Bifurcated Rivets: From FB


Bifurcated Rivets: From FB


Bifurcated Rivets: From FB


Bifurcated Rivets: From FB

Such a good image

Bifurcated Rivets: From FB

If you are interested in swearing then you'll like this.

Hackaday: Hobbit Sword Glows Blue, Vanquishes Unprotected Wifi

Whilst the original Sting glowed blue as a defensive alert, Spark’s “WarSting” is all about aggression. The project hacks a toy Hobbit sword and teaches it to glow blue when vulnerable WiFi is detected. Once alerted, combat ensues. If its bearer slashes, the sword will battle the helpless network, swinging and clanging until it acquires an IP from the defeated DHCP server. Once conquered, the sword publishes a “Vanquished” message to Spark’s cloud, teaching the sword to ignore it from thenceforth.

While “wardriving” has not really been a thing since the first Lord of the Rings movie came out, the last time we saw someone do something similar the hardware was limited to detecting WiFi, not connecting.

Spark CEO [Zach] chose the particular sword because it could be disassembled without being cut apart and already came equipped with easily-hackable LEDs, motion control, and sound effects. Naturally he added one of his own products – the Spark Core – to the hilt to graft WiFi features onto the weapon (a cheaper alternative would be an MCU of your choice and the new ESP8266). The project then hijacks the LED lighting, sound, and hit detection sensor. Our readers can probably come up with some more imaginative actions to take once connected, though the project’s existing code for the Core is published on Github. As-is, in many jurisdictions even merely connecting to an unsecured WiFi these days is unlawful so beware your local restrictions.

Lots of companies could simply advertise the easy way and while obviously an ad, the WarSting is still a creative and fun hack.

See the video below for the sword in action and a Spark’s lore regarding the hack. Thanks [Chris] for the tip.

Filed under: toy hacks

MetaFilter: It ain't all bad

Bill Gates: Good News You May Have Missed in 2014

Recent additions: http-client-streams

Added by DavidJohnson, Fri Dec 19 05:59:14 UTC 2014.

http-client for io-streams supporting openssl

Recent additions: http-client-streams

Added by DavidJohnson, Fri Dec 19 05:33:39 UTC 2014.

http-client for io-streams supporting openssl

Slashdot: FBI Confirms Open Investigation Into Gamergate

v3rgEz writes In a terse form letter responding to a FOIA request, the FBI has confirmed it has an open investigation into Gamergate, the loose but controversial coalition of gamers calling for ethics in gaming journalism — even as some members have harassed and sent death threats to female gaming developers and critics.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Disquiet: Disquiet Junto Project 0155: Mix Match


Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group on and at, a new compositional challenge is set before the group’s members, who then have just over four days to upload a track in response to the assignment. Membership in the Junto is open: just join and participate.

This assignment was made in the evening, California time, on Thursday, December 18, with 11:59pm on the following Monday, December 22, 2014, as the deadline.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0155: Mix Match
The Assignment: Take a track and its remix and meld them into something new.

This is the next to the last project of 2014. It’s a remix of a remix, and of the track the remix was based on. These are the steps:

Step 1: Download the following two tracks. The first is “Waiting…” by Yellow Salamand’r and the second is a reworking of it, titled “Waiting (A Yellow Salamander Re-hash),” by Colab.

Step 2: Create a new track that combines the two source tracks. Don’t add any new audio, though you can transform the source material as you wish.

Step 3: Upload the finished track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.

Step 4: Listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Length: Your finished work should be between roughly 3 to 4 minutes long.

Deadline: This assignment was made in the evening, California time, on Thursday, December 18, with 11:59pm on the following Monday, December 22, 2014, as the deadline.

Upload: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud, only upload one track for this assignment, and include a description of your process in planning, composing, and recording it. This description is an essential element of the communicative process inherent in the Disquiet Junto.

Title/Tag: When adding your track to the Disquiet Junto group on, please include the term “disquiet0155-mixmatch” in the title of your track, and as a tag for your track.

Download: For this project, due to the source audio, your track should be set with a Creative Commons license, such as CC BY-NC-SA 3.0, that allows adaptive reworking.

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

More on this 155th Disquiet Junto project — “Take a track and its remix and meld them into something new” — at:

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

Join the Disquiet Junto at:

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place at:

Image associated with this project by Chris Beckett via a Creative Commons license:

Computer Science: Theory and Application: Algorithm close to Travelling Salesman?

As I rock my baby to sleep in my left arm, I sit here bored with phone in right hand.

I'm far removed from uni and the TSP, but the following problem has come to my brain while I rock here for hours, haha.

Let's say a salesman wants to do business. He must do business in exactly 5 countries, and only 1 city per country. Only 5 countries are given, so every country must be used.

We'll say 5 cities are listed for every country. Each city has a 'travel to' cost, and a 'business amount to be made $'.

For example, one of the countries might be canada. It may cost $637 to travel to vancouver and $2100 can be made there. It may cost $400 to travel Toronto and $1500 can be made there.

The price of future travel is not dependent on where you are. So we'll say each trip must be round trip and then you fly out of your home base again.

You have a travel budget of say $2000.

How would you solve this, especially for extremely large datasets? You could easily do this in 55, and figure out all permutations but that won't work for large data sets. Is there a better way?

submitted by LaserWolfTurbo72
[link] [3 comments]

The Gutters: The Completely Finite Secret Convergence War Crisis – Part 4

gutters564 colours


All right friends, I promised you something big with today’s page and I do not want to disappoint, so here goes.

With today’s penultimate chapter of our Mega-Event, I bring you the announcement that next Tuesday (the 23rd)’s Gutters page will not only wrap up our story, but it will also be the final Gutters page.

