Events: a-bold-vision-innovation-at-the-u-of-a

Bifurcated Rivets: From FB


Bifurcated Rivets: From FB

Ruby Keeler

Bifurcated Rivets: From FB


Bifurcated Rivets: From FB

Blue Bossa

Bifurcated Rivets: From FB

Why would you cut this?

MetaFilter: Stephen King: Are you afraid of the dark?

Stephen King: Are you afraid of the dark?


As just another sufferer of pandemic insomnia, I find myself counting the minutes until my local NPR station switches over to the BBC Overnight. Then the wax falls from my ears and I hear what I cannot hope to hear over the air otherwise. If only NPR could operate at this level... The difference is enormous and profound. In my humble opinion.

I found this interview interesting. I hope you do as well.

Recent CPAN uploads - MetaCPAN: WebService-Dropbox-2.09

Perl interface to Dropbox API

Changes for 2.09 - 2021-06-15T07:56:02Z

  • Add shared for

Recent additions: HaskellNet-SSL

Added by Hazelfire, 2021-06-15T11:18:42Z.

Helpers to connect to SSL/TLS mail servers with HaskellNet

Recent additions: co-feldspar

Added by mararon, 2021-06-15T11:05:28Z.

Hardware software co-design Feldspar

Recent additions: hsc3 0.19

Added by RohanDrape, 2021-06-15T11:01:33Z.

Haskell SuperCollider

Open Culture: The Rashomon Effect: The Phenomenon, Named After Akira Kurosawa’s Classic Film, Where Each of Us Remembers the Same Event Differently

Toward the end of The Simpsons’ golden age, one episode sent the titular family off to Japan, not without resistance from its famously lazy patriarch. “Come on, Homer,” Marge insists, “Japan will be fun! You liked Rashomon.” To which Homer naturally replies, “That’s not how I remember it!” This joke must have written itself, not as a high-middlebrow cultural reference (as, say, Frasier would later name-check Tampopo) but as a play on a universally understood byword for the nature of human memory. Even those of us who’ve never seen Rashomon, the period crime drama that made its director Akira Kurosawa a household name in the West, know what its title represents: the tendency of each human being to remember the same event in his own way.

“A samurai is found dead in a quiet bamboo grove,” says the narrator of the animated TED-Ed lesson above. “One by one, the crime’s only known witnesses recount their version of the events that transpired. But as they each tell their tale, it becomes clear that every testimony is plausible, yet different, and each witness implicates themselves.”

So goes “In a Grove,” a story by celebrated early 20th-century writer Ry?nosuke Akutagawa. An avid reader, Kurosawa combined that literary work with another of Akutagawa’s to create the script for Rashomon. Both Akutagawa and Kurosawa “use the tools of their media to give each character’s testimony equal weight, transforming each witness into an unreliable narrator.” Neither reader nor viewer can trust anyone — nor, ultimately, can they arrive at a defensible conclusion as to the identity of the killer.

Such conflicts of memory and perception occur everywhere in human affairs: this TED-Ed lesson finds examples in biology, anthropology, politics, and media. Sufficiently many psychological phenomena converge to give rise to the Rashomon effect that it seems almost overdetermined; it may be more illuminating to ask under what conditions doesn’t it occur. But it also makes us ask even tougher questions: “What is truth, anyway? Are there situations when an objective truth doesn’t exist? What can different versions of the same event tell us about the time, place, and people involved? And how can we make group decisions if we’re all working with different information, backgrounds, and biases?” We seem to be no closer to definitive answers than we were when Rashomon came out more than 70 years ago — only one of the reasons the film holds up so well still today.

Related Content:

Why Time Seems to Fly By As You Get Older, and How to Slow It Down: A Scientific Explanation by Neuroscientist David Eagleman

How to Improve Your Memory: Four TED Talks Explain the Techniques to Remember Anything

How Did Akira Kurosawa Make Such Powerful & Enduring Films? A Wealth of Video Essays Break Down His Cinematic Genius

What Is Déjà Vu? Michio Kaku Wonders If It’s Triggered by Parallel Universes

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, 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.

The Rashomon Effect: The Phenomenon, Named After Akira Kurosawa’s Classic Film, Where Each of Us Remembers the Same Event Differently is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, 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.

Hackaday: A Smart Light Bulb Running Doom is a Pretty Bright Idea

A light bulb might seem like an unlikely platform for gaming, but we’re living in the future now, so anything is possible. And with enough know-how, it turns out that an RGB light bulb can indeed be modified to run Doom.

That’s not to say that the Ikea TRÅDFRI light bulb is the only thing [Nicola Wrachien] needed to accomplish the hack. But the bulb, specifically this addressable GU10 RGB LEB bulb, donated the most critical component, a Silicon Labs MGM210L wireless microcontroller, with enough processing power to run vanilla Doom. Added to the microcontroller was a TFT display, a controller made from a handful of buttons and a shift register, and a few odds and ends to stitch it all together. Some more memory was needed, though, so [Nicola] used an 8 MB QSPI flash memory and a couple of neat tricks to reduce latency and improve bandwidth. There are a lot of neat tricks with this one, but the coolest thing might just be that the whole footprint of the build isn’t that much bigger than the original bulb. Check out the surprisingly smooth gameplay in the video below.

This is a nice addition to the seemingly neverending “Will it Doom?” series. We’ve seen the classic game ported to everything from a GPS to a kitchen “bump bar” computer and even to an oscilloscope.

Slashdot: Plexiglass Is Everywhere, With No Proof It Keeps Covid at Bay

Sales of plexiglass tripled to roughly $750 million in the U.S. after the pandemic hit, as offices, schools, restaurants and retail stores sought protection from the droplets that health authorities suspected were spreading the coronavirus. There was just one hitch. Not a single study has shown that the clear plastic barriers actually control the virus, said Joseph Allen of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. From a report: "We spent a lot of time and money focused on hygiene theater," said Allen, an indoor-air researcher. "The danger is that we didn't deploy the resources to address the real threat, which was airborne transmission -- both real dollars, but also time and attention. The tide has turned," he said. "The problem is, it took a year." For the first months of Covid-19, top health authorities pointed to larger droplets as the key transmission culprits, despite a chorus of protests from researchers like Allen. Tinier floating droplets can also spread the virus, they warned, meaning plastic shields can't stop them. Not until last month did the World Health Organization and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fully affirm airborne transmission. That meant plastic shielding had created "a false sense of security," said building scientist Marwa Zaatari, a pandemic task force member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Recent additions: imperative-edsl 0.8.2

Added by mararon, 2021-06-15T10:57:15Z.

Deep embedding of imperative programs with code generation

MetaFilter: "A very calm game...with mystery and conflict"

Gorgeous and inspired by, among others, Le Guin, Book of Travels TMORPG (TINY Multiplayer... for small numbers of player per server) reaches early access on August 9 on Steam.

Recent additions: hosc 0.19

Added by RohanDrape, 2021-06-15T10:51:27Z.

Haskell Open Sound Control

MetaFilter: Practice until you get it wrong every time

The Mistake Waltz - a short ballet choreographed with intentional and comical errors that can't help but make you smile. (via Kottke)

MetaFilter: Biographies of early medieval English women

Florence H R Scott (@FlorenceHRS, 06/13/2021): "My aim with my newsletter is to eventually have written a biography of every single woman we know existed in England between roughly 500 and 1100" [ThreadReader; "Some clarification ..." and ThreadReader for it too]. The newsletter: Ælfgif-who? Issues to date: Cynethryth: Mercia's Forgotten Queen?; Breguswith: Portents and Pendants; Godgifu: The Bare Truth Behind the Lady Godiva Legend; The North Elmham and Fairford Women: Two Black Women in Tenth-Century England; Judith: The First Crowned and Anointed Queen of Wessex... At Twelve Years Old; Æthelflaed and Ælfwyn: The Women who Ruled Mercia in the Viking Age; Hugeburc: The Earliest English Woman Writer, Who Hid her Identity in a Secret Code; and Hild of Whitby: Politician, Religious Leader, Teacher, Saint.


Open Culture: Hear The Velvet Underground’s “Legendary Guitar Amp Tapes,” Which Showcases the Brilliance & Innovation of Lou Reed’s Guitar Playing (1969)

What was the Velvet Underground? A Kim Fowly-like art project that outlived its impresario’s interest? A main vehicle for Lou Reed, rock’s egomaniac underdog (who was no one’s ingénue)? Was it three bands? 1. The Velvet Underground and Nico; 2. The Velvet Underground with John Cale; and 3. The Velvet Underground with Doug Yule after Cale’s departure. (Let’s pass by, for the moment, whether VU without Reed warrants a mention…)

Each iteration pioneered essential underground sounds — dirgy Euro-folk rock, strung-out New York garage rock, junkie ballads, psychedelic drone, experimental noise — nearly all of them channeled through Reed’s underrated guitar playing, which was, perhaps the most important member of the band all along. Whoever taped the Velvets (in their second incarnation) on March 15, 1969, on the last night of a three-show engagement at The Boston Tea Party in Boston, MA, seemed to think so. “The entire set was recorded by a fan directly from Lou Reed’s guitar amplifier,” MetaFilter points out.

The mic jammed in the back of Reed’s amp, a Head Heritage reviewer writes, produced “a mighty electronic roar that reveals the depth and layers of Reed’s playing. Over and undertones, feedback, string buzz, the scratch of fingers on frets and the crackle and hum of tube amps combine to create a monolithic blast of metal machine music.” Known as the “legendary guitar amp tape” and long sought by collectors and fans, the bootleg, which you can hear above, “serves as a testament to the brilliance and innovation of Reed’s guitar-playing — both qualities that are often underrated, if not overlooked entirely, by critics of his work,” as Richie Unterberger writes.

It should be evident thus far that these recordings are hardly a comprehensive document of the Velvet Underground in early 1969. Except for Mo Tucker’s glorious, but muffled thumping and some of Sterling Morrison’s excellent guitar interplay, the rest of the band is hardly audible. Songs like “Candy Says” and “Jesus” — on which Reed does not create sublime swirls of noise and feedback — chug along monotonously without their melodies. “It is frustrating,” Unterberger admits, “to hear such a one-dimensional audio-snapshot of what is clearly a good — if not great — night for the band” (who were far more than one of their parts). On the other hand, nowhere else can we hear the nuance, ferocity, and outright insanity of Reed’s playing so amply demonstrated on the majority of this document.

The tape circulated for years as a Japanese bootleg, an interesting fact, notes a Rate Your Music commenter, “considering this bears more similarity to recordings from the likes of [legendary Japanese psych rock band] Les Rallizes Dénudés than most of the Velvet Underground’s other material.” The recordings may have well paved the way for the explosion of Japanese psychedelic rock to come. They also demonstrate the influence of Ornette Coleman in Reed’s playing, and the liberating philosophy Coleman would come to call Harmolodics.

“Alla that boo-ha about whether Reed really was influenced by free jazz,” writes one reviewer quoted on MetaFilter, “can be put to rest here as he pulls the kind of wailing hallucinatory shapes from the guitar that it would take the goddam Blue Humans to decode a couple of decades later.” It may well overstate the case to claim that “Lou Reed single-handedly invented underground music,” but we can hear in these recordings the seeds of everything from Television to Sonic Youth to Pavement to Royal Trux and so much more. See the full tracklist below, a “classic setlist,” notes MetaFilter, “from around the time of their 3rd LP.”

I Can’t Stand It
Candy Says
I’m Waiting For The Man
Ferryboat Bill
I’m Set Free
What Goes On
White Light White Heat
Beginning To See The Light
Heroin / Sister Ray
Move Right In
Run Run Run
Foggy Notion

Related Content: 

Andy Warhol Explains Why He Decided to Give Up Painting & Manage the Velvet Underground Instead (1966)

Hear Ornette Coleman Collaborate with Lou Reed, Which Lou Called “One of My Greatest Moments”

The Velvet Underground Captured in Color Concert Footage by Andy Warhol (1967)

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

Hear The Velvet Underground’s “Legendary Guitar Amp Tapes,” Which Showcases the Brilliance & Innovation of Lou Reed’s Guitar Playing (1969) is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, 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.

Hackaday: Spam Caught, In A Tin Of Spam

We’ve seen many inventive enclosures for single board computers over the years: some are decorative, others utilitarian, and yet more tailored to an application. This one from [Daniel Hepper] manages to be all three: a practical enclosure for an OrangePi Zero LTS running the PiHole web spam filter, enclosed in a seemingly unopened Spam tin.

The inspiration came from an out-of-date tin of Spam, a souvenir that had lain around for a decade. It had a paper label that could be carefully removed, after which a Dremel was used to cut an aperture in the reverse of the tin. The tasty-but-expired luncheon meat could then be scooped out, and a 3D-printed carrier for the OrangePi slid in. The label reattached, it looks for all the world like an unopened tin of Spam with a PoE cable emerging from its behind.

The constant war on spam has seen many creative attempts at a solution from within our community, and it’s certain that PiHole is one of the better ways to deal with its web-borne variants. It is however not unknown for a Hackaday scribe to play a part in delivering it.

Recent CPAN uploads - MetaCPAN: WebService-Dropbox-2.08b

Perl interface to Dropbox API

Recent CPAN uploads - MetaCPAN: WebService-Dropbox-2.08

Perl interface to Dropbox API

Changes for 2.08 - 2021-06-15T07:18:13Z

    BOOOOOOOM! – CREATE * INSPIRE * COMMUNITY * ART * DESIGN * MUSIC * FILM * PHOTO * PROJECTS: “Falling” by Photographer Gabby Laurent

    Open Culture: Stream 160 In-Depth Radio Interviews with Clive James, Pico Iyer, Greil Marcus & Other Luminaries from the Marketplace of Ideas Archive

    Would you like to to hear a long-form conversation about the history of the vinyl LP? Or about the history of human rights? About the plight of book reviewing in America? The wild excesses of the art market? The nature of boredom? The true meaning of North Korean propaganda? What it’s like to live in Bangkok? What it’s like to go on a road trip with David Foster Wallace? The answer to all of the above: of course you do. And now you can hear these conversations and many more besides in the complete archive of the public radio show The Marketplace of Ideas, which has just now come available to stream on Youtube.

    How, you may wonder, did I get such early word of this interview trove’s availability? Because, in the years before I began writing here on Open Culture, I created, produced, and hosted the show myself. The project grew, in a sense, out of my dissatisfaction with the radio interviews I’d been hearing, the vast bulk of which struck me as too brief, fragmentary, and programmatic to be of any real value.

    What’s more, it was often painfully obvious how little interest in the subject under discussion the interviewers had themselves. With The Marketplace of Ideas, I set out to do the opposite of practically everything I’d heard done on the radio before.

    Like all worthwhile goals, mine was paradoxical: to conduct interviews of the deepest possible depth as well as the widest possible breadth. On one week the topic might be evolutionary economics, on another the philosophical quarrel between David Hume and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, on another the history of American film comedy, on another the legacy of Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and on another still the ascent of Californian wine over French. (This principle also applied to the political spectrum: I delighted in bringing on, say, the granddaughter of Barry Goldwater as well as a former member of the Weather Underground.) An interesting person is, as they say, an interested person, and throughout the show’s run I trusted my listeners to be interesting people.

    The same went for my interviewees, whatever their cultural domain: novelists like Alexander Theroux, Tom McCarthy, Joshua Cohen, and Geoff Dyer; scientists like David P. Barash, Alan Sokal (he of the “Sokal Hoax”), and Sean Carroll; critics like James Wood, Greil Marcus, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Dave Kehr, and J. Hoberman; economists like Tyler Cowen (twice), Robin Hanson, Steven E. Landsburg, and Tim Harford (twice); biographers of Brian Eno, Nick Drake, and Michel de Montaigne;  translators of Jorge Luis Borges, César Aira, and Robert Walser; broadcasters like Peter Sagal, Robert Pogue Harrison (of Entitled Opinions), Jesse Thorn, and Michael Silverblatt; philosophers like Kwame Anthony Appiah and Simon Blackburn; technologists like Steve Wozniak and Kevin Kelly; filmmakers like Ramin Bahrani (director of the existential Werner Herzog-narrated plastic-bag short previously featured here on Open Culture), So Yong Kim, Andrew Bujalski, Aaron Katz; and musicians like Nick Currie, a.k.a Momus (twice), Jack Hues of Wang Chung, and Chaz Bundick of Toro y Moi.

    The Marketplace of Ideas aired between 2007 and 2011, and the passage of a decade since the show’s end prompted me to take a look — or rather a listen — back at it. So  did the fact that a fair few of its guests have since shuffled off this mortal coil: Arts & Letters Daily founder Denis Dutton, film critic Peter Brunette, literary scholar Angus Fletcher, documentarian Pepita Ferrari, writer and editor Daniel Menaker, cultural polymath Clive James. That interview with James was a dream fulfilled, due not just to my personal enthusiasm for his writing but the ideal of intellectual omnivorousness he represented — an ideal toward which I strove on the show, and continue to strive in my pursuits today.  Even more than our conversation itself, I fondly remember an exchange after we finished recording but before we hung up the phone. He thanked me for actually reading his book, and I told him I’d thought all interviewers did the same. His response: “That’s the first naïve thing you’ve said all hour.”

    Related Content:

    The New Studs Terkel Radio Archive Will Let You Hear 5,000+ Recordings Featuring the Great American Broadcaster & Interviewer

    Entitled Opinions, the “Life and Literature” Podcast That Refuses to Dumb Things Down

    An Archive of 1,000 “Peel Sessions” Available Online: Hear David Bowie, Bob Marley, Elvis Costello & Others Play in the Studio of Legendary BBC DJ John Peel

    The 135 Best Podcasts to Enrich Your Mind: An Introduction to Our New List

    Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, 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.

    Stream 160 In-Depth Radio Interviews with Clive James, Pico Iyer, Greil Marcus & Other Luminaries from the Marketplace of Ideas Archive is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, 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.

    Recent CPAN uploads - MetaCPAN: Net-Payment-CCAvenue-NonSeamless-0.02

    Processing orders using CCAvenue billing page!

    Changes for 0.02 - 2021-06-15

    • First version, released on an unsuspecting world.

    Recent CPAN uploads - MetaCPAN: Net-Payment-CCAvenue-NonSeamless-0.01

    Processing orders using CCAvenue billing page!

    Changes for 0.01

    • First version, released on an unsuspecting world.

    Slashdot: Microsoft's Smith Says Secret Subpoenas Hurt US Tech Companies

    Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith criticized secret data subpoenas sent by the government to cloud providers like his company and Apple, saying gag orders on requests for personal information undermine freedoms and are hurting U.S. technology companies in Europe. From a report: Last week the New York Times reported that during the administration of former President Donald Trump, the U.S. Department of Justice demanded records from Apple relating to two Democrats on the U.S. House Intelligence Committee. CNBC reported Microsoft received a confidential request for the personal emails of a Congressional staffer. Both companies were under nondisclosure orders that prevented them from talking about or alerting the subjects of the data seizures. The U.S. government should change the rules so that people whose data is being demanded can be informed and choose whether to file a legal challenge to the subpoenas, Smith said Monday in an interview with Bloomberg Television. Microsoft in 2016 filed a case against the DOJ related to the gag orders, and a year later the department issued new guidelines it said would scale back the practice of these kinds of confidential requests. "If we fail to do so, we undermine longstanding fundamental freedoms in the country and, frankly, for those of us in the tech sector, we're put in the middle," Smith said. "This should be an issue where the government has to go most of the time to the individuals whose information they are seeking."

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

    Hackaday: Z80 Family Reunion Discovered in Old PoS Card Swiper

    [Ben Heck] found an old card-swipe point-of-sale box at the Goodwill store, took it home, and tore it down to see what was inside. He found a completely serviceable single board computer based on the Z80. In fact, there’s a whole family of four Z80 chips: the CPU itself, the DART chip (dual UART), the PIO chip (parallel input/output interface), and the CTC chip (counter/timer circuit). That’s not all — there’s a landline telephone modem, a real time clock, 32K of RAM and UV-EPROM. The second PCB of this assembly holds a hefty sixteen-key keypad and a sixteen-character vacuum fluorescent alphanumeric display. All this for the bargain price of $2.99.

