Penny Arcade: Comic: Quality Time

New Comic: Quality Time

Bifurcated Rivets: From FB

Minor swing

Bifurcated Rivets: From FB


Bifurcated Rivets: From FB

And here?s more albums

Bifurcated Rivets: From FB


Bifurcated Rivets: From FB

More madness from Mr Smeck

Open Culture: Is Charles Bukowski a Self-Help Guru? Hear Five of His Brutally Honest, Yet Oddly Inspiring, Poems and Decide for Yourself

I don't know if he’s been replaced as a major influence on young, restless (and almost exclusively male) aspiring writers, but once upon a time—if you weren’t into the romantic wanderlust of Kerouac but still considered yourself a fringe character—it might be to the hard-boiled shit-talking of wise old man Charles Bukowski that you turned. Upon first learning this, and being a busy college student, I decided to take a crash course and checked out a documentary.

I did not find myself charmed all at once. But one can fall in love with an author’s persona yet loathe them on the page. Bukowski’s crudeness and bad humor on film could not hide the deep wells of sadness in which he seemed to swim, as if—like some ancient cynic philosopher—he knew something profound and terrible and spared us the telling of it by posing as a drunken, half-mad street-corner raconteur. I had to go and read him.

In his idiom—that of an eloquent streetwise barfly—Bukowski can be every bit as passionate and profound as his hero Dostoevsky. His unforgettable mixing of comic seediness and casual abuse with a deeply tragic mourning over the human condition, while not to everyone’s taste, make his decades-long struggle out of penury and obscurity a feat worthy of the telling in his semi-autobiographical prose and poetry.

But does it make him a role model? For anyone but certain young, mostly male, aspiring writers maybe spending more time drinking than writing, that is?

A fair number of people seem to think so, and I leave it to you to decide, first by listening to the Bukowski poems read here, posted on YouTube with heavy, inspirational background music. Some are given new titles to sound more like self-help seminars—such as “Reinvent Your Life” at the top (originally “No Leaders, Please”). The video reading called “Go all the way,” second from top, changes the title of “Roll the Dice,” a classic picture of Bukowski’s uncompromising commitment to “going all the way,” even if it means “freezing on a park bench” and “losing girlfriends, wives, relatives, jobs and maybe your mind.”

Solidly middle-class parents might approve of the first poem’s sentiments, which could be wedged into a suitably vague, yet bold-sounding commencement speech or a job recruiter’s pep talk. But “Roll the Dice” simply goes too far. “It could mean jail, it could mean derision, mockery, isolation”? This won’t do at all. Hear another reading of “Roll the Dice” by inspirational rock star Bono further up, just after the more Bukowski-like Tom Waits reads “The Laughing Heart,” frequently referenced for its intensity of feeling. Like Thomas Hardy or Leonard Cohen, the bard of the barstools could look life straight in the eye, see all of its bleakness and violence, and still manage at times to catch a divine glimmer.

And for the many aspirants to whom Bukowski has appealed, we have, further up, “So, You Want to Be a Writer?” Before you hear, or read, this poem, be advised: these are not warm words of encouragement or helpful life-coaching in verse. It is the kind of raw talk no respectable writing teacher will give you, and maybe they’re right not to, who’s to say? Except a man who went all the way, froze on park benches, went to jail, lost girlfriends, wives, relatives, jobs and maybe his mind? Read an excerpt of Bukowski’s writing advice below, and just above, hear the author himself read “Friendly Advice to a Lot of Young Men,” which urges them to do virtually anything they like, “But don’t write poetry.”

don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.

Related Content:

Harry Dean Stanton (RIP) Reads Poems by Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski Reads His Poem “The Secret of My Endurance” 

Inspiration from Charles Bukowski: You Might Be Old, Your Life May Be “Crappy,” But You Can Still Make Good Art

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Is Charles Bukowski a Self-Help Guru? Hear Five of His Brutally Honest, Yet Oddly Inspiring, Poems and Decide for Yourself is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

MetaFilter: Back in 1973, there was a girl from Tennessee

'Dolly Said No To Elvis' by Mark Nevin (ex Fairground Attraction), animated by Heather Colbert ... being the true story of the time a certain singer songwriter turned down The Colonel. It proved to be the right decision.

Recent additions: prefix-expression 1.2.4

Added by vonfry, Mon Feb 19 08:38:35 UTC 2018. GraphQL-Plugin-Convert-OpenAPI-0.10

convert OpenAPI schema to GraphQL schema

Recent additions: text-replace

Added by chris_martin, Mon Feb 19 08:07:04 UTC 2018.

Simple text replacements from a list of search/replace pairs IO-Socket-SSL-2.056

Nearly transparent SSL encapsulation for IO::Socket::INET.

MetaFilter: Because I do not care to enlarge my menagerie of pets...

In 1889, Tit-Bits magazine offered prizes to single, female readers who sent in the best answers to the question: 'Why Am I A Spinster?' Here are some highlights... [sl twitter thread]

@DigiVictorian is Dr Bob Nicholson, Senior lecturer in history at Edge Hill University in Ormskirk, Lancashire and has been linked previously.

Recent additions: warp-tls

Added by MichaelSnoyman, Mon Feb 19 06:18:55 UTC 2018.

HTTP over TLS support for Warp via the TLS package

Recent additions: warp 3.2.17

Added by MichaelSnoyman, Mon Feb 19 06:18:33 UTC 2018.

A fast, light-weight web server for WAI applications.

MetaFilter: Let Food Be Thy Medicine

Watch Knife Skills (full video - 40 min), the Oscar-nominated short documentary about the opening of Edwins, a fine French restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio, that is staffed almost entirely by ex-inmates with no prior restaurant experience. They have to learn everything there is to know about French food and restaurants in a very short period of time. LWP-Protocol-Coro-http-v1.10.0

Coro-friendly HTTP and HTTPS backend for LWP LWP-Protocol-AnyEvent-http-v1.10.0

Event loop friendly HTTP and HTTPS backend for LWP

Instructables: exploring - featured: Programming the Open DSKY

Welcome to our on-going Instructables on Programming your Open DSKY.Make sure to come back as this Instructable will keep growing as we constantly produce and release new programming material. So follow it, like it and favorite it.This series of video are an extension to the OPEN APOLLO GUIDANCE COM...
By: ST-Geotronics

Continue Reading »

Instructables: exploring - featured: Homemade Delicious Almond Milk

Never thought it would be so easy and delicious making Almond Milk at home!This is a simple recipe with some simple step-by-step pictures but so valuable and I would like to share it with you.All you need is:1 cup of almonds3 cups of waterBlenderCheese clothStrainerA bowl or a pot to sit the straine...
By: AnaQuadros

Continue Reading »

Recent additions: ecstasy

Added by isovector, Mon Feb 19 06:01:19 UTC 2018.

A GHC.Generics based entity component system.

Instructables: exploring - featured: Creating a Simple Frame

This instructables will teach you how to make a simple homemade frame for any photo or piece of "art" you would like to frame! Things You Will Need: Scissors Glue stick (make sure the glue stick is strong and usable on wood)Poster Board (the color is not important, it is going to be the base for ...
By: bvance1994

Continue Reading »

Instructables: exploring - featured: How to Interview Someone

Congratulations! Your boss just promoted you to be the manager for his company. His first task for you is to hire someone to take your former position. If you are having trouble figuring out how to hire that “perfect” person, here are some steps to help you prepare for interviewing the candidates. ...
By: dspitza

Continue Reading »

Slashdot: Google Trains AI To Write Wikipedia Articles

The Register: A team within Google Brain -- the web giant's crack machine-learning research lab -- has taught software to generate Wikipedia-style articles by summarizing information on web pages... to varying degrees of success. As we all know, the internet is a never ending pile of articles, social media posts, memes, joy, hate, and blogs. It's impossible to read and keep up with everything. Using AI to tell pictures of dogs and cats apart is cute and all, but if such computers could condense information down into useful snippets, that would be really be handy. It's not easy, though. A paper, out last month and just accepted for this year's International Conference on Learning Representations (ICLR) in April, describes just how difficult text summarization really is. A few companies have had a crack at it. Salesforce trained a recurrent neural network with reinforcement learning to take information and retell it in a nutshell, and the results weren't bad.

Read more of this story at Slashdot. MIDI-Ngram-0.08

Find the top repeated note phrases of a MIDI file

Slashdot: Sweden Considers Six Years in Jail For Online Pirates

Sweden's Minister for Justice has received recommendations as to how the country should punish online pirates. From a report: Helene Fritzon received a proposal which would create crimes of gross infringement under both copyright and trademark law, leading to sentences of up to six years in prison. The changes would also ensure that non-physical property, such as domain names, can be seized.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

things magazine: Spinning around

depressing piece about New Zealand’s potential future role as a home for disenfranchised billionaires (via MeFi) / the most interesting modern houses in Yorkshire / The Best Things Found Between the Pages of Old Books, at Atlas Obscura (via kottke) … Continue reading

Slashdot: The Wikipedia Zero Program Will End This Year

Wikimedia: Wikimedia 2030, the global discussion to define the future of the Wikimedia movement, created a bold vision for the future of Wikimedia and the role we want to play in the world as a movement. With this shared vision for our movement's future in mind, the Wikimedia Foundation is evolving how we work with partners to address some of the critical barriers to participating in free knowledge globally. After careful evaluation, the Wikimedia Foundation has decided to discontinue one of its partnership approaches, the Wikipedia Zero program. Wikipedia Zero was created in 2012 to address one barrier to participating in Wikipedia globally: high mobile data costs. Through the program, we partnered with mobile operators to waive mobile data fees for their customers to freely access Wikipedia on mobile devices. Over the course of this year, no additional Wikipedia Zero partnerships will be formed, and the remaining partnerships with mobile operators will expire. In the program's six year tenure, we have partnered with 97 mobile carriers in 72 countries to provide access to Wikipedia to more than 800 million people free of mobile data charges. Further reading: Medium.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

MetaFilter: The authoritarian equivalent of Whuffie

China's Dystopian Tech Could Be Contagious: The PRC's "social credit" scheme might have consequences for life in cities everywhere (SLAtlantic)

Planet Haskell: Neil Mitchell: Atomic Expressions Generically

Summary: For certain hints HLint needs to determine if a Haskell expression is atomic. I wrote a generic method to generate expressions and test if they are atomic.

With HLint, if you write a statement such as:

main = print ("Hello")

You get the hint:

Sample.hs:1:14: Warning: Redundant bracket
Why not:

One of ways HLint figures out if brackets are redundant is if the expression inside the brackets is "atomic" - if you never have to bracket it in any circumstances. As an example, a literal string is atomic, but an if expression is not. The isAtom function from haskell-src-exts-util has a list of the types of expression which are atomic, but the Exp type from haskell-src-exts has 55 distinct constructors, and I don't even know what many of them do. How can we check the isAtom function is correct?

One approach is to use human thought, and that's the approach used until now, with reasonable success. However, I've recently written a script which solves the problem more permanently, generating random expressions and checking that isAtom gives the right value. In this post I'm going to outline a few features of how that script works. There are basically three steps:

1) Generate a type-correct Exp

The first step is to generate a random Exp which follows the type definition. Fortunately the Data class in Haskell lets us generate values. We define:

mkValue :: forall a . Data a => Int -> IO a
mkValue depth
| Just x <- cast "aA1:+" = randomElem x
| Just x <- cast [-1 :: Int, 1] = randomElem x
| Just x <- cast [-1 :: Integer, 1] = randomElem x
| AlgRep cs <- dataTypeRep $ dataTypeOf (undefined :: a) =
if depth <= 0 then throwIO LimitReached else fromConstrM (mkValue $ depth - 1) =<< randomElem cs

Here we are saying that given a depth, and a result type a, we generate a value of type a. Note that the a argument is the result, but we don't pass anything in of type a. The first three lines of the body follow the pattern:

    | Just x <- cast [list_of_element] = randomElem x

This tries to convert list_of_element to [a] by using runtime type information. If it succeeds, we pick a random element from the list. If it doesn't we continue onwards.

The final case uses dataTypeRep/dataTypeOf to get a list of the constructors of a. Note that we don't have a value of a, so we make one up using undefined :: a - but that's OK because dataTypeOf promises not to look at its argument. Given a list of constructors, we pick one at random, and then call fromConstrM - which says how to create a value of the right constructor, using some argument to fill in all the fields. We pass mkValue as that argument, which causes us to recursively build up random values.

One immediate problem is what if we are building a [Int] and the random generator often picks (:)? We'll take a very long time to finish. To solve this problem we keep a depth counter, decrement it in every recursive call, and when it runs out, throwIO an exception and give up.

2) Generate a parsing Exp

Now we've got a valid Exp value, but just because an Exp can be represented in the AST doesn't mean it corresponds to Haskell fragment. As an example, consider Var (UnQual (Ident "Test")). That's a valid value of type Exp, but if you pretty print it you get Test, and if you parse it back you'll get Con (UnQual (Ident "Test")) - variables must start with a leading lower-case letter.

To ignore invalid expressions we try pretty printing then parsing the expression, and ignore all expressions which don't roundtrip.

3) Determine if the Exp is atomic

Now we've got a valid Exp, which we know the user could have typed in as a source program, we need to figure out if isAtom is correct. To do that we see if given expression x whether self-application roundtrips, i.e. x x. As a positive example, foo (a variable) roundtrips as foo foo being foo applied to itself. However, if b then t else f when applied to itself gives if b then t else f if b then t else f, which parses back more like if b then t else f (if b then t else f), and is not atomic.

Putting it all together

Now we've got a random expression, and we know if the atomicity agrees with what we were expecting, we can report any differences. That approach has identified many additional patterns to match, but it's not perfect, in particular:

  • Most values either exceed the depth limit or fail to roundtrip. For 10,000 if expressions I typically get 1 or 2 which roundtrip properly. For non-if expressions it's usually 100 or so. The advantage of random testing is that throwing more time at a problem solves such issues without thinking too hard.
  • For some expressions, e.g. ParComp, I've never managed to get a valid value created. Perhaps haskell-src-exts can't parse it, or perhaps it requires constants I don't have in my hardcoded list - none of these were particularly common examples.
  • haskell-src-exts has a bug where -1 is pretty printed as (-1), which is then parsed as a paren and -1. That fails step 2, so we don't test with negative literals. As it happens, non-negative literals are atomic, but negative literals aren't, so we need to take care.
  • There are some patterns which appear to roundtrip successfully on their own, but not when surrounded by brackets, but secretly are just very weird. For example do rec\n [] parses successfully, but with source positions that are error values, and when applied to itself pretty prints incorrectly. There's at least one haskell-src-exts bug here.
  • The program appears to leak progressively more memory. I solved that by running slices of it at a time, and didn't look too hard. I've seen cases of blowup in Data constructors when recursing, so it could be that. but needs investigating.

As a result of all this work a future HLint will spot unnecessary brackets for 20 more types of expression, 8 more types of pattern and 7 more types of type.

MetaFilter: " !"

Abby and Brittany Hensel are dicephalic parapagus twins from Minnesota with separate heads and joined bodies (previously). After as normal a childhood as possible, they graduated from college in 2012 and became part-time teachers. (via)

Student Teaching
Abby and Brittany FAQ
2011 Documentary

Slashdot: Occupational Licensing Blunts Competition and Boosts Inequality

Occupational licensing -- the practice of regulating who can do what jobs -- has been on the rise for decades. In 1950 one in 20 employed Americans required a licence to work. By 2017 that had risen to more than one in five. From a report: The trend partly reflects an economic shift towards service industries, in which licences are more common. But it has also been driven by a growing number of professions successfully lobbying state governments to make it harder to enter their industries. Most studies find that licensing requirements raise wages in a profession by around 10%, probably by making it harder for competitors to set up shop. Lobbyists justify licences by claiming consumers need protection from unqualified providers. In many cases this is obviously a charade. Forty-one states license makeup artists, as if wielding concealer requires government oversight. Thirteen license bartending; in nine, those who wish to pull pints must first pass an exam. Such examples are popular among critics of licensing, because the threat from unlicensed staff in low-skilled jobs seems paltry. Yet they are not representative of the broader harm done by licensing, which affects crowds of more highly educated workers like Ms Varnam. Among those with only a high-school education, 13% are licensed. The figure for those with postgraduate degrees is 45%. [...] One way of telling that many licences are superfluous is the sheer variance in the law across states. About 1,100 occupations are regulated in at least one state, but fewer than 60 are regulated in all 50, according to a report from 2015 by Barack Obama's White House. Yet a handful of high-earning professions are regulated everywhere. In particular, licences are more common in legal and health-care occupations than in any other.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Slashdot: 'Microsoft Should Scrap Bing and Call it Microsoft Search'

Chris Matyszczyk, writing for CNET: Does anyone really have a deep, abiding respect for the Bing brand? Somehow, if ever I've heard the brand name being used, it seems to be in the context of a joke. That doesn't mean the service itself is to be derided. It does suggest, though, that the brand name doesn't incite passion or excesses of reverence. The Microsoft brand, on the other hand, has become much stronger under Satya Nadella's stewardship. It's gained respect. Especially when the company showed off its Surface Studio in 2016 and made Apple's offerings look decidedly bland. Where once Microsoft was a joke in an Apple ad, now it's a symbol of a resurgent company that's trying new things and sometimes even succeeding. The funny thing about Bing is that it's not an unsuccessful product -- at least not as unsuccessful as some might imagine. Last year, Redmond said it has a 9 percent worldwide search market share, enjoying a 25 percent share in the UK, 18 percent in France and 17 percent in Canada. And look at the US. Microsoft says it has a 33 percent share here. Wouldn't it be reasonable to think that going all the way with Microsoft branding and letting Bing drift into the retirement home for funny names might be a positive move?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Planet Haskell: Kevin Reid (kpreid): Blog moved

Moving to

(In the event that you are looking at this post in a distant future where both are abandoned, check my web site for the freshest link.)

Greater Fool – Authored by Garth Turner – The Troubled Future of Real Estate: GYOW

Days ago we sliced & diced the young musical Starbucks babe who decided to gamble it all on a condo in dubious Mission.

Is it cultural, tribal or just FOMO pressure that makes kids hot to get mortgaged? Do they believe it’s an easy path to getting money without working? Maybe an overpowering urge for stability and nesting? Or is it just social – succumbing to peer pressures – that would make a young person trade freedom, flexibility and infinite choices for condo fees, property tax and a mortgage payment?

Dunno. But if you could buy a home for two or three times your income, it might not matter. Today it can be ten or twelve (at least) times annual earnings. In Vancouver, says the National Bank, it now takes 29 years to save enough for a down payment – which is the definition of futility. So why do people keep trying? Why not just (a) move or (b) decide there are more productive things to do with your money, and your days?

An enduring tenet of this pathetic blog is this: the goal of life is not a house. Instead, it is the worthy spending of your time.

So here’s a counterpoint to the Mission-bound Ms. Sbux. Please welcome Scott…

“Just a short note to let you know I’m liking that blog.  I’ve been following your advice for years and your blog does a great job,” he says in the obligatory suck-up.

My own tale of woe.  I started out as an English major at UofT.  I wisely came to my senses, and moved to Manitoba where I switched majors, improved my employment prospects after graduation, and took full advantage of a relative lower cost of living, whilst enjoying the same standard I had in T.O.

My tale gets worse.  I actually graduated with 0 debt.  I’m one of those weirdos who held a job despite managing a full course load. I eventually found satisfactory employment completely unrelated to anything I studied in school.  I was lucky, because although we’re all in a profession where we’re pulling in a good wage, I was mentored by a few of the guys in money management.  They set the foundation.

So did I buy a house in cheap, cold Winnipeg?

No.  I rented.  For years.  My sad tale continues.  I bought groceries and made food like a normal person, I never did “Timmy’s runs” and don’t even think about talking to me about $tarbucks. I endured ridicule.  “How come you don’t buy a house?”  “Tim’s (coffee, what else) is like, the best ever.”  I was single then, performing shift work, so I needed a low-maintenance place to rest up and have little worries.  Toilet blows up?  Property Mgt deals with it.  I’ve paid for that in my rent.  I can make own coffee (still do) for pennies a cup.

I’ve heard it more times than I care to remember, “You’ll never get ahead by bringing coffee from home.”  It all adds up.  It does.  Or, “You’re a young guy.  Buy a house and sell it down the road, you’ll make lots of money.”

I learned early.  A house doesn’t make money.  It COSTS money.  So amid all the mockery and snickering along the way I quietly worked, invested and basically didn’t make a life and/or money stupid move.  Like investing in a speculative venture or ponzi/pyramid scheme.  I guess the kids call that Bitcoin these days.

My sad story ends with me being semi-retired.  I can pick and choose my hours and have enough FU money (I guess the ‘moisters’ refer to this as … ‘Freedom Unlimited’.) to call it a day if I choose.

Ok I guess that wasn’t so short after all.

A few observations:

Too many people try and spend their way to wealth.  You refer to the Audis and so forth.  They might be faking-it-till-they-make-it.  But, they’re all fake, and they’ll never make it.  Next time you see a massive house, or an Audi, or a high cost purchase, ask yourself, “Is it bought and paid for, free and clear?”  Sometimes it is, most often – nope.

For the ‘moisters’ out there – I believe getting married is the most important financial decision you’ll ever make.  More than your education, profession and even what you’ll invest in.  My wife, bless her heart, is even more of a bad ass than I am.  She possesses an MA in Philosophy and also worked a job completely unrelated to her post grad work.  She’s completely on the same page with how we invest and manage our finances.

We still consider $100 a lot of money.  As time went on we eventually caved in and bought a house and not a mortgage.  We only have one vehicle, and we can afford to buy new. 0 financing.  If we don’t get the deal we want, we’ll walk.

