Dr. Lees said vagrancy, as a biological mechanism, could help migratory birds expand their ranges, a potential advantage as global warming redraws the contours of suitable habitat. Dr. Farnsworth said, conversely, extreme weather — which is anticipated to grow in frequency and intensity as climate change progresses — can also play a role in displacing birds by hundreds or even thousands of miles.
What’s next for the lone, pioneering Steller’s sea eagle? It could migrate along with native bald eagles down the coastline. It could find its way back to northeastern Asia. It could stick around Nova Scotia, as it is well adapted to the cold and seems able to survive there. It could die, out of range of its original flock.
“It’s like an avian soap opera,” Dr. Lees said. “We’re all rooting for it. Will it make it home? Or is it doomed to never see another species of its own in its lifetime?”
Saw with LD. This was our first Asghar Farhadi movie and it won’t be our last. Everything was magnificent: story, acting, screenplay, all of it. I remarked to LD that he managed to punch us in at least ten emotional centers in our hearts. So masterfully paced we didn’t feel two hours flow by.
Here’s a short clip where he describes his filmmaking process:
The hardest part is when the movie is done. When the movie starts to have its distance from me. When the movie is over I don’t show it to actors. Because they just look at themselves, and their opinion wouldn’t help me. I show it to some people who don’t have anything to do with cinema. Same with the script. I have the past script to the French teacher of my daughter.
When normal people see the film they can’t tell you what they feel right away. But while they’re watching the film you can sit with them and feel which part they are getting bored and which part gets them excited. The most important thing for me to understand after I am done with a film is that if my film is boring or not. I don’t like anyone to go out when viewing my film even if they have to go and pee. My film has to do something that they have to finish it and then leave.
Not that they matter too much but both these movies won Academy Awards for Farhadi. He refused to accept the second Oscar in person “out of respect for the people of my country and those of other six nations who have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the US.” If you didn’t notice when the movie was released: One guess as to which administration that happened under. ↩︎
I know people who’ve worked there (none of whom are with the company, mercifully) and have heard nothing but fascinating tales of dysfunction, fiefdoms, sinecures, overwork, and bureaucracy. One engineer told me that, of all the bad places he’d worked at, he felt his “soul dying slowly” at Oracle. It’s a generic and very real Evil Corporation™, and probably the company the protagonists in Office Space work at.
And this wouldn’t be too far-fetched a thought. Consider that the producers of Terminator: Genisys, who are an Oracle Co-Founders’s own children, based “Cyberdyne Systems, the fictional defense company responsible for the creation of the evil AI Skynet” on their dad’s company. Amazing.
Full-length movie based on a Finnish TV series. Very formulaic Nordic noir serial killer mystery. Tröpe-äfter-Tröpe-äfter-Tröpe-äfter-Tröpe but I loved it and will see the TV show. Ville Virtanen and Anu Sinisalo are just excellent.
Very common in India. And that article is from a journal that offers EAL news. EAL (English as an Additional Language) is not the same as ESL (English as a Second Language). EAL is favored above ESL among the language pedagogy community:
Why? Because sometimes it is not clear what an individual’s ‘first’ language is (perhaps they grew up speaking one language at home, and a different language at school). And because oftentimes people can speak more than two languages.
EAL is more inclusive and applies to “a wider range of individuals’ contexts”.
Some examples: Let’s take our helmets off on an alien planet teeming with life forms we are yet to study. Let’s then just go ahead and touch and electrocute said life forms. And what exactly are David’s motivations? From Wikipedia: “Writer Damon Lindelof stated that the character provides a non-human perspective on the film’s events, and said, ‘What does the movie look like from the robot’s point of view? If you were to ask him, ‘What do you think about all of this? What’s going on? What do you think about these humans who are around you?’ Wouldn’t it be cool if we found a way for that robot to answer those questions?’” Let’s ask these questions, never answer them, and waste Michael Fassbender on this embarrassing shit instead. Oh and if you didn’t know that the ‘Engineers’ in the movie are mad at us and want to destroy us because we killed Jesus, you do now. ↩︎
In 1967, the Films Division of India1 asked all kinds of 20-year olds about their dreams and how they felt about the future of a nation that was, itself, 20 years old. Here’s the original video. A lot of the kids who speak English in the video (starting at 5:00) attend the august Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.
