log.nikhil.io

Posts from 2018 116

Slo-Mo Bieber

This is absolutely beautiful. I’m happy there’s a way to generate music that sounds like one of my favorite tracks.

Andhadhun · 2018 · IMDb · A

Excellent stuff. Tabu is a National Treasure 🙌 Second Sriram Raghavan movie, first being Ek Hasina Thi.

Sounds of 2018

Via my favorite podcast of the year.

And from that article, a few descriptions of Michael Barbaro’s style:

  • “empathetic vocables”
  • “idiosyncratic intonation”
  • “quasi-therapeutic aural hovering”
  • the “redundant interrogatives” with which he ends his sentences

Unposted FTW

‘Posting’ in the pen world refers to what you do with your pen cap while you write [. . .] when you put the cap on the back of the pen while you write, regardless of whether it pushes on or screws on with threads.

and

[. . .] what do you do with the cap? Do you put it on the desk? Hold it in your hand? Both of these would be ‘non-posting’ or ‘unposted’ writing methods.

The Goulet Pen Co.

I write unposted, have done so my whole life, and think that people who post are weird, pitiable, and simply wrong.

The Equalizer · 2014 · IMDb · B

TL;DW? Denzel Washington is Liam Neeson from Taken (with a lot of that movie’s tropes.) Over on Reddit, an essential discussion of who would win a fight. Features my favorite hipster-henchman, Tait Fletcher whom I last saw in The Accountant.

Loved the first half of this song:

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald · 2018 · IMDb · A-

Dan Fogler is as awesome in this one as he was in the first. A role he was born to play:

Did you feel like you had an advantage while auditioning because you’re actually from New York?

I think I brought some real authenticity to it. I grew up in Brooklyn. When I read the part, I thought, “Oh, man, I know this guy. He’s one of my ancestors.” I have a great-grandfather, Isaac, who was a baker in New York on the Lower East Side. It’s really surreal stepping into the role. I felt like it was written for me. I felt like he was family already, so I loved him.

Then I paid homage to a lot of my favorite actors from that era, like Chaplin and Buster Keaton. When Eddie and I are together, it’s like Laurel and Hardy or Abbott and Costello. I tried to infuse him with all of that great, elegant kind of comedy, that real physical kind of comedy. Also [James] Cagney. I liked how Cagney stood. He was very conservative in his motions – because I’m such a broad, wacky guy, I thought that it helped me stay in the period. Cut to me flailing and running like a maniac. [Laughs.]

– From an interview with The Los Angeles Times’ Meredith Worner

Numbering from Zero

Dijkstra on why numbering should start from zero.

Numbering is done with natural numbers. Let’s take zero to be the smallest natural number1. For the sequence (2, 3, 4, … ,12), using the convention (2 ≤ n < 13) is appropriate because

  • For a sequence starting with zero, like (0, 1, 2, 3), the left hand condition leaks into unnatural numbers if you use “less than”: (-1 < n).
  • For an empty sequence, the right hand also leaks into the unnatural if you use “less than or equal to”: (n ≤ 0)

And minorly, because these are the true of another convention (1 < n ≤ 12)

  • Difference between bounds (13 - 2 = 11) is the length of the sequence
  • I know that these two sequences are adjacent: (2 ≤ n < 13) and (13 ≤ n < 24)

All that’s prep for:

When dealing with a sequence of length N, the elements of which we wish to distinguish by subscript, the next vexing question is what subscript value to assign to its starting element. Adhering to convention a) yields, when starting with subscript 1, the subscript range 1 ≤ i < N+1; starting with 0, however, gives the nicer range 0 ≤ i < N. So let us let our ordinals start at zero: an element’s ordinal (subscript) equals the number of elements preceding it in the sequence. And the moral of the story is that we had better regard – after all those centuries!2 – zero as a most natural number.

There’s also this little nugget

I think Antony Jay is right when he states: “In corporate religions as in others, the heretic must be cast out not because of the probability that he is wrong but because of the possibility that he is right.”

  1. TIL that this can be so. 

  2. Don’t know what he means here… 

Hell Courtesan

Hell Courtesan by Kawanabe Kyosai

by Kawanabe Kyosai, Kyosai rakuga1, 1881.

More of his stuff here. As far as band names go, “Hell Courtesan” is metal as fuck.

  1. “Kyosai’s Drawings for Pleasure” 

I am Blessed - Nina Simone (Wax Tailor Remix)

1725 Slough Av, Ste 200, Scranton, PA

An interactive model of the office from The Office 😍

The Office Floor Plan

Tony Benn on War

War is easy to talk about; there are not many people left of the generation which remembers it. The right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup served with distinction in the last war. I never killed anyone but I wore uniform. I was in London during the blitz in 1940, living where the Millbank tower now stands, where I was born. Some different ideas have come in there since. Every night, I went to the shelter in Thames house. Every morning, I saw docklands burning. Five hundred people were killed in Westminster one night by a land mine. It was terrifying. Are not Arabs and Iraqis terrified? Do not Arab and Iraqi women weep when their children die? Does not bombing strengthen their determination? What fools we are to live as if war is a computer game for our children or just an interesting little Channel 4 news item.

Every Member of Parliament who votes for the Government motion will be consciously and deliberately accepting responsibility for the deaths of innocent people if the war begins, as I fear it will. That decision is for every hon. Member to take. In my parliamentary experience, this a unique debate. We are being asked to share responsibility for a decision that we will not really be taking but which will have consequences for people who have no part to play in the brutality of the regime with which we are dealing.

Via

The Telegraph has a profile.

The Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect

You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward-reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.

In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story-and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read with renewed interest as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about far-off Palestine than it was about the story you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.

That is the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. I’d point out it does not operate in other arenas of life. In ordinary life, if somebody consistently exaggerates or lies to you, you soon discount everything they say. In court, there is the legal doctrine of falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus, which means untruthful in one part, untruthful in all.

But when it comes to the media, we believe against evidence that it is probably worth our time to read other parts of the paper. When, in fact, it almost certainly isn’t. The only possible explanation for our behavior is amnesia.

via.