We also learned from our parents.  I know, it’s odd in our world today, but my folks actually knew each other and stayed married.  Same with my wife.  Buy only what you can afford.  Save.  Invest.  One step at a time.  Don’t skip steps or take shortcuts.  Don’t listen to morons.  Don’t do stupid shit and go to jail.  And etc.

You must either be bored if you’ve read this far.  One more thing – I believe a lot of this house-horny nonsense is a result of those ridiculous TV shows (buy it, flip it, renovate it, design it, buy it? and etc etc etc.  Selling them on something they can’t afford.  But hey, it’s “on trend.” Ok, thanks Garth.  I know you have more important things to do.  If you want to gleefully dissect this and pass along a response that’d be solid.  Cheers.

Scott’s moral: go your own way.

If the goal is freedom from worry and work at an age you can enjoy it, real estate my not be the right path. Especially now when costs are extreme and historic. Nobody needs to own, nor be in debt, to have a home. That’s where you live with the ones you care about. It’s where the dog sleeps.

Emotional and financial goals are often opposed. People make decisions by rote and instinct, not always with intellect and forethought. What worked for the parents may not for the child. What others covet may be your downfall. Pick the destination, then go your own way. Proudly.

Instructables: exploring - featured: Gameboy Advance Backlight LCD Screen

The GBA was one of my favorite handhelds. However, it lacked a backlight. Although, a backlit replacement LCD has been available for many years, it usually was expensive or involved gutting out a good GBA SP AGS-101's screen as a donor. Luckily, they are a lot cheaper today. In this instructable...
By: f1racer

Continue Reading »

ScreenAnarchy: WHAT THE FILM FESTIVAL 2018 - Fourth Year of Eccentric Cinema Coming This March!

It bears repeating. Here in Toronto we are blessed with an embarrassing abundance of cinematic experiences. Beyond the multiplexes hemorrhaging with the latest, popular fare, small strongholds like The Royal Cinema act as safe harbors and shelters for cinematic oddities and rarities.    But things get especially weird once a year when The Laserblast Film Society presents their What The Film Festival. Founders Peter Kuplowsky and Justin Decloux bomb our brains with the oddest of the odd, the weirdest of the weird. These are films that may otherwise have been lost into the ether had they not tickled the pleasure centers of Kuplowsky and Decloux's minds. As it is, being the generous lads that they are, they want to share their discoveries with their friends...

[Read the whole post on]

Planet Haskell: Michael Snoyman: Haskell Ecosystem Requests

Last month, I clarified some parts of the SLURP proposal. I'm intentionally not getting into the SLURP proposal itself here, if you missed that episode, don't worry about it. One of the outcomes of that blog post was that I shared some of the requests I had made in private that ultimately led to the SLURP proposal.

A single comment in a mega-thread on Github is hardly a good place to write down these requests, however, and it seems like there's no progress on them. I'm going to instead put down these ideas here, with a bit more explanation, and a few more ideas that have popped up since then.

(If you really want to, feel free to see the context of my original comment.)

These points should be made in some kind of more official forum, but:

  1. I'm honestly not sure where that forum is
  2. I don't believe the official forums we typically use for discussions of community infrastructure are nearly visible enough to most community members

So I'll start the conversation here, and later we can move it to the right place.

PVP adherence is optional

I would like to see some kind of statement on Hackage that says something like, "PVP adherence is recommended, but not required. You are free to upload a package even if it does not conform to the PVP." Which I realize is in fact exactly what the current policy is, but in many discussions, this was unclear to people. And have a clear sentence to be quoted when online discussions get heated would be useful. Without something like this, I believe that we will continue having regular online flamewars about the PVP, which is the biggest thing I've been trying to get to stop over the past few years.

Hackage Trustee guidelines

Going along with this, I would like to request a change to the Hackage Trustee guidelines (or whatever the appropriate term is), namely that it is not appropriate to PVP police on social media. Sending PRs and opening issues: totally acceptable. Emails to authors: totally acceptable. If an author requests that these stop: they must stop. Publicly criticizing an author for not following the PVP: unacceptable. I do realize that enforcing a policy on how people behave personally is difficult. But I'd be happy to see the change even if it wasn't easily enforceable.

Downstream projects

Private discussions tried to achieve some kind of technical policy which would avoid breakage to Stackage and Stack. It seems like those private discussions did not reach any conclusion. However, regardless of any technical policy that is put in place, I would request simple goal be stated:

GHC, Hackage, and Cabal will strive to meet the needs of commonly used downstream projects, including but not limited to Stackage, Stack, and Nix.

I'm not asking for any demands of compatibility or testing, simply a stated policy that "it works with cabal-install, that's all that matters" is not a sufficient response.

Maintainer guidelines

There have been a number of issues and pull requests recently where contributors to some infrastructure projects have been discouraged by the unclear process for getting their changes included upstream. See, as examples:

More generally, there is an ongoing culture in some places of goals/agendas/plans being made privately and not shared, which leads to an inability of people outside of an inner circle to contribute. See, for example:

I would like to recommend some maintainer guidelines be put in place for any core Haskell packages and projects. (What constitutes "core" could definitely be up for debate as well.) I'd like to see some rules like:

  • Plans for significant changes must start as an issue in an issue tracker (see Gabriel's golden rule)
  • Plans for major changes should have a mention in a more public forum than an issue tracker. As a concrete example: the newly added ^>= operator has significant impacts on how downstream projects like Stackage interact with dependency bounds, but no public comment period was granted to provide input before the 2.0 release. (And even post release, as referenced above, the full plan has not been revealed.)
  • Pull requests which are rejected are given a reason for being rejected (this includes simple refusal to merge). See, for example, hackage-security #206.

There are likely many other guidelines we could come up with, some more onerous than others. I encourage others to recommend other ideas too. One possible source of inspiration for this could be the maintainer communication advice I wrote up a few years ago.

Re: Factor: $7.11

Today, someone blogged about a fun problem:

“A mathematician purchased four items in a grocery store. He noticed that when he added the prices of the four items, the sum came to $7.11, and when he multiplied the prices of the four items, the product came to $7.11.”

In some ways, this is similar to the SEND + MORE = MONEY problem that I blogged about awhile ago. You can always approach this problem with an direct and iterative solution, but instead we will use the backtrack vocabulary to solve this problem with less code.

We'll be solving this exactly, using integer "numbers of cents", progressively restricting the options, and then calling fail if the solution is not found, so we check the next. The first valid solution will be returned:

:: solve-711 ( -- seq )
711 <iota> amb-lazy :> w
711 w - <iota> amb-lazy :> x
711 w - x - <iota> amb-lazy :> y
711 w - x - y - :> z

w x * y * z * 711,000,000 = [ fail ] unless

{ w x y z } ;

Using it, we get our answer:

IN: scratchpad solve-711 .
{ 120 125 150 316 }

And that is: $1.20, $1.25, $1.50, and $3.16.

ScreenAnarchy: CRUEL SUMMER: Watch The Trailer For UK Thriller Horror, Coming Soon on VOD

Based on a horrifying true crime, the UK horror flick Cruel Summer premieres on VOD 2/27 from Wild Eye Releasing. Screen Anarchy has your first look at a new trailer and poster for the flick.   From filmmakers Phillip Escott and Craig Newman comes the powerful story of an autistic teen that is tormented by a group of local thugs after he ventures into the woods alone for a camping trip.   Danny, an autistic teenager, is bullied and tormented by a group of thugs after he ventures into the woods alone for a camping trip. Their rage against him is based on lies spread by a local girl, who claims Danny committed a crime against her that he had nothing to do with.   ...

[Read the whole post on]

TheSirensSound: New song The Unforgotten by Iskwe

A powerful new song by Iskwe " The Unforgotten" featuring the Tanya Tagaq.

"I’m very pleased to share my new song, “The Unforgotten”, featuring the ever-powerful Tanya Tagaq, with you today. This is a community song that’s meant to be shared by all people – a round dance where everyone holds the hand of the person next to them, forming a circle that connects us with our ancestors, as one. The current climate of events for Indigenous people is not lost on me, and makes me feel that much stronger releasing this bad boy now.

Written last year in the wake of the Canada 150 celebrations, I felt it was important to remind everyone that while celebrating the wonderful things that make Canada a beautiful and unique place to live, it's imperative that we remember, honour and acknowledge our dark corners as well.

I'm proud of who we are as Indigenous people. I'm proud of what we've fought for, and how we continue to fight for our culture, our languages, our children, our women, our men, our earth and our water. But I'm also proud of all my non-Indigenous family and friends who continue to fight alongside us. This song is for all of us. Let's dance together!"

TheSirensSound: New album Prove your love by DBOY

DBOY was thought of and executed by three veterans of the Southern Ontario music scene, and has since recorded a record at their last live performance in Belem, Brazil.  This was mastered by the ever-prolific Daniel Romano.  DBOY have taken on the laborious task of creating shock and novelty so that you do not have to.  

TheSirensSound: New album Granchite Yumtruso PT 2 by Massimo Ruberti

Nostress Netlabel is proud to release " Granchite Yumtruso PT 2", the new digital EP by Massimo Ruberti, an artist from Livorno (Italy) who usually define himself as a "Trafficker of sounds and images".

The album is the second part of the EP "Granchite Yumtruso PT. 1 ", released by Nostress Netlabel exclusively for Netlabel Day 2016 organized by the Chilean netlabel M.I.S.T. and which involves Netlabels from all over the world.

It's an album of warm and elegant sounds, scratching the heart and soul of the listener. A work that runs through wilderness, unexplored lands never trodden by human hands. Through listening we find ourselves in a desert devoid of its characteristic and constant wind, driving on non-existent paths, you suddenly find yourself in an oasis where the perspective changes and even the sand seems to take on the color of the sky and thirst suddenly becomes the ' last of the primary needs. The Sax caressing soft carpets of Synth, nocturnal atmospheres through the time gap that separates the vintage from the traditional electronic sound.

"Granchite Yumtruso PT 2" closes a cycle of sounds that gradually stratify with exotic and colored atmospheres, with distant echoes that rest on long carpets with an antique flavor. The voice of Ada Doria in "Wilderness Falling" and "Cosmic egg traveling blues" seems to come out of an 1870 gramophone as it disperses vibrations in the desert.

The sax of Fabio Leonardi paints well-defined shades of color. Notable orchestral arrangements of Roberto Mangoni in "Cosmic egg traveling blues". The songs were recorded at Dogana D'acqua Studio. The work has been mixed and mastered by Francesco Landucci @ Poderino Recording Studio.

TheSirensSound: New EP Into A Ghost by Josh Mover & The Shakers

Josh Mover & The Shakers are a dark indie-rock band out on a mission to write music that divides people.

"For Into a Ghost, I culled together some good friends and talented Toronto rock alumni to play: Ben Reinhartz (Dilly Dally); Mathew Wronski (The Sulks); Joseph Landau (ex-Formalists), Will Hunter (The Nutrients), and Clara Klein. Mastered by David Newfeld (Broken Social Scene), and recorded and mixed at Union Sound Company by Ian Gomes (Odonis Odonis, Teenanger), this EP was recorded in a whirlwind span of two days this past September, and was largely fueled by Figs Breakfast on Queen East.

Disquiet: Music from Instrument Makers

The talented synthesizer creator Meng Qi is known for crafting a variety of musical equipment, often one-off projects that mix noise and design, touch and technology toward unique creative ends. Based in Beijing, China, Meng Qi also releases music that combines these instruments as part of larger arrays of equipment. Out this past week is a single, “Lights Are from a Window,” self-released on Bandcamp. The music emerges from a thick hum, filling the void with short-circuit fidgets and a melodic drone that brings to mind mid-period Aphex Twin. At just over three minutes, it ends like it’s just getting started, leaving the listener primed for what comes next.

Track available for one dollar (U.S.) at More from Meng Qi at Comic for 2018.02.18

New Cyanide and Happiness Comic

ScreenAnarchy: Berlinale 2018: Watch The Teaser For Brazilian LGBTQ Drama HARD PAINT (TINTA BRUTA)

Filipe Matzembacher and Marcio Reolon’s LGBTQ drama Hard Paint (Tinta Bruta) from Brazil will have its world premiere in the Panorama programme in Berlin Sunday night, February 18th. Screen Anarchy is pleased to debut the new teaser for the film which you will find below along with a selection of images in a gallery.  While facing criminal charges, Pedro must grapple with his sister’s sudden decision to move away and leave him behind. Alone in the darkness of his bedroom, he dances covered in neon paint, while thousands of strangers watch him via webcam. To help give everyone a sense of what the directors are trying to do with their second film here is a excerpt from a press kit that came to us as...

[Read the whole post on]

ScreenAnarchy: Review: AWE Is A Bold, Kaleidoscopic Experiment That Entertains And Invigorates

For decades there has been little more to Telugu regional cinema than broad masala films. The idea of the masala film has deep roots in India, but most of the larger film industries in the country have taken great pains to distance themselves from the kind of overt tonal dissonance that characterized Indian cinema in the world's eyes. North India's Bollywood films have hewn closer and closer to international standards, retaining the song and dance but often leaving out the physics defying action and melodrama for modern, upwardly mobile and internationally connected young audiences; while the Tamil and Malayalam language film industries have focused on hard hitting social dramas and high concept projects that often beg for international attention. But of the major industries in...

[Read the whole post on]

MattCha's Blog: Today is MattCha’s Blog’s 10th Anniversary!

The sharing or knowledge.

The absence.

I believe I am currently waning again…

Ten years… this is a big thing.  The very first blog post I wrote was on Febuary 17, 2008.  Tea blogs that I read when I first started are almost all inactive or have considerably slowed down or have started selling tea.  I don’t buy the fact that some old tea bloggers say there is nothing interesting to blog about anymore .  There is so much to say.  After all, puerh tea is the Black Hole of Tea.  I feel I have so much more to say.  This is evident from pages and pages of blog rough drafts or unfinished posts I have kicking around on my word processor which cover a broad kaleidoscope of puerh topics written over the past year.

Wait, I don’t know if you could even consider it a 10 year anniversary- I had a 2 year absence… maybe it’s technically only an 8 year anniversary… oh well… I’ll take it.  Hahaha

Lately, I’ve been in “Zen mode” with my tea drinking again.  It was a big year and I’m currently sitting on a bunch of good drinkers and enjoying them on a deeper level

 I just let my body feel the treasure of tea.

This is “busy season” for me and things are about to get busier with work, an ever expanding family, and life.  I welcome this change.  My puerh drinking will undoubtedly change with it.  This is life, being, puerh- it will change with age.  Right now, I'm just enjoying the process with puerh tea in the cup just as I am enjoying writing out this post now.

Most importantly thank you reader for all your love.  Without you, what would I have learned?  Thank you for sitting across from me thousands of kilometers away at my tea table.  MattCha’s blog has always been, and will always be, “yours and the teas”.


ScreenAnarchy: Berlinale 2018 Review: GARBAGE Savagely Attacks Religious Hypocrisy In Media Addicted India

A nation crippled by divisive partisan politics and violent religious and cultural hardliners. A nation in which anyone who doesn't expressly and enthusiastically support the right wing central government is labeled as traitorous and excoriated on twenty four hour partisan news channels night after night. A nation in which women are subject to sexual assault, harassment, both demeaned and revered for their sexuality, and in which trusting the wrong person can lead to a lifetime of repercussions. Sound familiar? Welcome to India, 2018. If there's one thing that Indian experimental filmmaker Qaushik Mukherjee, Q for short, has never been, it is afraid to say what he means. Ever since his shocking debut film, Gandu, in which a poor kid goes berserk in his search for...

[Read the whole post on]

Greater Fool – Authored by Garth Turner – The Troubled Future of Real Estate: Why 60/40

RYAN  By Guest Blogger Ryan Lewenza

All it took was a bit of volatility and a 10% market correction to wake investors up from their low volatility induced stupor. Well a “bit of volatility” is maybe downplaying what we’ve witnessed in recent weeks with the VIX or “fear index” rocketing higher from a near historical low of 9 in early January to a peak of 37 in early February. And with the spike in volatility and market correction, out come the doom and gloomers once again peddling their fear based prognostications of an imminent bear market and further market carnage. Not surprisingly we’re fielding some queries from clients on whether our recommended asset mix of 60% in equities and 40% in fixed income is still appropriate in light of this increased volatility. The short answer is yes, and in this week’s post we examine some of the inputs and analysis that goes into our preferred 60/40 asset mix.

Let’s start with a review of bear markets to see how the 60/40 portfolio performed versus the TSX and other portfolio models. Using the S&P/TSX Total Return Index and the FTSE TMX Canada Universe Bond Index we analyzed portfolio returns in the four last major bear markets of 2007, 2000, 1990 and 1980.

On average the 60/40 portfolio declined 20% peak-to-trough in the last four bear markets, roughly half of the 38% average decline in the TSX. A 50/50 and 40/60 portfolio declined 15% and 10%, respectively.

So of course even with a balanced or conservative portfolio they will decline during bear markets, but as you can see the declines are far less severe than an all equity investor.
Now you may be wondering why not just move from a 60/40 to a 40/60 portfolio ahead of the bear market to reduce the potential downside. While we may tweak the 60/40 asset mix if we believe a bear market is coming, we generally will stick with the 60/40 asset mix since we recognize how difficult is to perfectly time the markets as it requires you to get both the sell and buy just right. For this reason we recommend investors stick with their long-term or strategic asset mix over time.

Performance during Bear Markets

Source: Bloomberg, Turner Investments

Below we show the last two bear markets of 2007 and 2000 to better illustrate how these different portfolios hold up much better than the overall TSX.

Performance for the 2007 and 2000 Bear Markets

Source: Bloomberg, Turner Investments

The second thing I looked at was how long it took to get back to even following a bear market. In the table below I show that on average it took the TSX 24 months to get back to even following the bottom of the bear market, versus 10.5 months for our preferred 60/40 portfolio. For the 50/50 and 40/60 portfolios they were back at even quicker at 9 and 6 months, respectively, since they declined far less during the bear market.

This is another factor supporting our preference for a 60/40 balanced portfolio

Number of Months to Get Back to Even

Source: Bloomberg, Turner Investments

Finally, I looked at historical returns with the analysis in the table below. Since 1980, the TSX has returned on average 10.2% annually, just above the 60/40 at 9.8%. However, this was during a time of record high interest rates, which then consistently declined helping to deliver nice capital gains for bonds. Well, those days are long gone and we see much lower rates of returns from bonds over the next decade.

I believe returns will be more consistent with what we’ve witnessed since 2000, with the 60/40 portfolio delivering an average annual return of 6.9%. The 50/50 and 40/60 portfolios returned 6.7% and 6.6%, respectively over this period.

Given our expectations for lower bond yields over the next decade we see the 50/50 and 40/60 portfolios delivering lower returns going forward of potentially 6.4% and 5.8%, respectively.

Historical and Future Portfolio Returns

Source: Bloomberg, Turner Investments

Wow, that’s a lot of data and analysis to take in. Here are the key takeaways:

  • The 60/40 portfolio declines far less than the TSX in bear markets which better helps investors control their emotions and stay committed to their long-term financial plan
  • The 60/40 model gets back to even far faster than the TSX but not as quick as the 50/50 and 40/60 models
  • The 60/40 portfolio has and should continue to deliver long-term returns of 6.9%, which is better than the 50/50 and 40/60 models but should return less than the TSX over the long-run

Put it all together, readers and clients, stick with the 60/40 asset mix for now and over the long-run!

Ryan Lewenza, CFA,CMT is a Partner and Portfolio Manager with Turner Investments, and a Senior Vice President, Private Client Group, of Raymond James Ltd.


Perlsphere: Very positive and refreshing articles on Perl 5 -- example for embedded systems

 Michel Conrad recently wrote two very positive articles on Perl 5. Those were relayed on the  LinkedIn Perl group but I haven't seen them on  usual Perl sites, so I share them here in the hope they get propagated better. :

The second article is very interesting in that it shows an unusual application area for Perl : realtime graphics for a car dashboard ! This reminded me of a very interesting presentation many years ago at the French Perl Workshop 2005 , where we saw an application driving all vehicles on the apron of Port Airport.


Disquiet: Temporary Guitar

“Bell Pit” is Cousin Silas of Huddersfield, England, on “ambient guitar.” That’s the very tag, hence the quotes, associated with many of Silas’ tracks posted on SoundCloud. Like other musicians mentioned here this week, Silas appreciates SoundCloud as a “staging” ground. Posts he makes to his account are, he warns in his brief bio, eventually replaced with other things. This likely isn’t an economically determined decision, as Silas has a Pro account, allowing plenty of room for uploaded music. More to the point, it is simply a recognition of the nature of SoundCloud, as a waystation, not a back catalog, a work-in-progress, not a done deal.

The ephemeral quality of that posting process of his has a nice parallel in the music itself, which in this piece is all silken swells and plaintive modulations. There are multiple lines for the ear trace, sometimes overlapping with a momentary balance, but usually one given significant prominence over others. And there is a sense of roominess that is never remotely filled. Quite the contrary, Silas makes his music light by providing a significant illusory space in which it transpires.

The track is also available for free download, something of a declining norm in this age of streaming-first listening. That’s an invitation from Silas, who writes, “If anyone wants to use any of my music, no problem. Just ask.”