    Surely [Ben] will dig into the Z80 system in the future, but in this video he tries to make the display work. An OKI Semiconductor controller drives the VFD. After tracking down the data sheet, [Ben] wires it up to an Arduino and writes a quick program. Only a few YouTube minutes later, he conquers the display, drawing sample text anywhere he wants on the screen with any brightness he desires.

    You never know what you may find lurking inside old equipment like this. You might find a proprietary ASIC with no documentation, or like [Ben] did here, you could find a fully functioning embedded computer. If [Ben] can whip up a RAM-based emulator to replace the 32K UV-EPROM, he’ll have a perfect evaluation board for Z80 projects.

    Let us know in the comments if you have found any treasures like this. Also, how would you use this board if you had found it? Thanks to reader [Nikša Barlović] for sending in the tip. Comic for 2021.06.15

    New Cyanide and Happiness Comic

    Disquiet: Hoth on Earth

    Rob Byers placed a microphone beneath the ice, and found laser beams. Not actual ones, but what could easily be mistaken for such a thing. The battle beneath the ice, as recorded in northern Michigan earlier this year, sounds like an epic fight on Hoth. “A drop in temperature causes a frozen lake to sing through the winter night,” writes Byers of the audio. “The piece starts underneath the ice, recording laser-like sounds with a hydrophone. At 2:15 it transitions above the ice to hear the groans and moans of the shifting ice. Listen for a neighbour’s response.” The streaming file isn’t embeddable, so head over to for a listen.

    MetaFilter: Zapped!

    Zapping: The boisterous protest tactic that ignited early LGBTQ activism Designed to disrupt the status quo and gain support for gay rights, these theatrical tactics included everything from duck costumes to pie throwing. [National Geographic] Archive link.

    Bonus Zap: Gay Activists Alliance Zap at the New York City Marriage Bureau in 1971. With source film of the incident.

    Slashdot: Companies Push Employees To Prove They Are Vaccinated for Covid-19

    Companies are stepping up the pressure on workers to get vaccinated -- not necessarily with mandates but with strong nudges. From a report: For months, many employers have attempted to coax workers into receiving a Covid-19 vaccine. Companies dangled cash, time off and other prizes to encourage vaccinations. Executives made personal appeals in town-hall meetings and internal memos. Now, some of those efforts are taking a more assertive and urgent tone. While most employers haven't flat-out ordered staff to get vaccinated, many are asking workers to report their vaccination status or are implementing policies that restrict the activities of unvaccinated workers. Unlike the first wave of corporate efforts -- which focused more on getting front-line workers and essential staffers at retailers, hospitals and airlines vaccinated -- the latest push affects more professionals at banks, law firms and similar businesses. Some companies say they want reassurance that the majority of their workers are vaccinated before broadly reopening offices. Goldman Sachs last week ordered its U.S. employees to disclose in an internal portal whether they had received the vaccine. The Wall Street firm, which hasn't mandated vaccines, has told staff that fully vaccinated employees who have registered their status can work without masks in its offices. Others will still have to wear masks at all times except at their desks. Other banks, including Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo, have asked employees to voluntarily register their vaccination status.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

    Hackaday: Smooth 3D Prints with Alcohol

    There was a time when most 3D printers used ABS, which is a great plastic for toughness, but is hard to print with since it tends to warp. Worse still, it stinks and the fumes may be bad for you. Most people have switched over to printing in PLA these days, but one thing you might miss with this more forgiving plastic is vapor smoothing with acetone; a smoothed print doesn’t show layer lines and looks more like plastic part that didn’t go through a nozzle.

    [Major Hardware] likes the look of vapor smoothed parts, but doesn’t like working with ABS and acetone fumes, so he’s started using Polysmooth. As you can see in the video below, the results look good, but be warned that the filament is relatively pricey. Plus you need to use a $300 machine that atomizes your alcohol into a mist. We feel certain you could do the same thing for less since it appears to just be like a humidifier, but we’d also suggest being careful putting flammable substances in a consumer-grade humidifier and certainly don’t use a vaporizer.

    The filament sounds like it is on par with PLA for ease of printing. The material has a higher glass temperature than PLA but less than ABS. The tensile strength and Young’s modulus (a measure of stiffness) numbers are comparable to ABS. Although all smoothing has some imperfections and you probably need to experiment with times and other parameters. The smoothing did fuse some movable joints, so anything that moves or fits together is probably a bad candidate for this process. We’ve also heard that thin-walled parts can get soft in water due to alcohol residue, but you can dry or soak the part clean to avoid that.

    If you want to try your own hand at making a mist, this might get you started. After all, if it can handle acetone, we imagine alcohol isn’t any worse. While it isn’t as easy to handle as alcohol, we hear the solvents such as THF or ethyl acetate can smooth regular PLA. Heat guns and open flames are popular, too.

    Slashdot: Irish Police To Be Given Powers Over Passwords

    Irish police will have the power to compel people to provide passwords for electronic devices when carrying out a search warrant under new legislation. From a report: The change is part of the Garda Siochana Bill published by Irish Justice Minister Heather Humphreys on Monday. Gardai will also be required to make a written record of a stop and search. This will enable data to be collected so the effectiveness and use of the powers can be assessed. Special measures will be introduced for suspects who are children and suspects who may have impaired capacity. The bill will bring in longer detention periods for the investigation of multiple offences being investigated together, for a maximum of up to 48 hours. It will also allow for a week's detention for suspects in human trafficking offences, which are currently subject to a maximum of 24 hours detention.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

    Planet Haskell: Tweag I/O: An AsciiDoc processor and Pandoc front-end in Haskell

    AsciiDoc is a plain-text writing format that tries to combine the readability and intuitiveness of Markdown with the rigorous requirements of technical authoring and publishing. It offers power and flexibility without resorting to HTML or tool-specific extensions for essential syntax such as tables, description lists, footnotes, or features like automatically generating a table of contents.

    This post presents a new AsciiDoc parser and converter in Haskell, called asciidoc-hs. It has been developed with the support of a Tweag Open Source Fellowship, and is BSD licensed. It aims to be the first AsciiDoc processor that can be directly used as a Pandoc front-end1. It is still far from complete in terms of AsciiDoc syntax and features, but it hopefully establishes a solid foundation to build upon.

    A vision for a new AsciiDoc processor

    The de facto definition of modern AsciiDoc is the language recognized by Asciidoctor, a processor written in Ruby. Fortunately, this will change soon, as a standardization process has recently started. Within a year or so, we should have a proper specification of what AsciiDoc really is, mostly based on what Asciidoctor does today. The AsciiDoc Working Group is hosted by the Eclipse Foundation and companies like Couchbase, Red Hat, VMware and OpenDevise (the maintainers of Asciidoctor) are supporting the initiative.

    With this growing interest in AsciiDoc, new implementation projects (in Java, Go, or Rust) are being announced or released. Haskell has a reputation of being particularly well equipped for all kinds of formal language processing tasks, including parsing and AST transformation. Furthermore, AsciiDoc is probably the only major plain-text format not fully supported by Pandoc even if it is a popular request from Pandoc users. This gave rise to the idea of a processor in Haskell that targets Pandoc’s intermediate representation (in JSON format).

    asciidoc-hs draws on commonmark-hs to offer both an executable that can be used right away in combination with Pandoc and a library for building more advanced tools on top (and which leaves the door open to future release integrated as a Pandoc reader).

    Targeting Pandoc is a major strength of the project — it enables many conversions and transformations already implemented and maintained by a wide community — but other use cases have also been considered. Special attention has been devoted to features expected from a modern technical writing toolchain that are difficult to fulfill by current tools such as Asciidoctor, resulting in the following project goals.

    Compatibility with current documents

    Our tool needs to recognize AsciiDoc as it is used in today’s documents, and this means that a reasonable degree of compatibility with Asciidoctor is necessary. Full compatibility would be prohibitive to achieve and probably undesirable, as many Asciidoctor behaviors are undocumented and forced by the implementation.

    Commitment to the future standard

    To be future-proof we need to embrace the goals and vision arising from the standardization process. The future definition of the language is going to depart from the implementation-based definition we have today, and we need a software architecture that can adapt to the planned changes. At some point there will be a Technology Compatibility Kit (TCK) that we want to comply with.

    IDE-enabling architecture

    Docs-as-code is already mainstream in technical writing communities. Authors (and, needless to say, developers) increasingly expect the edition of documents to make the best use of all the facilities found in current code editors and IDEs: live linters, syntax highlighting, text completion, live preview, contextual information and actions, fast navigation and modification of document structure, etc. A Language Server Protocol implemented on top of an AsciiDoc parser would be a very interesting addition to the AsciiDoc landscape, and asciidoc-hs could fill this gap.

    I have tried to define an architecture that can accommodate an efficient and feature-complete implementation of the aforementioned facilities. They require, among others, easy AST search and update, and AST nodes with source range mappings and concrete syntax (including space)23.

    In the long run I would like to try implementing incremental parsing (i.e., avoid parsing the whole document when only small editions have been performed).

    Semantically-rich scriptability

    Pandoc compatibility also allows for easily writing document transformations in the form of filters. Filters can be used, for example, to adapt AsciiDoc cross-references or citations to the format required for popular static site generators. But AsciiDoc is a semantically richer language than the Pandoc AST can hold. In the long run, I want a similar extensibility mechanism at the AsciiDoc level, ideally with the possibility of source-to-source transformations with optional exact-print.

    Some challenges and corresponding design decisions

    Writing a parser for AsciiDoc — with the ambition of becoming a complete AsciiDoc parser at some point — has been far more difficult than anticipated. AsciiDoc is large, complex, and mostly implementation-defined. I have found many parsing-technology related advice — very often inspired by programming language implementation needs — not easily applicable to AsciiDoc, if at all, since the needs of markup languages are different.

    Inlines, blocks, and all the rest

    The structural elements of the language can be split, like in HTML, into inline elements and block elements. Early in the project I took the decision of writing two independent parsers for inlines and blocks (with different parser types, and maybe different token types). I think the decision has paid off in terms of modularity and simplicity. I have since discovered that both parsers demand different features (e.g., block parsing needs to occur in the IO monad, as we will see). Furthermore, having a separated parser for inlines opens the opportunity for parallel processing of inlines of different blocks.

    In the end I have implemented three parsers and a half:

    All of them have been written with the parser combinator library Parsec because it is the parsing tool used all across the Pandoc ecosystem.

    Inline parsing

    Inline parsing is quite challenging. Despite the absence of a formal definition, current users have a sense of what can be written and expect a particular response. Let’s see an example of AsciiDoc source and its interpretation:

    [.green]*a sentence in bold*

    Text enclosed in asterisks (*) is meant to be in boldface. The attribute enclosed in square brackets specifies that it must be colorized in green as well. The asterisks and the bracketed fragment affect formatting, but they are not part of the content of the text.

    Now, if we remove the closing asterisk, we still have to accept the sequence of characters, but the interpretation changes completely: there is no text in boldface, the first and only asterisk is now simply an asterisk, and the list of attributes and its brackets are a string “[.green]” printed verbatim as part of the contents. The parser cannot try to fix our broken format because, as happens with Markdown, AsciiDoc users expect any Unicode sequence to be accepted5.

    Things can be more involved with nested styles, format escaping sequences, and the like. The result is a language that cannot be parsed deterministically6 and that demands to be treated as context-sensitive if we want to avoid much complexity and repetition in our grammar and parser. Most current AsciiDoc processors side-step these difficulties using a battery of regex-based substitutions for inline formatting, instead of constructing a proper AST7. Even the standardization working group has not committed to deliver a formal grammar as part of AsciiDoc Spec v1.0.

    Having a complete AST is instrumental for many use cases thus, unaware of how hard it could be, I tried many different grammars8 (and grammar formalisms) for inline parsing, until I defined one I am moderately satisfied with (and that I plan to contribute to the standardization effort). Some of my (provisional) findings on grammar formalisms are:

    • EBNF is expressive and intuitive, but defining an unambiguous grammar for AsciiDoc — even ignoring the context-sensitive bits — could be prohibitively hard.
    • PEGs are attractive because they are expressive (but not as intuitive as EBNF), unambiguous by definition, and can be easily converted into (efficient) executable code9. The problem is that choices about how to resolve the inherent ambiguities of the language are sometimes implicit, rather than explicit, and can easily remain hidden to both language designers and users10.

    My grammar for inlines is EBNF-based, but augmented with extra-syntactic predicates to explicitly resolve ambiguities (similar to the semantic predicates found in many parser generators). Those predicates need supporting data structures to be defined and implemented, but we need them for the context-sensitive parts anyways.

    Even if not as elegant as a pure-EBNF definition, I think my formalism has already provided important benefits:

    • The extra-syntactic predicates are in fact predicate placeholders that can be filled-up differently to explore possible designs. For example, the following AsciiDoc fragment mixes boldface and italics without proper nesting:

      *a _b* c_

      Different disambiguation strategies are possible: e.g., boldface always takes precedence, or the first style to be correctly closed takes precedence, etc. It is easy to implement a new strategy by tweaking one or two predicates. Moreover, the ambiguity resolution is explicitly stated in code and easily linked to high-level design choices that can be communicated to AsciiDoc writers.

    • I have been able to (informally) prove that my parser accepts any Unicode sequence as input (without resorting to catch-all cases).
    • The grammar and accompanying predicates are compact enough to be easily extended and still be amenable to reason about ambiguity and other properties, and can be used to discover corner cases.

    Block parsing

    Block parsing is line-oriented. This means that the document is first sliced into lines, and full lines accepted or rejected by individual block parsers. In some sense lines can be seen as tokens, but block parsers still have access to the sequence of characters they contain. As said, I’ve developed a separate module of line parsers to easily describe common patterns.

    Block parsing is easier than inline parsing. Backtracking can be avoided entirely if two conditions are met: the appropriate data structures for context-sensitive parsing are in place, and we allow for delimited blocks to end without a closing delimiter (which mimics Asciidoctor’s behavior).

    An example of context-sensitivity is the following. An unordered list item is marked using a sequence of asterisks (*) of any length. The first item of a list determines the mark of the subsequent items, and we can start a sub-list with a mark of different length (i.e., a different number, not necessarily greater, of asterisks). So, the number of asterisks at the beginning of a list item does not determine the list nesting structure. We need to keep track of the used marks to discover the nesting structure. Something similar happens with delimited blocks and its nesting. As a consequence, our parser uses a stack of open blocks — with a stack of open list items inside — as a supporting data structure.

    Include expansion

    AsciiDoc supports C-preprocessor-like directives: includes and conditional processing. They suggest some kind of, well, preprocessing, or phase distinction in addition to that of blocks and inlines. But includes in AsciiDoc are not really pre-processable: their expansion is deeply entangled with block parsing.

    AsciiDoc also features variables in the form of document attributes, and there is a circular dependency between include expansion, attribute resolution and block parsing:

    • A line with contents :key: value is considered an attribute entry (aka variable definition) in some places, but not others (e.g., inside a source code block), and this circumstance is only known during (block) parsing.
    • Include directives can receive attributes whose value affects how the include is expanded.
    • Include expansion affects both attribute resolution and parsing:

      • An included file can leave open any number of delimited blocks or other constructions, thus affecting subsequent parsing, or the context in which a line :key: value is parsed.
      • New attributes can be defined in includes.

    So, a separated preprocessing pass seems to complicate things for no clear benefit. I haven’t implemented preprocessor directives yet, but I’ve designed and tested a solution to be integrated shortly with block parsing.

    As explained, block parsing is line oriented: each block parser is defined combining some parsers that operate on a single input line. To run the resulting combination the following function is called, where Parser m a is the type for block parsers:

    lineP :: MonadIO m => LineParser a -> Parser m a

    Function lineP is the only place in the code base where include expansion is handled. The function needs to be run on top of the IO monad to have access to the filesystem, and it relies on Parsec’s getInput/setInput functions.11


    asciidoc-hs is probably the most serious attempt to date at an AsciiDoc parser and converter in pure Haskell. It can be used as it is, as a Pandoc front-end, to convert AsciiDoc source files to any output format supported by Pandoc, thus filling an important gap in an AsciiDoc ecosystem that is in full bloom.

    The tool does not yet cover the entire AsciiDoc syntax (not even close), but the foundations for a tool that can be incrementally improved have been laid out. Some of the most challenging problems posed by AsciiDoc processing have been tackled — and hopefully solved in a solid way — so that adding new syntactic features should be relatively straightforward. It goes without saying that all contributions are very welcome.

    I want to end by thanking Tweag IO for the funding, technical validation of the proposal and supervision in the initial phases of this project.

    1. There have been former attempts in the past, but they have been abandoned. It is also possible to feed Pandoc with an AsciiDoc source by first converting to Docbook.

    2. As a test, I have implemented full inline syntax storage in the AST following a similar approach to what the sv package does for CSV. When more features are implemented I will evaluate if extending the same pattern to block nodes.

    3. Those are difficult to implement with major current AsciiDoc processors because, to begin with, they do not generate a complete AST of the document, as explained in the section about inline parsing.

    4. AsciiDoc inlines and blocks can be annotated with a number of attributes for built-in and user-defined styles, behavior and metadata.

    5. Linters can try to find plausible formatting mistakes, but this is another story.

    6. I.e., we need backtracking, or another technique to evaluate different, arbitrarily long parsing alternatives.

    7. As a consequence, processors like Asciidoctor sometimes generate invalid HTML when different format styles are mixed.

    8. I explored all the grammars I could find on the Internet. All of them were very incomplete with the exception of the one used by the project libasciidoc, which is a large and difficult to extend PEG that mixes inline and block parsing.

    9. Translating a PEG to an efficient Parsec parser is difficult, but this is not the main reason why we have discarded PEGs.

    10. I find this post very informative in this respect.

    11. A non-IO implementation would be possible with a parsing library that supports online parsing, like attoparsec. It would need to interrupt parsing when an include directive is found, take the continuation of the partial parsing and pass the included file to it. Then, get another continuation in return and pass it the lines following the include.

    Hackaday: Friendly Webcam Robot Keeps an Eye on Privacy

    Wouldn’t it be nice if every webcam had a hardware switch? Especially for those built-in webcams like the one in your laptop. Since they don’t have switches yet, we’re just stuck trying to remember to turn them off or re-apply the sticker after every meeting. [Becky Stern] was tired of trying to remember to blind the all-seeing eye, and decided to make a robot companion that would do it for her.

    Essentially, a servo-driven, 3D-printed eyelid covers the eye’s iris and also the web cam directly underneath. At first, we though [Becky] had liberated the business parts of a cheap webcam and built it into the eyeball, but this is far less intrusive. The eyeball simply sits atop the monitor, and [Becky] can control the eyelid two ways: she can set a timer with the potentiometer to close it automatically after some number of minutes, or else do it on demand using the momentary button. We’d love to see it tied directly to Zoom and or whatever else [Becky] uses regularly. Be sure to check out the build and demo video after the break to see it in action.

    We love this cute and friendly reminder that the camera could be watching us. It’s way less creepy than this realistic eyeball webcam that looks around and blinks.

    Slashdot: Google Will Let Enterprises Store Their Google Workspace Encryption Keys

    As ubiquitous as Google Docs has become in the last year alone, a major criticism often overlooked by the countless workplaces that use it is that it isn't end-to-end encrypted, allowing Google -- or any requesting government agency -- access to a company's files. But Google is finally addressing that key complaint with a round of updates that will let customers shield their data by storing their own encryption keys. From a report: Google Workspace, the company's enterprise offering that includes Google Docs, Slides and Sheets, is adding client-side encryption so that a company's data will be indecipherable to Google. Companies using Google Workspace can store their encryption keys with one of four partners for now: Flowcrypt, Futurex, Thales or Virtru, which are compatible with Google's specifications. The move is largely aimed at regulated industries -- like finance, healthcare and defense -- where intellectual property and sensitive data are subject to intense privacy and compliance rules.