Okay, but a paper can publish an article on Gravitational Waves authored by someone with a background in Physics on the same day as an article on makeup in the movies by a veteran showbiz reporter. Maybe I’m cherrypicking and he’s talking about the average overall quality. That being said, I do know that I wouldn’t have any MGM amnesia after reading, say, the The National Enquirer’s offerings on either topic.

Chittagong Chill - State of Bengal

Heard this and was made aware of this timeless album for the first time at a very strange party at Iowa State. RIP Sam Zaman.

The Bullshit Asymmetry Principle

The amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it.

Lawdamercy

ADHD

Node Modules

For a single project I made the mistake of working on in my Dropbox folder:

Wonder what the downsides are to hardlinking by default. And, fundamentally, why creating an amazing, Python-like standard library is such an intractable problem in the first place.

[. . .] core-js is also utils library, quite a big one honestly! It has so many functions inside I bet a lot of other packages will be using it!

Not really. Only babel-runtime has it in its deps. Oopsie. And returning to the starting point, cli uses only 3 (trivial) methods from common-tags — stripIndents, stripIndent, oneLine. Oopsie daisy.

In order to use these 3 methods node_modules needs 1826 files. And that’s just 4 of mentioned 976 installed packages.

– Mateusz Morszczyzna, What’s really wrong with node_modules and why this is your fault

🤦‍♂️ The portion of the article that listed functionally similar packages and is-* packages was particularly dismaying. As he points out, there’s a good reason why jQuery and lodash are as immensely popular as they are1.

  1. Was wondering if we’ll ever get back to the magic of hand-crafted web pages and found this article which led me to this modern Geocities clone 💖 

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Megan Garber for The Atlantic

This week, as the allegations against Tyson were gaining attention in the American media, Bloomberg published a report about the men of Wall Street and how they have decided to address the revealed abuses of #MeToo. “No more dinners with female colleagues” is one solution they have come to. “Don’t sit next to them on flights” is another. And “book hotel rooms on different floors.” And “avoid one-on-one meetings.” Having had more than a year to listen and learn and adjust to the new information, most of the men Bloomberg spoke with have looked around, searched their souls, and come to a tidy conclusion: “Avoid women at all cost.” 1

The consequences of this conclusion, for the women on the other end of it, are obvious: The women will miss opportunities for mentorship and fellowship and advancement. Their very presence will be interpreted as its own potential danger: to men’s reputations, to men’s prospects, to men’s careers. The women will, in this ingenious new strain of American Puritanism, be softly shunned: as seductive, as vindictive—as professional threats.

Emphasis mine. And

Lin Farley 2 wrote in The New York Times last year, and in its absence the term sexual harassment has become too unwieldy, too imprecise, too commercialized. As the writer Rebecca Traister put it, “We must regularly remind everyone paying attention that sexual harassment is a crime not simply on the grounds that it is a sexual violation, but because it is a form of discrimination.”

and

They accuse; he denies; sexual misconduct and its defense; point and counterpoint; the scientific method. But what gets lost in the easy binaries? What of the lives and careers and ambitions of the people doing the accusing—people who, in coming forward with their allegations, will have their names permanently entangled with the man they say did them harm? The stories of those who have lived in Tyson’s orbit have served as reminders that, here on Earth, we remain biased toward the stars.

Neil deGrasse Tyson and the Careers That Weren’t

  1. Because that’s the solution 🤦‍♂️ 

  2. Who coined the term sexual harassment in 1975 

Clay and Lego

Winter Coding Challenges

Prune

Three years late but what an absolutely beautiful game! A few of my favorite screens.

😍

“One of my main goals when designing ‘Prune’ was to respect the player’s intelligence and to respect their time, whether that player is 4 or 74,” McDonald said. “So much of the mobile game market just does not do this incredibly simple thing of respecting their players as actual human beings whose time is precious.”

– Business Week, “How a half-fallen tree inspired the hottest iPhone game right now

Inter UI

Inter UI looks beautiful, comes in all sorts of weights, has thousands of glyphs, and is free 💗 (via Arun Venkatesan’s blog.)

Source

Soundcloud Rappers

Vulture’s 2018 Guide to Soundcloud Rappers wherein they’re classified by name: “The Lil’s” (Lil Pump/Xan/Skies/Wop/Yachty/Uzi Vert/Peep), “The Adjectives”, “The Creative Spellers”, and “The (Almost) Full Sentences”.

I’ll take this one.

My Soundcloud Name

The Daily Execution

ExecutedToday.com has been publishing “the story of an historical execution that took place on this date, and the story behind it” since October 2007.

The death penalty, as a subset within that vast category of “acts of violence homo sapiens do to their fellows,” blends insensibly into a dozen adjacent territories — murder, assassination, warfare, torture, low crime and high statecraft, even suicide.

That being said, it does not aim to be “an all-purpose chronicle of human cruelty.”

Because Internet. And why not, really?

Racism and Astrology

Via co-worker DH. Dara Ó Briain on how Racism is better than Astrology:

Racism is one of the worst social evils they can imagine. “How dare you do that?” they say. “How dare you ascribe to me personality traits? You don’t even know me, but you tell me that you know me, and you know these things about me, and you say I share these personality traits with this huge group of people, and I don’t know them, you don’t know them, and you say not only do we have the same character traits, but we have some sort of common history and some common destiny, and you make all of these horrible presumptions on the back of what? On the back of a fluke of birth. How dare you do that?

What? Ooh, Capricorn.

Ratsasan · 2018 · IMDb · B+

Decent thriller. Cannot get over the fact that the antagonist’s makeup was awful and kept reminding me of the coconut and turmeric Varalakshmi Puja heads from my childhood 1.

Terrible makeup

Which looks like this in a cheap wig

Varalakshmi Puja head

Source

  1. Which, in turn, remind me of Jivaro shrunken heads

A Wednesday · 2008 · IMDb · B+

Because I saw Naseeruddin Shah and Anupam Kher in the cast. And they were excellent.