Track originally posted at Comic for 2018.02.17

New Cyanide and Happiness Comic

Penny Arcade: News Post: Posers

Tycho: I first saw the Wyrmwood crew out at PAX South, which was essentially “the tabletop focused show” before there was such a thing as PAX Unplugged.  “Wood nerds” are real.  I know about this from my stepfather: he was showing me some kind of “burl” or whatever, which I think is a wood word, and he was like “check this burl out” or something to that effect.  No, it was Bird’s Eye maple.  His eyes glowed.  That’s the type of dorks these Wyrmwood people are. Indeed, they are multiclass, because they’re dorks…

Planet Haskell: Ken T Takusagawa: [omqzhxkn] Lagrange Four-Square Theorem examples

A listing of numbers and how to express them as a sum of 4 squares will probably provoke curiosity: There isn't an obvious pattern of how to express a given number as sum of 4 squares.  Can all natural numbers be expressed this way?  (Yes, by Lagrange.)  Which numbers can be expressed as the sum of just 3 squares (answer: Legendre Three-Square Theorem), or 2?  As numbers get larger, there seems to be a trend of more ways to express it as 4 or fewer squares, kind of reminiscent of Goldbach conjecture.  What is the rate of growth of the number of ways?  What about cubes and higher powers (Waring's problem)?  There's lots of deep mathematics lurking just beneath the surface.  It's just a short skip and a jump to Fermat's Last Theorem.

We generated 4-square decompositions up to 121=11^2 in order to include 112 = 7 * 4^2, the first instance where Legendre's 3-square theorem applies with an exponent (on 4) greater than 1.  The number which had the most number of ways to express it in the range was 90, with 9.

We also provide a more compact list which expresses each number in the fewest number of squares, but still listing all possibilities for that fewest number of squares.  The full version has 436 lines; the compact version has 188.  The compact version makes it more clear (perhaps inspiring more curiosity) which numbers require 4 squares and which ones can be done in less.

Similar lists could be made for Gauss's Eureka Theorem on sum of 3 triangular numbers and the Goldbach conjecture on the sum of 2 primes.

Haskell source code is here.  Here is a pedagogical excerpt of how to choose num decreasing numbers bounded by 0 and amax.  We use the list as a nondeterminism monad.

choose_n_of_max :: Integer -> Int -> [[Integer]];
choose_n_of_max amax num = case compare num 0 of {
LT -> error "negative choose_n_of_max";
EQ -> return [];
GT -> do {
  x <- [0..amax];
  y <- choose_n_of_max x (pred num);
  return (x:y);

Below is a machine-readable listing of the numbers through 121 and all the ways to express each number as the sum of 4 or fewer squares.

(0,[[0,0,0,0]]) (1,[[1,0,0,0]]) (2,[[1,1,0,0]]) (3,[[1,1,1,0]]) (4,[[1,1,1,1],[2,0,0,0]]) (5,[[2,1,0,0]]) (6,[[2,1,1,0]]) (7,[[2,1,1,1]]) (8,[[2,2,0,0]]) (9,[[2,2,1,0],[3,0,0,0]]) (10,[[2,2,1,1],[3,1,0,0]]) (11,[[3,1,1,0]]) (12,[[2,2,2,0],[3,1,1,1]]) (13,[[2,2,2,1],[3,2,0,0]]) (14,[[3,2,1,0]]) (15,[[3,2,1,1]]) (16,[[2,2,2,2],[4,0,0,0]]) (17,[[3,2,2,0],[4,1,0,0]]) (18,[[3,2,2,1],[3,3,0,0],[4,1,1,0]]) (19,[[3,3,1,0],[4,1,1,1]]) (20,[[3,3,1,1],[4,2,0,0]]) (21,[[3,2,2,2],[4,2,1,0]]) (22,[[3,3,2,0],[4,2,1,1]]) (23,[[3,3,2,1]]) (24,[[4,2,2,0]]) (25,[[4,2,2,1],[4,3,0,0],[5,0,0,0]]) (26,[[3,3,2,2],[4,3,1,0],[5,1,0,0]]) (27,[[3,3,3,0],[4,3,1,1],[5,1,1,0]]) (28,[[3,3,3,1],[4,2,2,2],[5,1,1,1]]) (29,[[4,3,2,0],[5,2,0,0]]) (30,[[4,3,2,1],[5,2,1,0]]) (31,[[3,3,3,2],[5,2,1,1]]) (32,[[4,4,0,0]]) (33,[[4,3,2,2],[4,4,1,0],[5,2,2,0]]) (34,[[4,3,3,0],[4,4,1,1],[5,2,2,1],[5,3,0,0]]) (35,[[4,3,3,1],[5,3,1,0]]) (36,[[3,3,3,3],[4,4,2,0],[5,3,1,1],[6,0,0,0]]) (37,[[4,4,2,1],[5,2,2,2],[6,1,0,0]]) (38,[[4,3,3,2],[5,3,2,0],[6,1,1,0]]) (39,[[5,3,2,1],[6,1,1,1]]) (40,[[4,4,2,2],[6,2,0,0]]) (41,[[4,4,3,0],[5,4,0,0],[6,2,1,0]]) (42,[[4,4,3,1],[5,3,2,2],[5,4,1,0],[6,2,1,1]]) (43,[[4,3,3,3],[5,3,3,0],[5,4,1,1]]) (44,[[5,3,3,1],[6,2,2,0]]) (45,[[4,4,3,2],[5,4,2,0],[6,2,2,1],[6,3,0,0]]) (46,[[5,4,2,1],[6,3,1,0]]) (47,[[5,3,3,2],[6,3,1,1]]) (48,[[4,4,4,0],[6,2,2,2]]) (49,[[4,4,4,1],[5,4,2,2],[6,3,2,0],[7,0,0,0]]) (50,[[4,4,3,3],[5,4,3,0],[5,5,0,0],[6,3,2,1],[7,1,0,0]]) (51,[[5,4,3,1],[5,5,1,0],[7,1,1,0]]) (52,[[4,4,4,2],[5,3,3,3],[5,5,1,1],[6,4,0,0],[7,1,1,1]]) (53,[[6,3,2,2],[6,4,1,0],[7,2,0,0]]) (54,[[5,4,3,2],[5,5,2,0],[6,3,3,0],[6,4,1,1],[7,2,1,0]]) (55,[[5,5,2,1],[6,3,3,1],[7,2,1,1]]) (56,[[6,4,2,0]]) (57,[[4,4,4,3],[5,4,4,0],[6,4,2,1],[7,2,2,0]]) (58,[[5,4,4,1],[5,5,2,2],[6,3,3,2],[7,2,2,1],[7,3,0,0]]) (59,[[5,4,3,3],[5,5,3,0],[7,3,1,0]]) (60,[[5,5,3,1],[6,4,2,2],[7,3,1,1]]) (61,[[5,4,4,2],[6,4,3,0],[6,5,0,0],[7,2,2,2]]) (62,[[6,4,3,1],[6,5,1,0],[7,3,2,0]]) (63,[[5,5,3,2],[6,3,3,3],[6,5,1,1],[7,3,2,1]]) (64,[[4,4,4,4],[8,0,0,0]]) (65,[[6,4,3,2],[6,5,2,0],[7,4,0,0],[8,1,0,0]]) (66,[[5,4,4,3],[5,5,4,0],[6,5,2,1],[7,3,2,2],[7,4,1,0],[8,1,1,0]]) (67,[[5,5,4,1],[7,3,3,0],[7,4,1,1],[8,1,1,1]]) (68,[[5,5,3,3],[6,4,4,0],[7,3,3,1],[8,2,0,0]]) (69,[[6,4,4,1],[6,5,2,2],[7,4,2,0],[8,2,1,0]]) (70,[[5,5,4,2],[6,4,3,3],[6,5,3,0],[7,4,2,1],[8,2,1,1]]) (71,[[6,5,3,1],[7,3,3,2]]) (72,[[6,4,4,2],[6,6,0,0],[8,2,2,0]]) (73,[[5,4,4,4],[6,6,1,0],[7,4,2,2],[8,2,2,1],[8,3,0,0]]) (74,[[6,5,3,2],[6,6,1,1],[7,4,3,0],[7,5,0,0],[8,3,1,0]]) (75,[[5,5,4,3],[5,5,5,0],[7,4,3,1],[7,5,1,0],[8,3,1,1]]) (76,[[5,5,5,1],[6,6,2,0],[7,3,3,3],[7,5,1,1],[8,2,2,2]]) (77,[[6,4,4,3],[6,5,4,0],[6,6,2,1],[8,3,2,0]]) (78,[[6,5,4,1],[7,4,3,2],[7,5,2,0],[8,3,2,1]]) (79,[[5,5,5,2],[6,5,3,3],[7,5,2,1]]) (80,[[6,6,2,2],[8,4,0,0]]) (81,[[6,5,4,2],[6,6,3,0],[7,4,4,0],[8,3,2,2],[8,4,1,0],[9,0,0,0]]) (82,[[5,5,4,4],[6,6,3,1],[7,4,4,1],[7,5,2,2],[8,3,3,0],[8,4,1,1],[9,1,0,0]]) (83,[[7,4,3,3],[7,5,3,0],[8,3,3,1],[9,1,1,0]]) (84,[[5,5,5,3],[6,4,4,4],[7,5,3,1],[8,4,2,0],[9,1,1,1]]) (85,[[6,6,3,2],[7,4,4,2],[7,6,0,0],[8,4,2,1],[9,2,0,0]]) (86,[[6,5,4,3],[6,5,5,0],[7,6,1,0],[8,3,3,2],[9,2,1,0]]) (87,[[6,5,5,1],[7,5,3,2],[7,6,1,1],[9,2,1,1]]) (88,[[6,6,4,0],[8,4,2,2]]) (89,[[6,6,4,1],[7,6,2,0],[8,4,3,0],[8,5,0,0],[9,2,2,0]]) (90,[[6,5,5,2],[6,6,3,3],[7,4,4,3],[7,5,4,0],[7,6,2,1],[8,4,3,1],[8,5,1,0],[9,2,2,1],[9,3,0,0]]) (91,[[5,5,5,4],[7,5,4,1],[8,3,3,3],[8,5,1,1],[9,3,1,0]]) (92,[[6,6,4,2],[7,5,3,3],[9,3,1,1]]) (93,[[6,5,4,4],[7,6,2,2],[8,4,3,2],[8,5,2,0],[9,2,2,2]]) (94,[[7,5,4,2],[7,6,3,0],[8,5,2,1],[9,3,2,0]]) (95,[[6,5,5,3],[7,6,3,1],[9,3,2,1]]) (96,[[8,4,4,0]]) (97,[[6,6,4,3],[6,6,5,0],[7,4,4,4],[8,4,4,1],[8,5,2,2],[9,4,0,0]]) (98,[[6,6,5,1],[7,6,3,2],[7,7,0,0],[8,4,3,3],[8,5,3,0],[9,3,2,2],[9,4,1,0]]) (99,[[7,5,4,3],[7,5,5,0],[7,7,1,0],[8,5,3,1],[9,3,3,0],[9,4,1,1]]) (100,[[5,5,5,5],[7,5,5,1],[7,7,1,1],[8,4,4,2],[8,6,0,0],[9,3,3,1],[10,0,0,0]]) (101,[[6,6,5,2],[7,6,4,0],[8,6,1,0],[9,4,2,0],[10,1,0,0]]) (102,[[6,5,5,4],[7,6,4,1],[7,7,2,0],[8,5,3,2],[8,6,1,1],[9,4,2,1],[10,1,1,0]]) (103,[[7,5,5,2],[7,6,3,3],[7,7,2,1],[9,3,3,2],[10,1,1,1]]) (104,[[6,6,4,4],[8,6,2,0],[10,2,0,0]]) (105,[[7,6,4,2],[8,4,4,3],[8,5,4,0],[8,6,2,1],[9,4,2,2],[10,2,1,0]]) (106,[[6,6,5,3],[7,5,4,4],[7,7,2,2],[8,5,4,1],[9,4,3,0],[9,5,0,0],[10,2,1,1]]) (107,[[7,7,3,0],[8,5,3,3],[9,4,3,1],[9,5,1,0]]) (108,[[6,6,6,0],[7,5,5,3],[7,7,3,1],[8,6,2,2],[9,3,3,3],[9,5,1,1],[10,2,2,0]]) (109,[[6,6,6,1],[8,5,4,2],[8,6,3,0],[10,2,2,1],[10,3,0,0]]) (110,[[7,6,4,3],[7,6,5,0],[8,6,3,1],[9,4,3,2],[9,5,2,0],[10,3,1,0]]) (111,[[6,5,5,5],[7,6,5,1],[7,7,3,2],[9,5,2,1],[10,3,1,1]]) (112,[[6,6,6,2],[8,4,4,4],[10,2,2,2]]) (113,[[6,6,5,4],[8,6,3,2],[8,7,0,0],[9,4,4,0],[10,3,2,0]]) (114,[[7,6,5,2],[7,7,4,0],[8,5,4,3],[8,5,5,0],[8,7,1,0],[9,4,4,1],[9,5,2,2],[10,3,2,1]]) (115,[[7,5,5,4],[7,7,4,1],[8,5,5,1],[8,7,1,1],[9,4,3,3],[9,5,3,0]]) (116,[[7,7,3,3],[8,6,4,0],[9,5,3,1],[10,4,0,0]]) (117,[[6,6,6,3],[7,6,4,4],[8,6,4,1],[8,7,2,0],[9,4,4,2],[9,6,0,0],[10,3,2,2],[10,4,1,0]]) (118,[[7,7,4,2],[8,5,5,2],[8,6,3,3],[8,7,2,1],[9,6,1,0],[10,3,3,0],[10,4,1,1]]) (119,[[7,6,5,3],[9,5,3,2],[9,6,1,1],[10,3,3,1]]) (120,[[8,6,4,2],[10,4,2,0]]) (121,[[7,6,6,0],[8,5,4,4],[8,7,2,2],[9,6,2,0],[10,4,2,1],[11,0,0,0]])

Daniel Lemire's blog: Science and Technology links (February 16th, 2018)

  1. In all countries, in all years–without exception–girls did better than boys in academic performance (PISA) tests.
  2. Vinod Khosla said:

    There are, perhaps, a few hundred sensors in the typical car and none in the body. A single ad shown to you on Facebook has way more computing power applied to it than a $10,000 medical decision you have to make.

  3. The gender of an unknown user can be identified with an accuracy of over 95% using the way a user is typing.
  4. Citation counts work better than a random baseline (by a margin of 10%) in distinguishing important seminal research papers.
  5. By consuming vitamin B3 (or niacin), you can increase your body’s production of Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide (NAD+ for short). It turns out that NAD+ supplementation normalizes key Alzheimer’s features (in mice). If I suffered from Alzheimer’s, I would not hesitate to take niacin supplements.
  6. The U.S. has never produced so much oil.
  7. According to Nature, birds living in large groups are smarter.
  8. A few years ago, we were told that the Pacific nation of Tuvalu would soon disappear due to climate change. In fact, for now, it is growing in size.

OCaml Planet: Coq 8.7.2 is out

Version 8.7.2 of Coq is available. It fixes a critical bug in the VM handling of universes. This bug affected all releases since 8.5.

Other changes include improved support for building with OCaml 4.06.0 and external num package, many other bug fixes, documentation improvements, and user message improvements (for details, see the 8.7.2 milestone).

Greater Fool – Authored by Garth Turner – The Troubled Future of Real Estate: Self-inflicted

“My former student,” says Jon, “who is a shift supervisor at Starbucks while studying music education just bought a condo… with her man who she hasn’t been dating more than a year. Don’t know what he does, but he’ll be commuting to it!”

And he adds: “There will always be a greater fool.”

The condo, turns out, is in Mission – an hour and a half drive from Vancouver. And you can bet the only reason she bought way out there is because of price. And here’s the giddy announcement…

A shift supervisor at Starbucks in BC, by the way, earns just over $14 an hour, or about $29,000 a year (if lucky enough to work F/T). But, as Jon suggests, a crappy income as an unskilled coffee-slinger is just one reason this girl’s rolling the dice with her future. Instead of being an unencumbered renter, she now has a mortgage. If she bought with the BF she’s also financially entangled with a dude in a way that could turn nasty. And she’s likely put 100% of her net worth into a concrete box just off the highway in the boonies, in a housing market riddled with risk, one week before the province brings down the hammer.

So why is she so happy? Excited? How did we ever get to the point where kids want to turn into their payment-addled, choice-starved parents? Why wouldn’t this babe want to take that music education and becomes rock legend in LA? If you’ve ever been to Mission, you might wonder.

Plus, she may have raided her RRSP to take the leap. Wouldn’t be a surprise.

The latest bank survey on this topic is dismal BeeMo says 40% of Canadians are sucking money out of their retirement savings (before being retired) instead of putting it in. The average withdrawal is about twenty grand and the No. 1 reason for raiding an RRSP is (of course) to buy a home. The next biggest reason is even scarier – “to help pay living expenses.” And coming in after that is debt repayment.

This ain’t good. Obviously. Money borrowed from retirement savings under the Home Buyers Plan must be paid back within 15 years, but we already know that half the people doing so never return the funds. We also know savings rates are falling and investing in tax shelters is on the decline. BMO asked about that, too. The reason Canadians are failing to prepare for the future is that they’ve screwed up today – 44% don’t have any money to invest with and another 25% must use it to pay debt.

Only 7% of Canadians have maxed their TFSAs, and 80% of the money in tax-free accounts in cash in savings accounts or GICs. Meanwhile kids like Jon’s student are happily Hoovering whatever money they’ve accumulated, plus swallowing oodles of debt, to live in a place they could rent for half the cost – and may well lose money on.

It’s worth noting the Vancouver-area market (like the GTA) has split into two. Experienced move-up detached-house buyers are staying away in droves, while the moisters continue to pile into condos – presumably because that’s all they can ‘afford.’ Just look at the sales-to-listings ratios in YVR. For detached homes it was a dismal 11.6%, but rockets to 57.2% for condominium apartments. The impact on prices is clear, with condos pushing ahead 27% in the past year, a three-fold increased over detached.

The same experience is playing out in the GTA, where overall sales (and prices) tanked in January.  The price of the average detached house crashed by $90,000, or 9.1%, while condo prices jumped 14.6%. And let’s put this into a national context – where monthly sales just fell by the greatest margin ever recorded – over 14%. The reason given: first-time buyers were rushing to purchase in November and December to ‘beat’ the new stress test, which then knocked prices lower. Sorry, kids.

So long as leveraged real estate is viewed as a riskless way to make easy money in a world where music majors work at coffee shops, this recklessness will continue.

Prepare now for when it ends.


Los Angeles-based artist and designer Steven Harrington’s current collaboration with Nike allows customers to create their own version of the iconic Air Force 1 and Jordan 1 models. Just in time for All-Star Weekend, Harrington will be on-site, leading the “Markers Studio” workshops until next Tuesday. All shoes and projects are available at the Nike Grove Flagship location in LA, see more images from the event below!


Steven Harrington

Quiet Earth: BLACK EAGLE Special Edition Next from MVD Rewind Collection

MVD's Rewind Collection have announced their third release, the Jean-Claude Van Damme starrer Black Eagle in a two- disc Blu-ray + DVD Special Edition combo pack coming February 27, 2018.

A video store staple back in the 1980's, Black Eagle features action film star Jean-Claude Van Damme (Bloodsport, Kickboxer) going head-to-head with martial arts legend Sho Kosugi (Enter the Ninja, Pray for Death)!

After an F-11 gets shot down over the Mediterranean Sea, The U.S. government cannot afford to lose the top-secret laser tracki [Continued ...]

Ideas from CBC Radio (Highlights): Gabrielle Scrimshaw on liberating the past and embracing the future

Gabrielle Scrimshaw delivers the third annual Vancouver Island University Indigenous Lecture on the challenges Indigenous youth face, what reconciliation looks like, and how people can engage on that journey.

new shelton wet/dry: Every day, the same, again

Skier lost in New York doesn’t know how he got to California Severe pizza stalker has sent over 100 pizzas to a lawyer Stormy Daniels kept a dress from alleged hotel tryst with Trump, she claims – and plans to test it for DNA Across three studies, totaling over 600 participants, we found no support for the [...]

new shelton wet/dry: ‘Goethe’s theory of the constitution of colours of the spectrum has not proved to be an unsatisfactory theory, rather it really isn’t a theory at all.’ –Wittgenstein

With a few minor exceptions, there are really only two ways to say “tea” in the world. One is like the English term—té in Spanish and tee in Afrikaans are two examples. The other is some variation of cha, like chay in Hindi. Both versions come from China. How they spread around the world offers a [...]

new shelton wet/dry: There’ll be no more high, but you may feel a little sick

Open Culture: Stream the “Complete” John Coltrane Playlist: A 94-Hour Journey Through 700+ Transformative Tracks

In a contrarian take on the legacy of John Coltrane on the 50th anniversary of his death last year, Zack Graham at GQ did not recommend Giant Steps nor A Love Supreme nor Blue Train nor My Favorite Things as the most important album in the artist’s career, but a record most casual jazz fans may never encounter, and which even the hardest-core Coltrane fans never heard in his lifetime. Recorded in the year of his death, Interstellar Space—a frenetic suite of free jazz duets with drummer Rashied Ali—didn’t appear until 1974. The album has since received widespread critical acclaim, and stands, Graham argues, as “Coltrane’s most influential record, its echoes still heard today in everything from electronic music to some of the world’s biggest hip hop acts.”

Graham makes a compelling case. Hardly an accessible album, discerning listeners will nonetheless hear the sound of now in Ali’s stuttering, rapid fire beats and Coltrane’s modal bleats. Looking back, it can almost seem like he knew he was running out of time, and rushed to leave behind a blueprint for the music of the future.

“In his last months,” writes Stephen Davis at Rolling Stone, “Coltrane had changed everything about his music,” and, perhaps, everything about music in general, jazz and otherwise. His evolution as a musician and explorer of the mystical potentialities of artistic expression was so radical that from a certain point of view we are forced to work backward when approaching his catalog, as we might do with biographies of saints.

