Taboo (2017) · IMDb · B+

Saw with LD. Eight-episode miniseries, with Season 2 in the works. Could’ve been at least two episodes shorter. Trippy, wonderful cinematography, just unbelievable production quality, and backed by (yet another) amazing score by Max Richter.

Especially great if you, like me, are a fan of Tom Hardy. His character growl-mumbles his way through Regency-era London as a traumatized 5-D Chess-playing badass with a vendetta who takes on the East India Company and the Crown, and who may or may not have supernatural powers that allow him to commune with the dead.

And when I say “growl-mumbles”…

My favorite character was Brace (😭😭😭), played to perfection by David Hayman.

On a Program’s Scope

“Every program attempts to expand until it can read mail. Those programs which cannot so expand are replaced by ones which can.” Coined by Jamie Zawinski (who called it the “Law of Software Envelopment”) to express his belief that all truly useful programs experience pressure to evolve into toolkits and application platforms (the mailer thing, he says, is just a side effect of that). It is commonly cited, though with widely varying degrees of accuracy.

Zawinski’s Law

The Chrome Dino

Here’s a fairly recent (Dec 2018) interview with the creators of chrome://dino. It was called Project Bolan (which I had to look up), had 270M games played every month1, with most users coming “from markets with unreliable or expensive mobile data, like India, Brazil, Mexico, or Indonesia” and took quite a bit of development to work on all platforms.

We built it to max out at approximately 17 million years, the same amount of time that the T-rex was alive on Earth… but we feel like your spacebar may not be the same afterwards.

  1. I suppose they know this thanks to the “I agree to everything” button one clicks while installing Chrome… ↩︎

“The Water’s So Great That It Won Awards”

Was discussing water quality in Des Moines with DL. Told her that our city couldn’t hold a candle to Ames, that their water was the “cleanest around.” Wanted to prove this but couldn’t find the 2014 viral hit “Hooray for Ames” video anywhere on the internet. GN, blessed datahoarder that he is, luckily had a copy ❤️🚰

Whatever. 🤘 Go Hawks 🤘

Good Old Iowan Common Sense

As of the 4th of February 2021, and under its Governor’s wise, prescient, expert and data-driven leadership, Iowa ranks 47th in the nation for the number of vaccines administered 💯

Iowa has received 446,825 doses of vaccine and has administered 266,777 doses, or just under 60% of vaccines received, the CDC reported Thursday. The state has the sixth-lowest rate of administered vaccine per capita in the nation.

“We’re averaging about 60% in getting the vaccines administered and that’s not where we need to be,” Reynolds said. “We want to do better. We know we can do better.”

AP, “Iowa’s vaccination rate is 47th in the US

We certainly can. The number of COVID-related deaths in Iowa stood at 5,033 as of this date. The very next day, our fearless Governor signed a Public Health Disaster proclamation that, compared to its predecessor, ended mask mandates and removed all limits on public gatherings.

In time for the Super Bowl, of course.

All of these relaxations at this stage of the pandemic make about as much sense as wearing underwear constructed out of nails and thumbtacks. If anything, Iowa should be enhancing precautions during the next several weeks, as long as the colder temperatures and drier air may be driving greater transmission of the virus. What is the scientific justification for what Reynolds has declared in the emergency declaration? It’s unclear. Seems like someone may owe Iowa an explanation.

Bruce Y. Lee, “#CovidKim Trends After Iowa Governor Reynolds Lifts Covid-19 Coronavirus Precautions

Other the the usual bullshit conservative pabulum about freedom and small businesses and bootstraps and moochers and handouts, I don’t expect any explanation that makes sense.

On A Good Burrito

I remember the very first burrito I had in the Mission District in San Francisco. My friend warned me that it would be “around the size of your forearm” and that, if I tried to finish it in a single sitting, I would be an idiot. It was, I did, I am 🙏

i do not fuck with any burrito without heft. if your shit is convenient and portable, take it elsewhere. i want a burrito that is burdensome. unwieldy. when i raise it to my mouth, i should feel the weight of the mistake i am about to make. no child should be able to eat this.

if your burrito doesn’t make me hate myself both physically and spiritually, what’s the point? grow up. don’t waste my time.

@mnateshyamalan

On Space Lasers

Never believe that anti-Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies. They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words. The anti-Semites have the right to play. They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors. They delight in acting in bad faith, since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert. If you press them too closely, they will abruptly fall silent, loftily indicating by some phrase that the time for argument is past.