    Read more of this story at Slashdot.

    Colossal: Otherworldly Sandstone Pillars Appear Like Totems of Billowing Fabric

    All images © Zac Henderson, shared with permission

    Between 140 and 180 million years ago, a cluster of Entrada Sandstone developed in a remote region of Utah. Wind, rain, and other elements have whittled down the formations over time, creating tall pillars that more closely resemble bunched fabric than ancient minerals.

    For his series Draped Stone, photographer Zac Henderson documents these spectral columns, or hoodoos, that are developed when layers of hard and soft rock are worn down and produce smooth, billowing patterns as they age. Today’s structures flow in soft ripples from the walls and appear as ambiguous objects disguised by thick swaths of textiles. Henderson describes his encounter with the pillars:

    It is almost as if fabric were draped over boulders to protect them from the elements. In another way, the rocks appear almost comically similar to a stereotypical ghost costume, needing only eyes to complete the ensemble. It is a strange thing for something so opposite to fabric to take on any sort of cloth-like appearance, yet here we are met with a most bizarre sort of muslin almost asking us to look underneath.

    Henderson frequently travels and seeks out the unusual textures and colors of Earth’s landscapes, and you can follow his adventures on Behance and Instagram. Prints of a few pieces from Draped Stone are also available on his site.


    Schneier on Security: Upcoming Speaking Engagements

    This is a current list of where and when I am scheduled to speak:

    The list is maintained on this page.

    Daniel Lemire's blog: How long should you work on a problem ?

    Lev Reyzin says that working too long on a problem might be unproductive:

    I, personally, have diminishing (or negative?) returns to my creative work as I explicitly work on a problem past some amount of time. I often have insights coming to me out of nowhere while I’m relaxing or enjoying hobbies on nights or weekends.

    Whenever one considers innovative endeavors and their productivity, one must consider that innovation is fundamentally wasteful. The problem with innovation is not about how to get as much of it for as little of a cost as possible. It is to get innovation at all. By optimizing your production function, you risk losing all of it. I sooner blame someone for his publication list being too long than being too short, said Dijkstra.

    My view is that we tend to underestimate “intellectual latency”. There is a delay between the time you approach a new idea and the time you have fully considered it.

    Thus our brains are not unlike computers. Your processor might be able to run at 4 GHz and be able to retire 4 instructions per cycle… but very rarely are you able to reach such a throughput while working on a single task. The productive intellectuals that I know tend to work on a few ideas at once. Maybe they are writing a book while building a piece of software and writing an essay.

    So you should not focus on one unique task in the hope of finishing it faster. You may complete it slightly faster if you omit everything else but the sum total of your productivity might be much lower.

    There is also a social component to human cognition. If you hold on to a problem for very long, working tirelessly on it, you may well deprive yourself of the input of others. You should do go work and then quickly invite others to improve on your work. No matter how smart you think you are, you cannot come close to the superior ingenuity of the open world.

    Energy and sanity are essential ingredients of sustain intellectual productivity. Hammering at a single problem for a long time is both maddening and energy limiting. Our brains are wired to like learning about new ideas. Your brain wants to be free to explore.

    And finally, the most important reason to limit the amount of work you invest on a single task is that it is a poor strategy even if you can do it with all the energy and intelligence in the world. Sadly, most of what you do is utterly useless. You are like an investor in a stock market where almost all stocks are losers. Putting all your money on one stock would ensure your ruin. You cannot know, at any given time, what will prove useful. Maybe going outside and playing with your son sounds like a waste of your potential right now, but it might be the one step that puts your life on a trajectory of greatness. You want to live your life diversely, touching many people, trying many things. Learn to cook. Make cocktails. Dance. Go to the theatre. Play video games. Write assembly code. Craft a novel.

    Many years ago I started to blog. I also started publishing my software as open source in a manner that could be useful to others. I started posting my research papers as PDFs that anyone could download. None of these decisions seemed wise at first. They took time away from “important problems”. I was ridiculed at one point or another for all of them. Yet these three decisions ended up being extremely beneficial to me.

    Further reading: Peer-reviewed papers are getting increasingly boring

    Schneier on Security: The Supreme Court Narrowed the CFAA

    In a 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court just narrowed the scope of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act:

    In a ruling delivered today, the court sided with Van Buren and overturned his 18-month conviction.

    In a 37-page opinion written and delivered by Justice Amy Coney Barrett, the court explained that the “exceeds authorized access” language was, indeed, too broad.

    Justice Barrett said the clause was effectively making criminals of most US citizens who ever used a work resource to perform unauthorized actions, such as updating a dating profile, checking sports scores, or paying bills at work.

    What today’s ruling means is that the CFAA cannot be used to prosecute rogue employees who have legitimate access to work-related resources, which will need to be prosecuted under different charges.

    The ruling does not apply to former employees accessing their old work systems because their access has been revoked and they’re not “authorized” to access those systems anymore.


    It’s a good ruling, and one that will benefit security researchers. But the confusing part is footnote 8:

    For present purposes, we need not address whether this inquiry turns only on technological (or “code-based”) limitations on access, or instead also looks to limits contained in contracts or policies.

    It seems to me that this is exactly what the ruling does address. The court overturned the conviction because the defendant was not limited by technology, but only by policies. So that footnote doesn’t make any sense.

    I have written about this general issue before, in the context of adversarial machine learning research.

    Colossal: An Annual Exhibition Features Over 1,000 Illustrated Coasters at Nucleus Portland

    Top left: By Kelly Louise Judd. Top right: By Lydia Nichols. Bottom left: By Mariya Pilipenko. Bottom right: By Molly Egan. All images via Nucleus Portland

    Each year Nucleus Portland tasks hundreds of artists with creating original works on a miniature canvas usually reserved for dewy beverages. Salut! harnesses the friendly camaraderie associated with the word and gathers more than 1,000 coasters illustrated in an expansive variety of styles, including minimal color-blocked toucans, trippy starscapes, and dreamy, candid portraits. See some of Colossal’s favorite 4×4-inch pieces below, and browse the entire exhibition and available works, which are up online and in-person through July 5, on Nucelus’s site.


    Top left: By Zoe Persico. Top right: By Sam Kalda. Bottom left: By Shinyeon Moon. Bottom right: By Vin Ganapathy

    Left: By Megan Wood. Right: By Catherine Ho

    Top left: By Juliette Toma. Top right: Chris Uphues. Bottom left: By Jennifer Davis. Bottom right: By Jialun Deng

    Left: By Edward Cao. Right: By Hayley Powers

    Arduino Blog: This archery robot always hits the target

    Both archery and robotics are extremely fun, but what happens when you combine the two? In Kamal Carter’s case, he constructed his own autonomous robotic archery system that can not only acquire and aim at targets, but even draw back the bow and fire an arrow all on its own.

    The project features an Intel RealSense Depth Camera at its heart to acquire targets by looking for abnormally bright colors and to compute its distance away from them. This information is then fed to an Arduino Mega that uses some simple physics to determine where exactly the bow should be aimed via a pair of stepper motors. Once the target has been dialed in, another stepper pulls back the bow while a servo releases the string’s tension, thus firing the arrow. 

    Carter has shared a video where he demonstrated the effectiveness of his autonomous archery system — and it’s impressive. The robot was able to recognize the apple on his head (just like in Robin Hood), tilt the bow up slightly, and then fire, which ended up knocking the apple off with minor collateral damage. 

    You can read more about how Carter built this robotic archer by viewing his write-up over on

    The post This archery robot always hits the target appeared first on Arduino Blog.

    Colossal: Thinkspace Presents ‘Cluster Fudge’: A New Body of Paintings and Articulated Figures by Reen Barrera

    All photos © Thinkspace and Reen Barrera, shared with permission

    Candid, passionate, and uninhibited, Ohlala is the character at the center of Reen Barrera‘s practice. The recurring figure functions as a vessel for the artist’s own experiences and emotions, which culminate in portraits rendered in acrylic, oil, aerosol and wooden figurines that stand a few inches tall or stretch to imposing heights. “There is this idiom that says ‘it’s written all over your face,’ which gave me an idea that regardless of what we say, our true feelings can still be emancipated by our facial expressions,” the Paris-born artist says in a statement. “For me, it’s a silent way of communicating something without noise.”

    To convey the characters’ wildly varied emotions, Barrera subtly shifts the form, materials, and colorful motifs: Ohlala often wears hoods with animal ears and patchwork clothing with chunky, uneven seams; an amalgam of abstract patterns and small botanics coat the figure’s face; and oversized hands display unambiguous gestures. The artist leaves drips, splashes, and other mistakes visible, too, adding to the unmediated theme of his works.

    If you’re in Los Angeles, you can see Ohlala’s many moods as part of a sold-out show titled Cluster Fudge on view at Thinkspace Projects through June 26—the gallery spoke with Barrera at length about the works in a recent interview. You can also watch the studio tour below, and check out his site and follow him on Instagram.


    Photo © Birdman

    Photo © Birdman

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

    As the pandemic passes, will puppies get cheaper? How about plywood? Or properties?

    These are odd days. The virus hit. The economy cratered. Government freaked. Jobs were lost. Lockdowns, quarantines and restrictions hit, which are only now (15 months later) being peeled back. And yet during this time the price of almost everything swelled like a zit before the prom.

    You know all about real estate. Up 30% nationally in the past year. Building materials are crazy. Foods’s taking off. Supply chain disruptions have goosed the price of boats to bathtubs, RVs and exercise equipment. Officially inflation in the US has hit 5% (the historic average is more like 2%) the most since 2008. In Canada it’s 3.4%, the highest in a decade, but not reflective of reality

    Meanwhile the federal government has spent $400 billion more than it collected, adding the difference to the national debt. It’s over a trillion and rising daily. The Bank of Canada spends $3 billion a week buying bonds in order to suppress interest rates. This has created a ton of new money. Look at this…

    More debt. More printing. More money supply in Canada.

    When there’s more of something, the price goes down because it’s less scarce or valuable. So it takes a greater amount of that thing to equal what value it had in the past. Yup, that’s inflation. The more money in existence, the less each dollar’s worth and the more of them required to get, say, a golden retriever.

    Check out some recent comments by CIBC econoguy Benny Tal :

    “Nobody knows where inflation will be six months from now. When I say nobody, I include the Bank of Canada and The Fed in that nobody. At this point, the narrative from the Bank of Canada and The Fed is ‘Yes, we know inflation is rising, but it is going to be short-lived. Maybe that’s correct, but they don’t know…. Money supply is rising like there is no tomorrow.”

    Tal also thinks all this inflation, spending, money-printing and political profligacy will bite us big. “To me that is the No. 1 risk facing the economy and the market: a very rapid pace of increase in interest rates.”

    What can turn current inflation into something worse? A torrent of spending. The unleashing of built-up pandemic savings. More government gushing. And the expectation by people that prices are romping higher, so they’d better buy now. That’s where FOMO comes from – a fear which ignites and accelerates buying decisions, causing people to jump in even when asset values have exploded, since they fret those prices will go higher.

    Of course the rapid pace of vaccinations (75% of the herd will be fully dosed by Labour Day) and the relentless reopening of provincial economies will accelerate this. The service sector will come alive. Unemployment will crash. Wages increase. Commodity prices are rising because of increased global demand. Plus you have carbon taxes, a federal election and higher personal taxes after that to factor in.

    This has led people on this blog to conclude: (a) cash is trash. Might was well spend it. (b) Hard assets like real estate are a shelter from the storm. (c) Liquid, financial portfolios can’t keep up. And, (d) we’re on the path to hyperinflation.

    This is bunkum. But it will take many months – maybe a year or two – for it to become obvious we have the opposite problem. First, understand what hyperinflation is – excessive, out-of-control price hikes typically of 50% a month or more. This happens in wars, times of economic depression, rampant political corruption or when a population completely loses faith in the currency, leading to hoarding, shortages and chaos. Money becomes worthless. CBs print even more of it. People stop saving or paying debts. Banks crumble.

    Ain’t happening here. Nor will it. Ever.

    Forget inflation. This is what to expect.

    Here’s a more likely scenario.

    Inflation continues to rise as the pandemic fades. The central bank later this year (maybe starting next month) trims its bond-buying further and eliminates it by Christmas. Consumer prices and real estate swell more until vaccination rates deliver overall immunity and Covid is gone, gone, gone from the daily newsfeed. Mr. Socks wins the October election. In April the budget delivers a tax jolt which the bond market demands. This happens around the time the CB decides inflation’s a threat requiring higher rates. As interest levels increase money becomes more valuable, not less. Savers are encouraged. Borrowers pay more. Asset values moderate.

    Meanwhile the deflationary influence of technology continues. Every month productivity goes up as more industries automate, reduce operating costs and replace dithering humans with flawless AI. Technology eats inflation. It allows production to be scaled-up to meet rising demand without increasing costs. This lets retailers trade bricks and HVAC overhead for a web site and a shipping agent, for example. Banks will close hundreds of branches. Government service counters will be kaput. One legacy of Covid and WFH has been to digitize the entire population, proving the economy can function when 25% of all workers stopped going to work.

    We live in the cloud now. So what if the next big thing is deflation?

    Get used to the idea. It’s the future. The cloud is a platform of innovation allowing programmers access to computing power that was a dream just a few years ago. As computing costs deflate, so do others. Manufacturing expenses and payrolls fall. Services become targeted and more cost-effective.  Robots never sleep or get sick or hungover or need time off or require pensions. Deflation is all around us now, masked by the bits of life that are high-profile, inflationary (and transient) like housing.

    Consider the massive debt created by governments in Canada, the US and around the world, plus all the quantitative easing, the bond-buying, the fiscal and monetary stimulus, the rock-bottom rates which are actually negative. All of this – wholly unprecedented – has barely boosted inflation. More debt, more spending and more stimulus is unlikely to change it. Deflation is as powerful as it is stealthy.

    What’s it mean?

    First, governments have it wrong. This will be evident before too long. Trust me – you’ll not want to be sitting with a heap of debt. Second, folks with cash, money, liquid wealth and negotiable assets will eventually win. Your funds will gain value. Goods will become less costly. Consumer behavior will be modified as FOMO turns into buyer hesitancy – since the longer you wait to get something, the cheaper it may become.

    Borrowers squished. Savers saved. Assets sunk. Cash as king. Imagine the impact of that on a government in hock or your neighbours in debt. And you?

    About the picture: “I was very moved by your blog post about Canada and your fireworks. I think many of us feel the same,” writes Holly. “It’s such a beautiful, peaceful and clean country.  Like all puppies, 5 month old red heeler Little Wing is awed by life.  Chasing dragonflies is her most favourite thing, and watching her fascination with nature has been a great way for me to see the beauty all around me.  You are right; dogs just make everything better, and Canada is one of the most beautiful countries in the world.  My small gift back to her is a bouncy good time on a trampoline loaded with balls.  PS… she peed on the balls shortly after this photo was taken.”

    ScreenAnarchy: Review: ENFORCEMENT (SHORTA), Police Brutality Smashes Lives

    Jacob Lohmann and Simon Sears star in a nail-biting crime thriller from Denmark, directed by Anders Ølholm and Frederik Louis Hviid.

    [Read the whole post on]

    ScreenAnarchy: Blu-ray Review: CENTER STAGE, Stanley Kwan's Masterpiece Is a Beauty to Behold

    Maggie Cheung, Han Chin and Tony Ka Fai Leung star in a breathtakingly gorgeous film, directed by Stanley Kwan. Digitally restored in 4K, it lives up to its reputation as one of the most revered masterpieces of the Hong Kong cinema.

    [Read the whole post on]

    Schneier on Security: TikTok Can Now Collect Biometric Data

    This is probably worth paying attention to:

    A change to TikTok’s U.S. privacy policy on Wednesday introduced a new section that says the social video app “may collect biometric identifiers and biometric information” from its users’ content. This includes things like “faceprints and voiceprints,” the policy explained. Reached for comment, TikTok could not confirm what product developments necessitated the addition of biometric data to its list of disclosures about the information it automatically collects from users, but said it would ask for consent in the case such data collection practices began.

    Arduino Blog: This Arduino project is counting to a billion

    Counting to a Billion is probably the longest running Arduino project ever.

    Good design counts for everything

    Designer Che-Wei Wang built a simple Arduino project that’s counting to a billion, and has been doing so for over 10 years. Could this be the longest continually running Arduino project in the world?

    Che-Wei has a background in art, architecture and industrial design. He now runs a boutique design studio with is wife Taylor, called CW&T. But it was during his time at university that he first discovered his love for Arduino.

    “I first started using Arduino when I went to [the Interactive Telecommunications Program] at NYU in 2007,” he explains. “I got hooked the moment I got an LED to blink and went on to build a fuzzy GPS robot that guides you to places around the city.”

    Even now there’s a clear technological slant to his design work. As you look through the products CW&T has created, more than a few have embedded electronics at their core. He also has a rare eye for the beauty of minimalism, both in terms of design and function. Which is probably why one of his first Arduino projects is both simple, and stunning.

    “As a kid, I would challenge myself to count to as high of a number as possible,” he laughs. “I don’t remember how high I got. Probably not past a few hundred. So I built this device as a way to fulfil my childhood dream of counting to an insanely high number!”

    The Counting to a Billion project

    Back in 2009, Che-Wei created his next project to help him achieve that childhood objective. Counting to a Billion has an Arduino board with a text-to-speech converter and a speaker that continually reads out the next number. When it gets to billion, it’ll stop.

    “It lives in our basement, so every time you go downstairs, there’s a voice just counting away.”

    Che-Wei clearly gave this a lot of thought in his initial designs. Like a lot of minimalist product designs, there’s a lot of work needed to make them look so simple. Counting at one number per second, continually, you’re looking at over 31 years to get to a billion. That means this apparently simple project needs to be incredibly robust.

    Counting to a Billion is encased in a machined aluminium housing for safety. It writes the last number to EEPROM, in case of catastrophic power failure. And there’s a rechargeable backup battery so it keeps counting whenever the devices needs to be moved or unplugged.

    It was activated at 9AM on May, 9th, 2009 and is still happily running, without interruption. It’s hard to imagine there are many other Arduino projects that have been running continuously for this long. If there are, we definitely want you to tell us all about them!

    Down for the count

    “I still use Arduino all the time,” Che-Wei continues, “for work, for home projects, and gifts.”

    The Counting to a Billion project has actually provided inspiration for CW&T’s current products. In their shop is a strangely attractive device, called Nothing Lasts Forever. This sealed glass capsule has an e-ink display that counts up ever time you press the button on the machined aluminium cap. If and when it reaches 999,999, the device will stop functioning. Although the electronics are custom, it still uses the EEPROM method developed for Counting to a Billion to keep track of the number.

    So, you’re probably wondering what number Che-Wei’s project is currently at? To recap, at the exact moment of writing, it’s now been running continuously for 12 years, one month and five days, or:

    • 145 months
    • 631 weeks
    • 4419 days
    • 106,046 hours
    • 6,362,764 minutes
    • 381,765,878 seconds

    “As of right now, on June 8th, 2021, 10:42AM,” Che-Wei concludes, when we spoke about his project, “the count is at 47,684,610.”

    Have you built a project that’s been running for a long time? We want to hear all about it! Share it on the Arduino Project Hub, in the comments, on social media, or over on the forum.

    The post This Arduino project is counting to a billion appeared first on Arduino Blog.

    Open Culture: Watch a Never-Aired TV Profile of James Baldwin (1979)

    In 1979, just a couple of months into his stint with 20/20, ABC’s fledgling television news magazine, producer and documentarian Joseph Lovett was “beyond thrilled” to be assigned an interview with author James Baldwin, whose work he had discovered as a teen.

    Knowing that Baldwin liked to break out the bourbon in the afternoon, Lovett arranged for his crew to arrive early in the morning to set up lighting and have breakfast waiting before Baldwin awakened:

    He hadn’t had a drop to drink and he was brilliant, utterly brilliant. We couldn’t have been happier.