Should we pursue this line of thinking, however, we might have to grant that the posthumous Interstellar Space and its follow-up Stellar Regions—compiled from tapes Alice Coltrane discovered in 1994—are the result of Coltrane’s final musical apotheosis and thus can sound nigh-incomprehensible to most mere mortals. Interstellar Space “is a musicians’ album, for sure,” Graham admits, and an album for those fully open to the unknown: “the dissonance and enharmonic experimentation… is otherworldly.”

Working backward, we see Coltrane’s transfiguration into an avant-garde pioneer in 1966’s Ascension, an album that “still manages to confound as many listeners as it convinces,” Derek Taylor writes at All About Jazz. A Love Supreme is Coltrane’s gospel, a spiritual classic that draws everyone in with its message of transcendence and oneness. Earlier milestones My Favorite Things, Giant Steps, and Blue Train are each miraculous feats of musicianship that drew huge crowds of admirers and imitators, and then there are the years of apprenticeship, when the young Coltrane studied under masters like Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie, and practiced the dharma of Charlie Parker.

A narrative of Coltrane as a kind of musical messiah explains the literal veneration of his work by the Church of Saint John Coltrane, but it is only one convenient means of Coltrane appreciation. In truth, his oeuvre is too vast and varied in scope to neatly sum up in any fully satisfying way. We might just as well start at the beginning, when Coltrane was a mostly unknown, but very hip, sideman, playing with the greats throughout the fifties. “From his Bird-emulating beginnings to his flights into the unknown in his last years,” writes Fernando Ortiz, compiler of the “Complete” John Coltrane playlist above, “the standard of his music and his passion are always at the top or very close to it.”

Comprising over 700 tracks, “or four straight days of listening,” this playlist list is still “far from perfect,” Ortiz admits, “since it is subject to availability and to the non-systematic approach to data on Spotify, but it's not that far this time.”

…no studio recording he made between 1955 and 1965 is missing (his previous years are well represented, starting with his 1946 recordings while in the Navy), which includes all his studio work as a leader during those years, as well as all his recordings as a sideman with Miles and Monk.

The weighting toward live recordings, “both from official and bootleg sources,” provides a very multifaceted view of the artist’s onstage development, and the inclusion of box sets like Heavyweight Champion: The Complete Atlantic Recordings offer panoramic surveys of his studio work. While we don’t get everything here, and some of the omissions are key, you will, if you spend quality time delving into this treasure house, understand why the name Coltrane conjures such intensity of awe, praise, and devotion.

Related Content:

Organized Religion Got You Down? Discover The Church Of Saint John Coltrane

John Coltrane Draws a Mysterious Diagram Illustrating the Mathematical & Mystical Qualities of Music

John Coltrane’s Handwritten Outline for His Masterpiece A Love Supreme (1964)

The History of Spiritual Jazz: Hear a Transcendent 12-Hour Mix Featuring John Coltrane, Sun Ra, Herbie Hancock & More

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Stream the “Complete” John Coltrane Playlist: A 94-Hour Journey Through 700+ Transformative Tracks is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

Colossal: Amok Island Paints Modern Minimalist Murals of Native Flora and Fauna

Rotterdam, The Netherlands 2017. ‘Zeus faber’ for SOBER WALLS Festival

A native of The Netherlands and now based in Australia, Amok Island depicts flora and fauna that can be found in the locations of his colorful murals. The artist’s distinctive minimal style is reminiscent of recent trends in digital design. However, his analog use of flat fields of color and geometric shapes to interpret the nuanced forms of animals and plants is a fresh take in the current mural scene.

Amok writes on his website that if weren’t an artist, he would be a biologist. He takes many of his own reference photos (including underwater), and titles each mural with the name of the plant or animal. The artist describes his passion for the natural world:

The theme of natural exploration and conservation is a strong and constant undercurrent of Amok Island’s artistic practice. His lifelong fascination with nature and her relationships and history with mankind drive the artist’s obvious appreciation and obsession with his subjects and his urge to direct the attention of his audience to them.

Amok has finished murals in twenty five countries and counting, and also creates smaller paintings, which he sometimes editions as prints. You can see more work on his website, as well as on Facebook and Instagram.

Ravensthorpe, Western Australia 2016. ‘Six Stages of Banksia Baxteri’ (side 2) Commissioned by FORM WA and CBH

Ravensthorpe, Western Australia 2016. ‘Six Stages of Banksia Baxteri’ (side 1) Commissioned by FORM WA and CBH

Ravensthorpe, Western Australia 2016. ‘Six Stages of Banksia Baxteri’ (in progress) Commissioned by FORM WA and CBH

Axolotl, Mexico

Fremantle, Western Australia 2015. ‘Praying Mantis’ for PUBLIC Festival

Port Hedland, Western Australia 2015. ‘Flatback Turtle Hatchling’ commissioned by FORM WA

Amsterdam, The Netherlands 2016. ‘Horse Chestnut’ Commissioned by LTS / Spooker

Claremont, Western Australia 2017. ‘Mushrooms’ commissioned by FORM / Claremont Quarters

North Fremantle, Western Australia 2015. ‘Blue Swimmer Crab’ for UNDERLINE festival

Collaboration with Georgia Hill and Thomas Jackson in Erskineville, Sydney

Surry Hills, Sydney 2017 ‘Mushroom Study’ Commissiones by Canva

Penny Arcade: Comic: Posers

New Comic: Posers

Quiet Earth: Netflix's Post-Apocalyptic Series THE RAIN Looks Incredible [Trailer]

After a brutal virus wipes out most of the population, two young siblings embark on a perilous search for safety in The Rain, a new Scandinavian PA series coming to Netflix sometime in 2018.

The series stars Jannik Tai Mosholt, Esben Toft Jacobsen, Christian and Potalivo and was created by Jannik Tai Mosholt, Christian Potalivo and Esben Toft Jacobsen.

The first teaser trailer for the series has premiered and you can see it below.

What do you think, PA fans? Loving that Netflix is picking up these foreign properties which in the past would have been incredibly difficult to track down legally.

Recomme [Continued ...]

Quiet Earth: A Gypsy's Curse threatens in SEVERED SILENCE, Produced by Mem Ferda

Severed Silence, written by Kathryn Michelle (Criminal Minds) and Elizabeta Vidovic (May I Die), who also both direct, tells the story of a family’s desperate battle to survive a forbidden gypsy curse, released as a result of an unimaginable betrayal.

The film is produced by Mem Ferda and stars Izabela Vidovic (Wonder, The Fosters) Maiara Walsh (The Last Ship, Zombieland) and Adam Huss (Power).

A young Talitha sneaks away from her Romani engagement celebrations to meet with Tamas, her best friends husband. While experiencing a [Continued ...]

Open Culture: Amanda Palmer Sings a Heartfelt Musical Tribute to YA Author Judy Blume on Her 80th Birthday

Art saves lives, and so does author Judy Blume. While some of her novels are intended for adult readers, and others for the elementary school set, her best known books are the ones that speak to the experience of being a teenage girl.

For many of us coming of age in the ‘70s and ‘80s, Blume was our best—sometimes only—source when it came to sex, menstruation, masturbation, and other topics too taboo to discuss. She answered the questions we were too shy to ask. Her characters’ interior monologues mirrored our own.

The honesty of her writing earned her millions of grateful young fans, and plenty of attention from those who still seek to keep her titles out of libraries and schools.

While her stories are not autobiographical, her compassion is born of experience.

Here she is on Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, a tattered paperback copy of which made the rounds of my 6th grade class, like the precious contraband it was:

When I was in sixth grade, I longed to develop physically like my classmates. I tried doing exercises, resorted to stuffing my bra, and lied about getting my period. And like Margaret, I had a very personal relationship with God that had little to do with organized religion. God was my friend and confidant. But Margaret's family is very different from mine, and her story grew from my imagination.

On It's Not the End of the World:

…in the early seventies I lived in suburban New Jersey with my husband and two children, who were both in elementary school. I could see their concern and fear each time a family in our neighborhood divorced. What do you say to your friends when you find out their parents are splitting up? If it could happen to them, could it happen to us?

At the time, my own marriage was in trouble but I wasn't ready or able to admit it to myself, let alone anyone else. In the hope that it would get better I dedicated this book to my husband. But a few years later, we, too, divorced. It was hard on all of us, more painful than I could have imagined, but somehow we muddled through and it wasn't the end of any of our worlds, though on some days it might have felt like it.

And on Forever, which won an A.L.A. Margaret A. Edwards Award for Outstanding Literature for Young Adults, 20 years after its original publication:

My daughter Randy asked for a story about two nice kids who have sex without either of them having to die. She had read several novels about teenagers in love. If they had sex the girl was always punished—an unplanned pregnancy, a hasty trip to a relative in another state, a grisly abortion (illegal in the U.S. until the 1970's), sometimes even death. Lies. Secrets. At least one life ruined. Girls in these books had no sexual feelings and boys had no feelings other than sexual. Neither took responsibility for their actions. I wanted to present another kind of story—one in which two seniors in high school fall in love, decide together to have sex, and act responsibly.

The heartfelt lyrics of Amanda Palmer’s recent paean to Blume, who turned 80 this week, confirm that the singer-songwriter was among the legions of young girls for whom this author made a difference.

In her essay, "Why Judy Blume Matters," Palmer recalls coming up with a list of influences to satisfy the sort of question a rising indie musician is frequently asked in interviews. It was a “carefully curated” assortment of rock and roll pedigree and obscurities, and she later realized, almost exclusively male.

This song, which name checks so many beloved characters, is a passionate attempt to correct this oversight:

Perhaps the biggest compliment you could give a writer ― or a writer of youth fiction ― is that they’re so indelible they vanish into memory, the way a dream slips away upon waking because it’s so deeply knitted into the fabric of your subconscious. The experiences of her teenage characters ― Deenie, Davey, Tony, Jill, Margaret ― are so thoroughly enmeshed with my own memories that the line between fact and fiction is deliciously thin. My memories of these characters, though I’d prefer to call them “people” ― of Deenie getting felt up in the dark locker room during the school dance; of Davey listlessly making and stirring a cup of tea that she has no intention of drinking; of Jill watching Linda, the fat girl in her class, being tormented by giggling bullies ― are all as vivid, if not more so, as my own memories…

Palmer’s husband, Neil Gaiman, puts in a cameo in the video’s final moments as one of many readers immersed in Blume’s oeuvre.

Readers, did a special book cover from your adolescence put in an appearance?

For more on Judy Blume’s approach to character and story, consider signing up for her $90 online Master Class.

Name your own price to download Judy Blume by Amanda Palmer here.

Related Content:

Judy Blume Now Teaching an Online Course on Writing

Hear Amanda Palmer’s Cover of “Purple Rain,” a Gorgeous Stringfelt Send-Off to Prince

Amanda Palmer Animates & Narrates Husband Neil Gaiman’s Unconscious Musings

Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

Amanda Palmer Sings a Heartfelt Musical Tribute to YA Author Judy Blume on Her 80th Birthday is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

Michael Geist: The Case Against the Bell Coalition’s Website Blocking Plan, Part 5: The Inevitable Expansion of the Block List Standard for “Piracy” Sites

The Bell coalition website blocking proposal downplays concerns about over-blocking that often accompanies site blocking regimes by arguing that it will be limited to “websites and services that are blatantly, overwhelmingly, or structurally engaged in piracy.” Having discussed piracy issues in Canada and how the absence of a court order makes the proposal an outlier with virtually every country that has permitted site blocking, the case against the website blocking plan now turns to the inevitability of over-blocking that comes from expanding the block list or from the technical realities of mandating site blocking across hundreds of ISPs for millions of subscribers. This post focuses on the likely expansion of the scope of piracy for the purposes of blocking and the forthcoming posts will discuss other sources of blocking over-reach.

The Bell coalition’s definition for piracy sites is not found in legislation. Rather, it seeks to effectively draft its own legislative definitions for assessing whether a site or service is blatantly, overwhelmingly or structurally engaged in piracy. Regardless of the standard, the difficulty of identifying “pirate sites” should not be under-estimated. Consider the MUSO report that is the coalition’s primary source of piracy evidence. As I noted in the discussion on the evidence of piracy in Canada, MUSO has developed a list of 23,000 piracy sites which it uses as the basis for estimating the number of piracy visits in Canada. Yet the sample sites used by MUSO highlight the challenge in identifying what constitutes a piracy site, which is a difficult issue for developing reliable statistical data and an even bigger problem with respect to mandated website blocking.

For example, its list of web download sites includes, a site that contains user-generated sub-titles for television shows and movies. The site includes completed sub-titles and works in progress that allow users to contribute to the translations and sub-titles. It does not contain full video or audio. The legality of user-generated sub-titles may be open for debate (sub-titles can be used for lawfully acquired videos) but few would think of this kind of site as one that is “blatantly, overwhelmingly, or structurally engaged in piracy.”

The MUSO list also contains multiple sites that can be used to capture the video from sites such as YouTube. Stream ripping is a concern for the music industry, but these technologies (which are also found in readily available software programs from a local BestBuy) also have considerable non-infringing uses, such as for downloading Creative Commons licensed videos also found on video sites.

The obvious question is whether the Bell coalition believes these sites meet its standard for blocking. If they do, the standard is far lower than what would be commonly understood as a site or service that is blatantly, overwhelmingly or structurally engaged in piracy. If they fall outside the standard, the validity of the MUSO report is called into question since its estimate of piracy visits in Canada include visits to those sites. In other words, either the scope of block list coverage is far broader than the coalition admits or its piracy evidence is inflated by including sites that do not meet its piracy standard.

Once the list of piracy sites (whatever the standard) is addressed, it is very likely that the Bell coalition will turn its attention to other sites and services such as virtual private networks (VPNs). This is not mere speculation. Rather, it is taking Bell and its allies at their word on how they believe certain services and sites constitute theft. The use of VPNs, which enhance privacy but also allow users to access out-of-market content, has been sore spot for the companies for many years. In 2015, Rogers executive David Purdy reportedly called for shutting down VPNs, while Bell executive Mary Ann Turcke specifically targeted VPN usage to access U.S. Netflix, telling an industry conference:

“It has to become socially unacceptable to admit to another human being that you are VPNing into U.S. Netflix. Like throwing garbage out your car window – you just don’t do it. We have to get engaged and tell people they are stealing. When we were young and made the error of swiping candy bars at the checkout of the grocery store, what did our parents do? They marched us back in, humiliated us, told us to apologize to the nice lady and likely scolded us on the way home.”

In the aftermath of those comments, briefing notes for Canadian Heritage Minister Melanie Joly identified VPNs as an emerging copyright issue. The comments equating VPN use to theft echo the remarks being made today by the Bell coalition about piracy sites and services. Further, since the response to site blocking from some Internet users will surely involve increased use of VPNs to evade the blocks, the attempt to characterize VPNs as services engaged in piracy will only increase. VPN services are already targeted by IP lobby groups such as the IIPA and can be expected to face demands for blocking (similar to the way Netflix and Hulu have cracked down on VPN use).

Beyond VPNs, it would not be surprising to find legitimate services streaming unlicensed content as the next target. With Bell characterizing accessing U.S. Netflix as stealing, the company may call for blocking of content from foreign services without Canadian rights. In fact, that is precisely what Bell argued in 2015 in the context of U.S. television signals. Kevin Crull, then president of Bell Media, told a conference:

Canada is the only country in the world that allows American networks to be retransmitted without restriction despite valid and exclusive copyrights held by domestic broadcasters…Do we need [the American over-the-air] networks? Are these signals necessary for Canadian viewers? No. Canadian networks buy the rights to 99 of the top 100 American shows. No viewer would be denied popular content.

The Bell solution was simple: block U.S. signals on cable and satellite services. The argument in the Internet streaming service context will be the same, namely that Canadian rights holders are having their rights undermined by the accessibility of unlicensed U.S. streams that constitute infringement in Canada. Given the past arguments against access to these sites and services, which Bell coalition members have called “stealing” and “theft”, the steady expansion of the block list seems like an inevitability, which is why the exclusion of Parliament in setting policy and the courts in reaching any determination with respect to blocking is a step in the wrong direction.

The post The Case Against the Bell Coalition’s Website Blocking Plan, Part 5: The Inevitable Expansion of the Block List Standard for “Piracy” Sites appeared first on Michael Geist.

Better Embedded System SW: Robustness Testing of Autonomy Software (ASTAA Paper Published)

I'm very pleased that our research team will present a paper on Robustness Testing of Autonomy Software at the ICSE Software Engineering in Practice session in a late May. You can see a preprint of the paper here:

The work summarizes what we've learned across several years of research stress testing many robots, including self-driving cars.

As robotic and autonomy systems become progressively more present in industrial and human-interactive applications, it is increasingly critical for them to behave safely in the presence of unexpected inputs. While robustness testing for traditional software systems is long-studied, robustness testing for autonomy systems is relatively uncharted territory. In our role as engineers, testers, and researchers we have observed that autonomy systems are importantly different from traditional systems, requiring novel approaches to effectively test them. We present Automated Stress Testing for Autonomy Architectures (ASTAA), a system that effectively, automatically robustness tests autonomy systems by building on classic principles, with important innovations to support this new domain. Over five years, we have used ASTAA to test 17 real-world autonomy systems, robots, and robotics-oriented libraries, across commercial and academic applications, discovering hundreds of bugs. We outline the ASTAA approach and analyze more than 150 bugs we found in real systems. We discuss what we discovered about testing autonomy systems, specifically focusing on how doing so differs from and is similar to traditional software robustness testing and other high-level lessons.

Casidhe Hutchison
Milda Zizyte
Patrick Lanigan
David Guttendorf
Mike Wagner
Claire Le Guoes
Philip Koopman

Open Culture: Joan Didion Creates a Handwritten List of the 19 Books That Changed Her Life

If you've read much Joan Didion, you've almost surely come across an observation or phrase that has changed the way you look at California, the media, or the culture of the late 20th century — or indeed, changed your life. But if life-changing writers have all had their own lives changed by the writers before them, which writers made Joan Didion the Joan Didion whose writing still exerts an influence today? Conveniently enough, the author of Play It as It LaysSlouching Towards Bethlehem, and The White Album once drew up a list of the books that changed her life, and it surfaced on Instagram a few years ago:

  1. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  2. Victory by Joseph Conrad
  3. Guerrillas by V.S. Naipaul
  4. Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
  5. Wonderland by Joyce Carol Oates
  6. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  7. The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford
  8. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Márquez
  9. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  10. Appointment in Samarra by John O'Hara
  11. The Executioner's Song by Norman Mailer
  12. The Novels of Henry James: Washington Square, Portrait of a Lady, The Bostonians, Wings of the Dove, The Ambassadors, The Golden Bowl, Daisy Miller, The Aspern Papers, The Turn of the Screw
  13. Speedboat by Renata Adler
  14. Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin
  15. Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin
  16. The Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood
  17. Collected Poems by Robert Lowell
  18. Collected Poems by W.H. Auden
  19. The Collected Poems by Wallace Stevens

In 1978, when Didion had already become a new-journalism icon, The Paris Review's Linda Kuehl asked her whether any writer influenced her more than others. "I always say Hemingway," she replied, "because he taught me how sentences worked. When I was fifteen or sixteen I would type out his stories to learn how the sentences worked. I taught myself to type at the same time." Teaching A Farewell to Arms, her number-one most influential book, she "fell right back into those sentences. I mean they're perfect sentences. Very direct sentences, smooth rivers, clear water over granite, no sinkholes."

Didion's list also includes other masters of the sentence, albeit most of them possessed of sensibilities quite distinct from Hemingway's. Henry James, for instance: "He wrote perfect sentences, too, but very indirect, very complicated. Sentences with sinkholes. You could drown in them." Consider them alongside the other writers among her favored nineteen, from novelists like Emily Brontë and Joyce Carol Oates to poets like Wallace Stevens and W.H. Auden to figures with one foot in literature and the other in journalism like George Orwell and Norman Mailer, and you've got a mix that no two aspiring writers could read and come out sounding exactly alike. No surprise that such a set of influences would produce a writer like Didion, so often imitated but, in her niche, never equaled.

via BrainPickings

Related Content:

Read 12 Masterful Essays by Joan Didion for Free Online, Spanning Her Career From 1965 to 2013

Joan Didion Reads From New Memoir, Blue Nights, in Short Film Directed by Griffin Dunne

New Documentary Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold Now Streaming on Netflix

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Joan Didion Creates a Handwritten List of the 19 Books That Changed Her Life is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.


Beautiful paper cutouts by our friend, Berlin-based artist Andrea Wan. Click here for previous posts of Andrea’s work. See more images below.


Andrea Wan


A recent mural project from Massachusetts-born, San Francisco-based artist Jason Jägel (previously featured here). Painted on the eight boarded-up windows of the former Carl’s Jr on Market St at U.N. Plaza in San Francisco, the project was organized by Juan-Carlos Cancino, project manager in the Mayor’s office. As he shared with us:

“At Juan-Carlos’ suggestion I partnered with the nearby 826 Valencia Tenderloin Center, a non-profit dedicated to supporting under-served students ages six to eighteen with their creative and expository writing skills. My mural designs were inspired from my experience soaking up the writing of 826 students, through print and via 826 Valencia’s Soundcloud podcast. Directly within the murals I quoted students’ writing, intermingling text and image. The young authors’ snippets run the gamut from funny or strange to profound and emotional; all are empowering.”

Rather than simply translating the text to image, Jägel works in abstract connections and moments that foster viewers’ imaginations, creating something unexpected. See more images below!


Jason Jägel

Open Culture: The Strange, Sci-Fi Sounds of Skating on Thin Black Ice

This gives new meaning to "skating on thin ice." In Sweden, a filmmaker named Henrik Trygg likes to take his chances skating on pristine sheets of black ice, measuring only five centimeters/two inches thick. It's a risk. A natural thrill. It's also quite a sensory experience. Just listen to the "high-pitched, laser-like sounds," of which sci-fi films could be made.