There comes a point in every creative endeavour when you have to take a step back and say “are we still doing this for the right reasons?” Given the financial pressures of Gutters, the time and effort that goes into it and, frankly, the absolutely ridiculous state of the comics industry right now, it became clear to us that it’s time to say goodbye. It’s a bummer of a thing to have to sit down and do, but it’s the call we had to make.

I could not be more proud of every script, page and book that this project has produced. Working with Sohmer, Ed, Dave, Rus, Rich, Lar and the metric ton of incredible artists involved in Gutters has been the most fun and satisfying thing I’ve ever done in comics. I’m so happy to have been involved and seen people’s reactions to pages as well as a lot of our artist go on to big projects with major companies.

So, I invite you now, the Gutters fans, whose support we cannot ever thank you enough for, to join us next week to laugh, cry and say g’bye.

Shattering our realities one more time is Richard Clark:

Born in a crossfire hurricane (actually Cleveland, OH), Richard P. Clark’s illustration career began in 1993 while still an undergraduate at The Columbus College of Art and Design. Since then, he’s worked for a wildly varied list of clients in several industries-among them HBO, Playboy, The Wall Street Journal and Alcoholics Anonymous. He’s been finding work again in the Comic Industry, including a recent job for Dark Horse providing finishes over Darick Robertson’s breakdowns for The Guild-Vork comic. He’s hoping this recent turn into the comic lane sticks as there are literally scores of stories he’d like to unleash on the world. Mr. Clark currently resides in Upstate NY after a 10-year tour of duty in Brooklyn with his wife, daughter and a goofy dog named Barnaby.

See you back here one more time, friends.


MetaFilter: The Year in Great Sentences (SLBrooklynMagazine)

"My past is littered with the bones of men who were foolish enough to think I was someone they could sleep on."

MetaFilter: The Trouble with Teaching Rape

"Imagine a medical student who is training to be a surgeon but who fears that he'll become distressed if he sees or handles blood. What should his instructors do?" -"Criminal-law teachers face a similar question with law students who are afraid to study rape law." The author worries about "a growing rape exceptionalism, which allows fears of inflicting or re-inflicting trauma to justify foregoing usual procedures and practices of truth-seeking."

MetaFilter: "Stephen Colbert": Great host? Or *the greatest* host?

Tonight! He's "a well-meaning, poorly informed, high-status idiot." An it-getter. A knight. A doctor (of fine arts). A Real American Hero. And after tonight, his arched eyebrow of justice will never again grace American television screens in quite the same way. "Stephen Colbert": a brief retrospective. Truthiness - The White House Correspondents' Dinner - Better Know a District - Formidable Opponent - Tek Jansen - Papa Bear - I Am America (And So Can You!) - Americone Dream - The ThreatDown - Late Night Fight! - Testifying to Congress - The Rally to Restore Sanity - Colbert Super PAC - Maurice Sendak - Wheat Thins - Lorna Colbert - Tolkien-off - Ask a Grown Man - The Decree. So much more inside.

Non-Report stuff:

Prince Charles scandal
Ted Hitler
A poor Virginia turd miner
Colbert on Whose Line is it Anyway?
King of Glory (Liturgical Dance)
The Best of Phil Ken Sebben
Previously on MeFi


Early promos: (1 - 2 - 3 - 4)
The First Episode
The Word: Truthiness
Better Know a District: Barney Frank
The On-Notice Board (make your own!)
Guest-hosting Sesame Street's All-Star Alphabet


Stephen Colbert at the White House Correspondents' Dinner
The Word: Wikiality
The DaColbert Code (2 - 3)
Phil Gingrey is a Georgia peach
Rep. Lynn Westmoreland vs. the Ten Commandments
Eleanor Holmes Norton is not an American
Robert Wexler enjoys cocaine because...
The Art of Manliness
The Hungarian bridge campaign
Formidable Opponent
Filliam H. Muffman
Tek Jansen! (previously)
Equations are the devil's sentences
2006 midterms reaction
Colbert vs. The Decemberists guitar solo challenge


Colbert on the O'Reilly Factor
Backstage at the Report
Cheating Death with Dr. Stephen T. Colbert, D.F.A.
I Am America (And So Can You!)
Americone Dream
Jane Fonda cozies up to Stephen
Stephen Colbert, for your editing pleasure


Giant inflatable poos, Mr. Cookenboo, and Killer iPhones
Alan Rabinowitz and the plight of the voiceless
An Anthemic Duet with Steve Carrell
Jon and Stephen play the Alphabet Game
Howard Dean says "bye"
Late Night Fight!
Obama wins the presidency
Colbert's portrait at the Smithsonian
A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All


Colbert's cosmic treadmill
Who's Attacking Me Now?
Obama and the National Day of Prayer
The General and the Haircut


Testimony to Congress on migrant farm workers
Thoughts on the BP oil spill
Even Stepvhens
Welcoming the troops home
Dr. Strangelove and Mutually Assured Coercion
At the Vancouver Olympics
The Rally to Restore Sanity (and/or Fear)
Stephen takes O'Reilly to task on scripture


Munchma Quchi
Palin Fatigue
Atlas Shrugged and Objectivism
Tribute to Steve Jobs
Colbert Super PAC (and the 2012 aftermath)


Fantastic interview with Maurice Sendak
Colbert Talks at Google
Oprah interviews Colbert
The Playboy interview
Wheat Thins
Interviewing Clint Eastwood... 's Chair
On Rick Perry's TV ads


Boston Marathon bombing
Remembering Lorna Colbert
Stephen's sister for Congress! (aftermath)
Colbert's first Emmy
Get Lucky
On a small Kentucky town's anti-LGBT discrimination push
Tolkien showdowns with James Franco


Stephen congratulates Jimmy Fallon on his late-night promotion
Ask a Grown Man: Stephen Colbert
Best Crack-ups
President Obama takes the helm and sits for an interview (part 2)
Interview with Smaug
Everything pulled from under the desk
Interactive virtual tour of the studio

"Stephen Colbert": 1997-2014

MetaFilter: Another step into the future for cybernetics

Colorado shoulder-level double-amputee Les Baugh successfully controls two robot arms by thought alone, allowing him to put cups on shelves and perhaps buy a soda from a machine. BusinessInsider has more details.