    Pioneering journalist Sylvia Chase conducted the interview. The segment also included stops at Lincoln Center for a rehearsal of Baldwin’s play, The Amen Corner, and the Police Athletic League’s Harlem Center where Baldwin (and perhaps the camera) seems to unnerve a teen reporter, cupping his chin at length while answering his question about a Black writer’s chances:

    There never was a chance for a Black writer.  Listen, a writer, Black or white, doesn’t have much of a chance. Right? Nobody wants a writer until he’s dead. But to answer your question, there’s a greater chance for a Black writer today than there ever has been.

    In the Manhattan building Baldwin bought to house a number of his close-knit family, Chase corners his mother in the kitchen to ask if she’d had any inkling her son would become such a success.

    “No, I didn’t think that,” Mrs. Baldwin cuts her off. “But I knew he had to write.”

    Baldwin speaks frankly about outing himself to the general public with his 1956 novel Giovanni’s Room and about what it means to live as a Black man in a nation that has always favored its white citizens:

    The American sense of reality is dictated by what Americans are trying to avoid. And if you’re trying to avoid reality, how can you face it?

    Nearly 35 years before Black Lives Matter’s formation, he tackles the issue of white fragility by telling Chase, “Look, I don’t mean it to you personally. I don’t even know you. I have nothing against you. I don’t know you personally, but I know you historically. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t swear to the freedom of all mankind and put me in chains.”

    The finished piece is a superb, 60 Minutes-style profile that covers a lot of ground, and yet, 20/20 chose not to air it.

    After the show ran Chase’s interview with Michael Jackson, producer Lovett inquired as to the delay and was told that no one would be interested in a “queer, Black has-been”:

    I was stunned, I was absolutely stunned, because in my mind James Baldwin was no has-been. He was a classic American writer, translated into every language in the world, and would live on forever, and indeed he has. His courage and his eloquence continue to inspire us today.

    On June 24, Joseph Lovett will moderate James Baldwin: Race, Media, and Psychoanalysis, a free virtual panel discussion centering on his 20/20 profile of James Baldwin, with psychoanalysts Victor P. Bonfilio and Annie Lee Jones, and Baldwin’s niece, author Aisha Karefa-Smart. Register here.

    H/T to author Sarah Schulman

    Related Content: 

    Why James Baldwin’s Writing Stays Powerful: An Artfully Animated Introduction to the Author of Notes of a Native Son

    Watch the Famous James Baldwin-William F. Buckley Debate in Full, With Restored Audio (1965)

    James Baldwin’s One & Only, Delightfully-Illustrated Children’s Book, Little Man Little Man: A Story of Childhood (1976)

    Listen to James Baldwin’s Record Collection in a 478-track, 32-Hour Spotify Playlist

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

    Watch a Never-Aired TV Profile of James Baldwin (1979) is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, 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.

    Penny Arcade: News Post: A Thousand Scripts

    Tycho: Loki is like Wandavision in that it's a kind of puzzle, which is the sort of show I like best. It's also the most optimized use of Disney+ as a platform, because now the hook is set and I sorta have to stick around to find out what this shit is about now. I go hog-ass fucking wild for a Primer, or a Memento. Or even a regular Mento. I should buy some Mentos. I don't surf the Internet correctly. For one thing, I either ronically or i-ronically still use the term surf. I tend to go to individual sites for information; it's not really mediated by feeds or algo shenanigans.…

    Penny Arcade: Comic: A Thousand Scripts

    New Comic: A Thousand Scripts

    Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal: Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Fermi Paradox

    Click here to go see the bonus panel!

    So far, humans are the only civilization to somehow preserve bastardry while scaling complexity.

    Today's News:

    Michael Geist: The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 92: A Conversation with Senator Paula Simons on Copyright, the Internet and the Future of Media in Canada

    Earlier this year, Senator Claude Carignan introduced Bill S-225, a bill that purports to address concerns about the viability of the Canadian media sector by amending the Copyright Act. The Senate has been studying the bill in recent weeks with Senator Paula Simons serving as the bill critic and one of the leads on the issue. Senator Simons was a longtime journalist before being appointed to the Senate and while an ardent supporter of local journalism, she has been critical of the proposed legislation. She joins the Law Bytes podcast to discuss the state of journalism in Canada, why she doesn’t think the social media companies “stole” stories from the media, and what Canada should be doing to encourage innovation in the media sector.

    The podcast can be downloaded here, accessed on YouTube, and is embedded below. Subscribe to the podcast via Apple Podcast, Google Play, Spotify or the RSS feed. Updates on the podcast on Twitter at @Lawbytespod.

    Show Notes:

    Bill S-225
    Senator Simons Speech on Bill S-225, May 25, 2021
    Geist, The Copyright Bill That Does Nothing: Senate Bill Proposes Copyright Reform to Support Media Organizations


    TRCM: Conservative Sen. Claude Carignan appears at committee for Bill S-225, June 2, 2021

    The post The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 92: A Conversation with Senator Paula Simons on Copyright, the Internet and the Future of Media in Canada appeared first on Michael Geist.

    things magazine: S/he moves in mysterious ways

    The mystery of Salvator Mundis, a question of attribution, provenance, and the careful shifting hundreds of millions of dollars around the world. Via The Guardian. There are estimated to be several billion dollars worth of art tucked away in these … Continue reading

    Open Culture: Watch an Accurate Reconstruction of the World’s Oldest Computer, the 2,200 Year-Old Antikythera Mechanism, from Start to Finish

    There’s nothing like an ancient mystery, especially one as seemingly insoluble as the origins of “the world’s first computer,” the Antikythera mechanism. Discovered off the coast of the Greek island of Antikythera in 1901, the corroded collection of gears and dials seemed fake to scientists at first because of its ingeniousness. It has since been dated to 100 to 150 BC and has inspired decades of research and speculative reconstruction. Yet, no one knows who made it, and more importantly, no one knows how it was made.

    “The distance between this device’s complexity and others made at the same time is infinite,” says Adam Wojcik, a materials scientist at the University College of London. “Frankly, there is nothing like it that has ever been found. It’s out of this world.”

    The expression should not make us think of ancient aliens — the Antikythera mechanism contains more than enough evidence of human limitation, showing a geocentric model of the cosmos with the only five planets its maker would have known.

    The 2,000-plus year-old device continues to reveal its secrets, including hidden inscriptions found during CT scans of the object, as Smithsonian reported in 2015. The mechanism is “similar in size to a mantel clock, and bits of wood found on the fragments suggest it was housed in a wooden case. Like a clock, the case would’ve had a large circular face with rotating hands. There was a knob or handle on the side, for winding the mechanism forward or backward. And as the knob turned, trains of interlocking gearwheels drove at least seven hands at various speeds. Instead of hours and minutes, the hands displayed celestial time.”

    If the Antikythera mechanism is a “celestial clock,” who better to design and build its reconstruction than a clockmaker? That is exactly what we see in the videos above, created for the clockmaking YouTube channel Clickspring. Using the best scientific model of the mechanism to date — published this year by Dr. Tony Freeth and colleagues of the Antikythera Mechanism Research Project — Clickspring shows how the device might have fit together and makes educated guesses about the right placement of its dozens of small parts.

    You can see a preview of the Antikythera reconstruction project at the top, watch the full project above, and see individual episodes showcasing different phases of construction on YouTube. The model “conforms to all the physical evidence,” Freeth writes, “and matches the descriptions in the scientific inscriptions engraved on the mechanism itself.” What no one can figure out, however, is just how the ancient Greek artisans who made it shaped precision metal parts without lathes and other modern tools of the machine-makers trade. Researchers, and clockmakers, may have pieced together the Antikythera puzzle, but the mystery of how it came into existence at all remains unsolved.

    Related Content:

    How the World’s Oldest Computer Worked: Reconstructing the 2,200-Year-Old Antikythera Mechanism

    Researchers Develop a Digital Model of the 2,200-Year-Old Antikythera Mechanism, “the World’s First Computer”

    Modern Artists Show How the Ancient Greeks & Romans Made Coins, Vases & Artisanal Glass

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

    Watch an Accurate Reconstruction of the World’s Oldest Computer, the 2,200 Year-Old Antikythera Mechanism, from Start to Finish is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, 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.


    Sam Friedman



    Sam Friedman’s Website

    Sam Friedman on Instagram


    Tea Masters: Gaiwan, Gaibei, zhong

    Joyeux festival des Bateaux Dragon! C'est le jour où la tradition chinoise veut qu'on puisse faire tenir un oeuf debout autour de midi! C'est aussi le meilleur jour pour puiser son eau pour le thé! Et c'est aussi un jour où l'on boit beaucoup de thé pour aider la digestion des zhongzi, cette spécialité basée sur du riz qui colle bien!

    Comme j'avais mon livre du National Palace Museum sur le thé sous la main, j'en ai profité pour faire quelques photos en complément de mon cours sur le 'gaiwan, gaibei et zhong'.

    Vous pouvez voir ci-dessous que pour des accessoires similaires, le nom varie sans raison apparente. Cela montre qu'il n'y a pas de différence entre wan (bol) et zhong. Bei (coupe) est généralement un peu plus petit, mais quand c'est un gaibei ou un gaiwan, on peut utiliser l'un ou l'autre nom indifféremment. Par contre, dans mon cours de ce weekend, je vous apprends que le mot zhong avait une utilisation un peu différente durant la dynastie Qing. D'ailleurs, on voit qu'autrefois cela pouvait qualifier même un bol ou une coupe sans couvercle.

    Voici quelques pièces et leur nom officiel au National Palace Museum. J'ai traduit le mot clé souligné:





     Tous ces noms officiels proviennent des inventaires des empereurs de Chine. 

    Et pour finir, voici ma photo d'un des plus beaux gaiwan du musée. Il est en porcelaine turquoise du règne de DaoGuang (1821-1850):

    Disquiet: Score

     The film'S a bit rote but
    the audio Cues are
             sOmething else,
     like etheR bound to data's cold
          pulsE. And I'll watch again
     no doubt.
 Comic for 2021.06.14

    New Cyanide and Happiness Comic

    Ideas: Music for the Dead and Resurrected

    For nearly 27 years, citizens of Belarus have lived under the thumb of Alexander Lukashenko, who is considered Europe’s last dictator. In her poetry collection Music for the Dead and Resurrected, Belarusian poet Valzhyna Mort explores collective memory, a history of both horror and joy, and how to memorialize those buried in mass graves.

    Jesse Moynihan: Forming 322

    Planet Haskell: Well-Typed.Com: GHC activities report: April-May 2021

    This is the sixth edition of our GHC activities report, which is intended to provide regular updates on the work on GHC and related projects that we are doing at Well-Typed. This edition covers roughly the months of April and and May 2021.

    You can find the previous editions collected under the ghc-activities-report tag.

    A bit of background: One aspect of our work at Well-Typed is to support GHC and the Haskell core infrastructure. Several companies, including IOHK and Facebook – and, new, GitHub (via the Haskell Foundation; see below), are providing us with funding to do this work. We are also working with Hasura on better debugging tools. We are very grateful on behalf of the whole Haskell community for the support these companies provide.

    If you are interested in also contributing funding to ensure we can continue or even scale up this kind of work, please get in touch.

    Of course, GHC is a large community effort, and Well-Typed’s contributions are just a small part of this. This report does not aim to give an exhaustive picture of all GHC work that is ongoing, and there are many fantastic features currently being worked on that are omitted here simply because none of us are currently involved in them in any way. Furthermore, the aspects we do mention are still the work of many people. In many cases, we have just been helping with the last few steps of integration. We are immensely grateful to everyone contributing to GHC. Please keep doing so (or start)!


    Currently, Ben Gamari, Andreas Klebinger and Matthew Pickering are working primarily on GHC-related tasks, and have recently been joined by Zubin Duggal, who started at Well-Typed in May. In addition, Alfredo Di Napoli, Alp Mestanogullari and Adam Gundry have been doing some work on GHC in the last two months, next to other projects they are working on.

    New sponsor

    We are delighted to announce that GitHub have joined the companies that sponsor our work on GHC, via an earmarked donation to the Haskell Foundation. Thanks to both GitHub and the Haskell Foundation for working out the details, and thanks to all the other companies that are making all of our work described here possible.

    The GitHub contribution succeeds earlier funding we have had from Microsoft Research. The funding from Microsoft Research for doing work on GHC was the very first contract that Well-Typed as a company ever had, and lasted more than ten years. We would like to take the opportunity to also thank Microsoft Research and Simon Peyton Jones once more for all the support throughout the years.

    Release management

    We have been continuing to push ahead on three fronts:

    • Having over 60 backports since 8.10.4, the 8.10.5 release has been prepared and cut by Zubin. Due to a regression possibly affecting Haskell Language Server work has started on a follow-up 8.10.6 release.

    • Backports continue on the 9.0 branch, with further work being done to identify and fix a variety of runtime performance regressions seen in 9.0.1

    • Another alpha release has been cut from the 9.2 branch and work continues on sorting its remaining release issues.

    Compiler error messages refactoring

    • Alfredo continued his work with Richard Eisenberg on the errors and warnings messages (now aptly rebranded as “Diagnostics”) and their refactoring. After several merged MRs (most notably !5116, !5410, !5533, !5509, !5207, !5172, !5580, !5569, !5528), the work reached an important milestone: now GHC has a diagnostic hierarchy in the form of Haskell types, with an umbrella GhcMessage at the root. Plugin authors can embed custom diagnostic messages via the presence of a GhcUnknownMessage constructor.

      Not all existing GHC messages have been ported yet, due to their sheer number, and MR !5719 should complete the conversion for the existing desugarer messages. A summary of the outstanding work can be found over at #19905.


    • Andreas fixed some erroneous warnings about missed specialisations by GHC (#19586, !5359).

    • Matt has been continuing to work with Divam Naruala to refactor and modernise the driver code which powers --make mode. This month two big patches have been merged. Firstly, some transitive information about modules and packages was removed from interface files (!5688) which leads to modifying files causing less recompilation.

      Secondly, the recompilation logic in the driver was updated (!5661) to fix a large number of open tickets to do with recompilation checking. The patch also simplifies internal logic in the compiler so that modifying the driver in future should be easier.

      We are now moving onto some changes which would allow more parallelism when building programs.

    Profiling and debugging

    • Andreas started looking into changing GHC’s ABI to use the machine stack register for the heap allocated Haskell stack. This is an old idea (#8272, ghc-proposals!17). If things work out this should allow common tools like perf/gdb to understands Haskell call stack. There is a branch in GHC already which can build a working compiler that both uses, and was built with the new ABI. However, there are still some bugs causing segfaults to squash before we can fully evaluate the new ABI for general use in terms of impact on runtime, code size and easier profiling/debugging using stock tools.

    Compiler performance

    • Andreas changed the GHC-internal implementations for bit shifts (!5428). This should improve GHC performance ever so slightly by skipping some runtime checks.
    • Andreas also looked into the implementation for worker/wrapper and identified some inconsistencies in #19818 and #19766. There is now a small fix for the former issue (!5710), and GHC contributor Sebastian Graf is working on resolving the later.
    • Andreas also discovered an operation by the simplifier that turned out to be surprisingly costly (#19820). We might be able to mitigate this for a lot of cases in the future, but for now this has merely been documented.
    • Adam continued working on the performance of GHC when compiling programs making heavy use of type families (#8095). He is exploring a number of possible improvements: changing the representation of type family coercions to be more efficient (!5286), reducing the cost of coercion optimization (!5863), and making GHC rewrite type families only when needed (#18965).
    • Ben has been working on improving the performance of the compiler’s internal class- and family-instance environments. The performance of these data structures are critical to typechecker performance in the presence of a large number of instances, yet are currently quite naive. By moving to a trie structure we believe we can significantly improve typechecking performance in some programs (#19703).

    Runtime performance

    • Tag Inference (!5614) is now in the review stage. This patch should provide ~1% improved runtime for most programs, which big improvements for certain special cases. This impact is particularly large in small loops like containerslookup operation.
    • Enabling strict dictionaries for -O2 (!2575) is waiting to be merged.
    • Ben has been working on the various runtime performance regressions reported in 9.0.1 (#19557, #19727, #19790).

    Compiler correctness

    • Andreas identified #19768 which caused GHC master to crash when dumping core output in some cases. The issue was promptly fixed by Simon Peyton Jones.
    • Similarly a recent refactoring caused master to panic under rare circumstances. Andreas documented this in #19824 and a fix has been merged in !5722.
    • Ben has been investigating a rare compiler determinism bug caused by a surprising interaction between rule visibility and inlining behavior (#19725). With the culprit now clear, the current challenge is identifying an fix which maintains determinism while minimally affecting compilation time.
    • Ben diagnosed and fixed a code generation bug affecting unboxed sums with unlifted fields (#19645).

    Compiler functionality and language extensions

    • The documentation about what runtime representation means for DataCons in the GHC API was a bit unclear. Andreas opened #19789 where this was then discussed and resolved in !5694.

    CI and infrastructure

    • Ben has migrated the GitLab instance to a new machine and upgraded GitLab to 13.12.
    • Matt worked on adding more monitoring to CI pipelines and other internal infrastructure.
    • Matt has been working on improving the CI pipeline speed by speeding up some jobs on the critical path.

    The Shape of Code: The CESAW dataset: a brief introduction

    I have found that the secret for discovering data treasure troves is persistently following any leads that appear. For instance, if a researcher publishes a data driven paper, then check all their other papers. The paper: Composing Effective Software Security Assurance Workflows contains a lot of graphs and tables, but no links to data, however, one of the authors (William R. Nichols) published The Cost and Benefits of Static Analysis During Development which links to an amazing treasure trove of project data.

    My first encounter with this data was this time last year, as I was focusing on completing my Evidence-based software engineering book. Apart from a few brief exchanges with Bill Nichols the technical lead member of the team who obtained and originally analysed the data, I did not have time for any detailed analysis. Bill was also busy, and we agreed to wait until the end of the year. Bill’s and my paper: The CESAW dataset: a conversation is now out, and focuses on an analysis of the 61,817 task and 203,621 time facts recorded for the 45 projects in the CESAW dataset.

    Our paper is really an introduction to the CESAW dataset; I’m sure there is a lot more to be discovered. Some of the interesting characteristics of the CESAW dataset include:

    • it is the largest publicly available project dataset currently available, with six times as many tasks as the next largest, the SiP dataset. The CESAW dataset involves the kind of data that is usually encountered, i.e., one off project data. The SiP dataset involves the long term evolution of one company’s 20 projects over 10-years,
    • it includes a lot of information I have not seen elsewhere, such as: task interruption time and task stop/start {date/time}s (e.g., waiting on some dependency to become available)
    • four of the largest projects involve safety critical software, for a total of 28,899 tasks (this probably more than two orders of magnitude more than what currently exists). Given all the claims made about the development about safety critical software being different from other kinds of development, here is a resource for checking some of the claims,
    • the tasks to be done, to implement a project, are organized using a work-breakdown structure. WBS is not software specific, and the US Department of Defense require it to be used across all projects; see MIL-STD-881. I will probably annoy those in software management by suggesting the one line definition of WBS as: Agile+structure (WBS supports iteration). This was my first time analyzing WBS project data, and never having used it myself, I was not really sure how to approach the analysis. Hopefully somebody familiar with WBS will extract useful patterns from the data,
    • while software inspections are frequently talked about, public data involving them is rarely available. The WBS process has inspections coming out of its ears, and for some projects inspections of one kind or another represent the majority of tasks,
    • data on the kinds of tasks that are rarely seen in public data, e.g., testing, documentation, and design,
    • the 1,324 defect-facts include information on: the phase where the mistake was made, the phase where it was discovered, and the time taken to fix.

    As you can see, there is lots of interesting project data, and I look forward to reading about what people do with it.

    Once you have downloaded the data, there are two other sources of information about its structure and contents: the code+data used to produce the plots in the paper (plus my fishing expedition code), and a CESAW channel on the Evidence-based software engineering Slack channel (no guarantees about response time).