Watch Trygg's film, "The Sound of Ice," above. And, below, a version annotated in English by National Geographic.

via The Kids Should See This

Follow Open Culture on Facebook and Twitter and share intelligent media with your friends. Or better yet, sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox. 

If you'd like to support Open Culture and our mission, please consider making a donation to our site. It's hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us provide the best free cultural and educational materials.

Related Content:

240 Hours of Relaxing, Sleep-Inducing Sounds from Sci-Fi Video Games: From Blade Runner to Star Wars

42 Hours of Ambient Sounds from Blade Runner, Alien, Star Trek and Doctor Who Will Help You Relax & Sleep

The Sounds of Blade Runner: How Music & Sound Effects Became Part of the DNA of Ridley Scott’s Futuristic World

The Strange, Sci-Fi Sounds of Skating on Thin Black Ice is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

Perlsphere: The Popularity of Perl in 2018 February

More than 2 year ago I've published an article called The Popularity of Perl in 2015 It contained a list of sites with their Alexa ranking and a few sites with information from their Google Analytics. This is an updated version of that report for February 2018.

For the full article visit The Popularity of Perl in 2018 February Comic for 2018.02.16

New Cyanide and Happiness Comic

Jesse Moynihan: Pentacles Pantacles

According to Paul Huson, the naming of “pentacles” was a misunderstanding by S. L. MacGregor Mathers in reading Eliphas Levi’s text regarding “pantacles”. I don’t really understand what the difference is. If someone wants to tell me, please let me know in the comments. As the coin or pentacle or pantacle or whatever it’s called, […]

Disquiet: Disquiet Junto Project 0320: Table of Contents

Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group, a new compositional challenge is set before the group’s members, who then have just over four days to upload a track in response to the assignment. Membership in the Junto is open: just join and participate. (A SoundCloud account is helpful but not required.) There’s no pressure to do every project. It’s weekly so that you know it’s there, every Thursday through Monday, when you have the time.

Tracks will be added to the playlist for the duration of the project.

Deadline: This project’s deadline is 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on Monday, February 19, 2018. This project was posted in the late afternoon, California time, on Thursday, February 15, 2018.

These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at

Disquiet Junto Project 0320: Table of Contents
Make a composition containing loopable background-music segments for each chapter of one of your favorite books.

Step 1: You’ll be composing a sequence of short, loopable segments of music that are useful as background music for reading.

Step 2: Choose a favorite book.

Step 3: Consider the tone, the temperament, and the content of each chapter in the book.

Step 4: Compose a piece of music with as many segments to it as there are chapters to the book. Compose each individual segment with the idea that it is loopable as background music while someone is reading the given chapter. Consider making connections between chapters through melodic themes or instrument choice and so forth.

Six More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0320” (no spaces or quotation marks) in the name of your track.

Step 2: If your audio-hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to also include the project tag “disquiet0320” (no spaces or quotation marks). If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to subsequent location of tracks for the creation a project playlist.

Step 3: Upload your track. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your track.

Step 4: Please consider posting your track in the following discussion thread at

Step 5: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

Step 6: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Other Details:

Deadline: This project’s deadline is 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on Monday, February 19, 2018. This project was posted in the late afternoon, California time, on Thursday, February 15, 2018

Length: The length is up to you. It seems like a loop of between 10 and 20 seconds might be best for each chapter, though shorter could perhaps work, too.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0320” in the title of the track, and where applicable (on SoundCloud, for example) as a tag.

Upload: When participating in this project, post one finished track with the project tag, and be sure to include a description of your process in planning, composing, and recording it. This description is an essential element of the communicative process inherent in the Disquiet Junto. Photos, video, and lists of equipment are always appreciated.

Download: It is preferable that your track is set as downloadable, and that it allows for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution).

Linking: When posting the track online, please be sure to include this information:

More on this 320th weekly Disquiet Junto project (Table of Contents: Make a composition containing loopable background-music segments for each chapter of one of your favorite books) at:

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

Subscribe to project announcements here:

Project discussion takes place on

There’s also on a Junto Slack. Send your email address to for Slack inclusion.

Image associated with this project is by Emory Maiden on Flickr, and is used thanks to a Creative Commons license:

Planet Lisp: McCLIM: McCLIM 0.9.7 "Imbolc" release

After 10 years we have decided that it is time to make a new release - the first one since 2008, which was McCLIM 0.9.6, St. George's Day. Imbolc is a Gaelic traditional festival marking the beginning of spring held between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.

Due to a long period of time, the number of changes is too big to list in full detail and we will thus note only major changes made during the last eleven iterations (though many important changes were done before that). For more information please check out previous iteration reports on McCLIM blog, git log and the issue tracker. We'd like to thank all present and past contributors for their time, support and testing.

  • Bug fix: tab-layout fixes.
  • Bug fix: formatting-table fixes.
  • Bug fix: scrolling and viewport fixes and refactor.
  • Feature: raster image draw backend extension.
  • Feature: bezier curves extension.
  • Feature: new tests and demos in clim-examples.
  • Feature: truetype rendering is now default on clx.
  • Feature: additions to region, clipping rectangles and drawing.
  • Feature: clim-debugger and clim-listener improvmenets.
  • Feature: mop is now done with CLOSER-MOP.
  • Feature: threading is now done with BORDEAUX-THREADS.
  • Feature: clx-fb backend (poc of framebuffer-based backend).
  • Feature: assumption that all panes must be mirrored has been removed.
  • Cleanup: many files cleaned up from style warnings and such.
  • Cleanup: removal of PIXIE.
  • Cleanup: removal of CLIM-FFI package.
  • Cleanup: changes to directory structure and asd definitions.
  • Cleanup: numerous manual additions and corrections.
  • Cleanup: broken backends has been removed.
  • Cleanup: goatee has been removed in favour of Drei.
  • Cleanup: all methods have now corresponding generic function declarations.

We also have a bounty program financed with money from the fundraiser. We are grateful for financial contributions which allow us to attract new developers and reward old ones with bounties. Currently active bounties (worth $2650) are available here.

As Imbolc marks the beginning of spring we hope this release will be one of many in the upcoming future.

Quiet Earth: First Look at Claire Denis' Sci-fi Thriller HIGH LIFE

About a year ago it was announced that celebrated French director Claire Denis and English novelist Zadie Smith were teaming up on a sci-fi drama called High Life.

Robert Pattinson stars as an astronaut while Boyhood actress Patricia Arquette is also on the project. Not we have the first image from the film along with some more details.

High Life takes place beyond the solar system in a future that seems like the present. A group of criminals accept a mission in space to become the subjects of a human reproduction experiment. They find themselves in the most unimaginable situation after a storm of cosmic rays hit the ship.

The movie also stars Mia Goth (A Cure for Wellness, [Continued ...]

Colossal: New Miniature Post-Apocalyptic Environments by Lori Nix and Kathleen Gerber

Lori Nix and Kathleen Gerber (previously) collaboratively produce detailed dioramas caught in the throes of natural or manmade chaos. From 2005 to 2015 the pair created a series titled The City, which imagined the post-apocalyptic interiors of abandoned violin shops, malls, and natural history museums. Empire, a follow-up suite of miniature scenes, serves as a companion to this series by looking at the same imagined future from an exterior point of view.

Nix and Gerber’s new scenes move away from a focus on water-damaged and rusty interiors to explore broad outdoor environments recently devoid of civilization. Scaffolding and bridges crumble as plants begin to poke back through cement cracks, subtle hints that nature has begun to reclaim its land.

Empire presents a world transformed by climate uncertainty and a shifting social order as it stumbles towards a new kind of frontier,” the pair explain in a statement. “These places are eerily beautiful but also unsettling in their stillness and silence. Long ago, man entered the landscape and forced nature to his will. Once grand and emblematic of strength and prosperity, these landscapes now appear abused and in decay, and it is uncertain how they will continue to (d)evolve.”

Each labor intensive model can take up to 7 months to produce, which often means that Nix and Gerber will only finish two photographs a year. The handcrafted dioramas are built from cardboard, foam, and glue—impermanent supplies which are deconstructed and recycled after each shoot.

“I am afraid of what the future holds if we do not change our ways regarding the climate, but I am also fascinated by what a changing world can bring,” Nix told Colossal. “I think this is part of why we make the work we do, to try to reconcile these different attitudes.”

The pair will exhibit images from Empire at their upcoming show at Chicago-based Catherine Edelman Gallery from March 2 to April 28. You can see more of their miniature scenes from both The City and Empire on their Instagram and Facebook.

Greater Fool – Authored by Garth Turner – The Troubled Future of Real Estate: Being rational

Last Friday we learned 88,000 jobs offed in January. As Ontario’s new minimum-wage law took effect, losses for part-timers hit a record. Adios 147,000 paycheques. As this week concludes, the news about real estate is just as bad – the largest-ever sales plop, down 14.5% across the nation in 31 days.

Toronto was punked. According to CREA, deals there tumbled 27%. Hamilton took a 32% hit, K-W fell 20% and Ottawa was hammered for 33%. The reason? Panic-buying in November and December by people trying to ‘beat’ the new stress test led to a bust in January.

Say the realtors: “The decline in January sales provides clear evidence that the strength in activity late last year reflected a pull-forward of transactions, as rational home buyers hurried to purchase before mortgage rules changed in 2018.”

‘Rational’ buyers? You mean the ones who bought real estate just before stiffer mortgage rules and higher mortgage rates dropped prices? Who paid more than they had to? House values immediately fell 2.4% (that’s an annualized 28%) once 2018 unfolded. It’s hard to understand how anyone could have not seen that coming – which means a lot of new buyers now carry bigger mortgages because they feared not qualifying to borrow as much later. Of course, if they’d waited, they could have borrowed less and had the same house.

Oh well. I tried.

So what next? More of the same. This won’t be a great year for real estate as the cost of money escalates. Not just mortgages, of course, but also those lines of credit which have become so bloated in recent years ($220 billion) – almost all of which are variable rate, demand loans.

Burnaby blog dog Pete, a finance dude in the health care business, has some proof for us.

“In past posts I recall you warning how lines of credit are demand loans and the terms can change at any moment,” he says, “and here is a clear example of how quickly that can happen.

“I received this letter last night from TD bank and it’s scary to think what might be happening across the country.  I have a credit score over 800 and minimal debt but what about the people that have $100k LOC’s out there?  This could be the beginning of the credit crunch that we’ve been long expecting right?  Even a small increase could push people over the edge – well this isn’t exactly a small increase on an already high number.”

Pete’s LOC rate, as you can see, is mushrooming by 1.79%, to a withering 9.24%.

Meanwhile, have you been keeping tabs on stocks? That correction is history, it seems. Investors decided to stop being worried about soaring bond returns and accept that we’re shuffling into an era of higher-growth, higher-inflation, higher-yields and higher-rates. The odds of yet another Fed rate increase next month have risen to 90%, up from 85% earlier this week. The Dow is back above 25,000, and markets are now pricing in four more US central bank hikes by the end of next year, with three of them in 2018.

Bond yields, in other words, will continue to edge up. And it’s the bond market that determines Canadian five-year mortgage rates. So with almost half of all existing home loans coming up for renewal this year, it’s a slam dunk most people will be facing higher monthlies as a result.

Add it up. A weaker job picture, increased borrowing costs, stiffer mortgage regs and massive government intervention in the real estate market – where sales have deteriorated and prices are already under some pressure. Now coming up in the next 12 days: BC’s market-killing spec tax, and a federal budget out to fry investors and small business peoplekind.

At least Patrick Brown found his spine.

new shelton wet/dry: I couldn’t even change my new white shoes all ruined with the saltwater and the hat I had with that feather all blowy and tossed on me how annoying and provoking

Why Women Wear High Heels: Evolution, Lumbar Curvature, and Attractiveness …high-heeled footwear increased women’s attractiveness only when wearing heels altered their lumbar curvature to be closer to an evolutionarily optimal angle. { Frontiers in Psychology | Continue reading }

new shelton wet/dry: Olympic gold medals contain only 1% gold — would cost $25,000 if pure

You know, someone invented the XIV ETN. And someone invented the VIX, and VIX futures. And when you read the technical specifications for all of those things, it is clear that they are not trivial feats of engineering. Teams of marketers and traders and quants and technologists and lawyers put many hours into getting them [...]

Planet Haskell: Joachim Breitner: Interleaving normalizing reduction strategies

A little, not very significant, observation about lambda calculus and reduction strategies.

A reduction strategy determines, for every lambda term with redexes left, which redex to reduce next. A reduction strategy is normalizing if this procedure terminates for every lambda term that has a normal form.

A fun fact is: If you have two normalizing reduction strategies s1 and s2, consulting them alternately may not yield a normalizing strategy.

Here is an example. Consider the lambda-term o = (λ, and note that oo → ooo → oooo → …. Let Mi = (λx.(λx.x))(oooo) (with i ocurrences of o). Mi has two redexes, and reduces to either (λx.x) or Mi + 1. In particular, Mi has a normal form.

The two reduction strategies are:

  • s1, which picks the second redex if given Mi for an even i, and the first (left-most) redex otherwise.
  • s2, which picks the second redex if given Mi for an odd i, and the first (left-most) redex otherwise.

Both stratgies are normalizing: If during a reduction we come across Mi, then the reduction terminates in one or two steps; otherwise we are just doing left-most reduction, which is known to be normalizing.

But if we alternatingly consult s1 and s2 while trying to reduce M2, we get the sequence

M2 → M3 → M4 → …

which shows that this strategy is not normalizing.

Afterthought: The interleaved strategy is not actually a reduction strategy in the usual definition, as it not a pure (stateless) function from lambda term to redex.


Fantastic, monochromatic mural work by Vienna, Austria-based artist SKIRL. See more images below.



Ideas from CBC Radio (Highlights): Whose Lives Matter?

Why does the colour of someone's skin seems to trigger prejudice? Why do black people get carded by the police more often than white? Why does Black history seem marginalized in the story of our country? The Black Lives Matter movement demands serious answers from our society to all of these questions about race, culture and prejudice.This episode features Janaya Khan, d'bi Young and Sandra Hudson in a panel discussion from the Stratford Festival Forum.

CreativeApplications.Net: Scribble – Haptic interface for autonomous cars to ‘draw’ through traffic

Created by Felix Ros, 'Scribble' is a haptic interface designed for autonomous cars that lets the driver draw their way through traffic. They draw a path and the car will follow, not letting them drive but pilot the car, helping the car when in need. Scribble is powered by an Arduino DUE that is controlled over a serial connection by a GUI made in openFrameworks.

Colossal: Anonymous Figures Struggle Against Nature in Porcelain Sculptures by Claudia Fontes

Since 2013, artist Claudia Fontes (previously) has been investigating the use and meaning of the word “foreigner” in a series of small figurative sculptures. Each sculpture, which is about the size of Fontes’ hand (about 23 x 5 cm / 9 x 2 inches) is made with flaxseed paper porcelain. Anonymous figures, alone or in groups, are consumed by or emerging from organic textures that resemble grass, sea sponges, and thin shards of stone. Fontes has been based in England for the last ten years, where ‘foreigner’ is a popular pejorative term. She was born and raised in Argentina, and has also lived and worked in the Netherlands. The artist describes the process and inspiration behind the series on her website:

I began to make [Foreigners] in response to the English landscape that surrounds me and to my cultural understanding of it as a foreigner. I generally find the images out of which they are born during walks in the nearby forest and in the field that begins as soon as I cross the street where I live. During these walks, I concentrate in observing the process of transformation, interaction and the mechanisms of adaptation that happen amongst the creatures that share this particular bio-political system.

You can explore more of Fontes’ body of work, which includes other sculptures as well as conceptual pieces, on her website. (via Womens Art)

Michael Geist: The Case Against the Bell Coalition’s Website Blocking Plan, Part 4: Absence of Court Orders Would Put Canada At Odds With Almost Everyone

The first three posts in the case against the Bell coalition website plan focused on why it has failed to provide convincing evidence that the drastic step of site blocking is needed (existing law, weak evidence on Canadian piracy, limited negative impact on the market). The series continues by examining some of the problems with the proposal itself. One of the most obvious problems – indeed one that is fatal – is the absence of court orders for website blocking. The attempt to avoid direct court involvement in blocking decisions means the proposal suffers from an absence of full due process, raising a myriad of legal concerns. If adopted, the coalition website plan would put Canada at odds with almost every other country that has permitted blocking since the data is unequivocal: the overwhelming majority require a court order for site blocking.

The website blocking coalition has tried to downplay the absence of a court order from its proposal by suggesting that many countries have site blocking rules and that relying on alternate systems is commonplace. Its application states that at least 20 countries have site blocking, some with courts (the UK) and some without (Portugal). An examination of website blocking around the world reveals the inference that non-court ordered blocking is commonly used is misleading and inaccurate.

Just how rare is non-court ordered blocking? Working with Amira Zubairi, a University of Ottawa law student, we examined 22 countries that have or have had some form of copyright-related website blocking. Some groups say that there are 27 countries with website blocking, but we excluded five countries due to widespread censorship in their blocking systems: Saudi Arabia (which features government-backed Internet blocking), Indonesia (which has blocked 800,000 sites), Malaysia (which regularly uses the power to block legitimate sites), Turkey (which uses real-time large scale blocking of sites including Wikipedia) and South Korea (which uses censors to block access to thousands of web pages).

Our research shows that of the 22 countries that have site blocked for copyright purposes, 20 use or have used court orders (the exceptions are Portugal (which is voluntary) and Italy (which permits both)). Of course, there are many notable countries, including the United States, Japan, Switzerland, Mexico (whose Supreme Court ruled blocking is disproportional) and New Zealand, that do not have site blocking at all.

Comparative Analysis of Copyright Website Blocking Oversight

Court/No Court
Argentina Court The Argentinean National Communications Commission ordered ISPs to block access to the Pirate Bay after a Buenos Aires court issued an injunction.
Australia Court Rights holders can apply to the Federal Court for an injunction directing ISPs to block access to websites that infringe copyrighted content when: the geographical origin of the website is outside of Australia, and when the website has the primary purpose of infringing or facilitating the copyright infringement. The Australian system is under review.
Austria Court Austrian courts can issue injunctions that can be imposed on ISPs to prohibit them from allowing customers to access certain websites. In 2016, an appellate court removed a block on the Pirate Bay, however, ruling that rights holders had failed to exhaust all available remedies.
Belgium Court In 2011, a Belgian appellate court overturned a lower court ruling that found that blocking was disproportionate to allow for the blocking of the Pirate Bay.
Chile Court Chile adopted a new law in 2010 regulating ISP liability for online copyright infringement. The law requires a court order before ISPs are required to take down allegedly copyright-infringing material from websites, block access to an allegedly infringing website, disclose customer information, or terminate customers’ Internet accounts.
Denmark Court In 2015, a Danish court ordered the blocking of 12 sites. Denmark was the first country to order the blocking of the Pirate Bay.
Finland Court Section 60(c)(1) of the Finland Copyright Act allows courts to issue an injunction to discontinue and order intermediaries to discontinue the making of allegedly copyright infringing material available to the public where requirements set out in the provision are fulfilled. In 2011, a Helsinki court ordered the blocking of the Pirate Bay.
France Court Article L. 336-2 of the French Intellectual Property Code allows rights holders to seek a court order to have ISPs implement measures to stop or prevent online copyright infringement.
Germany Court In November 2015, the German Supreme Court in Karlsruhe ruled ISPs might be responsible for blocking websites offering illegal music downloads, but only if copyright holders showed they had first made reasonable attempts to stop such piracy by other means.
Greece Court Copyright holders can apply for injunctions against intermediaries who facilitate access to third party infringers (Article 64A of the Copyright Law), such as websites that are used for dissemination of music and film. In 2015, an Athens Court ruled that barring access to torrent sites is disproportionate and unconstitutional, while hindering the ISPs’ entrepreneurial freedoms.
Iceland Court In October 2014, the Reykjavík District Court ordered two ISPs (Hringdu and Vodafone) to block the Pirate Bay.
India Court India courts have issued orders for ISPs to block access to sites such as the Pirate Bay.
Ireland Court In April 2017, nine ISPs were ordered to block access to three websites. In January 2018, the Commercial Court in Dublin ordered eight sites blocked.
Italy Both Italian courts can issue blocking orders. In addition, the broadcast and telecommunications regulator Authorities for Guarantees Communication (AGCOM) has the power to issue website blocking injunctions.
Netherlands Court Under Article 26d of the Copyright Act, and Article 15e of the Neighbouring Rights Act, district courts can issue an injunction to prevent copyright and other rights’ infringements through the services of intermediaries, by ordering the intermediaries to cease services used for infringements. The Supreme Court is currently considering whether blocking is a proportionate sanction.
Norway Court In 2015, Norway Oslo District Courthouse ruled that all ISPs and access providers must block the TLDs of a number of torrent tracers like the Pirate Bay. Six different torrent trackers/pirating websites were blocked.
Portugal No Court, Voluntary Proess A voluntary process was formalized through an agreement between ISPs, rights holders, and the Ministry of Culture and the Association of Telecommunication Operators, which allows copyright holders to add new sites to a blocklist without any intervention or oversight from a court.
Russia Court Courts can order ISPs and web-hosts to permanently block websites that provide access to infringing content.
Singapore Court Section 193DDA(1) establishes under the Singaporean Act (Copyright Act) that courts can award an injunction against an ISP if the services of the ISP have been or are being used to access an online location to commit or facilitate copyright infringement, and the online location is a flagrantly infringing online location. In February 2016, Singapore’s High Court ordered local ISPs including Singtel, StarHub, and M1 to disable access to
Spain Court In March 2012, the Spanish government approved the Sinde Law that requires websites with pirated material to be blocked within 10 days. The legislation created a government body that has the power to force ISPs to block sites. Rights holders can report websites hosting infringing content to a government commission. A court ultimately rules on whether to block the site.
Sweden Court In March 2017, a Swedish court ordered an ISP to block file-sharing websites. On February 13, 2017, the Swedish Patent and Market Court (part of the Svea Court of Appeals), in a judgment of final instance, issued a decision requiring the ISP, B2 Bredband to block access to the file-sharing sites the Pirate Bay and Swefilm.
United Kingdom Court Copyright owners can use Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to secure mandatory blocking orders against copyright infringing websites, which must be enforced by major ISPs like BT, Sky Broadband, and Virgin Media.


