box.
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The European parliament has urged the drafting of a set of regulations to govern the use and creation of robots and artificial intelligence, including a form of “electronic personhood” to ensure rights and responsibilities for the most capable AI.
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As a child, you develop a sense of what “fairness” means. It’s a concept that you learn early on as you come to terms with the world around you. Something either feels fair or it doesn’t. But increasingly, algorithms have begun to arbitrate fairness for us.
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Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, the latest game from the company behind Pokémon Go, lets players harness the magic of their childhood to combat monsters and collect shimmering digital artifacts across their local neighborhoods.
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In July, Google admitted it has employees pounding the pavement in a variety of US cities, looking for people willing to sell their facial data for a $5 gift certificate to help improve the Pixel 4’s face unlock system.
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On Friday afternoon Chef CEO Barry Crist and CTO Corey Scobie sat down with TechCrunch to defend their contract with ICE after a firestorm on social media called for them to cut ties with the controversial agency.
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What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore— And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over— like a syrupy sweet?
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Computing professionals' actions change the world. To act responsibly, they should reflect upon the wider impacts of their work, consistently supporting the public good. The ACM Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct ("the Code") expresses the conscience of the profession.
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The short version of the code summarizes aspirations at a high level of the abstraction; the clauses that are included in the full version give examples and details of how these aspirations change the way we act as software engineering professionals.
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Developments in artificial intelligence and robotics are picking up pace.
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Technologists today wield a powerful tool. We are designing, prioritizing, and putting things out into the world, affecting people we have never met. We are on their wrists, in their laptops, in their pockets, and thus, in their heads.
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Mathematicians, computer engineers and scientists in related fields should take a Hippocratic oath to protect the public from powerful new technologies under development in laboratories and tech firms, a leading researcher has said.
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If I find another copy of the Blue Cover version of Hackers could I get you to autograph it again? The one I currently have was signed by you and Richard Stallman at LinuxWorld in 1999, and I'm afraid I'm going to have to burn or shred it.
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AI and brain-scanning technology could soon make it possible to reliably detect when people are lying. But do we really want to know? By We learn to lie as children, between the ages of two and five. By adulthood, we are prolific.
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The accusations figure in court documents in an age-discrimination case that IBM is facing, brought by Jonathan Langley, a former world program director and sales lead for IBM Bluemix, who filed a lawsuit last year after being laid off in 2017 when he was aged 59 years.  
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Tech companies are known for their generous employee perks: free snacks, nap pods, the now-obligatory office ping-pong table.
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How a small group of right-wing tech employees built a back channel straight to the nation’s capital. On Jan. 16, Republican lawmakers turned on one of the world’s biggest tech companies.
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The $47 billion Australian software company, which was founded in Sydney in 2002 and floated on the US stock market in 2015, says two-thirds of every performance review will now have nothing to do with job skills.
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It was a beautiful winter day in San Francisco, and Zoe was grooving to the soundtrack of the roller-skating musical Xanadu as she rode an e-scooter to work.
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Off-the-shelf object-recognition systems struggle, relatively speaking, to identify common items in hard-up homes in countries across Africa, Asia, and South America. The same software performs better at identifying stuff in richer households in Europe and North America.
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We All Work for Facebook