No word yet on whether the soda will be orange or lemon-lime. Text-Slugify-0.002

create URL slugs from text

Recent additions: rhythm-game-tutorial 0.1

Added by FumiakiKinoshita, Fri Dec 19 03:03:06 UTC 2014.

Haskell rhythm game tutorial

Slashdot: Satellite Captures Glowing Plants From Space

sciencehabit writes About 1% of the light that strikes plants is re-emitted as a faint, fluorescent glow—a measure of photosynthetic activity. Today, scientists released a map of this glow as measured by the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2, a NASA satellite launched in July with the goal of mapping the net amount of carbon in the atmosphere. The map reveals that tropical rainforests near the equator are actively sucking up carbon, while the Corn Belt in the eastern United States, near the end of its growing season, is also a sink. Higher resolution fluorescence mapping could one day be used to help assess crop yields and how they respond to drought and heat in a changing climate.

Read more of this story at Slashdot. Memcached-libmemcached-1.001800-TRIAL1

Thin fast full interface to the libmemcached client API Alt-Acme-Math-XS-EUMM-0.0.11

Math is HARD (faster!)

Hackaday: Touching Light with Haptic Feedback

Many of us have gone on a stationary romp through some virtual or augmented scape with one of the few headsets out in the wild today. While the experience of viewing a convincing figment of reality is an exciting sensation in itself, [Mark Lee] and [Kevin Wang] are figuring out how to tie other senses into the mix.

The duo from Cornell University have built a mechanical exoskeleton that responds to light with haptic feedback. This means the wearer can touch the sphere of light around a source as if it were a solid object. Photo resistors are mounted like antenna to the tip of each finger, which they filed down around the edges to receive a more  diffused amount of light. When the wearer of the apparatus moves their hand towards a light source, the sensors trigger servo motors mounted on the back of the hand to actuate and retract a series of 3D printed tendons which arch upward and connect to the individual fingers of the wearer. This way as the resistors receive varying amounts of light, they can react independently to simulate physical contours.

One of the goals of the project was to produce a working proof of concept with no more than 100 dollars worth of materials, which [Mark] and [Kevin] achieve with some cash to spare. Their list of parts can be found on their blog along with some more details on the project.

Filed under: Virtual Reality Alt-Acme-Math-XS-CPP-0.0.2

Math is HARD (faster!)

Recent additions: rhythm-game-tutorial 0.0

Added by FumiakiKinoshita, Fri Dec 19 02:53:46 UTC 2014.

Haskell rhythm game tutorial Alt-Acme-Math-XS-EUMM-0.0.10

Math is HARD (faster!)

explodingdog: i could love you forever

i could love you forever

The Shape of Code: Snobol 4, Simula 67, Smalltalk, sed, SQL, SETL, Scratch and Spreadsheet

S is for Snobol 4, Simula 67, Smalltalk, sed, SQL, SETL, Scratch and Spreadsheet.

Snobol 4 was the go to language for text generation and pattern matching before PERL/Python became widespread in the late 1990s (if your PERL/Python code is too slow try Snobol, compilers generating machine code have been written for it since the 1970s). It is a boutique language that entrances many people who encounter the Green book (your author fell under its spell as an undergraduate).

Simula 67 was the first object oriented language. However, 30 years went by before object-oriented programming could be said to have entered general use (some people would claim that this has still not happened). Yes, lots of developers were using C++ compilers in the late 1980s, but only because they wanted to look trendy and be able to list the language on their CV. During the late 1980s and early 1990s I was heavily involved with the static analysis of C using an in-house tool and found that a lot of C++ source could be handled by adding a few extensions to the tool, such as handling new (rather than malloc) and allowing class to be used where struct should have appeared. It was not until the mid-90s that parsing C++ source with an extended C parser became problematic on a regular basis (and then often only because of the use of iostreams).

Back in the day it was said that only Scandinavians understood OO programming. I think the real reason was that only Scandinavians understood the English used in the book written by the language designers: “Simula BEGIN” by Birtwistle, Dahl, Myrhaug and Nygaard (there is a rave review on Amazon, I wonder if the reviewer is Scandinavian).

Smalltalk is invariably the language of choice for object-oriented purists. I know of several development groups in industry that choose to use Smalltalk because they wanted to really learn how to do things the OO ‘way’ (Smalltalk is all objects, its users cannot do anything in a non-OO way); I don’t know what those subsequently responsible for maintaining of the code thought about this rationale.

The ‘launch’ of Smalltalk in the UK by Goldberg and crew happened before Apple’s Macintosh made Xerox PARC famous, and the talk was all about message passing being the future and everybody being able to modify any behavior of their operating environment (we were shown Smalltalk’s flexibility by a speaker who changed the definition of an operation that defined how the borders of windows were displayed; they agreed that this was potentially dangerous but that users soon learned by their mistakes). The launch of the Macintosh changed the whole PARC narrative.