The comparative data confirms that website blocking for copyright purposes is still quite rare. In those countries that have had it, the most common case involves a court action targeting the Pirate Bay. Moreover, the use of courts highlights how due process concerns are addressed. Courts in several countries, including Mexico, Austria, and Greece, have ruled that site blocking is disproportionate, noting that copyright owners may have failed to exhaust other potential remedies. In fact, just last week the Supreme Court of Canada established a higher threshold for the takedown of content online, shifting away from last year’s Google v. Equustek decision and signalling the importance of having courts consider all rights when seeking to block access to content online.

The absence of a court order means the Bell coalition website blocking proposal would place Canada offside almost all countries that permit blocking. The issue was unsurprisingly the immediate sticking point at a hearing on net neutrality at the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics this week where Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith immediately focused on the due process concerns with the site blocking proposal. Rogers executive Pam Dinsmore responded that “there is an enormous amount of due process built into the application”, citing the piracy agency review, the CRTC approval and the possibility of an application to the Federal Court of Appeal. However, courts do not issue the block order and the potential for court involvement arises only after a site has been added to the block list and approved by the CRTC.

Further, in questioning from NDP MP Brian Masse about site blocking moments earlier, Rogers’ Dinsmore suggested that the company would only block with a court order:

I think what you’re asking is if an ISP is ordered to block a website by a court, at what stage does the ISP actually do that blocking if in fact that decision gets appealed? It’s a fair question. Presumably we would be obliged, under a blocking order, to block a given website unless there was a stay to the order that was applied for by the website provider, in which case if there was a stay of the decision, pending the appeal and the conclusion of the appeal, then we would not block that website for that time period. But unless there was a stay to the decision, we would be obliged to block, and we would never as an ISP, in this context we wouldn’t block unless there was a blocking order. We wouldn’t take it upon ourselves to make the determination on whether content is legal or illegal. We would await the court order and ergo we would follow it.

Yet the website blocking proposal that Rogers supports would remove the need to wait for a court order.

The proposal is clearly inconsistent with the vast majority of countries around the world. Notwithstanding assurances that there are many systems that do not depend on court orders, the reality is that almost everyone with a free and open Internet only engages in the possibility of website blocking with a court order. The failure to include one – indeed the very point of the Bell coalition proposal seems to be to avoid the court process – would put Canada at odds with almost all our allies and likely be subject to an immediate legal challenge given our rules on openness, net neutrality, and due process.

The post The Case Against the Bell Coalition’s Website Blocking Plan, Part 4: Absence of Court Orders Would Put Canada At Odds With Almost Everyone appeared first on Michael Geist.


Our friend, Chattanooga, Tennessee-born, Los Angeles-based, artist Wayne White has a show up at Joshua Liner Gallery until March 10th. “I TOOK THE MACHINE APART BUT COULD NOT PUT IT BACK TOGETHER” is his third major solo exhibition with the gallery. Have a look at a selection of his signature word paintings below.


New Humanist Blog: Climate and nature: the spring 2018 New Humanist

Out now - our writers on climate change.

things magazine: Things to watch

Things to watch. Night Windows, a short film by Ian Cross / a performance by suitmanjungle / Love Sport: Love Paintball, a short film by Studio AKA / a lovely film about the late architect Neave Brown / related,

Disquiet: The Melody Method

A lot of the “is it or isn’t it” discussion that surrounds ambient music comes down to the matter of rhythm. The presumed background-ness of ambient music runs into a seeming — that is: a perceived, if not true — conflict with the presumed present-ness of more overly rhythmic music. (I go into this in some depth in my book on Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Extremely short version: even sine waves have rhythms, so the idea of the absence of rhythm in ambient music is somewhat moot.)

What gets lost along the way in that emphasis on rhythm is the potential conflict between melody and ambient-ness. Melodies have a rhythmic component, certainly, but there’s more to melody than rhythm. There is a sense of narrative, of development, and of transitions, among other facets, that collectively run in contrast with the sense that much ambient music aspires to the opposite, to something akin to stasis.

A track like “20180215” by Istanbul-based musician Gurur Gelen, working under the name Pullahs, manages, through its slow pace and it’s muted voicing to insinuate a melody, a genial if sad-toned one, with something of a Celtic lilt, into the mix of hazy synthesis and what may very well be processed birdsong. The melody is certainly hummable, and yet its extremely relaxed cadence and its circular quality keep it from becoming the sole focus of the listening experience.

Track originally posted at More from Gelen/Pullahs at,,, and

Penny Arcade: News Post: Half-Life

Tycho: When I’m playing pubji with Kiko, I take painkillers constantly.  Like, in game.  The inventory item.  It helps me get my head right.  In the state of preternatural clarity they create, do I occasionally shoot a bush that looks (at a certain LOD) like it might be a crouching man?  I won’t say it doesn’t happen.  Maybe the bush in question didn’t deserve to be shot, per se - but let’s be honest with one another. There is no bush without sin. The first panel is truly what he thought, before Amy Falcone - also known as Amy The…

Greater Fool – Authored by Garth Turner – The Troubled Future of Real Estate: Orange crush

Poor Van. What a perfect storm brews. According to high-flying local brokerage Angell Hasman, it’s already here. Next week it gets worse. After that, the world-famous stoner West Coast smirk may be gone foreveh.

Here are some facts AH’s clients recently received under the headline, “The Truth about the Real Estate Market in 2017.” And what a truth it is… completely at odds with the meme carried by the mainstream media.

  • Total sales in West Van were the 3rd lowest since the 1980s. In North Van, the 5th worst year in three decades.
  • For thirty years sales on the West Van waterfront averaged 21 annually. Since the summer of 2016 there have been only 7. Gulp.
  • Selling prices are down between 10% and 12% this year
  • In January an average 54 houses sell in West Van. This year there were 3.
  • In North Van monthly sales have dropped from an average of 88 to 11; in Vancouver West, from 121 to 18.

What’s caused the collapse? “Government interference,” says AH. “The goal has been to drive the market down.” The anti-foreigner 15% tax was botched, he adds, while the property purchase tax was being raised. “The NDP and Green Party are now in power and Chinese buying has almost stopped. The real estate board has failed to inform the public or the government of how bleak the market really is.”

But it’s not just Chinese caught in this tax trap. “One example of tax costs: A lovely English lady lived here for years,” says the brokerage, “and was also a resident of England.  She made an offer of $2.5 million on an apartment and the total tax was $428,000.”

Tax, tax and more tax. It’s the orange crush way to squish a market, and next week’s NDP budget will bring more with the advent of a province-wide speculation tax. It’s the kind of levy that when used in Ontario decades ago, killed house sales and blew up prices virtually overnight.

The Left Coast Dippers made it clear in the Throne Speech this week that it’s coming. “Safe, decent housing is a right that is under threat by speculators, domestic and foreign, who seek windfall profits at the expense of people who work, live and pay taxes in B.C. The first step must be to address demand and stabilize B.C.’s out-of-control real estate and rental market.”

The specifics will come on Tuesday, but word is the tax will be a straight percentage of the value of a property if held by an owner (or related entity) for less than a specified period of time. Add that to the empty houses tax, the foreign dudes tax, the property tax increase, the federal stress test and rising mortgage rates. This is more than any market can take, especially one held together with the gossamer threads of FOMO and propaganda.

“I have heard some true horror stories on valuation declines in the high end,” says a long-time YVR financial advisor to the well-heeled, “but given the fact that the real estate industry keeps all the local newspapers, magazines and radio stations in business with advertising, it’s all Fake News when it comes to facts. It’s obscene that consumers can’t get data to make informed decisions as you have stated so many times.  Can’t wait for Zillow to show up!”

By the way, this is what the local realtors said in announcing results for the same month Angell says was a total bust:

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 1,818 in January 2018, a 19.4% increase from the 1,523 sales recorded in January 2017, and a 9.8% decrease compared to December 2017 when 2,016 homes sold.

Last month’s sales were 7.1% above the 10-year January sales average. By property type, detached sales were down 24.8% from the 10-year January average, attached sales increased 14.3% and apartment sales were up 31.6% over the same period.

“Demand remains elevated and listings scarce in the attached and apartment markets across Metro Vancouver,” Jill Oudil, REBGV president said. “Buyers in the detached market are facing less competition and have much more selection to choose.”

But, poor YVRlanders, don’t just blame Comrade Horgan or the Fake New Realtors. Save some hate for the former Christy Clark government’s nutty idea of making houses more affordable by giving people downpayments. A study by the provincial real estate association’s economist (Cam Muir) discovered the obvious – these interest-free and payment-free loans encouraged moisters to spend more, forcing real estate prices higher. In the first nine months of last year, it says, the scheme added 0.55% to the price of an apartment and 0.57% to townhouses. Yes, that’s only about $4,000, but it helps illustrate a simple fact: government just makes stuff worse.

Any doubt should vanish Tuesday.

LLVM Project Blog: LLVM accepted to 2018 Google Summer of Code!

We are excited to announce the LLVM project has been accepted to 2018 Google Summer of Code!

What is Google Summer of Code?

Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is a global program focused on introducing students to open source software development. Students work on a 3 month programming project with an open source organization during their break from university. There are several benefits to this program for both the students and LLVM:

  • Inspire students to get involved with open source, compilers and LLVM
  • Give students exposure to real-world software development while getting paid a stipend
  • Allow students to do paid work related to their academic pursuits versus getting an unrelated summer job
  • Bring new developers into the LLVM project
  • Some LLVM bugs get fixed or new features get added

Students - Apply now! 

Ok, so you can't apply right now as the official application to GSoC does not open until March 12, 2018, but you must begin discussing your project on the LLVM mailing lists well before that date. There are many open projects listed on our webpage. Once you have selected a project, you will discuss it on the appropriate mailing list.

If you have an idea for a project that is not listed, you can always propose it on the list as well and seek out a mentor.

Key Dates to Remember

We have listed a few key dates here, but always consult the official GSoC timeline to confirm.

  • March 12 (16:00 UTC) - Applications open
  • March 27 (16:00 UTC) - Deadline to file your application
  • April 23 (16:00 UTC) - Accepted student proposals are announced
  • May 14 - Coding begins

LLVM Developers - Consider being mentor!

This program is not a success without our mentors. Thank you to all that have all who have already volunteered! If you have never mentored a GSoC project but are curious, it is not too late to volunteer! You can either select an open project without a mentor or propose your own. Make sure to get it listed on the webpage so that students can see it as an option.

If mentoring just isn't an option for you at this time, consider helping the project out my spreading the word about GSoC.


If you have questions about the program for the organizers, please email Project specific questions should be sent to the appropriate developer mailing list instead.

OUR VALUED CUSTOMERS: While discussing a recent break-up...

OCaml Planet: Release of a first version of, a Tezos block explorer

OCamlPro is proud to release a first version of TzScan (, its Tezos
block explorer to ease the use of the Tezos network.

What TzScan can do for you :

– Several charts on blocks, operations, network, volumes, fees, and more,
– Marketcap and Futures/IOU prices from,
– Blocks, operations, accounts and contracts detail pages,
– Public API to get information about blocks, operations, accounts and more,
– Documentation on different concepts of Tezos like Endorsements, Nonces, etc.

What we tried to do with TzScan is to show differently the Tezos network to have a better understanding of what is really going on by showing the main points of Proof of Stake. Further enhancements and optimization are to come but enjoy and play with our explorer.

If you have suggestions or bugs, please send us reports at !

Penny Arcade: Comic: Half-Life

New Comic: Half-Life

Colossal: A Single Book Disrupts the Foundation of a Brick Wall by Jorge Méndez Blake

The Castle is a 2007 project by Mexican artist Jorge Méndez Blake that subtly examines the impact of a single outside force. For the installation, he constructed a 75 x 13 foot brick wall that balances on top of a single copy of Franz Kafka’s The Castle. The mortarless wall bulges at the site of the inserted text, creating an arch that extends to the top of the precarious structure.

Although a larger metaphor could be applied to the installation no matter what piece of literature was chosen, Méndez Blake specifically selected The Castle to pay tribute to Kafka’s lifestyle and work. The novelist was a deeply introverted figure who wrote privately throughout his life, and was only published posthumously by his friend Max Brod. This minimal, yet poignant presence is reflected in the brick work—Kafka’s novel showcasing how a small idea can have a monumental presence.


Colossal: A Menagerie of Ceramic Beasts and Curiosities at Messums Wiltshire’s ‘Material Earth II’

Caribou Antler and Bone Handled Forks by Ann Carrington, 210 x 127 x 20cm

In Material Earth II, a group show that just opened at Messums Wiltshire, artists explore how materials can be used to morph the meaning of traditional narratives—particularly in the context of Northern European myths and fairytales. In a statement on the show, Messums describes the exhibition as “an ode to all those that are magical, fantastical and ever-changing.” Artists include Livia Marin, Ann Carrington, Bouke de Vries, and Jessica Harrison. The works span a range of materials, with an emphasis on ceramics, which is unsurprising given both the fluid nature of the material and its historic prominence in narratives of everyday life. Material Earth is on view at Messums’ 13th century exhibition barn and adjoining modern space in southwest England until April 2, 2018.

Nomad Patterns (i) by Livia Marin, 2017, Ceramic, 38 x 21 x 10

Broken Things (i) by Livia Marin, 2018, Ceramic, 15 x 10.5 x 5cm

Royal Doulton Figurine ‘Elaine’ by Jessica Harrison, found ceramic, glaze, H19 x W18.5 x D13.5cm

The Polar Bear by Barnaby Barford, 2016, Porcelain, sculpted foam, steel frame, enameled wire, painted plywood, H245 x L85 x D135cm

Troll #8 by Marlene Hartman Rasmussen, 2017, H51 x W42 x D11cm

Sissure (ommateum) by Kate MccGwire, 2016, Mixed media with goose down and pigeon quills, H42 x H42 x D6cm (framed)

Still Life with Kinfisher, 2017 by Bouke de Vries, 17th century Chinese porcelain bowl, taxidermy, wax fruit and mixed media, H33 x W33 x D24cm

Forest Fruits – Bear by Claire Partington, Earthenware, Glaze, Enamel, Lustre & Mixed Media with two interchangeable heads, 2017, H62 x W39 x D20cm

Michael Geist: The Case Against the Bell Coalition’s Website Blocking Plan, Part 3: Piracy Having Little Impact on Thriving Digital Services and TV Production

The case against the Bell coalition’s website blocking plan continues with an examination of the state of new digital business models and Canadian content production (earlier posts looked at Canadian copyright law and weak evidence on Canadian piracy). Given the high threshold needed to gain CRTC support for website blocking (which requires exceptional circumstances), the coalition proposal must not only make the case that there is a significant Canadian piracy problem, but also that piracy is having an enormous impact on the business and creative sectors.

The proposal tries to meet that standard by claiming that Canadian piracy “makes it difficult if not impossible to build the successful business models that will meet the evolving demands of Canadians, support Canadian content production, and contribute to the Canadian economy.” Yet as with the actual data on Canadian piracy, which firmly rebuts claims that Canada is a piracy haven, the Canadian data on the digital economy and Canadian creative sector show a thriving industry.

Supporting Canadian Content Production

As I noted in a recent post on the latest data from the Canadian Media Producers Association, the total value of the Canadian film and television sector exceeded $8 billion last year, over than a billion more than has been recorded over the past decade. In fact, last year everything increased: Canadian television, Canadian feature film, foreign location and service production, and broadcaster in-house production.

If the standard the CRTC is to consider involves support for Canadian content production, the situation has never been better. Canadian content production hit an all-time high last year at $3.3 billion, rising by 16.1%. Notably, the increased expenditures do not come from broadcasters, who lead on the website blocking proposal and whose relevance continues to diminish year-by-year. In fact, the private broadcasters (led by Bell) now contribute only 11% of the total financing for English-language television production. Their contribution is nearly half of what it was just three years ago (now standing at $236 million) in an industry that is growing. Yet despite the private broadcaster decline, money is pouring into the sector from distributors (who see benefits of global markets) and foreign financing (which has grown by almost $200 million in the past four years) leading the way. The sector remains heavily supported by the public, with federal and provincial tax credits now accounting for almost 30% of financing.

The increase in foreign investment in production in Canada is staggering. When Netflix began investing in original content in 2013, the total foreign investment (including foreign location and service production, Canadian theatrical, and Canadian television) was $2.2 billion. That number has doubled in the last five years, now standing at nearly $4.7 billion. While much of that stems from foreign location and service production that supports thousands of jobs, foreign investment in Canadian television production has also almost doubled in the last five years

The increasing irrelevance of private broadcasters for financing Canadian television production is particularly pronounced in the fiction genre (ie. drama and comedy shows). This is easily the most important genre from an economic perspective, with $1.29 billion spent last year. Private broadcasters only contributed $59 million or five percent of the total. By comparison, foreign financing was $285 million. In sum, the data confirms that there has never been more money invested in film and television production in Canada.

Supporting Digital Business Models

The Canadian data on digital business models also points to a steady stream of success stories that refute claims that it is difficult if not impossible to create successful business models in Canada.  Online video services, which the Bell coalition suggests are harmed by streaming sites, are experiencing rapidly expanding revenues, now generating more than $1 billion per year. In fact, two Canadian online video services – CraveTV and Club illico – are estimated to have earned $373 million last year, up from just $13 million four years earlier.

Bell CEO George Cope confirmed the success during a recent quarterly conference call, stating:

Crave strategy continues to work for us number of customers up 22% year-over-year, allowing us to have a product that you can view through traditional linear TV or and over-the-top environment.

The positive data sparked a question from Drew McReynolds about the rate of cord cutting:

on cord cutting, cord shaving trends overall, you are obviously doing quite well on Crave and Alt TV, wondering if you’re seeing in the TV market a real structural acceleration, let’s say over the last 6 to 12 months or is it more of a steady acceleration or steady kind of rate of cord cutting, cord shaving?

Cope’s response:

It seems steady to me – clearly we have not seen some acceleration, but we notice a growing share and we got to be in, you know we absolutely have to be in that space in the market place, so we actually saw some growth and you know from a pay sub perspective, but we haven’t seen a sudden acceleration and you can – the industry will now take the total TV net adds and be able to see that you know the decline in, and I don’t think that rate has accelerated

Simply put, Canada is now one of the world’s leading markets for online video services. According to the Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2017, Canada ranks among the top countries for consumers paying for online video services. There are now approximately 20 subscription streaming services in Canada and surveys indicate that more than half of all English-language households subscribe to Netflix. In fact, the data indicates that a higher percentage of Canadians pay for online video services than consumers in countries with site blocking such as Australia and the U.K.

That is not a market where digital business models can’t succeed due to piracy. Rather, the data confirms Canadians’ willingness to pay for well-priced, convenient services, which has presumably prompted CBS to expand its streaming service to Canada, following on Amazon’s recent streaming video entry. Record earnings, a top tier global ranking for subscribers, and new market entrants are the sign of a thriving market, not one struggling to survive due to claims of piracy.

The Canadian success story is not limited to online video as the online music market has experienced similar growth. According to industry data, the Canadian music market is growing much faster than the world average (12.8% in 2016 vs. 5.9% globally), streaming revenues more than doubled last year to US$127.9 million (up from US$49.82 million) growing far faster than the world average, the Canadian digital share of revenues of 63% is far above the global average of 50%, and Canada has leaped past Australia to become the 6th largest music market in the world. The numbers are big for music creators as well. SOCAN, Canada’s largest music copyright collective, recently reported that its Internet streaming revenues rose 46% last year, nearly hitting $50 million annually. In 2013, that number was only $3.4 million.

Nordicity recently issued a detailed look at trends in the creative industries, summarizing the situation in the following manner:

In 2016, it was noted that OTT (over-the-top video) takes a piece of subscriber revenues from BDUs, as well as from pay/specialty broadcasting services. Newly recognized is both the disruptive impact on television and also the opportunity for content producers.

The opportunity for creators is the theme of Canadian Heritage Minister Melanie Joly’s vision for the sector, which focuses on encouraging investment in Canada and sales to foreign markets. The data suggests great success in this regard, demonstrating that the Bell coalition’s claims about the impossibility of building successful business models due to piracy bear little resemblance to the reality of the Canadian market.

The post The Case Against the Bell Coalition’s Website Blocking Plan, Part 3: Piracy Having Little Impact on Thriving Digital Services and TV Production appeared first on Michael Geist.

The Geomblog: A #metoo testimonial that hits close to home...

This is a guest post by a colleague in the TCS community, a person I know. If you read other TCS blogs you might come across this there. This is by design. Please do read it. 

Every #MeToo story over the last several months has made me pause. My heart races and my concentration fails. The fact that the stories have largely focused on the workplace adds to my difficulty.

Do I speak out too?

I have shared a few stories with colleagues about things that have happened to me in school and at work. But these stories have been somewhat lighthearted events that have been easy to share without outing the perpetrators.

For example, I have told a story about a university employee telling me, in so many words, that I should be barefoot and pregnant and not in the office. What I didn't share is that the same employee, later that year -- despite the fact that our common boss knew about this story because I did indeed report it -- was awarded a best employee award. How do you think that made me feel? Like my experience didn't matter and that such comments are condoned by our department. Why didn't I share that information widely? Because I was worried that folks would then be able to figure out who the culprit was. And isn't that even worse? Shouldn't it be the sexist who is worried and not the woman who, yet again, is made to feel like she doesn't belong?