Jean-Paul Sartre, “Anti-Semite and Jew

Homefront (2013) · IMDb · D

Shit. Stallone wrote it. Background-watched because it looked revenge-y and Netflix listed it as a Top 10 movie in the US. Jason Statham is B+ as Jason Statham. This time, he growl-mumbles through this shit movie as an undercover DEA agent (with Special Forces training of course) who speaks with an English accent, presumably because he became a naturalized citizen beforehand.

Well, he was born in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, which is between Stoke-on-Trent and Sheffield so that would be a mix of accents but closer to Yorkshire, but he grew up in Norfolk… which would give him an East Anglian accent. He then moved to London I believe… which gave him his slightly unusual not quite Cockney accent or Mockney as we call it.

Source

Kate Bosworth was excellent and looked like she subsisted purely off the aura of vegetables a few months before playing her role.

The Dracula Parrot

Also known as Pesquet’s parrot or the vulturine parrot.

The Dracula parrot is a large, heavy bird, stretching to almost half a metre from beak to tail and weighing in at almost a kilogram. It maintains all that bulk by feeding almost exclusively on figs, which researchers suspect is why it ended up with its strange semi-bald head.

Just as vultures lost the feathers on their head as an adaptation for feeding on bloody carcasses, it’s thought that the Dracula parrot did the same in response to its diet of sticky fruits – the lack of feathers around its beak and eyes mean it’s able to avoid turning its face into a matted mess.

It’s such a perfect solution to the parrot’s syrupy diet that Matt Cameron, an Australian parrot expert, asks, “If avoiding soiled and matted head feathers is a significant advantage to individuals, it is surprising that bald-headedness is not more widespread among the other fruit-eating parrots.”

Bec Crew, “The Dracula parrot is intimidating”, Australian Geographic

via Deepu.

On Consciousness

It is remarkable that mind enters into our awareness of nature on two separate levels. At the highest level, the level of human consciousness, our minds are somehow directly aware of the complicated flow of electrical and chemical patterns in our brains. At the lowest level, the level of single atoms and electrons, the mind of an observer is again involved in the description of events. Between lies the level of molecular biology, where mechanical models are adequate and mind appears to be irrelevant. But I, as a physicist, cannot help suspecting that there is a logical connection between the two ways in which mind appears in my universe. I cannot help thinking that our awareness of our own brains has something to do with the process which we call ‘observation’ in atomic physics. That is to say, I think our consciousness is not just a passive epiphenomenon carried along by the chemical events in our brains, but is an active agent forcing the molecular complexes to make choices between one quantum state and another. In other words, mind is already inherent in every electron, and the processes of human consciousness differ only in degree but not in kind from the processes of choice between quantum states which we call ‘chance’ when they are made by electrons.

Freeman Dyson

Boncuk the Doggy

A devoted dog has spent days waiting outside a hospital in Turkey where her sick owner was being treated.

The pet, Boncuk, which means bead, followed the ambulance that transported her owner, Cemal Senturk, to hospital in the Black Sea city of Trabzon on 14 January. She then made daily visits to the facility, the private news agency DHA reported.

Senturk’s daughter, Aynur Egeli, said she would take Boncuk home but the dog would run back to the hospital.

A hospital security guard, Muhammet Akdeniz, told DHA: “She comes every day around 9am and waits until nightfall. She doesn’t go in.

“When the door opens she pokes her head inside.”

On Wednesday, Boncuk was finally reunited with Senturk when he was pushed outside in a wheelchair. “She’s very used to me. And I miss her too, constantly,” he told DHA.

Senturk was discharged from the hospital on Wednesday and returned home with Boncuk.

Patient dog waits for days outside hospital”, The Guardian

We do not deserve dogs.

The Kobayashi Maru Test

[…] the simulation takes place on a replica of a starship bridge, with the test-taker as captain and other Starfleet members, officers or other cadets, in other key positions. […] the cadet receives a distress signal stating that the civilian freighter Kobayashi Maru has struck a gravitic mine in the Klingon Neutral Zone and is rapidly losing power, hull integrity and life support. Sensor readings are indeterminate and there is no way to verify the distress signal. There are no other vessels nearby. The cadet must quickly make a decision:

  • Attempt to rescue the Kobayashi Maru’s crew and passengers, which involves violating the Neutral Zone and thereby provoking the Klingons into hostile action or possibly an all-out war; or
  • Abandon the Kobayashi Maru, preventing war with the Klingons but leaving the crew and passengers of the freighter to probable death.

[…] The objective of the test is not for the cadet to outfight or outplan the opponent but rather to force the cadet into a no-win situation and simply observe how they react.

Wikipedia

I wondered how this related to the Trolley Problem and came by this great post by Tom Ingram.