Thinking back, the only thing that stopped the Smalltalk team inventing Open Source was the fact they thought it so obvious to ship the source of everything that it was not worth mentioning.

sed gets a mention as the most unlikely language used to implement a Turing machine.

SQL is invisible to developer who don’t use it because publishing SQL source is generally pointless unless the appropriate data is also available. There is a lot of SQL lurking (as text strings) within the source of programs written in other languages. If you want to see some SQL then check out the Javascript embedded in a lot of the web pages you read.

SETL is a Cambrian explosion language which has had a small, but influential, user base.

Scratch suffers from being thought of as a language for children. If touch screens had been around when people first started inventing programming languages I’m sure things would be very different today, where most developers think that real programs are written in lines of text.

Spreadsheet languages have for a long time been a neglected topic from the perspective of tools to find faults and programming language research. Things are starting to change in industry and hopefully the work of keen academics will be appreciated in academia.

Things to read

The SNOBOL4 Programming Language by Ralph E. Griswold, J. F. Poage, and I. P. Polonsky.

Every language has its blind spot, the techniques that should never be written using that language. In the case of SQL it is tree data structures: “Joe Celko’s Trees and Hierarchies in SQL for Smarties” by Joe Celko.

Twitch: Trailer Alert! Tsui Hark's THE TAKING OF TIGER MOUNTAIN Opening In US On January 2

The Taking of Tiger Mountain, the latest film from the iconic Tsui Hark, has found distribution in the USA through Well Go USA. The deal, brokered within the last few days, puts the film on US screens in record time with a US premiere on January 2, and Canadian screens on January 9, following a Christmas opening in China. Here's the synopsis from Well Go:Tsui Hark's thrilling adaptation of Qu Bo's beloved adventure novel stars Tony LEUNG Ka-fai as a ruthless bandit, ruling the lands of Northeast China from his fortress on Tiger Mountain. A captain of the Liberation Army (LIN Gengxin) launches a counter-insurgency against the dictator with a skilled investigator (ZHANG Hanyu) sent to destroy the gang from the inside.I love Tsui Hark...

[Read the whole post on]

Slashdot: Investigation: Apple Failing To Protect Chinese Factory Workers

mrspoonsi writes with the findings of an investigation into working conditions at a factory that makes Apple products. Poor treatment of workers in Chinese factories which make Apple products has been discovered by an undercover BBC Panorama investigation. Filming on an iPhone 6 production line showed Apple's promises to protect workers were routinely broken. It found standards on workers' hours, ID cards, dormitories, work meetings and juvenile workers were being breached at the Pegatron factories. Apple said it strongly disagreed with the programme's conclusions. Exhausted workers were filmed falling asleep on their 12-hour shifts at the Pegatron factories on the outskirts of Shanghai. One undercover reporter, working in a factory making parts for Apple computers, had to work 18 days in a row despite repeated requests for a day off. Another reporter, whose longest shift was 16 hours, said: "Every time I got back to the dormitories, I wouldn't want to move. Even if I was hungry I wouldn't want to get up to eat. I just wanted to lie down and rest. I was unable to sleep at night because of the stress."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Instructables: exploring - featured: Christmas Tree Napkin Fold

Learning this Christmas tree napkin fold technique really upped my holiday table setting game and I'd like to spread the (napkin) joy. The following super simple steps result in nothing less than a modern, classy, and I can't help but say it, adorable way to work your napkins into the dinner mix.Le...
By: Paige Russell

Continue Reading »

Computer Science: Theory and Application: A Breakdown and Analysis of the December, 2014 Sony Hack

submitted by InfinityCircuit
[link] [2 comments]

Twitch: Our First Look At Jessica Chastain In Del Toro's CRIMSON PEAK

Why, hello there Jessica Chastain. What a lovely and dark dress you have on. It complements the creepy stairwell you are standing in wonderfully. According to a report over at Indiewire this is our first look at Chastain as Lady Lucille Sharpe in wardrobe for Guillermo Del Toro's Gothic chiller Crimson Peak. It is everything that we have come to expect from Gothic cinema. The costume was designed by Kate Hawley who worked with Del Toro on Pacific Rim and has moved on to Suicide Squad since. In the aftermath of a family tragedy, an aspiring author is torn between love for her childhood friend and the temptation of a mysterious outsider. Trying to escape the ghosts of her past, she is swept away to a house...

[Read the whole post on]

Greater Fool - Authored by Garth Turner - The Troubled Future of Real Estate: Going negative

In case you missed it, Wall Street exploded higher on Thursday (421 points), but oil resumed its slide ($54.11) and the layoff notices are flowing in Calgary. This is the kind of world this pathetic blog told you to be on the lookout for. And prepare for. It’s a world in which you want to own financials, not stuff. More US and less Canada.

In the ‘stuff’ category is houses. And it’s started.

Home sales in the first two weeks of December didn’t really move from last year. Says local perma-bull realtor/pumper Mike Fotiou, in awe: “Sales could fall below year ago levels.  Falling sales is a precursor to falling prices.” And listings are bloating while sales stutter, showing lots of cowboys have decided to absence is the better part of valour. New listings have spiked 35% and active listings are up by a third compared to last year.

Says Mike, now on a Prozac-and-JD diet, “If sales drop off in 2015 as many expect, inventory will continue to grow and result in depressed prices.”

Ex-realtor and housing consultant Ross Kay, who has the same relation with CREA that Sony does with Kim Jong-un, says he saw this coming. “Calgary went negative on December 15th,” he tells me, “and Toronto went negative on December 16th, a week earlier than we predicted.”