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

    Austrian man jailed for 19 months after tattooing Nazi symbol on his testicle The woman who spent lockdown alone in the Arctic New research published in the journal Psychological Science reveals a pervasive but unfounded stereotype: that women (but not men) who engage in casual sex have low self-esteem More than 100 million people now have Calm [...]

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

    Corey’s in crisis. Life was all plotted, the way lawyers like it. Predictable path: career first, then wife, then house. Clause by clause. Motion, discovery and deposition.

    Alas, she split. So at 41 he has the means and motive, but no opportunity. Naturally (as all troubled lawyers do) he wrote me:

    “I make $200k plus a bonus (last year gross comp was $320, year before $254). Right now I rent, at a cost of $2900 for a condo in Toronto.  No car, TFSA is $90k in growth etfs/some individual stocks and RRSP is $170k, 80/20 equity/fixed.  I had intended to buy real estate with someone but now I have $330k in cash sitting there. Do I buy a place on my own? The semis I am looking at are around $1.2mm.  Mortgage plus tax would be about $5000 with $240k down payment. If I don’t buy now might be too late in a year or two the way things are going, am at bit of a crossroads. Your advice would be appreciated!”

    Well, counselor, there must be a reason to drop a quarter million dollars on something, absorb a million in debt and almost double monthly living costs. Is buying half a house in Toronto worth that kind of investment or financial sacrifice for a single, jilted, guy?

    The only reason he’s vexing: FOMO. Buy now or buy never. Recency bias – what just happened will go on forever. Soon slanty semis will be $3 million. Everybody knows that.

    Well, Corey needs to consider the alternative to a house he doesn’t need. If he hangs on to his $590,000, continues to add a hundred grand a year and adopts a more predictable portfolio, in ten years he should have $2.64 million. By age 61 that becomes $6.67 million, providing an annual retirement income of $425,000 for life, while basically retaining the principal amount.

    Now, he’s going to be a well-off guy whatever the outcome. Unless of course, he marries and divorces. Or has three kids who all want to be dentists and expect him to finance it. But buying a house (or part of one) that he doesn’t need at the very moment when prices have never been higher and knowing the costs of his seven-figure mortgage will only increase in the future seems, well, criminal.

    This also begs the question many people ask now – is it ever a bad time to get real estate?

    This blog has oft offered this advice: buy a house if you need one and doing so will not gut your finances nor imperil your family. Corey doesn’t need four bedrooms and three bathrooms. He fails the first test.

    There are compelling reasons not to buy, based on a person’s personal situation.

    Primarily (of course) is when you can’t afford it. Real estate costs a fortune in most places and the overhead just starts there. Add on closing fees, insurance, condo charges or maintenance, property taxes, financing charges, renos and the staggering costs of selling. If this sucks off too much net income (like 40%) the ability to save for retirement, kids’ education or unforeseen events disappears. That is risk, and danger. It’s gambling.

    Also consider the debt. Canadians have borrowed 41% more than last year and now owe $2.1 trillion. Interest rates are at historic lows with but one direction in which to travel. Debt servicing charges will rise. A lot. And interest paid on residential mortgages (unlike investment loans) is not deductible from taxable income. Nor are property taxes (as in the US). All costs associated with a house are financed in after-tax dollars – the substantial upfront cost of the principal residence exemption from capital gains tax when you sell. Today, when guys like Corey contemplate a $1,000,000 mortgage on one side of a house, you can see the risk.

    Think about this, too: change. Mobility. A flexible life. Real estate can be a comforting anchor for the sedentary and unadventurous, but a deadweight upon ambition. Owning property which prevents relocating for a better career is a drag. Markets can turn, of course, with real estate becoming illiquid (seriously, kids, it happens) and a wealth trap. Marriages and relationships can tatter, making jointly-owned housing a financial quagmire. Life is full of surprises.

    Despite the stigmatizing of renters these days, leasing instead of owning can bring immense liberty. The freedom to move for opportunity. An escape from increasing property taxes, condo fees, repairs or maintenance. Quick mobility. The ease of new experiences when relocating to a new hood, city or even country is unencumbered by marketing and selling property. No realtors. Plus, it’s cheaper. Almost always property owners subsidize their renters. That means tenants have an enhanced ability to save, invest, be liquid and build a financial defense against uncertainty. Especially lawyers making big bank.

    So, buy if you need and can afford. But never be so fatuous as to mistake real estate as the goal of life.

    About the photo: “Since being introduced to your blog a year ago, by a colleague and friend, I haven’t missed a day reading it.  It is insightful, entertaining and amusing,” writes Franky, sucking nicely. “I’ve suggested to my 2 children, ages 20 and 24, that they could benefit from reading it as well.  No success on that front but I still pass along what I can.  The picture here is of Mieke.  She is an 11-year-old Border Collie crossed New Zealand Herding Dog.  She is super smart and has done it all from herding sheep to dog agility.  She currently resides in Cranbrook BC with my daughter.”

    Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal: Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Aliens

    Click here to go see the bonus panel!

    It's very simple. Anything that can't be explained immediately and completely by science is definitely aliens.

    Today's News:

    Disquiet: If John Cage Rode a Horse

    Disquiet: Redwoods, June 2021

    It’s been a good week. Back from the redwoods.

    Requisite redwoods-visit photo of one of the greatest buildings of all time:

    Communed with an elder from the Parliament of Trees:

    Find I want to capitalize “redwoods” after returning from a visit. Like it’s a capital-R place. Back from the Redwoods.

    Disquiet: Audiobooks, Cylons, Bern

    I do this manually each Saturday, collating recent tweets I made at, my public notebook. Some tweets pop up (in expanded form or otherwise) on sooner. It’s personally informative to revisit the previous week of thinking out loud.

    ▰ Life these days: Walk into a store and find myself thinking, “This place is like someone took all the metaphors of online life and made them physical, right down to the ‘shopping carts.'”

    ▰ Sleepy. Hence: Was listening to an audiobook read by an actor with a particularly strong British accent and found myself thinking, “This really could use subtitles.” Which is, of course, a book.

    ▰ After much consideration, I opted not to test this. Far as I could tell, neither did the sheep on the other side.

    ▰ Feel a bit like a Cylon. Tom Petty’s “American Girl” came on the outdoor speakers at this cafe and I’m incapable of not singing along.

    ▰ That the concern is old enough that it was recognized some time ago, and that this sign was created and installed, and that it has aged this much since

    ▰ Excited to announce that the Disquiet Junto is again teaming up with Musikfestival Bern (thanks to Tobias Reber), the annual Swiss event. We’ll be doing three projects, music from which may end up as part of the festival. Details to follow. The first project will involve insects.

    ▰ Have a great weekend, folks.

    • Count how many different bird species you hear

    • Listen for repeated interstitial music in shows you binge-watch

    • Sort out a way to financially support a musician you like (buy an album or t-shirt, subscribe to a fan club, etc.)

    See you Monday. Comic for 2021.06.13

    New Cyanide and Happiness Comic

    ScreenAnarchy: Tribeca 2021 Review: AGNES, Exorcism, Anger, Faith, and Sandwich Dissection

    What does it mean to have faith? What does it mean to be driven insane? These two questions might come from very similar places in the human psyche. This is especially true for those with little power or agency over their own lives, whether they give up that agency voluntarily or not. Perhaps the true test of faith comes to those for whom all hope is lost, when they alone and unheard, with nothing left to lose. Prolific underground filmmaker Mickey Reece has focused his narratives on people who live in their own strange island worlds within America, where everything from everyday manners to expressions of love to dangerous monsters seem to be just enough outside the norm to be both quirky and frightening. His...

    [Read the whole post on]

    Quiet Earth: All of Our Questions About Russell Crowe’s Poker Thriller

    A lot of attention is being paid to a number of exciting film releases expected in the next year or so. But one less-hyped project we’ve begun to hear about is an upcoming poker thriller starring Russell Crowe, called Poker Face. The film — not to be confused with the Rian Johnson mystery series of the same name — is currently in pre-production. But it does look as though it’s definitely going to be made.

    Per early summaries of the film, Crowe will play a tech billionaire named Jake who hosts a high-stakes poker game for his childhood friends, at [Continued ...]

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

    El Salvador to use energy from volcanoes for bitcoin mining ‘I was completely inside’: Lobster diver swallowed by humpback whale off Provincetown Spontaneous face touching (sFST) is an ubiquitous behavior that occurs in people of all ages and all sexes, up to 800 times a day. How we fixed the ozone layer Half of the pandemic’s unemployment money [...]

    Daniel Lemire's blog: Science and Technology links (June 12th 2021)

      1. We completed the sequencing of the human genome.
      2. AstraZeneca’s drug Lynparza cut combined risk of recurrence of breast cancer or death by 42% among women in study.
      3. Glycine and N-acetylcysteine supplementation improves muscle strength and cognition.
      4. We found Egypt’s ancient capital. It has been lost of 3,400 years. It is unclear why it was abandoned.
      5. We estimate that over 6 million Americans have Alzheimer’s. Currently, Alzheimer’s is effectively incurable and no drug is known to reverse or halt it. Once you have Alzheimer’s, you start an irreversible and drastic cognitive decline. The USA has approved the first Alzheimer’s new drug in 20 years. The American government decided to approve the new drug, aducanumab, even though it is unclear whether it genuinely stops Alzheimer’s. It clears the brain from accumulated proteins and might slow the cognitive decline, but that latter claim is uncertain. The approval is controversial as the company producing aducanumab stands to make a lot of money while, possibly, providing no value whatsoever to the patient (and the drug might even have negative side-effects). Yet by deploying the drug today, we stand to learn much about its potential benefits and, if you are affected by Alzheimer’s, you may feel that you do not have much to lose.
      6. Trials begin on lozenge that rebuilds tooth enamel.
      7. The Google folks founded an anti-aging company called Calico a few years ago. One of the star employee is Cynthia Kenyon who is famous for showing that aging is malleable. Their latest paper suggests that we might be able to rejuvenate individual cells within the body safely.
      8. The incoming new disks (SSD) have a sequential read speed of up to 14 GB/s (PCIe 5.0).
      9. We are curing the blinds: “researchers added light-sensitive proteins to the man’s retina, giving him a blurry view of objects”. (Source: New York Times)
      10. You might think that government research grants are given on merit. Maybe not always. Applicants who shared both a home and a host organization with one panellist received a grant 40% more often than average. (Source: Nature)
      11. The Roman Empire thrived under a climate that was much warmer. The Empire declined when the temperature got colder:

        This record comparison consistently shows the Roman as the warmest period of the last 2 kyr, about 2 °C warmer than average values for the late centuries for the Sicily and Western Mediterranean regions. After the Roman Period a general cooling trend developed in the region with several minor oscillations. We hypothesis the potential link between this Roman Climatic Optimum and the expansion and subsequent decline of the Roman Empire.

        (Source: Nature)

      12. Reportedly, China is increasing its coal power capacity at a rate of 21% per year. Its yearly increase alone is six time Germanyʼs entire coal-fired capacity.

    Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal: Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Titan

    Click here to go see the bonus panel!

    Or we could get more boring, fireless, pictures of Mars or whatever.

    Today's News:

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

    DOUG  By Guest Blogger Doug Rowat

    Investments can go to zero.

    And recognizing—really recognizing—that this can happen allows investors to sidestep two of the more dangerous investing risks: 1) overconcentration and 2) excessive optimism.

    Mathematician and risk analyst Nassim Taleb once highlighted the thousand and one days in the life of a Thanksgiving turkey to frame how we should think of investment risk. The vast majority of the time, turkeys lead a great life and expect this will continue, but on that rare, dark day:

    A thousand and one days in the life of a Thanksgiving turkey

    Source: Bloomberg

    Taleb has a related quote: “You can be risk loving and yet completely averse to ruin.” In other words, investors need to take some risk to get ahead, but a risk that can completely wipe you out is never worth taking. Yet, in my 25 years or so in the investment industry I’ve seen all-in wagers taken constantly: portfolios transferred to us that contain only a handful of junior-mining stocks, portfolios completely gutted in order to buy speculative real estate or engage in other risky business ventures (against our advice, of course), employees excessively loaded up on their own company’s stock and so on.

    And, in each instance, there’s a lack of understanding of the failure probability and the ensuing consequences of that failure. There’s even a financial term traders use for assessing the odds of catastrophic loss: ‘risk of ruin’, which relates to the likelihood that you’ll lose all your capital or a large portion of it. A coin toss, for example, has a risk of ruin of 50%. Naturally, most (unfortunately, not all) wouldn’t bet all their capital on a coin toss. However, the danger comes when the odds shift, sometimes meaningfully, in your favour. Would you risk all your capital if the odds were 90% in your favour? Many would, but the answer should still be an emphatic NO because if the downside cost is financial obliteration then the risk, even at favourable odds, simply isn’t worth it.

    A similar risk-reward scenario was highlighted in the recent Chicago Bulls documentary “The Last Dance”. Michael Jordan broke his foot during the 1985-86 NBA season. He wanted to return to play early, but doctors said there was a 10% chance that if he came back too soon he could end his basketball career. Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf wasn’t in favour of Jordan returning and presented the situation like this: “I said to Michael, ‘you’re not thinking about the risk-reward ratio’. If you had a terrible headache and I gave you a bottle of pills and nine pills would cure you and one of the pills would kill you, would you take a pill?” Jordan, of course, famously responded with “it depends how f—ing bad the headache is.” Jordan’s response has become celebrated for its bravado, but it’s actually Reinsdorf who made the correct assessment of Jordan’s circumstance and gave the right advice.

    Always consider what your financial life would look like if a one in 10, one in a 100, or even one in a thousand, event were to occur. If Nortel or Enron pensioners, Bernie Madoff investors, 2018 back-up-the-truck weed-stock pickers or BC leaky-condo buyers had considered this risk in relation to their overall asset concentration they might have dodged despair. Diversification (and its related cousin, hedging) is the best way to reduce risk of ruin.

    In other words, evaluate your concentration risk and the probability of downside as if you were that Thanksgiving turkey. Good outcomes always seem likely until suddenly they aren’t.

    $     $     $

    Finally, I frequently criticize mutual funds on this blog citing the S&P Indices Versus Active (SPIVA) research, which highlights that the vast majority of fund managers consistently underperform their benchmarks. For example, 88% of Canadian fund managers underperformed their benchmarks last year, which is in line with the 84% average over the past decade (the average is even worse for US fund managers).

    The counter-argument often goes that through careful due diligence, investors can uncover the 10-15% or so of funds that have performed well for a number of years and simply invest in those. Well, SPIVA recently splashed some cold water on that theory through the release of its Persistence Scorecard.

    The Persistence Scorecard attempts to determine whether a fund manager’s success is attributable to consistent skill or simply luck. Sad to say, the report concludes that “active management outperformance is typically short lived.” For example, of the 144 Canadian funds that ranked in the top quartile in 2016, just one fund remained in the top quartile annually through 2020.

    One of 144. The report’s ultimate conclusion is blunt: the “notion that choosing between active funds on the basis of previous outperformance is a misguided strategy.”

    Top quartile Canadian funds for 2011-15 were far more likely to end up in the bottom quartile for 2016-20 than to stay at the top.

    Source: S&P Dow Jones. Data as of end-2020
    Doug Rowat, FCSI® is Portfolio Manager with Turner Investments and Senior Vice President, Private Client Group, Raymond James Ltd.

  Comic for 2021.06.12

    New Cyanide and Happiness Comic

    Colossal: Sand and Currency from Dozens of Countries Converge in an Endless Interchange of Culture and Economics

    Corrie Francis Parks’s absorbing stop-motion short “Foreign Exchange” is all about perspective. Through a continuously evolving landscape of minuscule stones and banknotes, mini-universes emerge that meld the two materials into culturally significant tableaus. “Between the dazzling layers of currency and sand lie connections that can be mined in infinite ways. Each person who views this film will unearth different associations filtered through their worldly experience and national background,” Parks says.

    Although the sand shown is small in quantity—Parks can hold all of it in her two hands—it’s sourced from more than 50 countries just like the paper currency, and both materials converge in a perpetual juxtaposition of culture, economics, and nature. The rocks flow across the screen like water and animals, while the colorful collages of ripped money contrast distinct national figures and heritage against a universal economic backdrop. “Canada’s interstellar pride meshes with the gothic arches of Prague’s St. Salvator’s Church. Portugal’s colonial conquests intertwine with a Singapore’s nostalgic market economy. India’s signature animals wallow beneath a Chinese waterfall,” the Baltimore-based animator says in a statement.

    Watch behind-the-scenes footage of Parks’s micro-sand process, which involves moving each grain with a toothpick or tweezers before photographing, along with a few of her other animated projects, on Vimeo.


    Arduino Blog: This freeform sculpture doubles as a drink temperature monitor

    While some prefer iced coffee, few like a cup of Joe that’s been sitting out for too long and has simply stabilized to room temperature. To ensure his beverage is up to snuff, YouTuber Make Fun Stuff has created his own non-contact temperature display for his desk.

    The device features a brass rod circuit sculpture that holds an IR sensor over the drink, transferring signals to an Arduino Nano in the assembly’s base. The Nano is turned on via a small switch, which is activated by the weight of the mug when in place. Five LEDs are used to indicate how hot the coffee is, embedded inside almost-drilled-through holes in the wood. This allows the lights to shine visibly when active and disappear when off, preserving an understated look for the unit.

    More details on the project’s construction can be found in Make Fun Stuff’s video below.

    The post This freeform sculpture doubles as a drink temperature monitor appeared first on Arduino Blog.

    Jesse Moynihan: Forming 321

    Sorry for the long delay in updates. I’ve been working long days on an 8 minute presentation to get a cartoon made. Finally had some extra time to get back to busting out comics pages.

    Colossal: Rainbow Threads Are Knotted into Elaborate Macramé Wall Hangings by Agnes Hansella

    All images © Agnes Hansella, shared with permission

    Back in February, Agnes Hansella completed a staggering trio of macramé installations. The monumental works are a facet of the Jakarta-based artist’s practice, which spans large-scale pieces and smaller wall hangings extending a few feet wide. “I would like to not cage myself to a certain style, so in every piece, I really let my instinct do most,” she tells Colossal. “I always think of art as something that keeps evolving. It’s like a relay race where I’m one part that connects the past and future.”

    No matter the size, each of Hansella’s works demonstrates an extensive repertoire as she blends dyed and natural threads into wildly varied combinations of twists, knots, and ties. The elaboratey woven pieces range from geometric shapes and abstracted rainbow glitches to a vast mountain landscape, which are direct products of the sights and sounds she’s encountered throughout her life. Through interactions with her father’s native Dayak tribe and a childhood spent in Borneo, she saw woven baskets and textiles that continue to impact her work today, as do the Indigenous songs she heard while studying cinema in Canada.

    Hansella sells many of her fiber-based works, along with functional goods and supplies, in her shop, and you can follow her latest projects, which include a recently completed piece in Bahrain that’s 48-meters-wide and 4-meters long, on Instagram.


    ScreenAnarchy: Friday One Sheet: THE EMPLOYER AND THE EMPLOYEE

    The rare film from Uruguay to play the Cannes film festival, Manolo Nieto Zas's The Employer And The Employee released this key art from the festival that popped out in large part due to the 'scope but sideways' design.  I know little about the film beyond a San Sabastián Festival synopsis, "A film about the relationship between two young men and about the convoluted relationship of both with happiness, freedom and work." However, the poster design promises that it will be a film of contrasts: looking at the world a bit different, sideways, if you will. But also contrast of the pastoral and the modern, with the two modes of transportation being the principal design elements at play, the open road between them. The poster...

    [Read the whole post on]

    Arduino Blog: What is cloud computing, and what does it do for IoT?

    At this point, asking “what is cloud computing?” has become difficult. We say it all the time. “Cloud computing” this, “in the cloud” that, “connect to the cloud” the other thing. Cloud, cloud, cloud.

    What, you mean you don’t know what the cloud is?

    This is why breaking into new technology can be so daunting. This post is for anyone getting started with Arduino who wants to know what we’re talking about when we say “cloud” but is afraid to ask. We’ll also look into the reasons you might want an IoT, maker or Arduino project to be connected to that elusive cloud.