from Longreads
When I was a kid, in the pre-internet days of the 1980s, my screen time was all about Nickelodeon. My favorite show was “You Can’t Do That on Television.” It was a kind of sketch show; the most common punchline was a bucket of green slime being dropped on characters’ heads.
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Updated on April 19 at 1:28 p.m. ET. There has never been a town like the one San Francisco is becoming, a place where a single industry composed almost entirely of rich people thoroughly dominates the local economy.
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As creators of technology, we need to ask whether our progress is antagonistic to the place that we call home.
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The first time Bill was stopped and searched by police, he was standing outside a friend’s house in south London. “The police pulled up on us, three cars,” he says. “I asked them why they were searching us, and one said, ‘Because I want to’.” Bill was 11. That was nearly a decade ago.
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Plattsburgh, New York, perches on the shores of the vast Lake Champlain on the US-Canada border. It’s a small city – population less than 20,000 – with clapboard houses and an impressive city hall.
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Shelley Chang was working as a business analyst for a computer company in 2010 when she met Jason Ho through some mutual friends. Ho was tall and slender with a sly smile, and they hit it off right away. A computer programmer, Ho ran his own company from San Francisco. He also loved to travel.
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“Prison labor” is usually associated with physical work, but inmates at two prisons in Finland are doing a new type of labor: classifying data to train artificial intelligence algorithms for a startup.
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For all the many controversies around Facebook's mishandling of personal data, Google actually knows way more about most of us. The bottom line: Just how much Google knows depends to some degree on your privacy settings — and to a larger degree on which devices, products and services you use.
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This month, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has announced yet another new direction for his famously bad-acting company. Now, he says, the platform once responsible for the Cambridge Analytica…
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On Monday, reports surfaced indicating what many MySpace users had long suspected: that MySpace had deleted a great deal of the content uploaded to the platform between 2003 and 2015.
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ach year, 600 coders gather to talk shop at a conference in New York called PyGotham. The organizers know how male and white the tech industry is, so they make a special effort to recruit a diverse speaker lineup.
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In an age of all-knowing algorithms, how do we choose not to know? After the fall of the Berlin Wall, East German citizens were offered the chance to read the files kept on them by the Stasi, the much-feared Communist-era secret police service.
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Let me blunt up front: I think Google should launch a censored search engine in China (albeit with careful organizational boundaries).
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When broadcaster Sandi Toksvig was studying anthropology at university, one of her female professors held up a photograph of an antler bone with 28 markings on it. “This,” said the professor, “is alleged to be man’s first attempt at a calendar.
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We've written a paper arguing that long-term AI safety research needs social scientists to ensure AI alignment algorithms succeed when actual humans are involved.
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One of the big robotics storylines of 2018, at least in the mainstream press, was the arrival of multiple sex robots on the market.
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Some books haunt the reader. Others haunt the writer. The Handmaid’s Tale has done both. The Handmaid’s Tale has not been out of print since it was first published, back in 1985. It has sold millions of copies worldwide and has appeared in a bewildering number of translations and editions.
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In the heart of San Francisco, the gig economy reigns supreme. Walk into a grocery store, and a large number of shoppers you see are independent contractors for grocery-delivery start-up Instacart.
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The Ethics Of Persuasion

from Smashing Magazine
Nowadays, users are increasingly cautious of online and email scams, phishing attacks, and data breaches. This article provides food for thought for designers and developers to avoid crossing the ethical line to the dark side of persuasion. (This article is kindly sponsored by Adobe.
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Language newsletter

My curated recommended articles on linguistics, natural language processing and interactive fiction.

Newsletter coming soon, for now enjoy the posts below, updated regularly .

In the first episode of the Netflix adaptation of Vikram Chandra’s best-selling novel, Sacred Games, the criminal kingpin Ganesh Gaitonde makes a phone call to a detective, Sartaj Singh.
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Did you ever wonder what’s the best tool to write an article, user manual, book, or any other kind of text document? There are many options to choose from. Most people use a What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get (WYSIWYG) editor (also called a text processor), such as Google Docs, LibreOffice or Word.
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If your language had no words to describe “the future,” would you still stress over it? I went to my neighbor’s house for something to eat yesterday. Think about this sentence. It’s pretty simple—English speakers would know precisely what it means.
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When I was 10, I was a lonely, geeky girl, a first--generation Latina growing up in a small town in Indiana. I happened across J.R.R.
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Write Better Stories with this Python Tool