That means, according to his numbers (which weed out the usual realtor number-massaging) that Calgary sales are down about 1% from last year, while Toronto’s are flat. “As of December 17th sales volumes in both Calgary and Toronto are now in the negative, comparing apples to apples.”

Of course, most people haven’t heard this, because they get their news from the MSM, which gets it from the real estate boards. According to the Toronto cartel, sales increased by 1.9% in the last two weeks (over the same time last year), and “Greater Toronto Area households remain upbeat about buying a home, as evidenced by the increase in sales compared to last year.” The board also says the average price is 8.6% higher than a year ago, but fails to mention it’s $24,259 lower (a decline of 4.1%) than in April.

Meanwhile, more and more souls are starting to discover this dichotomy between financials and bricks. The Bank of Canada now warns houses are inflated, joining the IMF, World Bank, The Economist, Morningstar, most US ratings agencies, Robert Shiller and Demographia (among others). I gave you a hunk of a column by CBC editor Don Pittis the other day saying similar. Now pesky little Rob Carrick at the Globe is back on board.

“The ugly stuff going on in the stock market lately could happen in housing,” he warned the other day. “So follow the same 10-year rule as a home buyer that you should as an investor. If you can’t wait a decade or more for your transaction to make financial sense, don’t do it.”

Did he clear that with the advertising department, I wonder? Or the dinglenuts on the city desk who use words like ‘hot’, ‘torrid’ and ‘steamy’ to describe every realtor release? (Now I’m a little aroused.)

Apparently not. “It’s time to start getting real about housing – the longer it keeps rising, the sharper the ensuing adjustment will be. We live in a jittery, news-saturated financial world today that can take shifts in sentiment about assets such as oil or stocks and amplify them into wipeout trends. Houses don’t have immunity. They are financial assets, just like stocks, gold bars and gallons of oil, which is to say prices move both up and down.”

Absolutely. But the trouble is, with 49% of all real estate buys now being done by virgins, many of them weren’t even little wrigglers when the last housing wipeout occurred in the early 1990s. They have no idea that 10% or 20% of their equity can be blown off in a few months, or that interest rates weren’t always 3% (and soon won’t be, again).

Worse – as the wise people now flooding realtors’ offices with listings in Cowtown know – real estate can get colder than you spouse when you buy her a Dyson Cyclone Upright for Christmas. Houses become illiquid astonishingly quick. The slower sales get, the more listings accumulate and the more reticent buyers become. Only meaningful price hacks can entice the brave to buck the trend and buy. Wait. You’ll see this is so.

Meanwhile, why did investors storm Wall Street this week? Because cheap oil, that’s hurting Calgary (where houses cost twice what they do in Houston), will accelerate growth by increasing the disposable income of millions who now spend less on gas and home heating. Ditto in Europe, Japan and China. All the leading indicators are green, and 2015 looks to be one promising mother of a year for financials.

No surprise here, though. How many times have people been told that with epic debt and a single, swollen asset, all we needed was one economic shock to change everything?

Looks like it landed.

Slashdot: Critical Git Security Vulnerability Announced

An anonymous reader writes Github has announced a security vulnerability and has encouraged users to update their Git clients as soon as possible. The blog post reads in part: "A critical Git security vulnerability has been announced today, affecting all versions of the official Git client and all related software that interacts with Git repositories, including GitHub for Windows and GitHub for Mac. Because this is a client-side only vulnerability, and GitHub Enterprise are not directly affected. The vulnerability concerns Git and Git-compatible clients that access Git repositories in a case-insensitive or case-normalizing filesystem. An attacker can craft a malicious Git tree that will cause Git to overwrite its own .git/config file when cloning or checking out a repository, leading to arbitrary command execution in the client machine. Git clients running on OS X (HFS+) or any version of Microsoft Windows (NTFS, FAT) are exploitable through this vulnerability. Linux clients are not affected if they run in a case-sensitive filesystem....Updated versions of GitHub for Windows and GitHub for Mac are available for immediate download, and both contain the security fix on the Desktop application itself and on the bundled version of the Git command-line client."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Hackaday: Crypto Photography and Custom Firmware

Imagine a camera that took encrypted pictures. If your camera is stolen, the only thing on the memory card would be random data that can only be unlocked with a key. If you hire a photographer, those images cannot be copied without the key. At the very least, it’s an interesting idea made impressive because this actually exists.

[Doug] recently got his hands on a Samsung NX300, a nice camera for the price that conveniently runs Linux and is kinda open-sourced by Samsung. With special firmware, [Doug] created public/private key encryption for this camera, giving only the person with the private key the ability to unlock the pictures taken with this camera.

[Doug] started his build by looking at the firmware for this camera, figuring out how to take everything apart and put it back together. With a few modifications that included encryption for all images taken with this camera, [Doug] repackaged the firmware and upgraded the camera.

The encryption firmware is available on the site, but considering how easily [Doug] was able to make this hack happen, and a great walkthrough of how to actually do it raises some interesting possibilities. The NX300 is a pretty nice camera that’s a little bit above the Canon PowerShot cameras supported by CHDK. It also runs Linux, so if you’re looking for something cool to do with a nice camera, [Doug] has a very good resource.

Filed under: digital cameras hacks

Slashdot: Marissa Mayer's Reinvention of Yahoo! Stumbles

schnell writes The New York Times Magazine has an in-depth profile of Marissa Mayer's time at the helm of Yahoo!, detailing her bold plans to reinvent the company and spark a Jobs-ian turnaround through building great new products. But some investors are saying that her product focus (to the point of micromanaging) hasn't generated results, and that the company should give up on trying to create the next iPod, merge with AOL to cut costs and focus on the unglamorous core business that it has. Is it time for Yahoo! to "grow up" and set its sights lower?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Recent additions: concraft-hr

Added by vjeranc, Thu Dec 18 23:26:23 UTC 2014.