A colorized and edited version of that video went viral. Here’s a most fascinating “Where are They Now?” follow-up by the author where he tracks down seven people in the video. It’s a mix of Hindi and English. Lessons learned: Life is way too short, way too fickle, and almost never pans out the way you think it will. Privilege helps a lot.
REALLY 📢 LOUD 📢 NOISES 📢 with a good dose of Hindutva1. It’s really, really loud.
This is Boyapati Srinu’s third movie with Balakrishna after Simha (loud) and Legend (louder.) Akhanda is the loudest and shittiest collaboration yet. The story is a complete afterthought and, very loosely, holds together punch dialogues, fight scenes, and forgettable shit songs featuring Balakrishna’s embarrassing and dismaying calisthenic attempts at joint health and mobility2. Meat for the most hardcore of Balayya fans. At this rate, he could just put out a two-hour plot-free smorgasbord of Balayya belting us with nothing but punch dialogues and still have a hit on his hands.
Please make sure you protect your hearing if you decide to watch this disaster. Here’s a review via NN. 0:09 to 0:24 is accurate.
Update: The music director thinks it’s wrong to call his shit loud. “You don’t ask the priests at the temple to turn down the volume of the bells ringing do you?” He submits that the ear-splitting volume induces a “trance” state. Otolaryngologists might call it “trauma” but OK.
A study of DNA extracted from the leg bones of extinct moa birds in New Zealand found that the half-life of DNA is 521 years. So every 1,000 years, 75 per cent of the genetic information is lost. After 6.8 million years, every single base pair is gone. Bacterial RNA is much tougher and sequences have been recovered from ice crystals that are 419 million years old. These are only short fragments of 55 base pairs though.
I’ve been looking for this song for a long while, settling for shitty movie extractions (which are exactly that.) I went to the extent of trying to contact Madras Talkies, the director’s production company, several times to no response or avail.
Twenty four years later, and thanks to the internet, I’ve finally found good versions of this elusive song 🥰
Saw with LD on Christmas Eve. I thought it was well-done millennial nostalgia porn. Nothing wrong with that. I loved the humor and digs at techbro culture and co-option of “red-pill” by the far-right (which led to my favorite set of Tweets.) Thought it could be a deconstruction of the original Matrix (for what isn’t these days?) and was very swayed by this lovely analysis by /u/Dangerous_Budget8897.
Breaking free from the Matrix is about breaking free from preconceptions. This is emphasised by the fate of the real Morpheus, who was so convinced by the mythology of the One that he couldn’t accept the new peace could be undone. I think Lana regards certain fans of the original film in the same way, with their steadfast commitment to the original film’s aesthetics. This revival executes the highly-anticipated action scenes with total indifference, all while cheerfully embracing goofy comedy along with the defiantly uncool visual palette continued from the final shot of Revolutions.
Is this a middle finger to the audience? To some extent, but I think Lana would argue that they need their expectations recalibrated. For her, the Matrix is about love. She is aware that, as the analyst says, “people will find it sentimental”, but the positioning of sentimentality in favour of macho posturing is one of the film’s core tenets. Co-writer David Mitchell has said that Neo never shooting a gun was a purposeful choice, and it makes sense in light of the trilogy’s sacrificial ending. Neo is no longer the One, flying off alone at the end of the film, but someone who is incomplete without Trinity. Smith is once again used as an individualist counterpoint to the protagonist, but is here rendered almost irrelevant. Freedom is impossible or meaningless without connections between people, and an act of faith (in this case jumping off a building) can be more about trusting in other people than yourself.