Let me tangent a bit. For years I have not flown. Ostensibly I stopped flying because of the contribution to the climate crisis. When I travel, I go by train. It takes longer, but has been surprisingly pleasant. And when travel takes 3-4 times as long, you don't do it as often, further reducing your carbon footprint. Of course, that means that I don't go to conferences unless they are nearby.

But when I really think about it, is this really the reason I stopped going to conferences? A conference I would normally go to was held nearby a few years ago and I didn't go. Sure, I suffered a grievous injury two weeks before, but I hadn't even registered. I had planned to not go long before that injury.

So, really, why do I no longer attend conferences? Partly I don't feel that I need to anymore, now that I have tenure. When I stopped attending conferences, I was able to "coast into" tenure. Letter writers would remember me. I essentially stopped going to conferences and workshops as soon as I possibly could.


Back to the beginning, or close to.

I was nervous at the first conference I attended as a graduate student. One of the reasons I was nervous was that I was athletic at the time and planned on daily runs while I was attending -- I was worried that it might be viewed as a waste of time. My advisor, who also went to the conference, found out about my athleticism and suggested we run together. This was a relief to me. That is, until we were running and he started talking about his lackluster sex life with his wife. I responded by picking up the pace and feigning an illness on the remaining days. On the last day of the conference we were out for dinner with a large group of people and dinner went late into the night. I excused myself, as I had a 4AM bus to catch. My advisor walked me out of the restaurant and awkwardly said something about wanting me to stay and that we should talk. I stuck to leaving, knowing that I needed some sleep before the long trip home the next day. He said we should talk when we were back in the office. Honestly, at the time I thought he was going to complain about my talk or my professional performance in some way. I worried about it all through the weekend until we met next. I brought it up at the end of our meeting, asking what he wanted to talk about, naively expecting professional criticism. When he said I must surely know, in a certain voice, I knew he wasn't talking about work. I feigned ignorance, and he eventually brushed it off and said not to worry. In the coming months, he would cancel meetings and otherwise make himself unavailable. After a half year I realized I wouldn't be able to be successful without having a supportive advisor and, despite first planning to quit grad school, found a new advisor and moved on. That former advisor barely made eye contact with me for the remainder of my time in graduate school.

Fast forward many years. I was at a small workshop as a postdoc. A senior and highly respected researcher invited me to dinner. I was excited at the opportunity to make a stronger connection that would hopefully lead to a collaboration. However, at dinner he made it very clear that this was not professional by reaching across the table and stroking my hands repeatedly. I don't even recall how I handled it. Perhaps I should have expected it -- a grad school friend of mine had a similar, and probably worse, interaction with this same researcher. Shortly after I got to my room at the hotel, my hotel room phone rang. It was him. He wanted to continue our conversation. I did not.

Perhaps a year later, still as a postdoc, I was at a party and a colleague from another university was there too. At the end of the party, we were alone. We flirted, mutually. Flirting led to kissing, kissing led to him picking me up in a way that asserted how much stronger he is than me, which led to my utter discomfort, which led to me saying no, stop, repeatedly. Which he didn't listen to. Which led to a calculation in my head. I could either resist and risk physical injury or I could submit. I chose to submit, without consent.

For the record, that is called rape.

For a long while, I suppressed it. I pretended in my own head that it didn't happen that way, that it was consensual. I even tried to continue working with him -- always in public places, mind you. The wall in my mind gradually broke down over the years until several years later, we were at the same workshop where the doors of the rooms didn't have locks. You could lock them from the inside, but not the outside. I remember worrying that he would be lurking in my room and took to making sure I knew where he was before I ventured back to sleep.


So why would I continue to go to workshops and conferences when that is the environment I know I will face? Even if I felt safe, if 95% of the attendees are men, how many look at me as a colleague and how many look at me as a potential score? When I was going up for tenure, I thought long and hard about listing the senior-and-highly-respected researcher on a do-not-ask-for-a-letter list. But where would it stop? Do I include all the people who hit on me? All the people who stared at my breasts or commented on my body? All the people who I had been given clear signals that they didn't see me as a colleague and equal member of the research community, but as a woman meant to be looked at, hit on, touched inappropriately.

Should I have quit grad school when I had the chance? We all know it isn't any better in industry. Should I have pursued another discipline? No discipline, it seems, is immune to sexualization of women. But I think the situation is uniquely horrible in fields where there are so few women. At conferences in theoretical computer science, 5-10% of the attendees are women, as a generous estimate. The numbers aren't in women's favor. The chances that you will get hit on, harassed, assaulted are much higher. There is a greater probability that you will be on your own in a group of men. You can't escape working with men. It is next to impossible to build a career when you start striking men off your list of collaborators in such a field. That is not to say there aren't wonderful men to work with. There are many men in our field that I have worked with and turned to for advice and spent long hours with and never once had detected so much as a creepy vibe. But you can't escape having to deal with the many others who aren't good. When you meet someone at a conference, and they invite you for a drink or dinner to continue the conversation, how do you know that they actually want to talk about work, or at least treat you as they would any colleague? How do you make that decision?

I hung on until I no longer needed to go to conferences and workshops to advance my career to the stability of tenure. But surely my career going forward will suffer. My decision is also hard on my students, who go to conferences on their own without someone to introduce them around. It is hard on my students who can't, for visa difficulties, go to the international conferences that I am also unwilling to go to, so we roll the dice on the few domestic conferences they can go to.

And now I am switching fields. Completely. I went to two conferences last summer. The first, I brought the protective shield of my child and partner. The second, I basically showed up for my talk and nothing else. I wasn't interested in schmoozing. It'll be difficult, for sure, to establish myself in a new field without fully participating in the expected ways.

Is all this why I am switching fields? Not entirely, I'm sure, but it must have played a big role. If I enjoyed conferences as much as everyone else seems to, and didn't feel shy about starting new collaborations, I might be too engrossed to consider reasons to leave. And certainly, the directions I am pursuing are lending themselves to a much greater chance of working with women.

Why am I speaking out now? The #MeToo moment is forcing me to think about it, of course. But I have been thinking about this for years. I hope it will be a relief to get it off my chest. I have been "getting on with it" for long enough. 1 in 5 women will deal with rape in their lifetime. 1 in 5! You would think that I would hear about this from friends. But I hadn't told anyone about my rape. And almost no one has told me about theirs. I think it would help, in the very least therapeutically, to talk about it.


I thought about publishing this somewhere, anonymously, as a "woman in STEM". I considered publishing it non-anonymously, but was shy to deal with the trolls. I didn't want to deal with what many women who speak out about their experiences face: have their life be scrutinized, hear excuses being made on behalf of the predators, generally have their experiences denied. But I think by posting it here, many people in theoretical computer science will read it, rather than a few from the choir. I am hoping that you will talk to each other about it. That you will start thinking of ways to make our community better for others. In all my years of going to conferences and workshops, of all the inappropriate comments and behaviors that others have stood around and witnessed, never once did any of the good ones call that behavior out or intervene. Maybe they did so in private, but I think it needs to be made public. Even the good ones can do better.

What can you do?

While you couldn't have protected me from being raped, you can think about the situations we are expected to be in for our careers -- at workshops in remote locations, where we're expected to drink and be merry after hours. I hope not many of us have been raped by a colleague, but even if you haven't, it doesn't take many instances of being hit on or touched inappropriately to begin to feel unsafe.

I remember being at a conference and, standing in a small group, an attendee interrupted a conversation I was having to tell me that my haircut wasn't good, that I shouldn't have cut my hair short. I tried to ignore it, and continue my conversation, but he kept going on about it. Saying how I would never attract a man with that haircut. No one said anything. Speak up. Just say -- shut up! -- that's not appropriate. Don't leave it up to the people who have to deal with this day in day out to deal with it on their own. Create a culture where we treat each other with respect and don't silently tolerate objectification and worse.

I regret never reporting my first graduate advisor's behavior, but is it my fault? I had no idea who to report it to. I had no idea either in undergrad who I would report such behavior to. Where I am now is the first place I've been that has had clear channels for reporting sexual harassment and other damaging situations. The channels are not without problems, but I think the university is continuing to improve them. Perhaps we should have a way of reporting incidents in our field. I have a hard time believing, given that myself and a grad school friend had similar experiences with the same senior-and-highly-respected researcher, that others in the field don't know that he is a creep. It is up to you to protect the vulnerable of our community from creeps and predators. Keep an eye on them. Talk to them. Don't enable them. As a last resort, shame and isolate them.

New Humanist Blog: Pakistani humanist refused asylum - for failing to identify Plato and Aristotle

Hamza bin Walayat has received death threats in Pakistan after renouncing religion.

Disquiet: Layers of Voice

Part of the beauty of using vocal sounds as the source for electronic music is simply just how far you can push the source tones and yet, to the human ear (which is so attuned through evolution to recognize the human voice), that vocal-ness remains self-evident. A case in point is “The Groan Machine” by Noise Jockey. It’s a layering of a dozen mouth utterances, each processed through a range of equipment listed in the accompanying note. The full breadth sounds are somehow both otherworldly (cast sweeps of white noise, thick stacks of elements, wide expanses of texture) and tellingly human.

Track originally posted at More from Noise Jockey, aka Nathan Moody of the San Francisco Bay Area, at and Comic for 2018.02.14

New Cyanide and Happiness Comic

Perlsphere: Sunsetting Piggybak, A Ruby on Rails Ecommerce Gem

Screenshot of website for Piggybak: Open Source Ruby on Rails Ecommerce

Hi there! I’m Steph, the original creator and not-very-good maintainer of Piggybak, a modular ecommerce platform written in Ruby on Rails. With the help of End Point, I created Piggybak after building a custom Ruby on Rails ecommerce application for one of our clients here at End Point.

My goal with Piggybak was to create a lightweight, modular ecommerce platform in the form of a Ruby on Rails gem that could be combined with other Ruby on Rails gems for quick setup. Over the years, End Point has had much success working in Interchange, an ecommerce framework written in Perl. The web stack has evolved greatly over the years, as has the capacity for modularity and the ability to decouple front-end and back-end architecture.

Fast forward about 4 years after Piggybak was released, and we’ve decided to retire it. Not only did I leave the maintenance up to End Point after I left to work as an in-house software engineer for the last couple of years, but I was also in a position to evaluate using Piggybak as the base for a custom solution.

While I think there are some great Ruby on Rails gems to help support your ecommerce application (see below), one of the main things I realized was that the modularity in Piggybak often doesn’t suit the needs for the target audience of custom Ruby on Rails ecommerce platforms.

These days, here’s my oversimplified categorization of those looking for ecommerce solutions, divided into two audiences:

Audience #1: Boilerplate Saas with Theme Customization
Those sellers where boilerplate ecommerce solutions work, with simple product and variant modeling. Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce, WooCommerce can be decent popular options for that audience, but there are so many other options out there.

Audience #2: Custom Ecommerce in Ruby on Rails
Companies going this route have custom enough needs where a small team can develop and maintain a custom solution, using Ruby on Rails efficiently that don’t require them to depend on a pre-existing data model or business rule.

Not only did Piggybak suffer from a lack of community involvement, but it also didn’t suit the needs of the two audiences listed above. Because it was complex enough written in the form of a Rails gem (engine), it required a developer with some knowledge to install and customize further. And because it defined assumptions around the product-variant data model and business rules for inventory and payment management, it wasn’t necessarily a good fit for custom ecommerce needs.

Other Ruby on Rails Gems

While I’m sad to sunset Piggybak, I still believe Rails offers great options for ecommerce needs, including these popular Ruby on Rails gems:

If you are wondering if there are any Ruby on Rails ecommerce gems still out there, you can look at Solidus, Spree, and RoR-E. End Point has a long history with Spree, and experience with the other two platforms, but again, the audience of those businesses choosing a custom path may not want to be tied to the data models and business rules adopted by these existing platforms.

Quiet Earth: Con Man Healer Gets Real Powers in THE LUCKY MAN [Trailer]

Norman Gregory McGuire’s (From Eva with Love) action-thriller The Lucky Man is travelling Route 66. In the film, a conman priest (Jesse James) and his Latina girlfriend (Mariana Paola Vicente) hustle folks in small communities.

The Lucky Man sees a digital release from Indican Pictures February 13th, 2018, and then the DVD hits February 20.

The Lucky Man also stars Kim Jackson Wheeler (8 Days) and Neal Kodinsky (“Stan Against Evil”).

A young charis [Continued ...]

Perlsphere: Grant Proposal: Perl-Based Platform

The Grants Committee has received the following grant proposal for the January/February round. Before the Committee members vote, we would like to solicit feedback from the Perl community on the proposal.

Review the proposal below and please comment here by February 20th, 2018. The Committee members will start the voting process following that and the conclusion will be announced the last week of February.

Perl-Based Platform

  • Name:

    John Napiorkowski

  • Amount Requested:

    USD $1,500


Complete development of the partially-operational platform.

Benefits to the Perl Community

Few people understand what The Cloud is, and fewer still have access.

The Perl community will benefit by having wide-spread free access to a Perl-based Cloud computing platform, which will showcase Perl as both modern and competitive against other Cloud technologies.


The platform itself will be updated with new features which will automatically become available to all users.

Project Details

The platform is a Perl-based Cloud computing software system created from scratch.

Numerous technologies are utilized in the current version of, including but not limited to:

  • Perl
  • Catalyst MVC
  • ShinyCMS
  • RPerl
  • GCC C++
  • Javascript
  • CGI::Ajax
  • Ace Editor

I have reviewed the source code and started initial planning discussions with the founder, Will Braswell.


Phase 1, LAMP Installer Script Section 51

  • Review & Comprehend Script
  • Upgrade Section 51 "PERL CLOUDFORFREE" To Function Properly
  • Demonstrate Section 51 Installing CloudForFree Software In Ubuntu 16.04
  • Upgrade CFF Server To RPerl v3.2

Phase 2, IDE Code Editor

  • Create Linux User Account For Existing & New Users
  • New Copies Of Learning RPerl Exercises
  • Save All Files In Linux User Home Directories
  • Button For "Save File" Function
  • Save & Quit Functions For Ace Editor vi & emacs Keyboard Commands
    • :w :wq ZZ etc.
    • Ctrl-x Ctrl-s Ctrl-x s Ctrl-x Ctrl-w etc.
  • Multiple Open Files Via Tab Widget

Phase 3, Open GitHub Issues

  • Review & Comprehend All Open GitHub Issues
  • Collaborate With Client Personnel To Plan Solutions For Each Open Issue
  • Implement Solutions For Each Open Issue

Phase 4, Terminal Emulation

  • Full xterm Terminal Emulation For Command-Line Job Execution
  • Includes All VT100 & VT102 & VT220 Features
  • Resize Number Of Rows & Columns By Window Resize
  • Resize Font Size By User Configuration
  • Backspace, Tab, Other Special Command Characters
  • Arbitrary Placement Of Characters At Any Row & Column
  • Color Characters & Background
  • Curses & Other Menu Support
  • Full Window (F10) & Full Screen (F11)

Phase 5, Graphical Output & Mouse Input

  • Full X-Windows Graphics Output Using Xpra HTML5 Client
  • Generate Output Using SDL From Perl & C
  • Mouse Left-Click, Right-Click, Drag, Scroll
  • Resize Number Of Available X & Y Pixels By Window Resize
  • Full Window (F10) & Full Screen (F11)

Phase 6, GitHub Repositories Integration

  • Import & Setup User's GitHub Keys Via Linux User Account (From Phase 2)
  • List Of All GitHub Repos With User As Owner Or Collaborator
  • Admin Mode, Display All Repos
  • Allow User To Enter Any Other Readable GitHub Repo URL ex.
  • Buttons For Basic User Git Commands
    • clone
    • add
    • commit
    • push
    • pull
    • checkout
    • status
  • Do Not Duplicate Any GitHub Web Functionality

Phase 7, Job Queue

  • Job Scheduler & Monitor Using OAR (1st Choice), Or HTCondor Or Slurm (2nd Choices)
  • Manage User's Jobs Via Linux User Account (From Phase 2)
  • List Of All Current Jobs With User As Owner
  • Admin Mode, Display All Jobs
  • FileManager For Selecting *.pl RPerl Programs To Run
  • Buttons For Basic Job Control Commands
    • start
    • restart
    • stop (SIGTERM)
    • force stop (SIGKILL)
    • pause (SIGSTOP)
    • continue (SIGCONT)
    • show/hide CLI (From Phase 4)
    • show/hide GUI (From Phase 5)
  • Display Resources: FLOPS, Cores, Memory, Storage; Total, Unused, Available To User

Project Schedule

I can start in about a week or so.

This is a very complex job, I expect it could take 3 to 5 months to complete.

Completeness Criteria

This grant is done when a new version of is made available with all the new features listed herein.


I am the maintainer of Catalyst MVC and I have 77 distributions on CPAN:

I am a member of the Austin Perl Mongers with Will Braswell, the creator of both RPerl and

We have worked together for several years on various Perl projects, both open source and commercial.

Michael Geist: The Case Against the Bell Coalition’s Website Blocking Plan, Part 2: Weak Evidence on the State of Canadian Piracy

Having examined the state of current Canadian copyright law with respect to anti-piracy measures, the series outlining the case against the Bell coalition’s website blocking plan continues with an examination of the evidence on Canadian piracy. The coalition argues that piracy in Canada is a growing threat, relying on data from MUSO to suggest that current activities “makes it difficult if not impossible to build the successful business models that will meet the evolving demands of Canadians, support Canadian content production, and contribute to the Canadian economy.” My next post will discuss economic evidence in Canada, highlighting record growth in authorized streaming services and production in the Canadian creative sector. This post is limited to data on Canadian piracy rates and whether drastic measures such as website blocking are needed.

Before discussing piracy in Canada, it is important to emphasize that critiquing the data on piracy does not make one “pro-piracy.” No one denies that infringing activity takes place, whether in Canada or elsewhere. Rather, website blocking represents a significant reform with major costs and implications for freedom of expression, net neutrality, and the balanced enforcement of intellectual property rights. Without a compelling case that piracy in Canada is particularly severe – and evidence that the proposed solution will have a major impact on piracy rates – the risks and costs associated with such a plan will outweigh any perceived benefits.

Canadian Studies on Piracy Rates

The most recent Canadian government backed report on piracy is the Circum Network study from 2016. The Bell coalition submission cites the report in support of the claim that Internet providers should play a role in combatting piracy. Yet the report contained few recommendations and did not find much enthusiasm among Canadian stakeholders for investing in anti-piracy activities (which may help explain why existing tools are not being used). The report states that “Canadian representatives of rights holders consulted as part of this study tended not to give online piracy fighting a high priority. While they condemn unauthorized access to intellectual property and while some rights holders indicated actively reacting, they generally considered that their scarce resources are better invested in other battles and counted on global organizations to pursue the fight.” In fact, there was even disagreement among those rights holders that supported government action. While some wanted law enforcement to escalate the piracy issue, others preferred to focus primarily on education efforts.

Those views are echoed in other reports. For example, a 2017 report from the Canada Media Fund noted that “some industry watchers have gone so far as to suggest that piracy has been ‘made pointless’ given the possibility of unlimited viewing in exchange for a single monthly price”, a reference to the commercial success of services such as Netflix and other online video streaming services that now generate more than $1 billion per year in Canada in revenue.

In addition to the commercial success in Canada that refute claims that it is near-impossible to establish successful business models, the data consistently shows that Canada is not a global leader when it comes to piracy. For example, Music Canada recently reported that Canada is well below global averages in downloading music from unauthorized sites (33 per cent in Canada vs. 40 per cent globally) or stream ripping from sites such as YouTube (27 per cent in Canada vs. 35 per cent globally.

The lower Canadian piracy rates are also reflected in data from CEG-TEK, one of the most prolific (mis)users of the notice-and-notice system, which reported in 2015 that there were “massive changes” in the Canadian market after the new copyright legal rules were established. In fact, it noted that the biggest decrease in piracy occurred on Bell’s network:

•    Bell Canada – 69.6% decrease
•    Telus Communications – 54.0% decrease
•    Shaw Communications – 52.1% decrease
•    TekSavvy Solutions – 38.3% decrease
•    Rogers Cable – 14.9% decrease

Similarly, the Business Software Alliance reports that Canada is at its lowest software piracy rate ever, well below global and European averages.

The MUSO Report: Declining Piracy Rates and Questionable Assumptions

The Bell coalition website blocking proposal ignores this data, putting its eggs primarily in one basket: a MUSO study on the state of Canadian piracy (Sandvine data that 7% of North American households subscribe to unauthorized services leaves 93% not subscribing to such services, which does not advance their argument nor does it involve Canadian-specific data). The MUSO study comes up with a big number – 1.88 billion visits to piracy sites in Canada. Yet a closer look at the study shows that Canadian piracy rates declined during the study period. Moreover, there are very questionable assumptions that call into question the validity of the data and highlight why definitions of “piracy sites” is subject to considerable manipulation.

The report itself plainly states that Canadian piracy rates declined during the study period. It points to the trends in the first six months vs. the last six months:

Piracy Sites Visits (Overall) -5.4%
Streaming Sites -2.89%
Web Download Sites -1.37%
Public Torrent Sites -26.78%
Private Torrent Sites -8.38%


In other words, for every type of site measured by MUSO, Canadian traffic declined during the study period.

Beyond the decline in piracy visits, the study is subject to questionable assumptions that raise questions about the validity of the data.  Underlying the MUSO data is website traffic information from SimilarWeb, which samples traffic in countries around the world. There have been several studies that found that SimilarWeb is prone to over-estimating website traffic (here, here), which could mean the overall number is inflated.