Part-of-speech tagger for Croatian

All Content: Thumbnails 12/18/14



"U.S. Said to Find North Korea Ordered Cyberattack on Sony": David E. Sanger and Nicole Perlroth of The New York Times report how American officials concluded that North Korea was "centrally involved" in the hacking of Sony Pictures. Related: Kim Zetter of Wired offers a rebuttal, arguing, "the evidence that North Korea hacked Sony is flimsy."

“Hours before Sony canceled the movie, the four largest theater chains in the United States — Regal Entertainment, AMC Entertainment, Cinemark and Carmike Cinemas — and several smaller chains said they would not show ‘The Interview’ as a result of the threat. The cancellations virtually killed the movie as a theatrical enterprise, at least in the near term, one of the first known instances of a threat from another nation pre-empting the release of a movie. While intelligence officials have concluded that the cyberattack was both state-sponsored and far more destructive than any seen before on American soil, there are still differences of opinion over whether North Korea was aided by Sony insiders with knowledge of the company’s computer systems, senior administration officials said. ‘This is of a different nature than past attacks,’ one official said. An attack that began by wiping out data on corporate computers — something that had been previously seen in South Korea and Saudi Arabia — had turned ‘into a threat to the safety of Americans,’ the official said. But echoing a statement from the Department of Homeland Security, the official said there was no specific information that an attack was likely.”


"The Prestige Freak Show: Eddie Redmayne's Metamorphosis in 'The Theory of Everything'": Movie Mezzanine's Angelo Murreda examines the Oscar hype centering on Redmayne's portrayal of Stephen Hawking.

“Actors’ chameleonic efforts to reject the defining biological and social cards they’ve been dealt is widely celebrated to the point of being fetishized outside of prestige season, to be sure. You could think of Leos Carax’s ‘Holy Motors,’ for example, as a mildly satirical essay about precisely this fixation, on how actors become other people while more or less staying within the confines of their own bodies. But there is a tendency to crank the hype dial on the perfectly fine work of handsome performers like Redmayne that is particular to this year-end moment—a habit of treating as inherently laudatory an able-bodied actor’s bodily contortions in service of a supposedly authentic rendering of a disabled subject. Put another way, the de facto celebration of Redmayne’s project owes less to his arduous task of inhabiting an idiosyncratic genius like Hawking—the suffering savant being another type well-served by the Oscars—and more to his ostensible daring in trespassing through a body that is so visibly not his own, the better for us to marvel without shame at Hawking’s physical transformation while celebrating the performer’s.”


"Why the message of the Hunger Games films is dangerous": The Washington Post's Peter Bloom argues that the franchise's "adolescent rebellion is increasingly common in real adult fantasies."

“The latest Hunger Games film, ‘Mockingjay – Part 1,’ is topping the international box office. Although it’s a Hollywood blockbuster aimed at young adults, it presents potentially quite subversive ideas of mass revolution, economic sabotage and the populist fight against oligarchy. These themes of popular uprising are particularly relevant in light of the current civil unrest happening across the world from the streets of Hong Kong to those of U.S. – the latest Hunger Games has tapped into a certain zeitgeist of global rebellion. Thailand’s pro-democracy protestors have even directly borrowed the movie’s three-fingered symbol of resistance in their own struggles against a repressive regime. Adding fuel to this fire, one of its main stars Donald Sutherland recently declared: ‘I want Hunger Games to stir up a revolution.’ Despite these heady sentiments, the film’s depiction of revolution is astonishingly simple, an adolescent vision of toppling an ‘evil’ authority figure. Sure, this isn’t surprising as it’s meant for young adults, but in the context of political spillover this anti-authoritarian vision becomes more troubling. It reinforces prevailing Western ideas of social change – fastening on the idea that all one needs do is eradicate the enemy. And worryingly, it appears that this sort of adolescent rebellion isn’t just consigned to teenage entertainment, but also increasingly forms our real adult fantasies.”


"'Gone with the Wind': Is it America's strangest film?": BBC's Nicholas Barber is perplexed by the 1939 landmark.

“‘Gone with the Wind’ has been regarded as one of Hollywood’s crown jewels for so long that it’s easy to take its status for granted. We remember the sweeping scope and the bold Technicolor vistas; we think of Vivien Leigh’s pert beauty and Clark Gable’s unparalleled ability to make a moustache look sexy; we picture their characters’ torrid clinches and verbal sparring; and we imagine that it’s the kind of film which audiences were always bound to adore. But if you rewatch ‘Gone with the Wind’ now, what’s striking is how head-spinningly strange the entire thing is. Far from being simple, wholesome family entertainment, the film is an admiring portrait of a conniving, lying, mercenary seductress. It’s a valentine to the slave-owning South, and a poison-pen letter to the anti-slavery North. It’s a tonal rollercoaster that plunges from frothy comedy to gruelling tragedy and back again. It’s a romance that puts the hero and heroine at each other’s throats. And it’s an episodic coming-of-age story that keeps going for nearly four hours before reaching its abrupt, unresolved ending. In short, Gone with the Wind is a preposterous, almost unclassifiable mix of highly questionable elements. The wonder is not just that it’s America’s most beloved film, but that it isn’t America’s most hated.”


"Alfred Hitchcock's Fade to Black: The Great Director's Final Days": At The Daily Beast, David Freeman recalls his experiences as the screenwriter of the Master of Suspense's last, unfinished film.