    What is cloud computing, and where did it come from?

    Let’s start with a brief history of cloud computing.

    In many respects, it predates personal computing. When a computer cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and took up the floor of a building, very few people had them. Instead, coders, businesses, universities and even governments would rent computational time on a large mainframe somewhere else. They’d send in their data, it’d be crunched by these massive computers, and the results were returned to the user.

    There were enormous benefits to this. For instance, the user didn’t have to know how those big, complex computers worked. Chances are they never even saw one in person. No installation, repairs, upgrades or maintenance to worry about. All the benefits of computerized operation without the costly infrastructure or technical issues.

    Cloud computing
    Image by Dave Winer – CC BY-SA 2.0

    It wasn’t until the late ’70s and early ’80s when computers were small enough to be owned personally that “timeshare” computers fizzled out. At that point, renting computer power from elsewhere was no longer necessary. Our data was processed and stored locally for the next 15 or 20 years so.

    This proliferation of personal computing has left us thinking it all began this way. But initially, almost all computers were remote. Or dare we say, “in the cloud?”

    High-speed networks are readily available now (what we happily call an internet connection). So you can have your software and data run and stored on big, powerful mainframes somewhere else in the world is practical again. Renting computer power and storage is, as before, cheaper and easier than buying your own gear. 

    So you can see how we’ve come full circle. At its most basic, cloud computing is just a connection to a much bigger, more powerful computer that runs software, stores files and crunches data instead of doing it at home. What was once called “time sharing” is now called cloud computing. But the result is much the same.

    So how and why do I use the cloud?

    You already are. Email, Google Drive, Spotify, Facebook and even Netflix are cloud computing services. Huge computers that take up entire warehouses rather than just a back room at MIT are waiting for commands from you. Play a song, binge watch a show, share a Word doc. Then they process and return the data as music, movies, computer files and more.

    There’s no limit to what a cloud computing service can do, or provide. In fact, we use them so much that there are now lots of very specific cloud services, depending on what you want. That includes cloud computing that caters specifically to maker projects, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

    Example of how you’re using cloud computing

    Think about it like this. You’re going out in the car, so you prepare a Spotify playlist on your phone. Somewhere on another continent a Spotify supercomputer receives that data from you (the playlist). It begins processing the files (the music), sends them back and your phone plays them on the car radio. That’s how you’re making use of a music-based cloud computing system. 

    But what if you had to do all that manually? Compile different songs from different albums, convert them into MP3 files, transfer them to your phone from a PC and download a music player app. It would make this into a much bigger job. Lots of people do actually go through those steps manually for their playlists. However, as a Spotify subscriber you’re renting time on the Spotify mainframe (“in the cloud”) instead.

    IoT cloud computing

    How an IoT project might use the cloud

    Now let’s say that an Arduino Nano RP2040 Connect in your garden weather station project has a temperature sensor. It drops could outside, so the Nano sends a temperature reading to the IoT cloud. The cloud processes the information (the temperature) and sends commands to the MKR IoT Carrier in your living room that’s controlling the heating. This tells the Carrier to turn the heating on until it reaches a certain temperature, when it can switch it off again. All handled on the IoT cloud service.

    Of course, you could do it manually, just like you could with your music. You could write code for the Nano that talks to the sensor, processes the external temperature, stores the software, connects to another device inside the house, exchanges the data, and then another set of code at the Carrier would activate a relay and monitor the temperature inside the room. Again, lots of people do it this way. Arduino’s great for that. The cloud simply gives you an easier, more efficient option by doing the complex work for you.

    That’s an IoT-based cloud computing service at work, just as Spotify is a music-based cloud service. And just as Spotify can do a lot more than our simple playlist example, an IoT cloud can do a lot more than read simple data and send on/off commands.

    Should I use an IoT cloud service?

    This post is aimed at helping total newcomers answer that elusive “what is the cloud” question to help you feel comfortable getting started with cloud-based IoT projects. If you’re one of those people, hopefully you can now see that cloud computing isn’t an advanced feature reserved for engineers and coders. The whole point of cloud computing is that you don’t need to know how it works in order to use it to its fullest.

    There are an infinite number of reasons that experienced, advanced makers, engineers and businesses are using an IoT cloud service like Arduino Cloud. But it’s also there to give complete newcomers a much easier point of entry. If you want to build electronics projects with your kids, or learn a new skill, automate your home, or build yourself a device, the cloud makes it significantly easier than attempting it all manually.

    Best of all, you can do it for free. If you’re researching how to get started on your first ever maker project, you’d be doing yourself a huge favor by starting with an Arduino IoT Cloud account. No effort, no advanced knowledge, no experience (and no credit card) needed.

    Get started here, and we’ll see you in the cloud.

    The post What is cloud computing, and what does it do for IoT? appeared first on Arduino Blog.

    ScreenAnarchy: Now Streaming: HOME BEFORE DARK, Kid Detectives Sure Grow Up Fast

    Jim Sturgess, Brooklynn Prince and Abby Wilson star in a family crime series, created by Dana Fox and Dara Resnik, now streaming on Apple TV+.

    [Read the whole post on]

    Penny Arcade: News Post: He-Mania

    Tycho: I genuinely don't know a lot about He-Man, although my friend Damon had a Battle Armor He-Man whose inner workings perpetually mystified me. You could strike the breastplate, and every time it would reveal a progressively more damaged version until it was perfect again. What a terrifying foe. Strike your enemy dead in the chest three times to… perfect him? I'm not fucking fighting this guy. That explains the raft of robots, weird snake guys, and bipedal insects he's has to contend with. He's almost certainly murdered everyone else, except for the one guy whose face…

    Penny Arcade: Comic: He-Mania

    New Comic: He-Mania

    Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal: Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Right

    Click here to go see the bonus panel!

    The deep question is whether the customer always speaks truth or whether by speaking the customer creates truth.

    Today's News:

    Ideas: Laughing Matters: The science of laughter

    Disclaimer: Profanity | What role does laughter play in the evolution of humanity? What does our laughter have in common with the way primates and even rats laugh? IDEAS contributor Peter Brown takes us on a joyride throughout our evolutionary history and shows us why laughing matters. *This episode originally aired on November 4, 2020.

    Tea Masters: Absolute Beginners

    This weekend, my live video tea classes on FB will be about gaiwan, gaibei and zhong! It's the Absolute Beginner's tea vessel! As we are approaching my blog's 17th anniversary next week, I thought it would be fitting to mark the occasion by learning more about this fantastic tea vessel. It's the brewing vessel for beginners and experts alike. It's a reminder that despite the years of learning, we remain Absolute Beginners in front of tea. And that's how we can keep this passion fresh and alive, and keep on tea blogging!

    If you miss the class, don't worry, I'll post it on my YouTube channel

    Honestly, I had no idea that tea blogging would turn into such a long undertaking and a new career for me. It has allowed me to be a 'stay at home dad' and take care of my kids (with my wife) every day for the last 17 years. I'll be forever grateful for interacting with so many kind, knowledgeable and passionate tea friends over the years. 

    During all this time, I have never purchased a single ad on Google, Facebook, Instagram... All my promotional activity is dedicated to teaching tea and spreading the beauty of tea through my social media accounts. And instead of paying advertisers, I have always preferred to give gift samples, tea books... to my customers! Satisfying you is the best way to achieve a sustained reputation. So, to celebrate this anniversary, I have just reduced my prices on over 40 products for a limited time only to say THANK YOU!

    And here is one of my favorite songs (and movie) from (with) David Bowie:


    Michael Geist: Secret Law Making: Liberal, Bloc and NDP MPs Unite to Back Undisclosed Bill C-10 Amendments Without Discussion or Debate

    The Liberal government’s push to pass Bill C-10 took a disturbing turn at the Canadian Heritage committee yesterday as the Liberal MPs overruled the committee chair to allow for dozens of undisclosed amendments to be voted on without any debate or discussion. While the MPs on the committee have access to the amendments, they are not made available to the public until after the committee completes its review. In normal circumstances, an amendment is introduced by an MP (the amendment may not be posted but it is often read into the record by the MP and its intent is discussed), there is an opportunity to ask questions of department officials on the implications of the amendment, MPs engage in debate and can propose sub-amendments. Once all MPs are satisfied that they understand the implications of the amendment, it comes to a vote. All of this takes place in a transparent, public manner.

    Not with Bill C-10, however. For example, yesterday the committee approved amendment LIB-7N. The only thing disclosed during the committee meeting was that it amends something in clause 8 in the bill. The specific amendment was not publicly disclosed, there were no department officials to comment or answer questions, there was no debate, and no opportunity for sub-amendment. The amendment was simply raised by number and MPs were asked to vote on it. The amendment passed with the support of Liberal, Bloc, and NDP MPs. This form of secret law making is shocking and a complete reversal from a government that claimed to prioritize transparency. Indeed, it is hard to think of a more secretive law making process in a democracy than passing amendments to a bill that are not made available to the public prior to the vote nor open for any discussion or debate.

    How did it get to this point?

    It starts with the gag order approved earlier this week by the Liberals and the Bloc. It limited further Bill C-10 debate to five hours and after which the committee was required to proceed immediately to conclude clause-by-clause review with no further debate permitted. The Liberal, Bloc and NDP then agreed to several meetings without notice to run out the five-hour clock.  Once the five hours concluded, the committee thanked Canadian Heritage officials and proceeded to the final clause-by-clause review.

    This led to two issues for committee chair Scott Simms, both related to whether further amendments could be raised for a vote at committee. First, Simms ruled that a series of amendments proposed by the Green Party had already been “moved” (months earlier the committee had agreed to allow for the Green Party, which does not have official party status, to introduce amendments) and were therefore eligible for a vote. Second, he ruled that all other amendments from the Liberals, Bloc, NDP and Conservatives were ineligible to be voted on since they had not yet been moved. This decision was in keeping with the gag order and had the benefit of taking secret law making off the table.

    Yet the ruling was immediately challenged by Liberal MP Anthony Housefather. The committee proceeded to a vote on the chair’s ruling, with Liberal MPs Housefather, Julie Dabrusin, Marcie Ien, Lyne Bessette, and Tim Louis all voting to overrule the decision (joined by Bloc MP Martin Champoux and NDP MP Heather McPherson). As a result, the Liberals gave themselves the right to introduce and vote on legislative amendments that have not been publicly disclosed with no debate or discussion.

    To see Liberal MPs support this secretive law making approach simply destroys any credibility the MPs or the party has with respect to the commitment to transparent law making (and for the NDP to back this approach is appalling). Yesterday, the committee worked through several secret amendments with enormous implications for the Broadcasting Act. For example, my understanding is that LIB-7N was a Housefather amendment that includes significant changes to how the CRTC determines what constitutes a “Canadian program” for the purposes of the Act. To pass such an amendment without publicly disclosing the proposal, seeking out expertise, and engaging in debate is terrible lawmaking. The same is true for G-12, another Housefather backed amendment that uses net neutrality language such as “unjust discrimination” but in the context of the Broadcasting Act may undermine net neutrality and lead to hundreds of complaints about the content found on streaming services.

    And those are just the amendments passed yesterday. There are dozens on the agenda for later today that touch on issues such as contractual negotiations, French language spending, and copyright. How do you pass these amendments without ever publicly disclosing them, consulting experts, inviting sub-amendments or doing anything else consistent with transparent and democratic lawmaking?

    For the Liberals, NDP and Bloc to adopt secret new provisions that will not be revealed until after the committee has concluded its work forever taints Bill C-10 as the product of an illegitimate process. If the bill makes its way to the Senate, it will be incumbent on the Senators to conduct the democratic, public hearings that the Liberals rejected and ensure that the dozens of amendments that were never part of a proper Parliamentary process are fully revisited and properly vetted.

    The post Secret Law Making: Liberal, Bloc and NDP MPs Unite to Back Undisclosed Bill C-10 Amendments Without Discussion or Debate appeared first on Michael Geist.


    Mike Nudelman



















    Mike Nudelman’s Website

    Mike Nudelman on Instagram Comic for 2021.06.11

    New Cyanide and Happiness Comic

    Events: energy-in-a-flash

    things magazine: Click, clack

    Another collection of disparate links. We’re long out of the Lego game, but their sets continue to be interesting. This world map looks a little intense, however. This Typewriter is fun / see also Lego bass. Not a kit / … Continue reading

    Arduino Blog: No opponent nearby? Not a problem! This automatic chessboard lets you play others remotely

    Chess is an excellent game to play with friends, but what if you don’t have any to compete against nearby? This is what prompted maker Carlos Pendas to create an automatic chessboard that’s not only able to record which pieces got moved, but even move the pieces itself. This means you can play a game of physical chess with someone thousands of miles away. 

    To begin, Pendas started out by designing and milling his own chess pieces with a special cutout underneath to hold both a weight and a magnet. The magnet is vital here as it’s what gets detected by the array of 500 Hall effect sensors underneath the board and moved by the articulating arm. After a player makes their move, an Arduino Nano reads which Hall sensors were activated and in what order to determine the piece moved. This data is then relayed to a Nano 33 IoT that communicates with a Lichess server to send movement and general game commands. 

    Once the remote player makes their move, a command is sent to an ESP32 that controls a robotic arm with an electromagnet placed on the end. It precisely maneuvers each piece to avoid collisions and keep the board looking tidy. 

    Chess GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

    You can read more about how the automatic chessboard was built on Pendas’ project page.

    The post No opponent nearby? Not a problem! This automatic chessboard lets you play others remotely appeared first on Arduino Blog.

    Schneier on Security: FBI/AFP-Run Encrypted Phone

    For three years, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Australian Federal Police owned and operated a commercial encrypted phone app, called AN0M, that was used by organized crime around the world. Of course, the police were able to read everything — I don’t even know if this qualifies as a backdoor. This week, the world’s police organizations announced 800 arrests based on text messages sent over the app. We’ve seen law enforcement take over encrypted apps before: for example, EncroChat. This operation, code-named Trojan Shield, is the first time law enforcement managed an app from the beginning.

    If there is any moral to this, it’s one that all of my blog readers should already know: trust is essential to security. And the number of people you need to trust is larger than you might originally think. For an app to be secure, you need to trust the hardware, the operating system, the software, the update mechanism, the login mechanism, and on and on and on. If one of those is untrustworthy, the whole system is insecure.

    It’s the same reason blockchain-based currencies are so insecure, even if the cryptography is sound.

    Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal: Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Sad

    Click here to go see the bonus panel!

    Don't get... CROSS with me!

    Today's News:

    TOPLAP: Open call for ZKM Giga-Hertz Award 2021

    Submission Period March 1 – June 25, 2021 Registration starts on March 1, 2021 Application deadline: June 25, 2021 (23:59 CEST) . Online Registration here! See full details at the official website here: About the Award: Since 2007, the ZKM | Hertz-Lab (formerly Institute for Music and Acoustics) and the SWR Experimentalstudio have awarded […]

    Tea Masters: Stealth Naked Kombucha is the best kombucha

    As a kid, I always loved Coca-Cola. I had the right to drink a can for the Sunday lunch (while my parents were enjoying a bottle of wine)! During the summer vacation by the sea, I would have a can every day. So, naturally, 29 years ago, when I was a student at a university near Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, I always had a big bottle of Coca-Cola in the fridge. This seemed the American thing to do as a French student adapting to life in the USA!

    I've written before that tea saved my life by helping me stop my addiction to Coke. I've stopped drinking soft drinks, but I still enjoy drinking sparkling water, and sometimes I like to add some apple juice to my sparkling water. In the summer, this is a very refreshing mix.

    But I have found an even better alternative: Stealth Naked Kombucha! It's made in Rhode Islands by Ron Chapdelaine, with teas from Taiwan selected by me! Ron was vey kind to send me several bottles of kombucha made from my traditional Oriental Beauty from Hsin Chu, high mountain Oolong and a mix of Hong Yu and red tea from the East Coast.

    At first, when I tasted the kombucha, I thought this is amazingly similar in aroma to my mix of apple juice and sparkling water or cider. The fruity aromas feel completely natural and they linger nicely in the aftertaste. It feels clean, pure, full of sparkling energy and freshness. However, one thing bothered me. It tasted very sweet, not acidic or funky as one expects it from kombucha. So, I gave Ron my feedback and his answer amazed me even more.

     "The sweetness you experienced is not candy like sweetness found in soft drinks (there is only 2g of sugar in that kombucha which is nothing) but sweetness solely from the bacteria derived by the transformation (fermentation). You see, Beneficial bacteria is difficult because there are hundreds of different kinds of bacteria. Some bacteria like acetic acid (main ingredient in vinegar) is a weak acid with a very insulting foul taste but the more difficult bacteria to get have wonderful natural world class sweetness without ever the negative effects of candy like sugar found in soft drinks (sucrose).  These difficult bacteria that have a natural sweet flavor are also stronger acids which means they have the better ability to bind to the toxic metals in our bodies and transport them out through the liver.

    The sweetness you referred to is natural sweetness from the bacteria not table sugar sweetness. If you concentrate where the sweetness falls on the palate you will notice it kicks you in the back of the tongue while your taste buds for table sugar is at the very tip of the tongue. Forget about kombucha, a good tea in of itself should be sweet and this also shows up after the transformation but doesn't mean the tea sweetness is bad for reason you know and reasons I just I mentioned.

    Making good kombucha is all about a perfect balance and this balance that very few get is very rare. 99% of kombucha is not properly balanced and this is why they all add flavorings - to make up for and disguise their mistakes and negligence.

    Believe it or not, I'm the only person in the world doing a true naked kombucha."

    Ron adds the following that makes complete sense: 

    "Kombucha is only as good as the tea and water you use because both provide the kombucha culture the nutrients it desperately needs to grow, reproduce and eliminate (in the for of co2). The bubbles you noticed is all natural carbonation which is another byproduct of fermentation. An imbalanced kombucha has no natural bubbles because the transformation never really evolved. Most kombucha have artificially injected carbonation - shake that stuff and it is like a hand grenade. One thing is certain, it would never survive a rough trip around the whole world. You may notice my kombucha had natural bubbles but they were under complete control. Again, the balance...

    The sediment on the bottom should be released by a light swirl as the sediment includes many beneficial nutrients. The kombucha I sent you would have been even better if let to settle three weeks giving everything the time to all come together as one again but it was fine to consume it now. The elixir would have also cleared up nicely. My kombucha ages like a fine wine or fine tea and this is why I age it after bottling (curing days found in the documentation to the right on the label). I like to cure/age for 3 months but usually 1-2 is fine. The OB kombucha would have been more well-rounded if cured at room temperature a few more weeks  but that batch of OB kombucha is all I had and I wanted to get it out to you."

    My bottles arrived at the end of January 2021. They were so delicious that I tasted/drank them quite quickly, but I kept one bottle half empty in my fridge until today. It has aged 4 months after being opened and half emptied. This is not the aging that Ron recommends. He says that it's best to finish a bottle within a few days. However, thanks to the sediments, I thought that it would regenerate itself. And it did!! After 4 months, the kombucha was still sparkling, sweet and maybe even more fruity! Actually, it also reminds me of apple cider, especially the kombucha made from high mountain Oolong!

    This experiment of aging half a bottle for 4 months is the kind of tough test that I apply to select my teas. If the leaves still produce a nice cup of tea when they over brew, then they will taste even better when my customers brew them with attention. This test has confirmed the extreme high quality of the Stealth Naked Kombucha! I'm glad that my teas helped Ron improve his kombucha even further! 

    So, if you live in the US and enjoy a fresh sparkling drink in the summer, I really recommend you try this amazing Kombucha made by a passionate guy who's insisting on the same outstanding quality as me! 