The climax is an absolute knock-out with an accolade-winning speech by Naseer who becomes a flag-bearer for all those nameless, ordinary people battling with this modern-day scourge, the world over. The highpoint of the film is the class act by the two stalwarts of the industry: Naseer and Anupam pitch in riveting performances as the shuffling, seemingly inconsequential, nameless bomber and the no-nonsense cop. Add to this some finely nuanced acts by Jimmy Shergill and Aamir Bashir and you have a topical, gritty, high-adrenalin drama.

Times of India

Neeraj Pandey wrote and directed Special 26 as well.

Gabbar is Back · 2015 · IMDb · B

Title made me think it was a sequel. Not bad as far as remakes go.

Baaghi · 2016 · IMDb · D

Terrible. Expected this, so not sure why I did this to myself. Thought it was a weird mashup of Varsham and Dredd. Features this ‘Grandmaster Shifuji’ who attempts to act like a Kung Fu/Kalari master in the movie and a combat veteran and “special forces trainer” in real life.

Watching what they did to Sunil Grover and Sanjay Mishra’s talents was depressing. As for Kota Srinivasa Rao: they used a North Indian voice actor to dub over his South Indian accent… with a ghastly South Indian accent 😐

Just terrible.

Efficient Languages

Ross Pomeroy for RealClearScience, “What’s the Most Efficient Language?

[. . .] travel the world and record at least a dozen speakers of every language reading those passages aloud at their normal cadence. Count the overall number of syllables used for each passage and measure the time it took subjects to read their passage. Divide the syllable count by time to get the number of syllables spoken per second. Next, come up with some value for how much meaning is packed into each syllable, which will give you an average information density per syllable. Finally, use those values to derive an “information rate.”

and

English came out on top, but not by much. Most of languages grouped pretty closely together, however, Japanese lagged behind the rest. Interestingly, the languages that conveyed the least amount of information per syllable, like Spanish, Japanese, and French, tended to be spoken at a faster rate. This allowed these languages (apart from Japanese) to deliver a similar amount of information compared to more meaning-dense languages like Mandarin and English.

Jonathan McWhorter for The Atlantic, “The World’s Most Efficient Languages

When a language seems especially telegraphic, usually another factor has come into play: Enough adults learned it at a certain stage in its history that, given the difficulty of learning a new language after childhood, it became a kind of stripped-down “schoolroom” version of itself.

In contrast, one cannot help suspecting that not too many adults have been tackling the likes of sǝq’ayǝƛaaɣwǝaɣhaś. Kabardian has been left to its own devices, and my, has it hoarded a lot of them. This is, as languages go, normal, even if Kabardian is rather extreme. By contrast, only a few languages have been taken up as vehicles of empire and imposed on millions of unsuspecting and underqualified adults. Long-dominant Mandarin, then, is less “busy” than Cantonese and Taiwanese, which have been imposed on fewer people. English came out the way it did because Vikings, who in the first millennium forged something of an empire of their own in northern and western Europe, imposed themselves on the Old English of the people they invaded and, as it were, mowed it. German, meanwhile, stayed “normal.”

In Ithkuil, “Tram-mļöi hhâsmařpţuktôx” translates to “On the contrary, I think it may turn out that this rugged mountain range trails off at some point.” 😐

I think we all know John McWhorter is not to be relied upon when he ventures away from his bailiwick of creole languages, which he is frequently called on to do since he has become the go-to linguistics popularizer, but he does have a pleasant prose style and it’s always fun to argue about his overgeneralizations and sometimes wacky obiter dicta (like the one about the Awful Russian Language).

– Steve Dodson, Language Hat, Efficient Languages

Apu

From Soutik Biswas’, “The Simpsons: Not all Indians think Apu is a racist stereotype

“As I see it, there are two primary products that second generation Indian American comedians sell - the ridiculousness of their parents’ ‘culture’ (arranged marriage and ‘my son, the doctor’ are the commonest tropes); and the racism of white Americans,” Professor Chakravorty, who teaches at Temple University in Pennsylvania, told me in an email interview .

“It is not hard to see why these two lowest hanging fruits are plucked all the time. This is very standard fare. Apu is also very standard fare. What Kondabulu has done is nothing new. He picked almost the most identifiable Indian project possible in the US. And he plugged into the market for identity-based outrage.”

and

“I like Apu, in fact I love him. He has a PhD in computer science, but enjoys running his store, he is a valued citizen of Springfield, a ladies man and adores cricket and is funny,” Sidharth Bhatia, Mumbai-based founder-editor of The Wire, told me.

“It reflects true American diversity. The controversy about the stereotyping is classist snobbery - Indians in America don’t want to be reminded of a certain kind of immigrant from their country - the shop keepers, the taxi drivers, the burger flippers,” says Mr Bhatia.

“They would rather project only Silicon Valley successes, the Wall Street players and the Ivy League products, with the proper accents, people they meet for dinner - by itself a stereotype. The millions of Apus in America, the salt-of-the-earth types, with their less ‘posh’ accents, are an inconvenience to that self-image of this small group of Indian-Americans.”

Bingo.

His accent apart, Apu is a Midwestern pillar. Would the critics really have him speak like the other characters in the show, as if to say you’re not American unless you sound like someone from Des Moines? Are all caricatured accents racist? Should we ban “foreigners” from comedy shows altogether?

Naturally not—because we wouldn’t, then, have Apu. And can you really imagine America without him?

– Tunku Varadarajan, Leave Apu Alone – He’s a Great American

To quote Lewis Black entirely out of context: on a list of priorities, this “is on page six after ‘Are we eating too much garlic as a people?’”

The Wrong Person

We need to swap the Romantic view for a tragic (and at points comedic) awareness that every human will frustrate, anger, annoy, madden and disappoint us — and we will (without any malice) do the same to them. There can be no end to our sense of emptiness and incompleteness. But none of this is unusual or grounds for divorce. Choosing whom to commit ourselves to is merely a case of identifying which particular variety of suffering we would most like to sacrifice ourselves for.

and

The person who is best suited to us is not the person who shares our every taste (he or she doesn’t exist), but the person who can negotiate differences in taste intelligently — the person who is good at disagreement. Rather than some notional idea of perfect complementarity, it is the capacity to tolerate differences with generosity that is the true marker of the “not overly wrong” person. Compatibility is an achievement of love; it must not be its precondition.