Even if the visits are accurate, the MUSO data captures many sites that fall outside the types of piracy sites most envision. The company takes its own list of 23,000 piracy sites and uses the SimilarWeb data as the basis for concluding the number of piracy visits. Yet the sample sites used by MUSO highlight the challenge in identifying what constitutes a piracy site. For example, web download sites include, a site that contains user-generated sub-titles for television shows and movies. The site includes completed sub-titles and works in progress that allow users to contribute to the translations and sub-titles. It does not contain full video or audio. The legality of user-generated sub-titles may be open for debate (sub-titles can be used for lawfully acquired videos) but few would think of this kind of site as “blatantly, overwhelmingly, or structurally engaged in piracy.” The MUSO list also contains multiple sites that can be used to capture the video from sites such as YouTube. Stream ripping is a concern for the music industry, but these technologies (which are also found in readily available software programs from your local BestBuy) also have considerable non-infringing uses, such as for downloading Creative Commons licensed videos also found on video sites.

Where the site used in the database is widely viewed as a “piracy” site, the data doesn’t always support claims that website blocking is an effective tool for reducing site visits. For example, identified by MUSO as sample streaming site. Indeed, the site is on the blocklist in both Australia and the United Kingdom (both established through court rulings, not the administrative process envisioned by the Bell coalition). SimilarWeb has the latest data for site visits to with Canada ranking below both Australia and the UK as a traffic source, despite inclusion on a blocklist in the latter two countries. Canada is also declining faster as a traffic source than Australia, the UK, and the United States (which is easily the top source of traffic).

None of this data is meant to justify infringing activity. However, claims that Canada is a piracy haven are not supported by the data. If anything, the data supports the view that Canadians are rapidly shifting away from unauthorized sites toward legal alternatives as better, more convenient choices come into the market. More on that side of the story in tomorrow’s post.

The post The Case Against the Bell Coalition’s Website Blocking Plan, Part 2: Weak Evidence on the State of Canadian Piracy appeared first on Michael Geist.

Perlsphere: Grant Proposals: January/February 2017

The Grants Committee has received the following grant proposals for the January/February round.

Before the Committee members vote on the proposals, we would like to solicit feedback from the Perl community.

Review the proposals at their individual links and please comment there by February 20th, 2018. The Committee members will start the voting process following that and the conclusion will be announced the last week of February.

OCaml Weekly News: OCaml Weekly News, 13 Feb 2018

  1. Catching type error in toplevel
  2. first release of bst: a bisector tree implementation
  3. Which XML libraries do you recommend?
  4. containers 2.0
  5. Exceptions vs Option
  6. Other OCaml News Comic for 2018.02.13

New Cyanide and Happiness Comic

Re: Factor: Minesweeper

Minesweeper is a fun game that was probably made most popular by its inclusion in various Microsoft Windows versions since the early 1990's.

I thought it would be fun to build a simple Minesweeper clone using Factor.

You can run this by updating to the latest code and running:

IN: scratchpad "minesweeper" run

Game Engine

We are going to represent our game grid as a two-dimensional array of "cells".

Each cell contains the number of mines contained in the (up to eight) adjacent cells, whether the cell contains a mine, and a "state" flag showing whether the cell was +clicked+, +flagged+, or marked with a +question+ mark.

SYMBOLS: +clicked+ +flagged+ +question+ ;

TUPLE: cell #adjacent mined? state ;

Making a (rows, cols) grid of cells:

: make-cells ( rows cols -- cells )
'[ _ [ cell new ] replicate ] replicate ;

We can lookup a particular cell using its (row, col) index:

:: cell-at ( cells row col -- cell/f )
row cells ?nth [ col swap ?nth ] [ f ] if* ;

Placing a number of mines into cells, just looks for a certain number of unmined cells at random, and then marks them as mined:

: unmined-cell ( cells -- cell )
f [ dup mined?>> ] [ drop dup random random ] do while nip ;

: place-mines ( cells n -- cells )
[ dup unmined-cell t >>mined? drop ] times ;

We can count the number of adjacent mines for each cell, by looking at its neighbors:

CONSTANT: neighbors {
{ -1 -1 } { -1 0 } { -1 1 }
{ 0 -1 } { 0 1 }
{ 1 -1 } { 1 0 } { 1 1 }

: adjacent-mines ( cells row col -- #mines )
neighbors [
first2 [ + ] bi-curry@ bi* cell-at
[ mined?>> ] [ f ] if*
] with with with count ;

The each-cell word looks at all the cells, helping us update the "adjacent mines" counts:

:: each-cell ( ... cells quot: ( ... row col cell -- ... ) -- ... )
cells [| row |
[| cell col | row col cell quot call ] each-index
] each-index ; inline

:: update-counts ( cells -- cells )
cells [| row col cell |
cells row col adjacent-mines cell #adjacent<<
] each-cell cells ;

Since we aren't storing the number of rows and columns, we can get it from the array of cells:

: cells-dim ( cells -- rows cols )
[ length ] [ first length ] bi ;

We can get the number of mines contained in the grid by counting them up:

: #mines ( cells -- n )
[ [ mined?>> ] count ] map-sum ;

We can reset the game by making new cells and then placing the same number of mines in them:

: reset-cells ( cells -- cells )
[ cells-dim make-cells ] [ #mines place-mines ] bi update-counts ;

The player wins if they click on all cells that aren't mines:

: won? ( cells -- ? )
[ [ { [ state>> +clicked+ = ] [ mined?>> ] } 1|| ] all? ] all? ;

The player loses if they click on any cell that's a mine:

: lost? ( cells -- ? )
[ [ { [ state>> +clicked+ = ] [ mined?>> ] } 1&& ] any? ] any? ;

And then the game is over if the player either wins or loses:

: game-over? ( cells -- ? )
{ [ lost? ] [ won? ] } 1|| ;

We can tell this is a new game if no cells are clicked on:

: new-game? ( cells -- ? )
[ [ state>> +clicked+ = ] any? ] any? not ;

When we click on a cell, if it is not adjacent to any mines, we click on all the "clickable" (non-mined) cells around it:

DEFER: click-cell-at

:: click-cells-around ( cells row col -- )
neighbors [
first2 [ row + ] [ col + ] bi* :> ( row' col' )
cells row' col' cell-at [
mined?>> [
cells row' col' click-cell-at
] unless
] when*
] each ;

Handle clicking a cell. If it's the first click and the cell is mined, we move it to another random cell, then continue with the click. The click is ignored if the cell was already clicked or flagged. Continue clicking around any cells that have no adjacent mines and are not themselves mined.

:: click-cell-at ( cells row col -- )
cells row col cell-at [
cells new-game? [
! first click shouldn't be a mine
dup mined?>> [
cells unmined-cell t >>mined? drop f >>mined?
cells update-counts drop
] when
] when
dup state>> { +clicked+ +flagged+ } member? [ drop ] [
+clicked+ >>state
{ [ mined?>> not ] [ #adjacent>> 0 = ] } 1&& [
cells row col click-cells-around
] when
] if
] when* ;

Handle marking a cell. First by flagging it as a likely mine, or marking with a question mark to come back to later. If the cell is not clicked, we just cycle through flagging, question, or not clicked.

:: mark-cell-at ( cells row col -- )
cells row col cell-at [
dup state>> {
{ +clicked+ [ +clicked+ ] }
{ +flagged+ [ +question+ ] }
{ +question+ [ f ] }
{ f [ +flagged+ ] }
} case >>state drop
] when* ;

Graphical Interface

Our graphical interface is going to consist of a gadget with an array of cells and a cache of OpenGL texture objects that can be easily drawn on the screen.

TUPLE: grid-gadget < gadget cells textures ;

When you make a new grid-gadget, it initializes the game to a specified number of rows, columns, and number of mines:

:: <grid-gadget> ( rows cols mines -- gadget )
grid-gadget new
rows cols make-cells
mines place-mines update-counts >>cells
H{ } clone >>textures
COLOR: gray <solid> >>interior ;

When ungraft* is called to indicate the gadget is no longer visible on the screen, we clean up the cached textures:

M: grid-gadget ungraft*
dup find-gl-context
[ values dispose-each H{ } clone ] change-textures
call-next-method ;

Our images are going to be 32 x 32 squares, so the preferred dimension is number of rows and columns times 32 pixels for each square.

M: grid-gadget pref-dim*
cells>> cells-dim [ 32 * ] bi@ swap 2array ;

Some slightly complex logic to decide which image to display for each cell, taking into account whether the game is over so we can show the positions of all the mines and whether the player was correct in flagging a cell as mined, etc:

:: cell-image-path ( cell game-over? -- image-path )
game-over? cell mined?>> and [
cell state>> +clicked+ = "mineclicked.gif" "mine.gif" ?
] [
cell state>>
{ +question+ [ "question.gif" ] }
{ +flagged+ [ game-over? "misflagged.gif" "flagged.gif" ? ] }
{ +clicked+ [
cell mined?>> [
] [
cell #adjacent>> 0 or number>string
"open" ".gif" surround
] if ] }
{ f [ "blank.gif" ] }
} case
] if "vocab:minesweeper/_resources/" prepend ;

Drawing a cached texture is a matter of looking up the image in our texture cache and then rendering to the screen:

: draw-cached-texture ( path gadget -- )
textures>> [ load-image { 0 0 } <texture> ] cache
[ dim>> ] [ draw-scaled-texture ] bi ;

Drawing our gadget, is basically drawing all of the cells at their proper locations on the screen:

M:: grid-gadget draw-gadget* ( gadget -- )
gadget cells>> game-over? :> game-over?
gadget cells>> [| row col cell |
col row [ 32 * ] bi@ 2array [
cell game-over? cell-image-path
gadget draw-cached-texture
] with-translation
] each-cell ;

Basic handling for the gadget being left-clicked on:

:: on-click ( gadget -- )
gadget hand-rel first2 :> ( w h )
h w [ 32 /i ] bi@ :> ( row col )
gadget cells>> :> cells
cells game-over? [
cells row col click-cell-at
] unless gadget relayout-1 ;

Basic handling for the gadget being right-clicked on:

:: on-mark ( gadget -- )
gadget hand-rel first2 :> ( w h )
h w [ 32 /i ] bi@ :> ( row col )
gadget cells>> :> cells
cells game-over? [
cells row col mark-cell-at
] unless gadget relayout-1 ;

Logic for creating new games of varying difficulties: easy, medium, and hard:

: new-game ( gadget rows cols mines -- )
[ make-cells ] dip place-mines update-counts >>cells
relayout-window ;

: com-easy ( gadget -- ) 7 7 10 new-game ;

: com-medium ( gadget -- ) 15 15 40 new-game ;

: com-hard ( gadget -- ) 15 30 99 new-game ;

We set our gesture handlers for keyboard and mouse inputs:

grid-gadget {
{ T{ key-down { sym "1" } } [ com-easy ] }
{ T{ key-down { sym "2" } } [ com-medium ] }
{ T{ key-down { sym "3" } } [ com-hard ] }
{ T{ button-up { # 1 } } [ on-click ] }
{ T{ button-up { # 3 } } [ on-mark ] }
{ T{ key-down { sym " " } } [ on-mark ] }
} set-gestures

And a main word that creates an easy game in our grid-gadget and opens it in a new window:

MAIN-WINDOW: run-minesweeper {
{ title "Minesweeper" }
{ window-controls
{ normal-title-bar close-button minimize-button } }
} 7 7 10 <grid-gadget> >>gadgets ;

The implementation above is about 200 lines of code and contains the full game logic. The final version is just under 300 lines of code, and adds:

  • support for a toolbar to easily start new games
  • the traditional counter of the number of mines remaining
  • display of the number of seconds elapsed
  • a smiley face showing a funny "uh-oh!" face when you are about to click as well as winning and losing smileys
  • support for retina displays using 2x images

Michael Geist: The Case Against the Bell Coalition’s Website Blocking Plan, Part 1: Canada’s Current Copyright Law Provides Effective Anti-Piracy Tools

The Bell coalition’s website blocking proposal has sparked a huge public outcry, with thousands of Canadians submitting interventions to the CRTC opposing a plan premised on website blocking without direct court involvement. I have written several posts on the issue – a general assessment on why it is a terrible idea, a closer look at the economic reality of the Canadian film and television sector, and a discussion of Bell’s inconsistent comments to the CRTC vs. business analysts – but the case against the radical plan merits a closer look at both the evidence and the legal arguments. With this post, I begin a new series that will make the case against the Bell coalition’s website blocking plan.

The series begins with the initial response to the plan from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains, who stated:

We understand that there are groups, including Bell, calling for additional tools to better fight piracy, particularly in the digital domain. Canada’s copyright system has numerous legal provisions and tools to help copyright owners protect their intellectual property, both online and in the physical realm. We are committed to maintaining one of the best intellectual property and copyright frameworks in the world to support creativity and innovation to the benefit of artists, creators, consumers and all Canadians.

Bains was right to note that Canada already has many legal provisions designed to assist copyright owners. In fact, Canada has some of the world’s toughest anti-piracy provisions, which Bell and others have actively used in recent years. This includes lawsuits against set-top box distributors, mod-chip sellers, and websites such as TVAddons. Some of these lawsuits have resulted in massive damage awards running into the millions of dollars.

Further, Canadian copyright law has also been used to shut down websites whose primary purpose is to enable infringement with rights holders relying on an “enabler provision” contained in the 2012 copyright reforms that can be used to target online sites that provide services primarily for the purpose of infringement. It states:

It is an infringement of copyright for a person, by means of the Internet or another digital network, to provide a service primarily for the purpose of enabling acts of copyright infringement if an actual infringement of copyright occurs by means of the Internet or another digital network as a result of the use of that service.

The factors to determine whether the provision applies include:

  • whether the person expressly or implicitly marketed or promoted the service as one that could be used to enable acts of copyright infringement;

  • whether the person had knowledge that the service was used to enable a significant number of acts of copyright infringement;

  • whether the service has significant uses other than to enable acts of copyright infringement;

  • the person’s ability, as part of providing the service, to limit acts of copyright infringement, and any action taken by the person to do so;

  • any benefits the person received as a result of enabling the acts of copyright infringement; and

  • the economic viability of the provision of the service if it were not used to enable acts of copyright infringement.

This powerful legal tool is made even stronger by the existence of statutory damages in Canada that can lead to millions in liability for infringement. In fact, Canada is in the minority of countries that even has statutory damages as most require evidence of actual damages. The combination of specific provisions to target sites that facilitate infringement with the possibility of enormous damage awards means that Canada already has tough copyright laws in place to combat piracy.

Yet the Bell coalition is effectively arguing that it needs more laws or legal tools to target non-Canadian sites that may be accessed by Canadians. However, Canadian law already provides for injunctive relief in appropriate circumstances with the Supreme Court of Canada’s Equustek decision one of the more recent manifestations of courts issuing orders to non-parties in support of intellectual property rights.

There is no guarantee that courts will issue such an injunction – courts around the world have consistently identified the challenge of balancing protection of intellectual property rights with the implications of site blocking on freedom of expression – but a comprehensive, impartial court review with full due process is precisely what should be required before the power of the law is used to block access to content on the Internet. Copyright owners are seeking to create their own system at the CRTC without direct court involvement or policy review by Parliament. Before entertaining such a possibility, they should surely be required to test the effectiveness of existing law.

The post The Case Against the Bell Coalition’s Website Blocking Plan, Part 1: Canada’s Current Copyright Law Provides Effective Anti-Piracy Tools appeared first on Michael Geist.

New Humanist Blog: What is the best way to tackle terrorism?

The controversy over Sara Khan's appointment as counter-extremism commissioner distracts from more fundamental questions. Bristol Show Tickets and New Record!


It’ll be excellent to play in Bristol again! I’ll be playing music from a new and currently untitled album which I hope will lift your spirits as we head into Spring.

Tickets and info HERE

Leafcutter John + Sugai Ken

s mazuk: videostoreboom: This is totally written in pencil. Which leads...


This is totally written in pencil. Which leads me to believe it is this little shop in this cul de sac seemingly in the middle of nowhere. 

The Shape of Code: Compiler validation is now part of history

Compiler validation makes sense in a world where there are many different hardware platforms, each with their own independent compilers (third parties often implemented compilers for popular platforms, competing against the hardware vendor). A large organization that spends hundreds of millions on a multitude of computer systems (e.g., the U.S. government) wants to keep prices down, which means the cost of porting its software to different platforms needs to be kept down (or at least suppliers need to think it will not cost too much to switch hardware).

A crucial requirement for source code portability is that different compilers be able to compile the same source, generating code that produces the same behavior. The same behavior requirement is an issue when the underlying word-size varies or has different alignment requirements (lots of code relies on data structures following particular patterns of behavior), but management on all sides always seems to think that being able to compile the source is enough. Compilers vendors often supported extensions to the language standard, and developers got to learn they were extensions when porting to a different compiler.

The U.S. government funded a conformance testing service, and paid for compiler validation suites to be written (source code for what were once the Cobol 85, Fortran 78 and
SQL validation suites). While it was in business, this conformance testing service was involved C compiler validation, but it did not have to fund any development because commercial test suites were available.

The 1990s was the mass-extinction decade for companies selling non-Intel hardware. The widespread use of Open source compilers, coupled with the disappearance of lots of different cpus (porting compilers to new vendor cpus was always a good money spinner, for the compiler writing cottage industry), meant that many compilers disappeared from the market.

These days, language portability issues have been essentially solved by a near mono-culture of compilers and cpus. It’s the libraries that are the primary cause of application portability problems. There is a test suite for POSIX and Linux has its own tests.

There are companies selling compiler C/C++ test suites (e.g., Perennial and PlumHall); when maintaining a compiler it’s cost effective to have a set of third-party tests designed to exercise all the language.

The OpenGroup offer to test your C compiler and issue a brand certificate if it passes the tests.

Source code portability requires compilers to have the same behavior and traditionally the generally accepted behavior has been defined by an ISO Standard or how one particular implementation behaved. In an Open source world behavior is defined by what needs to be done to run the majority of existing code. Does it matter if Open source compilers evolve in a direction that is different from the behavior specified in an ISO Standard? I think not, it makes no difference to the majority of developers; but be careful, saying this can quickly generate a major storm in a tiny teacup.

things magazine: A year in review

How machine learning and “computer vision” will transform our cities / Micro campers from Japan / intricate drawings by Nicolas V. Sanchez (via tmn) / Alvaro Siza on Living in a House, at Reading Design / photography by Gerco de … Continue reading

Daniel Lemire's blog: Science and Technology links (February 9th, 2018)

  1. We shed 50 million skin cells every day.
  2. A mutant crayfish reproduces by cloning. To my knowledge, this might be the largest animal to reproduce by cloning.

    Before about 25 years ago, the species simply did not exist (…) it has spread across much of Europe and gained a toehold on other continents. In Madagascar, where it arrived about 2007, it now numbers in the millions (…)

    I note two interesting aspects to this story. The first one is that it shows that, contrary to a common belief, new species are created even today. The second one is that it brings us back to an interesting puzzle. Cloning is a lot more efficient that sex, for procreation. So why do most large animals use sex? See The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature.

  3. Some evidence that moderate (but not heavy) alcohol consumption might be good for your brain. I still would not recommend you start drinking if you aren’t drinking right now.
  4. While the average is 106 boys born to every 100 girls, for vegetarian mothers the ratio is just 85 boys to 100 girls. In other words, being a vegetarian makes it much more likely that you will give birth to girls.
  5. Researchers can simulate a worm’s brain with a few artificial neurons.
  6. Elon Musk’s SpaceX company launched the most powerful rocket in the world:

    The Falcon Heavy is the world’s 4th highest capacity rocket ever to be built (…) Falcon Heavy was designed from the outset to carry humans into space, including the Moon and Mars (…) The Falcon Heavy was developed with private capital with Musk stating that the cost was more than $500 million. No government financing was provided for its development.

    The Verge has a nice documentary on YouTube.

  7. Mitochondria are the “power stations” of our cells. As we age, we tend to accumulate malfunctioning mitochondria which might lead to various medical conditions. Researchers have found that a drug targetting mitochondria could improve cognition in old mice.
  8. Graphics processors are in high demand. Some of the best ones are made by NVIDIA. Year-over-year, NVIDIA’s full-year revenue increased 41% to finish at $9.71 billion in 2017.
  9. Using lasers, we found whole new Mayan settlements:

    The data reveals that the area was three or four times more densely populated than originally thought. “I mean, we’re talking about millions of people, conservatively,” says Garrison. “Probably more than 10 million people.”

  10. According to a recent research article, vitamin D-3 has the potential to significantly reverse the damage that high blood pressure, diabetes, atherosclerosis, and other diseases inflict on the cardiovascular system.
  11. A vaccine entirely cleared mice from cancer.

Ideas from CBC Radio (Highlights): Decoding the resistance to climate change: Are we doomed? (Encore September 14, 2017)

Global warming is "fake news", or a "Chinese hoax". So says a richly funded conservative movement that's become a world-wide campaign. In her book, "The Merchants of Doubt", Harvard historian of science Naomi Oreskes traces how this propaganda war started and how to fight it. Part 2 of a series on the resistance to climate change science.

New Humanist Blog: Don’t take this the wrong way …

Laurie Taylor's trip to the doctor doesn't quite go as planned.

Ideas from CBC Radio (Highlights): Imagining the singularity: What happens when computers transcend us?

As computers and Artificial Intelligence grow in power and capability, it seems ever more likely that we're approaching "the Singularity": the point where machine intelligence exceeds human intelligence. Could this be the dawn of a technological paradise? Or it could trigger humanity's doom? What kind of an intelligence will this be — benign or terrifying — a guru, a god or a monster? And is the idea of uploading the human mind the promise of immortality or just another dream of religious transcendence? / 2018-02-19T09:11:31