“The screenwriter Ernest Lehman, who wrote ‘North by Northwestamong other films, did several drafts of a script, based mainly on the novel. For reasons Lehman may someday wish to enumerate, he and Hitchcock had a falling out. So Hitchcock asked Universal to find him ‘a younger man.’ That must have galled Lehman, who is twenty years younger than Hitchcock. At the time, I had been doing a lot of script rewriting, some of it for Universal. I was asked to dance.The general agenda of our working sessions was similar in form to those I was used to with other directors, producers, or writers. That is, we discussed character motivation, situation, and story continuity. But with Hitchcock it was different in one important way: ‘First you decide what the characters are going to do. Then you provide them with enough characteristics to make it seem plausible that they should do it.’ This is a heretical view and if it were left at that, I don't think much good would come of it. The traditional wisdom is ‘action is character,’ and their evolution is one, with a slight edge to character. But when Hitchcock did get around to the characters, he discussed and analyzed their motives and their goals in depth. He might talk about the ‘what’ first, but it was the ‘who’ that was on his mind.”

Image of the Day

Cameron Bird of The California Sunday Magazine illustrates how production designer David Crank and art director Ruth De Jong went about capturing Thomas Pynchon's "alternative Los Angeles" in Paul Thomas Anderson's "Inherent Vice."

Video of the Day

With Christian Bale starring in the new Terrence Malick film, Nelson Carvajal offers his own splendid mash-up of Nolan's "The Dark Knight" and Malick's upcoming "Knight of Cups."

All Content: The Individual Top Tens of 2014


Yesterday, we released the consensus Top Ten Films of 2014. Today, we dig deeper, presenting you with all submitted lists from our wonderful critics and independent contributors. There are over a hundred films cited below as one of the best of 2014, displaying both the diversity in quality at the cinema this year and the unique voices that cover it for our site. We asked contributors to submit whatever they liked in terms of length and some submitted just a list, while others went deeper. It's huge (25 lists!) but it should give you an overall picture of the year in film, complete with dozens of links back to our reviews. Just for visual purposes, the people who just submitted lists are first, followed by those who went into more detail, both groups alphabetical. Dig in.

1. "Under the Skin"
2. "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
3. "Abuse of Weakness"
4. "The Raid 2"
5. "20,000 Days on Earth"
6. "Calvary"
7. "Dance of Reality"
8. "Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa"
9. "Venus in Fur"
10. "Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons"

1. "Interstellar"
2. "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
3. "Gone Girl"
4. "Under the Skin"
5. "Two Days, One Night"
6. "Mr. Turner"
7. "Force Majeure"
8. "Only Lovers Left Alive"
9. "Edge of Tomorrow"
10. "John Wick"

1. "We Are the Best!"
2. "Boyhood"
3. "Stray Dogs"
4. "Mr. Turner"
5. "My Name is Salt"
6. "Out in the Night"
7. "Dance of Reality"
8. "Two Days, One Night"
9. "Only Lovers Left Alive"
10. "The Grand Budapest Hotel"

1. "Citizenfour"
2. "Ida"
3. "Foxcatcher"
4. "The Immigrant"
5. "Winter Sleep"
6. "Rich Hill"
7. "Beloved Sisters"
8. "Birdman"
9. "Last Days in Vietnam"
10. "Manuscripts Don't Burn"

1. "Interstellar"
2. "Life Itself"
3. "The Lego Movie"
4. "Gone Girl"
5. "Birdman"
6. "Citizenfour"
7. "Snowpiercer"
8. "Whiplash"
9. "Wild"
10. "Force Majeure"

1. "Boyhood"
2. "Calvary"
3. "Interstellar"
4. "Ida"
5. "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
6. "Edge of Tomorrow"
7. "Joe"
8. "Gone Girl"
9. "The Babadook"
10. "Omar"

1. "Actress"
2. "Listen Up, Philip"
3. "Inherent Vice"
4. "Mommy"
5. "The Double"
6. "Wild Tales"
7. "Dear White People"
8. "Force Majeure"
9. "It Felt Like Love"
10. "Birdman"

1. "Selma"
2. "Gone Girl"
3. "Under the Skin"
4. "Locke"
5. "Force Majeure"
6. "Snowpiercer"
7. "The Immigrant"
8. "Foxcatcher"
9. "The Boxtrolls"
10. "The Grand Budapest Hotel"

1. "Inherent Vice"
2. "Boyhood"
3. "Two Days, One Night"
4. "Gone Girl"
5. "The Strange Little Cat"
6. "Goodbye to Language"
7. "The Last of the Unjust"
8. "Whiplash"
9. "The Immigrant"
10. "Interstellar"

1. "Inherent Vice"
2. "Last of the Unjust"
3. "Boyhood"
4. "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
5. "Goodbye to Language"
6. "Selma"
7. "Birdman"
8. "Maps to the Stars"
9. "The Immigrant"
10. "Under the Skin"

CHRISTY LEMIRE (more here)
1. "Birdman"
2. "Boyhood"
3. "Under the Skin"
4. "The Lego Movie"
5. "Locke"
6. "Ida"
7. "Only Lovers Left Alive"
8. "Gone Girl"
9. "A Most Violent Year"
10. "Snowpiercer"

"A Most Violent Year"
"The Babadook"
"Inherent Vice"
"Land Ho!"
"Life Itself"
"The Raid 2"
"Two Days, One Night"
"Under the Skin"
"Venus in Fur"
Runner-ups: "A Most Wanted Man," "Boyhood," "Dear White People," "Gone Girl," "Happy Valley," "How to Train Your Dragon 2," "Listen Up, Philip," "Love is Strange," "Selma" and "Snowpiercer"