– Alain de Botton, Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person

Muons

Minute Physics on how Muons reaching terrestrial detectors from the upper atmosphere are direct proof of time dilation/length contraction in Special Relativity.

What a Boss 🙏 💯

Cool Einstein

Reimagining Rockwell

Mr. Thomas and the photographer Emily Shur rented a home in Los Angeles for a weekend in May. There, they shot several images that harked back to Mr. Rockwell’s “Freedom From Want,” one in a series of four paintings inspired by Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1941 speech to Congress celebrating America’s freedom and democratic values.

“The image haunted me because of the world we live in,” the artist said, referring to today’s divisive political climate. “I wanted to imagine what it would look like today.”

The New York Times

Some recreations

– Hank Willis Thomas and Emily Shur

A lot of parodies of the painting here as well.

Sans Bullshit Sans

Roel Nieskens “leveraged the synergy of ligatures” to create a free typeface called Sans Bullshit Sans.

It turns this

The value proposition of our agile mindset and scrum methodology is to enable the emergence of disruptive, convergent, crowdsourced platforms that allow our clients to lean in and engage in collective mindshare on established design patterns using the latest usercentric technologies empowered by the cloud.

into this

Bullshit Sans by Roel Nieskens

Here’s how he made it. Fucking brilliant. I saved a list of the terms and phrases that cause the ligatures. On a related note, I’d be bullshitting myself if maintain any hope of finishing this tiny book at some point.

Just Be

Lutz Ebersdorf

As if I needed another reason to fall in love with Tilda Swinton

Swinton penned a phony IMDb biography to keep the secret, and wore fake genitalia, created by makeup artist Mark Coulier, while in character. (“She did have us make a penis and balls,” Coulier told the paper. “She had this nice, weighty set of genitalia so that she could feel it dangling between her legs, and she managed to get it out on set on a couple of occasions.”) Both she and Guadagnino were miffed when their secret got out. “Frankly, my long-held dream was that we would never have addressed this question at all,” Swinton told the Times. “My original idea was that Lutz would die during the edit, and his ‘In Memoriam’ be the final credit in the film.”

Vulture

Tilda Swinton

😳

Ankeny & Saudi Arabia

Ankeny or Saudi Arabia? If you had to choose one to live in, which would you pick?

Depends. One is full of religious wackos, and the other one is in a desert.

/r/desmoines

The Secretarybird

Behold the beautiful Secretarybird 🙌

Secretarybird

– Source Unknown

Way out of other birds’ leagues, eats venomous snakes, and “appears on the coats of arms of Sudan and South Africa” 🔥

The Ferrari 512 S Modulo Concept

Designed by Pininfarina all the way back in 1970 (!) 😍 🤤

Ferrari 512 S Modulo Concept

It’s what they do at Google

In addition, engineers have commoditized many technical solutions that used to be challenging in the past 15 years. Scaling used to be a tough challenge, not any more for many companies. In fact, part of my daily job is to prevent passionate engineers from reinventing wheels in the name of achieving scalability. It’s not because we don’t need to solve scalability problems, but because the infrastructure is good enough for most of companies. Building and operating so called “big data platform” used to be hard, not that hard any more. Building machine learning pipeline used to be hard, not that hard any more for many companies. Of course, it’s still challenging to build a highly flexible and automated machine learning pipeline with full support of closed feedback loop, but many companies can get by without that level of maturity.

– via Hacker News (emphasis mine)

Tech Yaks

Tech Yaks ranks and lists good tech talks.

Some awesome stuff on there, like one of my favorite talks ever by Guy Steele. Fork Yeah! The Rise and Development of illumos by Bryan Cantrill, the second-most popular one on the list, is very entertaining and needs to be watched many times (and at 0.75x speed.)

Predestination · 2014 · IMDb · A-

Based on –All You Zombies–” by Robert A. Heinlein. Sarah Snook is phenomenal. But “John Doe” is an extended, uncredited cameo by Leonardo Di Caprio and I won’t be convinced otherwise.

Sarah Snook in 'Predestination'

The Invisible Guest · 2016 · IMDb · B+

Like if Rashomon and The Usual Suspects had a child. The ending got me.

Hereditary · 2018 · IMDb · A

Deeply upsetting. One of the best horror movies I’ve ever seen. Anthony Lane of The New Yorker on what gives it its potency

Should you want to measure the psychological disturbance at work here, try comparing “Hereditary” with “A Quiet Place.” That recent hit, for all its masterly shocks, is at bottom a reassuring film, introducing people who are beset by an external menace but more or less able to pull through because, as a team, they’re roped together with enough love to fight back. “Hereditary” is more perplexing. It has the nerve to suggest that the social unit is, by definition, self-menacing, and that the home is no longer a sanctuary but a crumbling fortress, under siege from within. That is why there are no doctors in Aster’s film, and no detectives, either, urgently though both are required; nor does a man of God arrive, as he does in “The Exorcist” (1973), to lay the anguish to rest. Nothing, in short, can help Annie, Steve, and the kids, and they sure can’t help themselves, stationed as they are inside their delicate doll’s house of a world. There is no family curse in this remarkable movie. The family is the curse.

The amazing Colin Stetson did the soundtrack which is somehow even more unsettling than Brian Reitzell’s Hannibal.

10/25/18 If this was a movie:

Mission: Impossible - Fallout · 2018 · IMDb · B

😴. Watch for Tom Cruise being a stuntmaking beast (esp in the helicopter chase scene.)

The Invitation · 2015 · IMDb · B+

Watched with Catherine. Dark, tense, predictable. Uashamed to admit that I thought Logan Marshall-Green was Tom Hardy for the duration of the movie (even after watching “Upgrade” … must’ve been the hair.) Excellent stuff by Lindsey Burdge.