from Towards Data Science
If you write articles, blog posts or reports to your boss a lot, then you want to make sure people are understanding what you say. In this article, I’ll show how to use a Python library called textstat to determine readability, complexity, grade level and more about your text.
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For most people, a stray comma isn’t the end of the world. But in some cases, the exact placement of a punctuation mark can cost huge sums of money.
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It’s a curious thing when there is an idiom—structured roughly the same way and meaning essentially the same thing—that exists in a large number of languages. It’s even more curious when that idiom, having emerged in dozens of different languages, is actually … about language.
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Hungarian kids know, do you? English grammar, beloved by sticklers, is also feared by non-native speakers. Many of its idiosyncrasies can turn into traps even for the most confident users.
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AI and brain-scanning technology could soon make it possible to reliably detect when people are lying. But do we really want to know? By We learn to lie as children, between the ages of two and five. By adulthood, we are prolific.
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Chatbots and conversational computing present many contextual user experience challenges: humor, for example. And that’s before even considering if the content was funny to begin with. Luckily, we still have humans with interests in dramatic arts still around. For now.
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MIT student uses machine-learning to teach a machine how to compose sonnets. Machine learning was recently named as the force behind a potential cure for HIV, but now it’s a process that is also capable of more artistic endeavours. MIT PhD student J.
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Suggested Readings: Joakim Nivre. 2004. Incrementality in Deterministic Dependency Parsing. Workshop on Incremental Parsing. Danqi Chen and Christopher D. Manning. 2014. A Fast and Accurate Dependency Parser using Neural Networks. EMNLP 2014. Sandra Kübler, Ryan McDonald, Joakim Nivre. 2009.
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There’s something magical about Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs). I still remember when I trained my first recurrent network for Image Captioning.
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Humans don’t start their thinking from scratch every second. As you read this essay, you understand each word based on your understanding of previous words. You don’t throw everything away and start thinking from scratch again. Your thoughts have persistence.
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In this project we will be teaching a neural network to translate from French to English. This is made possible by the simple but powerful idea of the sequence to sequence network, in which two recurrent neural networks work together to transform one sequence to another.
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I see this question a lot -- how to implement RNN sequence-to-sequence learning in Keras? Here is a short introduction. Note that this post assumes that you already have some experience with recurrent networks and Keras.
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Full-text links: Download: (license) Bookmark (what is this?) Title: Neural Text Generation: A Practical Guide Authors: Ziang Xie Abstract: Deep learning methods have recently achieved great empirical success on machine translation, dialogue response generation, summarization,
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The annual Interactive Fiction Competition is an institution that has endured for almost 20 years, with the goal of discovering each year’s best and brightest works in the world of text-based gaming.
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Writers in business contexts often appear clueless when using ampersands, and they frequently get ampersand usage wrong.  I see it every day in my commercial copy editing work. But &  and and have distinct functions, meanings, and uses.
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Perhaps the most surprising thing about “GamerGate,” the culture war that continues to rage within the world of video games, is the game that touched it off.
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Voice assistants are a part of everyday life, and they’re here to stay. Juniper Research recently released a report predicting that by 2023 there will be 8 billion digital voice assistants in use, tripling the estimated 2.5 billion voice assistants in use at the end of 2018.
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Smart speakers, those voice-activated devices that allow you to check the weather, play podcasts or order food delivery, are becoming more and more common in our homes.
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My reason for writing stories is to give myself the satisfaction of visualising more clearly and detailedly and stably the vague, elusive, fragmentary impressions of wonder, beauty, and adventurous expectancy which are conveyed to me by certain sights (scenic, architectural, atmospheric, etc.
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If you were looking for someone to teach you how to become a better writer, you probably couldn't do any better than Steven Pinker. The famed Harvard linguist is the author of several bestsellers, and Bill Gates even called one of them his favorite book of all time.
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Earlier this month I was invited to give an evening lecture at the Typography Society of Austria (tga) in Vienna.
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from
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Chatbots, whether they be customer service agents or shopping assistants in an online store, have become commonplace amongst the way we interact with businesses.
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Mozilla crowdsources the largest dataset of human voices available for use, including 18 different languages, adding up to almost 1,400 hours of recorded voice data from more than 42,000 contributors.
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A great sentence makes you want to chew it over slowly in your mouth the first time you read it. A great sentence compels you to rehearse it again in your mind’s ear, and then again later on.
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Learn logistic regression with TensorFlow and Keras in this article by Armando Fandango, an inventor of AI empowered products by leveraging expertise in deep learning, machine learning, distributed computing, and computational methods.
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In late 2016, Gartner predicted that 30 percent of web browsing sessions would be done without a screen by 2020. Earlier the same year, Comscore had predicted that half of all searches would be voice searches by 2020.
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Millions are robbed of the power of speech by illness, injury or lifelong conditions. Can the creation of bespoke digital voices transform their ability to communicate? By Last November, Joe Morris, a 31-year-old film-maker from London, noticed a sore spot on his tongue.
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7 command-line tools for writers

from Opensource.com
For most people (especially non-techies), the act of writing means tapping out words using LibreOffice Writer or another GUI word processing application.
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SMOG

from Wikipedia
The SMOG grade is a measure of readability that estimates the years of education needed to understand a piece of writing. SMOG is an acronym for Simple Measure of Gobbledygook. The formula for calculating the SMOG grade was developed by G.
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The Flesch–Kincaid readability tests are readability tests designed to indicate how difficult a passage in English is to understand. There are two tests, the Flesch Reading Ease, and the Flesch–Kincaid Grade Level.
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Coleman–Liau index

from Wikipedia
The Coleman–Liau index is a readability test designed by Meri Coleman and T. L. Liau to gauge the understandability of a text. Like the Flesch–Kincaid Grade Level, Gunning fog index, SMOG index, and Automated Readability Index, its output approximates the U.S.
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Gunning fog index

from Wikipedia
In linguistics, the Gunning fog index is a readability test for English writing. The index estimates the years of formal education a person needs to understand the text on the first reading.
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