    Michael Geist: Rock Bottom: Bill C-10 Gag Order and No-Notice Meetings Means the End of Committee Review is Near

    Yesterday was not a good day for those who still believe that democratic ideals matter. The day began with an iPolitics-sponsored debate featuring MPs who have played a starring role at the Canadian Heritage committee review of Bill C-10: Liberal MP Anthony Housefather, Conservative MP Rachael Harder, NDP MP Heather McPherson, and Bloc MP Martin Champoux. The substantive discussion largely mirrored the committee debate, but far more dispiriting was Housefather seeking to justify the Bill C-10 gag order by arguing that it was the democratic right of the government to use whatever legislative tools are available to it (even if that tool had not been used for two decades) or Champoux talking about the need to respect democracy while simultaneously supporting the gag order.

    While the MPs presumably thought that they would not be meeting again to discuss Bill C-10 until Friday (the usual committee meeting day), hours later they were back in committee for a four hour marathon secretly negotiated by the party whips for the Liberals, NDP, and Bloc. The meeting had so little notice that committee chair Scott Simms opened by making his displeasure with the party whips very clear:


    I just want to point out to everyone in this room. I know the bell’s are ringing and I will be seeking unanimous consent in just a few moments.  Ok. I know I said some time ago that I would try to give you as much ample notice about a meeting as I could and when I seek out meetings I will do just that. I will be cognizant of the time, I will cognizant of your situation. The whips amongst our parties – and again, I am not specifically pointing to any particular whip of any recognized party – there are four groups in question.  The whips have decided that they will put this meeting together. I received notice shortly before you did. Now, because we passed a motion on March 26th that states that we will seek out meetings and it didn’t say anything about notice, we have to have this meeting as of right now.

    That being said, I’m going to say this publicly, I’m going to say this in front of you my colleagues, I’m going to say this while we’re in session. As chair I have the floor, so I’m going to say it.

    This is a message for the benefit of my colleagues, staff, analysts, clerks, interpreters, technical staff, everyone involved. I ask you to please consider the fact that these people have families. That these people live in rural areas like myself. We are not emergency works, we’re not paramedics, we’re not fire fighters, we’re not on call like that. These are planned meetings, normally. So to the four represented whips at this meeting – and I know you’re on this call – please consider it when we do this again. Not just as a chair, but as a human being. Thank you.

    The committee suspended for an hour immediately afterward (part of the meeting strategy curtailed previous House plans which led to calling the MPs for a vote), followed by Conservative MP Alain Rayes revealing that the four whips was really three as the Conservatives were not supportive of the meeting (confirmed by Conservative whip Blake Richards). NDP MP Heather McPherson then effectively blamed the Conservatives for the entire situation. Three hours of discussion on a series of Conservative amendments again designed to limit the harms of regulating user generated content soon followed and predictably none of the amendments passed.

    The committee will hold at least one (possible two) two hour meeting today (that was also negotiated by the party whips) which will bring the committee’s clause-by-clause review to a premature conclusion. At this stage, it would appear that many amendments proposed by all parties will never be fully debated and the House of Commons will be asked to vote on a bill for which a comprehensive clause-by-clause review was not completed. For a government that was elected on a platform that pledged to “strengthen Parliamentary committees so that they can better scrutinize legislation” this represents a complete abdication of that commitment.

    As the committee work comes to an end, it is important to recognize that there was no full study for Bill C-10 and that many witnesses – including digital first creators – were excluded altogether. However, given that the Liberals, Bloc and now effectively the NDP have supported this approach, the outcome of the vote on Bill C-10 in the House of Commons is not in doubt. The Canadian Heritage committee did not do its job. It will fall to the Senate to do theirs.

    The post Rock Bottom: Bill C-10 Gag Order and No-Notice Meetings Means the End of Committee Review is Near appeared first on Michael Geist.

    Ideas: On Time and Water: Andri Snaer Magnason

    Icelandic writer and documentary filmmaker Andri Snaer Magnason speaks to Nahlah Ayed about his response to the climate crisis, in his book entitled On Time and Water. Magnason embarked on the project at the insistence of a climate scientist who was dismayed at failures of public communication surrounding the latest research.

    Planet Haskell: FP Complete: The Pathway to Information Security Management and Certification

    The Pathway to Information Security Management and Certification

    Information security is a complex area to handle well.  The possible risks to information assets and reputation, including computer systems and countless filing cabinets full of valuable proprietary information, are difficult to determine and bring under control.  Plus, this needs to be done in ways that don't unduly interfere with the legitimate use of information by authorized users.

    The most practical and cost-effective way to handle information security and governance obligations, and to be seen to be doing so, is to adopt an Information Security Management System (ISMS) that complies with the international standard such as SOC-2 or ISO 27001.  An ISMS is a framework of policies, processes and controls used to manage information security in a structured, systematic manner.

    Why implement an ISMS and pursue an Information Security Certification?

    • Improve policies and procedures by addressing critical security related processes and controls
    • Minimizes the actual and perceived impact of data breaches
    • Objective verification that there are controls on the security risks related to Information Assets

    At a high level, the ISMS will help minimize the costs of security incidents and enhance your brand.  In more detail, the ISMS will be used to:

    • systematically assess the organization's information risks in order to establish and prioritize its security requirements, primarily in terms of the need to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information
    • design a suite of security controls, both technical and non-technical in nature, to address any risks deemed unacceptable by management
    • ensure that security controls satisfy compliance obligations under applicable laws, regulations and contracts (such as privacy laws, PCI and HIPAA)
    • operate, manage and maintain the security controls
    • monitor and continuously improve the protection of valuable information assets, for example updating the controls when the risks change (e.g. responding to novel hacker attacks or frauds, ideally in advance thereby preventing us from suffering actual incidents!).

    Information Security Focus Areas

    • What is the proper scope for the organization?
    • What are applicable areas and controls?
    • Are the proper policies & procedures documented?
    • Is the organization living these values? 

    What are the Outcomes

    • Improved InfoSec policies and procedures
    • Confirmation of the implementation of Incident and Risk Management
    • Completion of Asset and Risk register
    • Implementation of an Information Security Management System (ISMS) for your scope
    • Prepared for independent certification auditor
    • Gain trust from customers and partners.

    Information Security Certification Preparation Project

    Information Security Certification Preparation Project

    Key Project Activities

    • Define Certification Scope      
    • Perform Gap Assessment against the relevant standard (SOC-2, ISO 27001)
    • Identify Documentation Requirements
    • Identify Evidence Requirements
    • Develop New Documents required for certification
    • Perform Impact Assessment
    • Maintain Data Flow diagrams
    • Maintain Risk Register
    • Prepare for Pre-Certification Audit
    • Remediate findings from Pre-Cert Audit
    • Prepare for Stage 1 and Stage 2
    • Obtain Standards Body Certification or audited Report

    FP Complete has extensive experience in the preparation of SOC-2 and ISO 270001 certifications, as well as many other security certifications.  Contact us if we can help your organization.

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

    Laughing gas improves depression Smart devices could someday help save your relationship A Florida judge has tossed out a motion from a man who claimed he wanted to marry his “porn filled Apple computer.” [2014] Pupil Size Is a Marker of Intelligence Researchers perform magic tricks for birds, who are not amused Australian Federal Police and FBI [...]

    Penny Arcade: News Post: Our Tender Jarls

    Tycho: The main thing you have to know about streaming platforms is that their dynamics are such that it's too rich for Microsoft's blood. Microsoft. After squeezing to the tune of millions and millions of dollars, they determined that the volume and quality of the juice hadn't been worth it. Which is too bad, because it was… kinda good. The latency was really low; it felt like you could have real conversations with chat almost. It had a built-in studio you could use to manufacture cool interactions for your channel. Facebook is extending a program where they don't get a…

    CreativeApplications.Net: Breeze

    During the lockdown, I invited outdoor weather data to an indoor isolated space, trying to create a mimic creature that could visualise the wind and keep me accompanied. Scale: 30 x 30 x 100 cmMaterial: plant. Devil’s ivy, wind data during the lockdown, robotic armYear: 2020 Project Page | Hua Zhang /++Manus – Exploring pack behaviours…

    Ideas: Around the World in 80 Plays: Death and the King's Horseman

    What happens when sacred rituals that are integral to Yoruba society are interrupted by a colonial power? Does life go on? Or will this spiritual wrong be righted? Nobel laureate and playwright Wole Soyinka answers these questions in his 1975 play Death and the King's Horseman. This is the final episode in our collaboration with Soulpepper Theatre Company, and their audio series Around the World in 80 Plays.

    Ideas: Rats: Facing Our Fears, Part Two

    For millennia, rats have been portrayed as violent and disgusting. But rats have aided in our self-understanding. IDEAS contributor Moira Donovan investigates the contributions rats have made to humanity and whether co-existing with rats means coming to understand their role in our ecosystem. *This episode originally aired on October 27, 2020.

    Schneier on Security: Detecting Deepfake Picture Editing

    “Markpainting” is a clever technique to watermark photos in such a way that makes it easier to detect ML-based manipulation:

    An image owner can modify their image in subtle ways which are not themselves very visible, but will sabotage any attempt to inpaint it by adding visible information determined in advance by the markpainter.

    One application is tamper-resistant marks. For example, a photo agency that makes stock photos available on its website with copyright watermarks can markpaint them in such a way that anyone using common editing software to remove a watermark will fail; the copyright mark will be markpainted right back. So watermarks can be made a lot more robust.

    Here’s the paper: “Markpainting: Adversarial Machine Learning Meets Inpainting,” by David Khachaturov, Ilia Shumailov, Yiren Zhao, Nicolas Papernot, and Ross Anderson.

    Abstract: Inpainting is a learned interpolation technique that is based on generative modeling and used to populate masked or missing pieces in an image; it has wide applications in picture editing and retouching. Recently, inpainting started being used for watermark removal, raising concerns. In this paper we study how to manipulate it using our markpainting technique. First, we show how an image owner with access to an inpainting model can augment their image in such a way that any attempt to edit it using that model will add arbitrary visible information. We find that we can target multiple different models simultaneously with our technique. This can be designed to reconstitute a watermark if the editor had been trying to remove it. Second, we show that our markpainting technique is transferable to models that have different architectures or were trained on different datasets, so watermarks created using it are difficult for adversaries to remove. Markpainting is novel and can be used as a manipulation alarm that becomes visible in the event of inpainting.

    50 Watts: Philippe Druillet's Salammbo

    (Find me at 50 Watts Books.)

    Some blown-up details from Philippe Druillet's Salammbo (1980s, English edition 2019). I'm surprised I never featured the legendary Druillet on 50 Watts before. I've had some French editions on my shelves for a long time.
    In a new preface, while explaining how he came to work on such unusual source material (an 1862 novel), Druillet jokes: "I was casting about for a new subject and had, alas, found nothing that satisfied my paranoid delirium."
    Factoid from Wikipedia: Druillet worked as a designer on the movie Sorcerer.

    Druillet explains the above image & others in the book: [These pages] "were produced by Technology Artwork, a French company with its own method for creating new images. It involves a composite technique combining electronic and analog image processing, resulting in very high resolution effects and textures, brilliance and saturation of color. Today, in the 21st century, this technology is largely out-of-date, but in 1986, it was the first attempt to integrate computer-generated imagery into comic books."

    Images copyright Editions Glenat

    Michael Geist: The Broadcasting Act Betrayal: The Long Term Consequences of the Guilbeault Gag Order

    Several weeks after Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault introduced Bill C-10, I started a 20 part blog post series called the Broadcasting Act Blunder (podcast edition here). The series examined many of concerns with the bill, including issues such as over-broad regulation and discoverability requirements that would only garner public attention many months later. I thought about that series yesterday as I watched Guilbeault try in the House of Commons to defend the indefensible: a gag order on committee review of the bill, the first such order in two decades. While the bill is in dire need of fixing, what occurred yesterday was far worse than a blunder. It was a betrayal. A betrayal of the government’s commitment to “strengthen Parliamentary committees so that they can better scrutinize legislation.” A betrayal of the promise to do things differently from previous governments. A betrayal of Canada’s values as a Parliamentary democracy.

    The 23 minute and 30 second question and comment period – the House Speaker ruled there could be no debate and that the period could not extend beyond 23 minutes and 30 seconds – notably featured NDP MP Peter Julian and Green MP Elizabeth May, two of the longer serving MPs in the House as among the first to speak. Julian was first elected in 2004, when Guilbeault was only a few years removed from activist stunts such as climbing the CN Tower. Meanwhile, May became the founding Executive Director of the Sierra Club in 1989, the same year Guilbeault started as a university student.  It seemed to me that both had a message for an inexperienced cabinet minister elected less than two years ago, namely that some things are bigger than single bill. Bills come and go, but principles – or betrayal of those principles – endures.

    Guilbeault clearly did not get it, wondering how the NDP could possibly reject the gag order and effectively support potential delays to his bill. Both the NDP and the Greens may ultimately vote for Bill C-10, but both understand that defending democracy and the freedom of expression of MPs (much less the freedom of expression of all Canadians) is far more important than a delay to any single bill. As May noted, the gag order will do real long term damage. One day it will be a different government on a different issue seeking to use the same procedure to cut short committee study. And the Liberals will have no credible response with no one to blame but themselves.

    But we don’t need to look far into the future to see the consequences of the Guilbeault gag order. This past weekend, the Canadian government joined with other countries to criticize the Nigerian government for blocking Twitter and establishing registration requirements for social media. Yet calls for respecting freedom of expression rings hollow when you are shutting down Parliamentary debate on a bill with profound implications for freedom of expression. Indeed, Canada’s lost moral authority on Internet freedoms is an undeniable consequence of Bill C-10 and the Guilbeault gag order.

    Further, it is not just the government that has betrayed its core principles. Over the past six weeks, Canadian creator groups have regularly emphasized their support for freedom of expression in response to Bill C-10 concerns. But when the opportunity to place a gag order on further Bill C-10 debate arose, the support for free speech quickly disappeared. Organizations that are willing to trade freedom of expression for the prospect of a bit of Youtube cash are not the believers in free speech that they claim to be.

    The damage from the gag order will also extend to the legacy of Broadcasting and Telecommunications Legislative Review Panel (BTLR). I disagreed with many recommendations of the Yale report (named after chair Janet Yale), but it was a legitimate, non-partisan report. No longer. Yale and several panel members disappointingly scrapped panel unanimity several weeks ago in order to express public support for Bill C-10 and Yale went further last week by backing the Guilbeault gag order. In doing so, the report is now an irrevocably politically partisan, tainted document that stands little chance of adoption by anyone other than a Liberal government.

    The most puzzling aspect of this is that payoff for the betrayal is so limited. Even with the gag order, it seems very unlikely that the bill will clear both the House of Commons and Senate before the summer break. If there is an election call early in the fall, the bill will die. If not, there is time for the bill to continue to work its way through the Parliamentary process without the need for a gag order. Either way, that seems like an awfully small return for betraying your principles.

    The post The Broadcasting Act Betrayal: The Long Term Consequences of the Guilbeault Gag Order appeared first on Michael Geist.

    OCaml Weekly News: OCaml Weekly News, 08 Jun 2021

    1. Boltzgen a test generator for teachers
    2. Benchmark Tooling Engineer Position
    3. Lightweight OCaml Docker Images created by dune with Multi-Stage Builds
    4. Runtime Systems Engineer, OCaml Labs (UK) / Tarides (FR) / Segfault Systems (IN) / Remote
    5. Timedesc 0.4.0 - date time handling library
    6. serialization of closures
    7. OCaml compiler development newsletter, issue 2: May 2021
    8. OCaml 4.13.0, first alpha release
    9. Spin 0.8.0
    10. vec 0.3.0
    11. First release of line_oriented

    new shelton wet/dry: Each night when I return the cab to the garage, I have to clean the cum off the back seat

    It’s hard to remember a time when scrolling through Instagram was anything but a thoroughly exhausting experience. Where once the social network was basically lunch and sunsets, it’s now a parade of strategically-crafted life updates, career achievements, and public vows to spend less time online (usually made by people who earn money from social media)—all [...]

    new shelton wet/dry: Crypto Vegas

    { large, printable PDF }

    50 Watts: Takei Takeo's Pinocchio

    (Find me at 50 Watts Books.)

    Illustrations by Takei Takeo (1894–1983) for a 1928 Japanese edition of Pinocchio. I've spent a lot of time collecting books by this artist, and digging through archives for his work, and somehow only saw these images for the first time recently. Enjoy.
    Previous posts about Takei Takeo

    look at that tree on the right...

    Michael Geist: The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 91: “This is No Way to Regulate” – Former CRTC Chair Konrad von Finckenstein Speaks Out on the CRTC and Bill C-10

    Communications issues have been in the political spotlight in recent weeks with the controversial CRTC decision to reverse a pricing decision on wholesale broadband that swiftly led to calls for the resignation of Commission Chair Ian Scott as well as the ongoing battle over Bill C-10, which envisions granting extensive new powers to the CRTC.

    Konrad von Finckenstein is a former chair of the CRTC, having led the Commission during a similarly contentious time during debates over net neutrality. He has since been outspoken on communications policy issues, including arguing that Bill C-10 should be scrapped and re-written. He joins the Law Bytes podcast to talk about the CRTC, the recent decisions, and what he thinks a better approach to Internet and broadcast regulation would look like.

    The podcast can be downloaded here, accessed on YouTube, and is embedded below. Subscribe to the podcast via Apple Podcast, Google Play, Spotify or the RSS feed. Updates on the podcast on Twitter at @Lawbytespod.


    Question Period, House of Commons, June 4, 2021

    The post The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 91: “This is No Way to Regulate” – Former CRTC Chair Konrad von Finckenstein Speaks Out on the CRTC and Bill C-10 appeared first on Michael Geist.

    things magazine: Space, sliders and spheres

    A collection of links that mostly speak for themselves. A Brief History Of Gasoline: A Century And A Half Of Lies, the first of a ten part series at Jalopnik that explores the toxic culture of misinformation around fossil fuels, … Continue reading

    Planet Haskell: Douglas M. Auclair (geophf): Why Kleisli Arrows Matter

    We're going to take a departure from the style of articles regularly written about the Kleisli category, because, firstly, there aren't articles regularly written about the Kleisli category.

    That's a loss for the world. Why? I find the Kleisli category so useful that I'm normally programming in the category, and, conversely, I find most code in industry, unaware of this category, is doing a lot of the work of (unintentionally) setting up this category, only to tear it down before using it effectively.

    So. What is the Kleisli Category? Before we can properly talk about this category, and its applications, we need to talk about monads


    A monad, as you can see by following the above link, is a domain with some specific, useful properties. If we have a monad, T, we know it comes with an unit function, η, and a join function, μ. What do these 'thingies' do?

    • T, the monadic domain, says that if you are the domain, then that's where you stay: T:  T.

    "So what?" you ask. The beauty of this is that once you've proved you're in a domain, then all computations from that point are guaranteed to be in that domain.

    So, for example, if you have a monadic domain called Maybe, then you know that values in this domain are Just some defined value or Nothing. What about null? There is no null in the Maybe-domain, so you never have to prove your value is (or isn't) null, once you're in that monadic domain.

    • But how do you prove you're in that domain? η lifts an unit value (or a 'plain old' value) from the ('plain old') domain into the monadic domain. You've just proved you're in the monadic domain, simply by applying η.

    η null → fails

    η some value  some value in T.

    • We're going to talk about the join-function, μ, after we define the Kleisli category.
    The Kleisli Category

    Okay. Monads. Great. So what does have to do with the Kleisli category? There's a problem with the above description of Monads that I didn't address. You can take any function, say:

    f : A → B

    and lift that into the monadic domain:

    fT : T A  T B

    ... but what is fTflooks exactly like f, when you apply elimination of the monadic domain, T. How can we prove or 'know' that anywhere in our computation we indeed end up in the monadic domain, so that the next step in the computation we know we are in that monadic domain, and we don't have to go all the way back to the beginning of the proof to verify this, every time?

    Simple: that's what the Kleisli category does for us.

    What does the Kleisli category do for us? Kleisli defines the Kleisli arrow thusly:

    fK : A → T B

    That is to say, no matter where we start from in our (possibly interim) computation, we end our computation in the monadic domain. This is fantastic! Because now we no longer need to search back any farther than this function to see (that is: to prove) that we are in the monadic domain, and, with that guarantee, we can proceed in the safety of that domain, not having to frontload any nor every computation that follows with preconditions that would be required outside that monadic domain.

    null-check simply vanishes in monadic domains that do not allow that (non-)value.