Upgrade · 2018 · IMDb · B

Sicario: Day of the Soldado · 2018 · IMDb · B+

This is the jingoistic view of American force so familiar from films like ‘Black Hawk Down.’ This is American power as an unstoppable beast.

Yep.

You would be forgiven for asking what religious extremists have to do with a film series that previously focused on Mexican drug cartels. You would also be forgiven for finding this film problematic as it focuses next on a craven terrorist attack in a grocery store. Three suicide bombers enter the crowded building and commit mass murder. We are not spared the image of a mother begging for the life of her little girl. We discover that the terrorists are being smuggled across the border by the cartels. Two of our greatest enemies have now become one.

– Joshua Ruth “Sicario: Day of The Soldado’ is Violent, Problematic and One of the Most Satisfying Sequels in Years”

Watch for a masterclass in tension, Benecio Del Toro being a badass again, and for Isabela Moner’s excellent performance.

Srinivasa Kalyanam · 2018 · IMDb · D

Watched with JS and LT. A solid 2.5 hours of Telugu Sampradayam-porn for the 50+ members of your family. Culture and Tradition are static and immutable constructs that are absolutely not subject to examination and revision, especially when it comes to gender roles. Features cameos by yesteryear supporting actors who appear plasticine with the amount of makeup employed.

A Frenchwoman in America

SM, reminiscing

I was 15 when I first came to the United States. Detroit. There was nothing worth eating in Detroit. Except fudge. And White Castle. And Cheetos.

Capturing Donald Glover

Wahyu Ichwandardi used MacPaint and Macromind VideoWorks/Director on an old Mac SE to create this wonderful frame-by-frame animation of “This is America”.

Donald Glover pixel art

Animated Commentary

Nick Murray Willis does brilliant “animated treatments” of commentary.

Ozark - Season 2 · 2018 · IMDb · A

As brutal, breathless, and excellent as the first season. Julia Garner, Lisa Emery, and Janet McTeer FTW 🙌

Garner on her portrayal of Ruth Langmore

She’s in a much more vulnerable place. She’s really struggling and having an identity crisis because of her dad. With Season 2, I think you have a much deeper understanding why she behaves like she does. People always go, “Oh Ruth is such a badass character — how does it feel to play her?” And it’s much deeper than that. It’s more that she has no choice.

and

[. . .] I don’t know if you remember, but I had that handbag. And I know it’s a prop, but it’s important because that’s Ruth — she wears something really ugly, but she’ll have the pink handbag she probably got at Walmart because she secretly wants a real leather pink bag. She wants nice things, and you realize this girl is a child.

TIL that they shot the series in Atlanta.

The Convicted Love Charger

Al Jazeera on godman Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh:

This is insane:

Chauhan: One day the Guru summoned a meeting of his closest male devotees. There were about 400 to 500 people. He said “We are going to remove your virility. After that, your mind isn’t going to wander. You’ll come closer to God.”

Narrator: Chauhan says he didn’t understand that the Guru was talking about castration.

[. . .]

Chauhan: Guru had put a lot of property under the names of castrated devotees. He knew that we would never get married or have children. When we died, we would leave the property here and he would put his name on our Power of Attorney.

Lord Varys reaction

The charlatan is responsible for the most horrifying song I’ve ever seen:

There’s a book by an investigative journalist on the whole sordid enterprise.

1:1 Lego Bugatti Chiron

Astounding.

Lego Chiron

  • No glue, 1 million Technic elements
  • Total weight: 1,500 kg
  • 5.3HP Engine
    • 2,304 Power Functions motors
    • 4,032 Technic gear wheels
    • 2,016 Technic cross axles
    • Est torque 92 Nm
  • Functional rear spoiler and speedometer
  • 13,438 man hours

How they made it

There’s a teeny version too for $350

Pageants of Light

Kei Nomiyama and Radim Schreiber take otherworldly photos of fireflies (and other things)

Photo by Kei Nomiyama

The latter will be at the Des Moines Botanical Center exhibiting his “Firefly Experience”

The Omelette

She…

made me feel like years of practicing this…

were in vain. This guy attempts the ‘Pepin Omelette’ with fantastic results

and this chef is from another dimension (starting 3:55)

Brown Problems

From an old (2010) interview with Anand Wilder of Yeasayer

PP: What do you think of South Asian artists who have also broken into indie/mainstream music success, like Natasha Khan (Bat for Lashes), M.I.A., and yourself? Is there a different responsibility or consciousness involved with being South Asian and a musician in an industry environment where there are so few?

AW: [. . .] The problems facing Indians in America are what? Parents pressuring their kids to become professionals, parents valuing academics over social lives, parents pressuring their kids to marry. When you think about it in the grand scheme of things, these problems are really not that bad! I’m pretty sure Indians are America’s wealthiest ethnic group1 – I think if I was fully Indian, statistically I’d be a richer man! At least more educated. So the only thing holding us back from being in the spotlight is ourselves. Sure there’s probably some institutional racism out there, but I’ve been around the world, and there’s no place as open as America. Europe is an ass-backward, old school place. Everyone who wanted to do something new and interesting with their lives left Europe for America at one time or another. Don’t let all that supposed progressiveness fool you, they’re xenophobic as hell. And I love to visit India, but come on – it is a dusty, corrupt, and chaotic country, with an even more despicable gap between the rich and poor than America’s. Did I mention the dust?!

I embrace being different from your average white musician. That’s part of what I love about my band; we all have different personalities or backgrounds and we try to throw them all into the mix to create something new and interesting sounding. If I can be onstage and inspire some brown kid out there to pursue something artistic, something other than being a doctor or engineer, then I’m doing a good job. And if they want be a doctor or an engineer, good for them! Less competition for me.