There is also the element of further rejecting binaries. Another aspect of the Trinity arc is to do with accepting or integrating other aspects of yourself, in a way which perhaps reflects Lana’s transition. The female led cover of Wake Up1 can be seen as a kind of corrective to the aforementioned macho elements, and the conservative adoption of the term “red pill”. People in this story are kept in place by ‘Fear and Desire”, the sense that possibilities are just out of reach, and the film proposes that the only way to set them free is by example, to “paint the sky with rainbows”.
Journalist David Walsh recounting a story about his late son John in the context of his work uncovering Lance Armstrong and the USPS Pro Cycling Team’s “most sophisticated, professionalised and successful”1 doping program.
A friend used to loan me this lovely book when I was 12 or 13. I loved reading and re-reading it to the point where I remember asking him if he could just gift it to me for my birthday (he declined). And then Life happened and I grew up and I forgot all about it until around 3 years ago, when I suddenly went “wait a second” as I was casually reading some translation of Journey to the West. This book is a childrens’ adaptation of that classic Chinese tale! I then started looking for it, off-and-on, with very little luck.
Last year, LD told me about this absolutely lovely website called “Stump the Bookseller” run by LoganBerry Books in Cleveland. For a nominal fee, I submitted everything I could remember about the book hoping that someone would know it… only to find it myself that evening. My Google-fu had somehow improved after submitting that request. I bought it from AbeBooks posthaste.
It’s just a fantastic adventure to get lost in. To understand the Myth of the Monkey a little deeper, I turned to this paper by Professor Whalen Lai1. There’s just too much to quote but here’s a highly condensed TL;DR of both the book and the story:
Watched with LD. Decent attempt at Desi Noir in picturesque Himachal Pradesh1. Raveena Tandon is intense, vulnerable, and puts in good work as Kasturi Dogra. Great stuff by Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Zakir Hussain, and Meghna Malik. If Jeff Goldblum had a younger brother from an Indian mother, he would look like Indraneil Sengupta. The denouement was a bit rushed and left the door wide open for a second season presumably based on how well this one did. Watchable, predictable, enjoyable.
The wedding song was the laziest composition I’ve heard in a while (spoilers… maybe.)
Summary of Wikipedia article: Japanese kimono didn’t have pockets. They needed something to store their stuff in. So they made containers that they hung from their kimonos’ sashes1. The part that secured the container to the sash at the top was called a netsuke (“root attached”.)
Here’s a really cute one of a sleeping cat from the 19th century 😻
I just ordered a set of “blackout” plates from the DMV here. They’re rather cool and look like this:
I didn’t know that they were actually a solution to a problem. People would take existing, specialized plates for Dordt University and cover them up to look like the blackout plates.
Clever! But led to some unnecessary altercations with law enforcement since doing this was a legal gray area. State Senator Charles Schneider was able to get the mandate for blackout plates included in 2019. Just in that year, the state raised $850,000 through the sale of these plates for the Road Use Tax Fund (simple arithmetic suggests that ~14,000 people ordered them.)
The average annual premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance in 2020 are $7,470 for single coverage and $21,342 for family coverage. Most covered workers make a contribution toward the cost of the premium for their coverage. On average, covered workers contribute 17% of the premium for single coverage ($1,270) and 27% of the premium for family coverage ($5,762).
It’s worth noting every penny of premiums is part of your total compensation, just as much as your salary. If you’re curious you can find out your specific amount on your W2 in box 12 with code DD.
“Fear can be a funny thing; it doesn’t always shine a flattering light. It can make us forget that others are scared too.”
The author tells a short and lovely story about the pandemic, isolation, hope, the value of community, nature, and so many other things for such a short book. It is told through the experience of his grandpa (and his grandpa’s doggy). It made me think of my own grandmother and how (a) we are not meant to be alone and (b) how loneliness is especially devastating for older people.