    Incidentally, here's an oxymoron: 'NullPointerException' in a language that doesn't have pointers.

    Here's another oxymoron: 'null value,' when 'null' means there is no value (of that specified type, or, any type, for that matter). null breaks type-safety, but I get ahead of myself.

    Back on point.

    So, okay: great. We, using the Kleisli arrows, know at every point in that computation that we are in the monadic domain, T, and can chain computations safely in that domain.

    But, wait. There's a glaring issue here. Sure, fgets us into the monadic domain, but let's chain the computation. Let's say we have:

    gK : B → T C

    ... and we wish to chain, or, functionally: compose fand gK? We get this:

    gK ∘ f T B TT C

    Whoops! We're no longer in the monadic domain T, but at the end of the chained-computation, we're in the monadic domain TT, and what, even, is that? I'm not going to answer that question, because 1) who cares? because 2) where we really want to be is in the domain T, so the real question is: how do we get rid of that extra T in the monadic domain TT and get back into the less-cumbersome monadic domain we understand, T?

    • That's where the join-function, μ, comes in.
    μ : TT A T A

    The join-function, μ, of a monad, T, states that when you join a monad of type to a monad of that same type, the result, TT, when joined, simplifies to that (original) monad, T.

    It's as simple as that.

    But, then, it's even simpler than that, as the Kleisli arrow anticipates that you're starting in a monadic domain and wish to end up in that domain, so the Kleisli arrow entails the join function, μ, 'automagically.' With that understanding, we rewrite standard functional composition to composition under the Kleisli category:

    gK K f → T B → T C

    Which means we can now compose as many Kleisli arrows as we like, and anywhere we are in that compositional-chain, we know we are in our good ole' safe, guaranteed monadic domain.

    Practical Application

    We've heard of the Maybe monad, which entails semi-determinism, this monad is now part of the core Java language as the Optional-type, with practical application in functional mapping, filtering and finding, as well as interactions with data-stores (e.g.: databases).

    Boy, I wish I had that back in the 1990's, developing the Sales Comparison Approach ingest process of mortgage appraisal forms for Fannie Mae. I didn't. I had Java 1.1. A glaring 'problem' we had to address with ingesting mortgage appraisals what that every single field is optional, and, as (sub-)sections depend on prior fields, entire subsections of the mortgage appraisal form were dependently-optional. The solution the engineering team at that time took was to store every field of every row of the 2000 fields of the mortgage appraisal form.

    Fannie Mae deals with millions of mortgage appraisals



    Having rows upon rows (upon rows upon rows) of data tables of null values quickly overloaded database management systems (at that time, and, I would argue, is tremendously wasteful, even today).

    My solution was this, as each field is optional, I lifted that value into the monadic domain, that way, when a value was present, follow-on computations, for follow-on (sub-)sections would execute, and, as the process of lifting failed on a null-value, follow-on computations were automagically skipped for absent values. Only values present were stored. Only computations on present values were performed. The Sales Comparison Approach had over 600 fields, all of them optional, many of them dependently-optional, and only the values present in those 600 fields were stored. The savings in data storage was exponentially more efficient for the Sales Comparison Approach section as compared to the storage for the rest of the mortgage appraisal.

    Although easy enough, and intuitive, to say, actually implementing Kleisli Arrows in Java 1.1 (the langua fraca for that project) required I first implement the concept of both Function and Functor, using inner classes, then I needed to implement the concept of Monad, then Maybe, then, with monad, I needed to implement the Kleisli Arrow monadic-bind function to be able to stitch together dozens and hundreds of computations together, without one single explicit null-check.

    The data told me if they were present, or not, and, once lifted into the monadic domain, the Kleisli arrows stitched together the entire Sales Comparison Approach section, all 600 computations, into a seamless and concise workflow.


    Kleisli arrows: so useful they are recognized as integral to the modern programming paradigm. What's fascinating about these constructs is that they are grounded in provable mathematical forms, from η to μ to Kleisli-composition. This article summarized the mathematics underpinning the Kleisli category and showed a practical application of this pure mathematical form that translated directly into space-efficient and computationally-concise software delivered into production that is still used to this day.

    The Shape of Code: Impact of native language on variable naming

    When creating a variable name, to what extent are developers influenced by their native human language?

    There is lots of evidence that variable names are either English words, abbreviations of English words, or some combination of these two. Source code containing a large percentage of identifiers using words from other languages does exist, but it requires effort to find; there is a widely expressed view that source should be English based (based on my experience of talking to non-native English speakers, and even the odd paper discussing the issue, e.g., Language matters).

    Given that variable names can prove information that reduces the effort needed to understand code, and that most code is only ever read by the person who wrote it, developers should make the most of their expertise in using their native language.

    To what extent do non-native English-speaking developers make use of their non-English native language?

    I have found it very difficult to even have a discussion around this question. When I broach the subject with non-native English speakers, the response is often along the lines of “our develo0pers speak good English.” I am careful to set the scene by telling them of my interest in naming, and that I think there are benefits for developers to make use of their native language. The use of non-English languages in software development is not yet a subject that is open for discussion.

    I knew that sooner or later somebody would run an experiment…

    How Developers Choose Names is another interesting experiment involving Dror Feitelson (the paper rather confusingly refers to it as a survey, a post on an earlier experiment).

    What makes this experiment interesting is that bilingual subjects (English and Hebrew) were used, and the questions were in English or Hebrew. The 230 subjects (some professional, some student) were given a short description and asked to provide an appropriate variable/function/data-structure name; English was used for 26 of the question, and Hebrew for the other 21 questions, and subjects answered a random subset.

    What patterns of Hebrew usage are present in the variable names?

    Out of 2017 answers, 14 contained Hebrew characters, i.e., not enough for statistical analysis. This does not mean that all the other variable names were only derived from English words, in some cases Hebrew words appeared via transcription using the 26 English letters. For instance, using “pinuk” for the Hebrew word that means “benefit” in English. Some variables were created from a mixture of Hebrew and English words, e.g., deservedPinuks and pinuksUsed.

    Analysing this data requires someone who is fluent in Hebrew and English. I am not a fluent, or even non-fluent, Hebrew speaker. My role in this debate is encouraging others, and at last I have some interesting data to show people.

    The paper spends time showing how for personal preferences result in a wide selection of names being chosen by different people for the same quantity. I cannot think of any software engineering papers that have addressed this issue for variable names, but there is lots of evidence from other fields; also see figure 7.33.

    Those interested in searching source code for the impact of native-language might like to look at the names of variables appearing as operands of the bitwise and logical operators. Some English words occur much more frequently in the names of these variable, compared to variables that are operands of arithmetic operators, e.g., flag, status, and signal. I predict that non-native English-speaking developers will make use of corresponding non-English words.

    Trivium: 06jun2021

    Planet Lisp: Nicolas Hafner: Updates Galore - June Kandria Update

    There's a lot of different news to talk about this month, so strap in!

    The New Trailer

    The most important thing to come out of this month is the new trailer! Check it out if you haven't yet:

    I'm overall really happy with how it came together, and we all had a part in the end result. I'd also like to give a special commendation to Elissa Park who did the amazing voice over for the trailer. It was a pleasure to work together!

    It's also been great to finally get some custom music by Mikel into an official part of the game. He's also been working on the first music tracks that'll be in the game, and I've been working on a music system to support horizontal mixing with the tracks. I'm very excited to get all that together into the game and see how it all feels! I hope that by next month's update we'll have a short preview of that for you.

    0.1.1 Release

    Meanwhile we also pushed out an update to the vertical slice release that makes use of the new linear quest system we put together. It should overall also be a lot more stable and includes many fixes for issues people reported to us. Thanks!

    As always, if you want to have a look at the demo yourself, you can do so free of charge.

    I think this will be the last patch we put out until September. I can't afford to backport fixes even if more bug reports come in, as the overhead of managing that is just too high. I can't just push out new versions that follow internal development either, as those are frequently in flight and have more regressions that we typically stamp out over time, but would in the meantime provide a more buggy experience. started working on fishing just recently!

    Dev Streams

    I'm heavily considering doing regular weekly development streams, both to see if we can attract some more interest for the project, and to be more open about the process in general. I feel like we're already very open about everything with our weekly updates, but having an immediate insight into how the game is made is another thing entirely. I think it would be really cool to show that side of development off more often!

    In order to coordinate what time would suit the most people, please fill out this Doodle form. The exact dates don't matter, just watch for the day of the week and the time. Don't worry about the name it asks for either, it won't be public!

    I'll probably close the poll in a weeks, so make sure to submit an answer soon if you're interested. Streams will happen both on and, with both being reachable through the official stream page at . See you there!

    Palestinian Aid Bundle

    Some good folks have put together a bundle on gathering money for Palestinian aid. I'm very happy to say that our game, Eternia: Pet Whisperer is a part of this bundle!

    If you want to support this cause and get a huge collection of amazing games in the process, head on over to!


    This month I had a varied mix of tasks: working on the script for the new trailer; updating the quests in the vertical slice demo to work closer to our original vision; researching press and influencer contacts as we plan more of Kandria's marketing.

    The trailer came out great, and I'm really happy with the voice acting that Nick produced with Elissa Park. It was a great idea Nick had to use the character of Fi as the narrator here (originally we were going to use Catherine) - her serious outlook, and reflection on the events of the story, was just what we needed to fit the epic music from Mikel, and the epic gameplay and exploration that Nick captured on screen. The whole thing just screams epic.

    The quests were vastly improved too. The first quest now uses Nick's new sequencing system, so that triggers fire automatically (and more robustly) when the player arrives at the correct location, and when combat encounters are completed. The logic is also much quicker to write, so linear quests will be much faster to produce in the future. The mushroom quest also had a big refactor; now you can organically collect mushrooms out in the world, rather than going to specific enabled points. You can even sell what you find to the trader, including those poisonous black knights. It really makes the world feel more interactive. There's been general tweaks to the other quests from playtesting, and I'll continue to refine them from my own playing and players' feedback up until the Pro Helvetia submission later in the year. I'm also planning to add a couple more sidequest diversions based on the new fishing (!) minigame being added at the moment; we think a combat-focused sidequest will work well too.

    Finally on the marketing side, it's been rewarding to collect tons of potential press and influencer contacts we could approach in the future. I've basically been taking games that are strong influences and have similarities to Kandria - from hugely popular games like Celeste and Dead Cells, to lesser known ones like Kunai and Armed with Wings - then cataloguing key journalists and influencers who've streamed, made videos, or written about them. This will hopefully highlight some of the right people we can contact to help spread the word about the game.


    Let's look at the roadmap from last month with the updates from this month:

    • Make the combat more flashy

    • Finish a new trailer

    • Revise the quest system's handling of linear quest lines

    • Design and outline the factions for the rest of the game

    • Develop the soundscape for Kandria and start working on the tracks for region 1

    • Add a music system that can do layering and timed transitions

    • Build and add the tutorial sequence to the beginning of the game

    • Finish the region 1 music tracks

    • Reach out to journalists, streamers, and other communities

    • Polish the ProHelvetia submission material

    • Polish and revise the combat design

    • Explore platforming items and mechanics

    • Practise platforming level design

    • Start work on the horizontal slice

    As always there's some smaller tasks that aren't in the overall roadmap. We seem to be doing pretty well keeping on track with what needs done, which is really good! It's all too easy to misjudge the time required to complete things, especially in games.

    In any case, time is flying fast, and there's a lot to do. In the meantime be sure to check our mailing list for weekly updates, and the discord community for fan discussions!

    Planet Haskell: Magnus Therning: ZSH, Nix, and completions

    TIL that ZSH completions that come with Nix packages end up in ~/.nix-profile/share/zsh/vendor-completions/ and that folder is not added to $FPATH by the init script that comes with Nix.

    After modifying the bit in ~/.zshenv it now looks like this

    if [[ -f ~/.nix-profile/etc/profile.d/ ]]; then
        source ~/.nix-profile/etc/profile.d/
        export fpath=(~/.nix-profile/share/zsh/vendor-completions ${fpath})

    MattCha's Blog: 2021 Puerist Ban Pen Maocha: Lao Ban Zhang-ish Power

    Ban Pen is an area that is really overshadowed by its close neighbour Lao Ban Zhang.  Its also notoriously known as one of the area ingredients (along with Lao Man E) to fake a Lao Ban Zhang.  However, like any area, it has its own merits that are often overlooked… I look to not overlook…

    On this unseasonably hot 31C early June day I go for something that is reeeeaaaaally fresh...

    Dry leaf smells of intense very grape deep sweetness.  Very sweet and very grape… a bit too fresh for 2020 (this is actually fresh 2021 maocha!).

    The first infusion has a buttercup shining sweetness with an underlying woody taste and returning grape sweetness.  There is a faint cooling in the mid throat and a saliva producing effect in the mouth.  There is a bit of underlying bitterness that moves into that grape sweetness with rubber/wood underlying.  The mouthfeel is a fine sandy feeling in the mouth.  It tastes really vibrantly fresh.

    The second infusion has a quick moving vegetal bitterness that moves to a mild saliva producing grape sweetness in the mouth.  There is a strong floral presence with this taste that says throughout the profile.  The mouthfeeling is thin and slightly sandy with a saliva producing effect almost being trapped in the mid-throat.  There is a muscatel sweetness and grape skin pucker going on here that reminds me of a good Darjeeling.  The aftertaste is long with grape, bitter, rubber, florals stretching out for minutes later.  The Qi is felt in the Chest and in the mind with a spacy expanding energy.

    The third has a strong bitter onset with an underlying floral and grape sweetness.  The bitterness is strong and overpowering here, a bit astringent and really pushes my empty stomach reminding me it’s time for breakfast.  I am also pushed into a euphoric state by the overtaking Qi- my Heart races.  A flat thin kind of griping tongue coating.  Bitter but also nicely floral sweet.

    The fourth infusion has a very vibrantly floral grape sweetness that comes after a moderately strong quick moving bitterness.  There is the splash of vibrant flavours.  This infusion has a brilliant and clear pure balance of quick moving bitterness and strong returning floral muscatel sweetness.  There is underlying woody rubber taste, flat tongue coating and long floral aftertaste.  The Qi is big and euphoric in the mind.  There is strong bodyfeeling in the shoulders and arms almost pulsing throbbing.  The length of the floral aftertaste is notable.

    The fifth infusion has a vibrant lemon peel bitterness that quickly moves to a floral grape skin fruit taste. The bitterness is moderate strong- to strong and has a quick reversal to a long floral finish in the mouth.  Chest Qi with limbs floating and throbbing.  There is a flat sticky tongue coating with some faint saliva producing in the upper throat.

    The sixth infusion offers an almost gamey pungent barnyard not as bitter but also not as sweet.  There are more subtle florals and white grape skill tastes over a flat sticky tongue coating and faint upper throat opening.  Qi is quieting in the mind with Chest and limb bodyfeelings.

    The seventh infusion has a mild-moderate quick moving bitterness that transforms into strong more pungent florals and grape skin fruitiness.  The mouthfeeling is a touch gripping but the throat sensation is nice and deeper into the mid-throat.  The Qi has taken me places and it starts to soften and relax just a bit but still euphoria reigns.

    The eighth has a buttercup and gamey tastes that come out after quick moving bitterness that turns to gamey floral notes.  A flat sticky tongue coating and fading floral finish.  There is a relaxing bodyfeeling now.  Soothing and tranquil.  Shoulders and arms feel like they are floating or separating from my body.

    The ninth infusion oops was left in the pot for 5 minutes!  It has a very concentrated pear syrupy gamey pungent barnyard taste with a fair bit of thickness.  Syrupy bitter wild flower dandelion barnyard.  Very strong spaced out feeling with this hard push…. Spacey very spacey.

    My busy day engulfs the tea session and I, unfortunately, abandon it for the day and come back the next day…

    I fill a big mason jar up with the leaves from yesterday which I refrigerated and pour boiling water over them and drink this stuff up grandpa style…

    Wow! Is it ever good…

    Obscenely fragrantly floral notes fill the nose and mouth.  The floral is strong and long.  The bitter taste hits you pretty hard especially after sitting in the boiling water for hours but there is always a strong movement to grape muscatel notes over a strong hard chalky and slightly gripping mouthfeeling.  There is a bit of linger depth in the throat but not overly.  There is also suggestions of vegetal notes, and almost faint pungent gamey suggestions.  The floral and grape and bitterness is strong and along with the gripping moutfeeling stick tightly to the mouth.  The Qi is really insane here and push me into a euphoric stupor with a floating bodyfeeling overall.  I have to step away and approach cautiously tomorrow!

    This fresh 2021 Puerist Ban Pan maocha is not like any I’ve tried before but no doubt has the power of a solid Lao Ban Zhang underneath.  This maocha hasn’t been pressed yet or put up for sale.  Its Mark’s style to let this powerful stuff rest for a few months.  I also am not too sure about the current pricing from a region that can piggy back on the price of its ultra-famous neighbor Lao Ban Zhang.  I could guess a tea like this could go for above $250 for 200g cake.

    Its good stuff.


    MattCha's Blog: My “Special Occasion” Tea Ain’t That Special

     Nowadays you hear lots of talk of “tea for special occasions” or “special occasion tea” (here and here).   I have said previously on this blog that I don’t keep tea for special occasions  and I’ve even mused whether I was made fun of for having such a stance.  Recently I was doing some self-reflection as to why, exactly, I find the whole topic unnerving. I guess I came up with a few different reasons why I find the idea of “special occasion tea” to be kind of weird to me...

    The early days of puerh drinking was pretty unpretentious.  20 years ago puerh tea was much cheaper than most other types of tea. Also if you go back to the early English writings on puerh you never hear talk of puerh for “special occasions”.  Did something change as a society that we now demand to feel “special”?  Even just the idea of elevating a tea to special occasion tea simply because of its current popularity has me scratching my head.

    So then is it simply the high price or perceived scarcity that defines something as special???  It certainly seems to be marketed this way.

    For me personally, I define something special as something that you cannot put a price on - a feeling, an experience, an event, but most importantly a special moment in time attached to a memory.  All tea can be appraised for a certain price- the cheap stuff and the astronomically expensive stuff.  Then what is it that makes a tea a “special occasion tea”?

    Interestingly, when there is a special occasion in my life I never go for my most expensive teas nor my rarest teas.  The teas I go for during special occasions are usually not that expensive at all.  What they do tend to be are teas that bring me back to a certain time and place, a moment, a certain meeting, certain people, good memories, good times.  Connecting the past to the good times in the present moment.  This is the wonder of aged puerh tea!

    So really if you are looking for a “special occasion tea”I suggest taking a tea and making good memories with it, share it with good people, and have good times.  It doesn’t have to be expensive tea but maybe it will be priceless for you someday.


    Planet Lisp: Eric Timmons: ASDF 3.3.5 Release Candidate

    ASDF has been tagged. This is a release candidate for 3.3.5. As the announcement says, please give it a spin on your setup and report any regressions. Bugs can be reported to the Gitlab issue tracker (preferred) or to the asdf-devel mailing list.


    The full(ish) Changelog can be found here.

    In addition to assorted bug fixes, there are several new features. Both user facing:

    • Support for package local nicknames in uiop:define-package.
    • SBCL should now be able to find function definitions nested in the with-upgradability macro.
    • package-inferred-system source files can use extensions other than .lisp.

    And developer facing:

    • Building out a fairly extensive CI pipeline.


    This is planned to be the last release in the 3.3 series. We are excited to get this out the door because we already have several focal points for the 3.4 series in mind, including:

    • Support for more expressive version strings and version constraints. issue draft MR.
    • A new package defining form that is explicitly designed to better tie in with package-inferred-system. issue draft MR.

    Please join in the conversation if any of these features excite you, you have features you'd like to see added, or you have bugs that need to be squashed. / 2021-06-15T12:55:27