  1. Made. It. Rain

Isle of Dogs · 2018 · IMDb · A-

Michael Cavna at The Washington Post with a roundup of the cultural appropriation controversy around the movie. Steve Rose at The Guardian:

Some critics are barking “appropriation!” on Twitter and online, but where Ghost in the Shell and Doctor Strange (and there are many more) took a Japanese story and cut-and-pasted in white people, here Anderson engages with Japanese culture and references on an almost scholarly level, while the cast is filled with Japanese names1, from Ken Watanabe to Yôjirô Noda, lead singer of Radwimps to, er, Yoko Ono.

Isle of Dogs is a movie that seems custom-made to set off appropriation dog whistles but, for all its questionable moves, the result is a story that’s one of a kind. If we police boundaries too strictly, we’re stifling the possibility of cross-fertilisation and invention. If you do it well enough, it’s not appropriation, it’s conversation.

Also from that article: “cultural Pinterestism”.

I can watch stop-motion “making of” videos all day and here’s a dismayingly short one on Isle of Dogs:

The sushi scene took 8 months to craft!

  1. Numbers alone aren’t compelling arguments but I counted 26 Japanese actors out of 49 on the (partial?) cast list here 

Deadpool 2 · 2018 · IMDb · B+

Too much Ryan Reynolding but hey, with a ~900% ROI, whatever works 🤷‍♂️

Happy Popper

I slipped in a final question: Why in his autobiography did Popper say that he is the happiest philosopher he knows? “Most philosophers are really deeply depressed,” he replied, “because they can’t produce anything worthwhile.” Looking pleased with himself, Popper glanced over at Mrs. Mew, who wore an expression of horror. Popper’s smile faded. “It would be better not to write that,” he said to me. “I have enough enemies, and I better not answer them in this way.” He stewed a moment and added, “But it is so.”

– John Horgan, The Paradox of Karl Popper

“Calcium-Carbonate Concretions”

Michael LaPointe writing for The Atlantic on The Pearl of Lao Tzu

But elsewhere in the Miner letter, the curator terms the specimen a “pearlaceous growth,” and stresses that it ought not to be classified as a precious pearl. The gems we commonly know as pearls are formed within the organic tissue of saltwater oysters, whose inner shells possess nacre, or mother-of-pearl, which generates a pearl’s signature luminescent sheen. Compared with these gems, Tridacna-clam pearls are more like porcelain. Indeed, the Pearl of Lao Tzu cuts an ugly figure. Some might liken it to a lump of white clay; others might think it’s an alien egg.

Under U.S. trade law, it’s perfectly legal to call such objects pearls; any shelled mollusk—even a snail—can make a pearl. But gemologists traffic in precious pearls, and discard the rest with a pejorative classification: calcium-carbonate concretions.

I think it looks like a big ‘concretion’ of hardened, polished, chewing gum. Like a misshapen mozzarella ball.

Pearl of Lao Tzu

Literary Clock

Made a “Literary Clock” inspired by Jaap Meijer’s repurposing of an old Kindle. Might not be a bad use for an old iPad. Reminds me that I need to get Mark Formanek’s Standard Time onto a Raspberry Pi at some point.

08/24/18 There’s an app (of course)

Standard Time by Mark Formanek

History of Java

Saw this minor dis by Safari

and then this video on the history of Java. Also by the author: something of a tribute to Flash (RIP.)

Infinitown

Mahanati · 2018 · IMDb · B+

One and two. Excellent production and performances. Sunita Chowdhary at The Hindu with a few vignettes from Savitri’s life.

Touch Chesi Choodu · 2018 · IMDb · C

Who Is America? · 2018

Don’t think I could bear to watch the entire series but Vulture’s put together a few clips of Baron Cohen’s guests at “their most gullible”

Stupidity vs Expertise

There are some things that can beat smartness and foresight? Awkwardness and stupidity can. The best swordsman in the world doesn’t need to fear the second best swordsman in the world; no, the person for him to be afraid of is some ignorant antagonist who has never had a sword in his hand before; he doesn’t do the thing he ought to do, and so the expert isn’t prepared for him; he does the thing he ought not to do; and often it catches the expert out and ends him on the spot.

– Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

Brienne of Garth

Brienne of Garth

Via

Relativity

The 1.25s interval between each ‘tick’ in the background score of the water planet scenes1 in “Interstellar” indicates the passage of a single day on Earth. #theydidthemath

  1. See also: thalassophobia 

Avengers: Infinity War · 2018 · IMDb · A-

Young Sherlock Holmes · 1985 · IMDb · B-

Spielberg managed to Indiana Jones Sherlock Holmes 😐

Desperation

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sudo margin: 0 !important;
sudo padding: 0 !important

via @thebarrytone

బోనాలు

Excellent, short photoessay by Debarshi Mukherjee on Bonalu

Linux and Switching

The problem isn’t CPU power. The CPU on any modern PC is going to blow away the processing power of any sort of network switch you’d care to buy except the really high-end ones. (Really high end. So high end that unless you already know them by name you are not going to want to buy them)

Offloading to the GPU would make things worse, not better.

The problem is latency. It takes time for the PC to take the buffer from the NIC, copy it to the to the main memory, process it on the CPU, copy it back down into a buffer, and then push it out to the network. All this copying around takes time. You could have a 30000 GHZ processor and it’s not going to help you out any.

No amount of programming or GPU offloading is going to make your I/O faster or have less latency. This needs to be done in the hardware. PCs are not designed to handle this. They are designed to have huge cache’s were you take a huge amount of data and process it through loops. This is exactly the sort of thing you do NOT want on a switch.

With a switch you want small buffers. You want small buffers optimized to the speed of the networks they are connected to and have the ability to shuffle information from one port to another. You want to get the information in and out as quickly as possible.

That being said I have no doubt that a Linux switch based on commodity hardware would have no problem keeping up with a 1Gb/s or even 10Gb/s network and having performance similar to any typical corporate switch.

The problem then is one of cost, energy, and space. A network switch takes up almost no room on a rack. It uses little electricity and creates little heat compared to a PC-style corporate Linux server. It has lots and lots of ports.

To create a Linux commodity-based switch with 20 or 40 ports the thing is going to be huge, expensive, and hot.