Really loved his drawing/art style as well. Lovely stuff 💗
Renay Mandel Corren passed away at 84 a week ago (RIP 🙏). Her son wrote what is one of the best obituaries I’ve read in a while. A small excerpt:
Here’s what Renay was great at: dyeing her red roots, weekly manicures, dirty jokes, pier fishing, rolling joints and buying dirty magazines. She said she read them for the articles, but filthy free speech was really Renay’s thing. Hers was a bawdy, rowdy life lived large, broke and loud. We thought Renay could not be killed. God knows, people tried.
The premise is that there are enchanted forests which contain many (or sometimes very few) talking birds. Smullyan dedicated the book to Haskell Curry - an early pioneer in combinatory logic and an avid bird-watcher. The birds, which I suppose represent the combinators, have an interesting characteristic: Given any two birds A and B, if you call out the name of B to A it will respond by calling out the name of some bird to you.
This bird whose name A calls when you call B is denoted as AB. Once you have several birds in place, a single call can cascade around the forest with each call following rules depending on who produces it.
The very first bird we are introduced to is the Mockingbird whose characteristic behaviour is that whatever name you call to the Mockingbird, it will reply as if it is the bird whose name you called. This is denoted:
Mx = xx
For any bird x we can say that Mx (the result of calling x to a Mockingbird) is the same as xx (the result of calling x to a bird of type x). It really does mock other birds! And what’s more, the existence of the Mockingbird, in combination with various others, unlocks some really fascinating group behaviour from these birds.
Soon we discover that birds have certain properties: The can be fond of other birds, they can be egocentric if they are fond of themselves. The can be hopelessly egocentric if they only ever talk about themselves. There are happy birds, normal birds, agreeable birds and many others. We also meet other types of birds with specific properties - the Lark, the Kestrel, Sage birds, Bluebirds, aristocratic birds, Eagles, the list goes on and on. Luckily there is a Who’s Who list of birds in the back to keep track.
Excellent stuff, particularly the mechanical keyboard envy1. There’s a Nikhil in it too! 💁♂️
I don’t think I’ll get into them. Got myself one of these (brown switches) about three years ago after outsourcing the research to a highly enthusiastic and helpful co-worker. The “L” key sticks sometimes but zero complaints so far, even after spilling beer on it once 😬 ↩︎
In case that link goes down here’s a cached version. Others include The Man Who Killed Don Quixote by Terry Gilliam, Revenge of the Jedi by David Cronenberg/David Lynch, Heart of Darkness by Orson Welles, and Gladiator 2 by Ridley Scott/Nick Cave. ↩︎
Good government never depends upon laws, but upon the personal qualities of those who govern. The machinery of government is always subordinate to the will of those who administer that machinery. The most important element of government, therefore, is the method of choosing leaders.
— Law And Governance, The Spacing Guild Manual, Dune
Saw with LD. Saw it listed some place as a must-watch Korean thriller. As action-packed and entertaining as it is forgettable. Chock-full of clichés, excellent chemistry between the two main characters. Don Lee is a force of Nature. Can’t wait for an Indian remake starring S. J. Suryah (and Vijay, of course.)
Given the amount of rage I’ve had with awful product design and really, really shitty websites of late. The madness doesn’t stop with the web. On $250 Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones, which are comfortable and have lovely sound and the best active noise-canceling I’ve ever experienced, opting to “Disable Voice Guidance” still means that the nice lady inside your headphones will tell you when you dis/connect your Bluetooth device. You gotta toggle a feature in the app to prevent iTunes from launching every time it pairs with your Mac (the Sony folk think this “feature” is “unfortunate” so there’s that at least.) Your headphones can just choose to turn off the moment you turn them on unless you update the firmware. Would you like to share your location? Do you want the Sony app to send you notifications? We’ll need the last four digits of your SSN so we can create a tailor-made listening profile for you. Is that OK? ↩︎