So yes while it can be done it’s not practical.

On using a Linux box as a switch.

Programming Typefaces with Ligatures

This project adds ligatures to Operator Mono, my favorite coding typeface

Ligatures with Operator Mono

😍

Fira Code is also very beautiful and ships with ligatures

Ligatures with Operator Mono

Game Night · 2018 · IMDb · B+

Jesse Plemons steals the show even though he has very little screen time. In my book, he

Bluebeard · 2017 · IMDb · B

Predictable twists. This guy was awesome.

Images on the Web

Addy Osmani’s excellent guide to image optimization on the web. See also the free ImageOptim for Mac (has a CLI… kinda.)

“Nanette” by Hannah Gadsby

When I’m doing jokes that I do at the start of the show about lesbians, everyone laughs. It’s fine, it’s fun. I do exactly the same to men, and it’s not. That’s less to do with the men, but also the cultural practice. They’re not used to it.

That’s the way comedy is. Comedy is a man’s art form. It pretty much came from a time, post–World War II really — the 1950s are not really known for the subtle expressions of feminine life. There’s a lot of dick-swinging going on in that time, sort of like destroying modernism and bringing in postmodernism. Stand-up comedy’s come out of that era. It’s born from stand-ups doing jokes between burlesque shows. Then roasts, you know, which are basically misogyny and homophobia all wrapped up in “yo mama” jokes. The whole art form is centered around jerking off, so it’s no surprise that the endgame is Louis C.K.

A joke is a wank. Set-up … [does a jerk-off motion] punch line. Then you’ve got what I’m trying, storytelling. If the only reason to be on stage communicating with people is to tell them a joke and make them laugh, that seems thin for me. That has a place — I don’t think it should stop happening — but for me, I don’t know. I just don’t.

via Vulture. Also a contrast between Bill Maher and Gadsby.

Seagal the Expert

05/08/18 lol

Child Endangerment

A mother in suburban Chicago breathes a huge sigh of relief this week, as she was reunited with her 8-year-old son Kevin, who was accidentally left at home alone as the family went on vacation to Paris. Apparently no one had noticed the boy was missing on their drive to the airport and through airport security and while boarding the plane.

Only once when they were in flight did the mother sense that a cherished family member may not have been present. She then shrieked, Kevin. She would rush home where she, along with police, found the boy unharmed physically, though he may deal with abandonment issues for years to come.

In addition to the boy, the police also found two career criminals who appeared to have suffered great bodily damage while attempting to rob the house. One man had been shot in the groin with a BB gun and had his hands severely burned by a hot doorknob. The other man had a nail and pieces of glass Christmas ornaments lodged in his foot. Both men also miraculously survived being hit in the head with a paint can that was apparently swung from a rope at high speeds, something which would normally crush a human skull.

Child Protective Services say they will not remove the child from the family since they believe it to be only a one-time occurrence, and certainly not something that could happen again the next year.

– Hari Kondabolu on Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!

Buckling Springs & Vintage Terminals

This will generate the incomparable Model M’s keyboard sounds “mainly for the purpose of annoying the hell out of” your coworkers. Sold 🙌

This is a beautiful and highly configurable application that emulates classic terminals. It also has a delightfully persuasive way of getting you to buy the full version (a mere $5)

Jan 22 2019: Website went poof. Here’s the App Store link.

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

Unputdownable indictment of everything wrong with Silicon Valley culture. From a recent AMA with Carreyrou:

I think there’s something to what you’re saying. Cambridge has Harvard and MIT, where super smart people do real science and engineering. In SV, people have built up this myth that a young Stanford dropout can wave a magic wand and solve difficult problems. The cult of personality out there has gotten out of control. Elon Musk is another example of it. People in and around Boston are more grounded and more anchored to reality.

And then there’s this programmer classic:

The tests’ progress was represented by the darkening edge of a circle on the devices’ digital screens, like app downloads on an iPhone. Inside the circle, a percentage number told the user how much of the test had been completed. Based on how slowly the edge of one of the circles was filling up, it looked to Parloff like it might take several more hours. He couldn’t wait around that long. He told Edlin he needed to head back to work.

After Parloff left, Kyle Logan, the young chemical engineer [. . .] was there to provide technical support. Noticing that the miniLab running the potassium test was stuck at 70 percent completion, he took the cartridge out and rebooted the machine. He had a pretty good idea what had happened.

Balwani had tasked a Theranos software engineer named Michael Craig to write an application for the miniLab’s software that masked test malfunctions. When something went wrong inside the machine, the app kicked in and prevented an error message from appearing on the digital display. Instead, the screen showed the test’s progress slowing to a crawl. This is exactly what had happened

So…

You Were Never Really Here · 2018 · IMDb · A

Based the novella by Jonathan Ames. Saw the trailer via RT (this is the amazing song in the second half.) First Lynne Ramsay movie. Looking forward to listening to the soundtrack by Jonny Greenwood.

Telling People Things

What’s going on is that without some kind of direct experience to use as a touchstone, people don’t have the context that gives them a place in their minds to put the things you are telling them. The things you say often don’t stick, and the few things that do stick are often distorted. Also, most people aren’t very good at visualizing hypotheticals, at imagining what something they haven’t experienced might be like, or even what something they have experienced might be like if it were somewhat different.

and

When people ask me about my life’s ambitions, I often joke that my goal is to become independently wealthy so that I can afford to get some work done. Mainly that’s about being able to do things without having to explain them first, so that the finished product can be the explanation. I think this will be a major labor saving improvement.

Chip Morningstar, “You can’t tell people anything

Pluto in 8K

This was the best picture of Pluto from less than 20 years ago1. Which makes the one below awesome in the truest meaning of the word.

A Quiet Place · 2018 · IMDb · A

Saw this with SC. Doesn’t let go for 90 minutes. Jim from The Office is killing it these days. MS: “This is what happens once you get away from a toxic workplace.” 😂

Developer Survey 2018

A Week of Frontend Development

node_modules deletion

Python Environment Management

XKCD on Python Environments

XKCD. Add to the mix

Then there’s Python’s packaging and distribution kerfuffle…

The AWK Programming Language

Peruse from time to time to learn more than ye olde {print $3}

Padmaavat · 2018 · IMDb · C-

Visually impressive, tedious, misogynist, Islamophobic shitshow. Barkha Dutt has a great review (via AD.)

Line

Line by Stefania Malmsten is 😍

Anderson Paak

This man has a most magical Instagram account 😲🙌

Essence of Linear Algebra

I wish I had 3blue1Brown’s excellent series on gaining an intuitive, visual understanding and appreciation of Linear Algebra when I was in college.

Tyrion Lannister

Love this work by Yuri Shwedoff!

Via. Vanity Fair has an article on the illustrated edition of ASOIF.

Bloomberg’s Awesome Error Pages

A 404, a 500, and another 500. By Steph Davidson.

Bruce Lee + Lightsabers

Enough said. (via Chad)

Going Full Enterprise

FizzBuzz - Enterprise Edition is (I hope) a satirical take on the state of enterprise software development, and authored by smart people who presumably like to watch the world burn.

The issues are highly entertaining as well.

Hari Kondabolu - Warn Your Relatives

He’s absolutely right about Indian people and mangoes. Good ones are hard to come by in Iowa, so I enjoy these refreshing beauties instead.

Eggos!

From a Bloomberg article on frozen food:

After a four-year slump, Kellogg Co., maker of Special K and Frosted Flakes, has returned to growth in recent quarters. That’s thanks in part to a boost from Eggos, which benefited from its prominence in the hit Netflix series “Stranger Things” as the favorite food of a mysterious telekinetic girl named Eleven. The brand’s sales are up double digits in each of the last two quarters.

Eleven smiling

Collateral · 2018 · IMDb · A-

A “state-of-the-nation” Netflix mini-series. Excellent performances by Jeany Spark, Carey Mulligan, and John Simm. Plenty of commentary (pontification?) on the refugee crisis.

Orwell

When one watches some tired hack on the platform mechanically repeating the familiar phrases – bestial atrocities, iron heel, bloodstained tyranny, free peoples of the world, stand shoulder to shoulder – one often has a curious feeling that one is not watching a live human being but some kind of dummy: a feeling which suddenly becomes stronger at moments when the light catches the speaker’s spectacles and turns them into blank discs which seem to have no eyes behind them. And this is not altogether fanciful. A speaker who uses that kind of phraseology has gone some distance toward turning himself into a machine. The appropriate noises are coming out of his larynx, but his brain is not involved as it would be if he were choosing his words for himself. If the speech he is making is one that he is accustomed to make over and over again, he may be almost unconscious of what he is saying, as one is when one utters the responses in church. And this reduced state of consciousness, if not indispensable, is at any rate favorable to political conformity.

– George Orwell, “Politics and The English Language

The Post · 2017 · IMDb · A

Unbelievable.

Everything in Sight

Oliver Burkeman on Hasty, Short-Term Thinking

It is alarming to consider how many major life decisions we take primarily in order to minimise present-moment emotional discomfort. Try the following potentially mortifying exercise in self-examination. Consider any significant decision you’ve ever taken that you subsequently came to regret: a relationship you entered despite being dimly aware that it wasn’t for you, or a job you accepted even though, looking back, it’s clear that it was mismatched to your interests or abilities. If it felt like a difficult decision at the time, then it’s likely that, prior to taking it, you felt the gut-knotting ache of uncertainty; afterwards, having made a decision, did those feelings subside? If so, this points to the troubling possibility that your primary motivation in taking the decision wasn’t any rational consideration of its rightness for you, but simply the urgent need to get rid of your feelings of uncertainty.

– Oliver Burkeman, “The Antidote

Little Bobby Tables

XKCD IRL FTW. Sam Pizzey registered a company named ; DROP TABLE “COMPANIES”;– LTD and wrote about it.

“All The Way” by Pref

More amazing work here and on Instagram. And a similar print for purchase.

The Commuter · 2017 · IMDb · C

The Watchmaker

The calmest 9 minutes I spent today.

On The Turing Completeness Of Powerpoint

A tongue-in-cheek presentation on the Turing-Completeness of Powerpoint. This is some astounding PowerPoint-fu. Reminded me of the words of Linus Torvalds, “That is either genius, or a seriously diseased mind.” 😛

Freeman Dyson on Richard Feynman

When we arrived we were introduced to Henry Bethe, who is now five years old, but he was not at all impressed. The only thing he would say was “I want Dick. You told me Dick was coming,” and finally he had to be sent off to bed, since Dick (alias Feynman) did not materialise. About half an hour later, Feynman burst into the room, just had time to say “so sorry I’m late. Had a brilliant idea just as I was coming over,” and then dashed upstairs to console Henry. Conversation then ceased while the company listened to the joyful sounds above, sometimes taking the form of a duet and sometimes of a one-man percussion band.

and

In the evening I mentioned that there were just two problems for which the finiteness of the theory remained to be established; both problems are well-known and feared by physicists, since many long and difficult papers running to fifty pages and more have been written about them, trying unsuccessfully to make the older theories give sensible answers to them. When I mentioned this fact, Feynman said, “We’ll see about this,” and proceeded to sit down and in two hours, before our eyes, obtain finite and sensible answers to both problems. It was the most amazing piece of lightning calculation I have ever witnessed, and the results prove, apart from some unforeseen complication, the consistency of the whole theory.

– Freeman Dyson, “Maker of Patterns” (via Nautilus)

Ittefaq · 2017 · IMDb · B+

Entertaining Rashomon-esque whodunnit. Great performance by Akshaye Khanna.

Inside Men · 2015 · IMDb · B+

Longer than it should’ve been and unevenly paced. Predictable ending. Still very enjoyable, since I’m a sucker for a good vengeance flick. Lee Byung-hun was absolutely fantastic (first saw him in “I Saw The Devil”.) Found myself hating this guy’s character with the same bile as Imelda Staunton’s Dolores Umbridge.