1. "Stranger by the Lake"
2. "The Strange Little Cat"
3. "Force Majeure"
4. "The Lego Movie"
5. "Mr. Turner"
6. "Guardians of the Galaxy"
7. "Lucy"
8. "Nymphomaniac"
9. "Beyond the Lights"
10. "The Immigrant"

1. "Inherent Vice"
2. "Under the Skin"
3. "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
4. "Only Lovers Left Alive"
5. "Goodbye to Language"
6. "Selma"
7. "Ida"
8. "Nightcrawler"
9. "Stray Dogs"
10. "Boyhood"

1. "Whiplash"
2. "Boyhood"
3. "Life Itself"
4. "Blue Ruin"
5. "The Lego Movie"
6. "Joe"
7. "Ida"
8. "The Babadook"
9. "Under the Skin"
10. "Selma"

1. "Under the Skin"
2. "Whiplash"
3. "A Most Violent Year"
4. "Gone Girl"
5. "Inherent Vice"
6. "Mommy"
7. "Two Days, One Night"
8. "Calvary"
9. "Ida"
10. "Selma"

Special Mention: "Life Itself," a film that holds such a close place to my heart that I couldn't possibly compare it to others.

Runner-ups: "Blue Ruin," "Boyhood," "Foxcatcher," "The Immigrant," "Listen Up, Philip," "Nightcrawler," "Only Lovers Left Alive," "The Overnighters," "Starred Up" and "Stray Dogs."

1. "Under the Skin"
2. "Whiplash"
3. "Stranger by the Lake"
4. "Love is Strange"
5. "Only Lovers Left Alive"
6. "Force Majeure"
7. "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
8. "Calvary"
9. "Obvious Child"
10. "The One I Love"

1. "Love is Strange"
All the movies in my top 5 moved me in one way or another, but Ira Sachs’ heartbreaking love story tops this list if only because it made me cry the hardest. Alfred Molina and John Lithgow join the ranks of great cinematic married couples; if you’ve ever been married or in a long term relationship, you will see you and your beloved reflected back in the interplay between them. Marisa Tomei provides solid supporting work as well. Sachs remains unafraid to let scenes run long, fueled by their quiet power. He lenses two of the most moving crying sequences I’ve ever seen, the last of which is a beautiful long take in a stairwell that destroyed me. A great NYC movie, a great love story and the best movie of 2014.

2. "Two Days, One Night"
After years of resisting you, Marion Cotillard, you’ve made me a true fan. See my blurb on this under our group 10 best for the reasons why.

3. "Beyond the Lights"
My review here at said all I can possibly say about this film, so at the risk of being redundant, let me once again speak of Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s brilliant dramatic and musical  turn, Minnie Driver’s wickedly good Mama Rose-style stage mother and Nate Parker’s suave, vulnerable and strong romantic co-lead. Delivers its message of empowerment and self-worth with great music and unabashedly broad emotions. Writer-Director Gina Prince-Bythewood continues her streak of films whose characters feel fleshed out and lived in, regardless of their color, gender or status.

4. "Selma"
More on this in my upcoming review. All I’ll say for now is that Ava DuVernay’s drama is as good in its intimate moments as it is in its epic scenes of chaotic violence. David Oyelowo embodies Martin Luther King as no other actor has, and he’s surrounded by a series of great character actors and Miss Sofia herself, Oprah Winfrey. Those of us who knew of DuVernay’s immense talent (and this includes Roger Ebert, of course) are not surprised at how skillfully she crafts Selma’s sense of urgency and timeliness.

5. "Snowpiercer"
Now let’s discuss Joon-Ho Bong’s rollercoaster ride of a sci-fi parable about class, climate control and the little engine that could. Taking place on a runaway train that circles the globe, Snowpiercer wears its messages on the same sleeve it uses to slap you silly with excitement. We follow the harrowing adventures of Captain America’s Chris Evans as he and his outmatched ragtag army barrel toward the riches at the head of the train. Each train car promises a new, extremely strange and disturbing set piece, from ax-wielding armies to Allison Pill as the perkiest teacher from Hell you’ll ever meet. Overseeing the mayhem is Tilda Swinton’s evil guardian of this galaxy. Saint Tilda’s must-see performance defies explanation.

6. "The Immigrant"
James Gray’s magnum opus is a hauntingly beautiful and sad meditation on being an outsider. Marion Cotillard is excellent in the first of her two appearances on this list, but Joaquin Phoenix bests her with his Swiss-watch accurate calibration of madness and passion. A tricky Jeremy Renner and a stoic Dagmara Dominczyk contribute fine supporting threads to the narrative fabric Gray weaves inside his impeccably constructed mise-en-scene. You feel transported in time, only to have Gray’s final shot break your heart into a million pieces. A movie this good shouldn’t have been treated as poorly as its famous distributor treated it.

7. "The Imitation Game"
Here’s a case where, as with The Social Network, my life as a programmer interferes with my critical sense. In many ways, The Imitation Game is a standard-issue biopic, one that typically fudges some details and downplays others for the same of dramatic license. Some of these criticisms are valid, but I couldn’t look away from Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance as Alan Turing. It was like watching the origin story of the personality type of my programming brethren; I was fascinated. Keira Knightley acquits herself nicely and any appearance by Charles Dance is bound to elevate a film a few notches.

8. "Force Majeure"
Want to get into an argument with your better half? Go see Ruben Ostlund’s hilarious and terrifying examination of the roles society imposes on men and women. Never has the question “What would you have done?” been so pointedly aimed at the audience. Contains the single most over-the-top hysterical crying jag in cinema history, bravely delivered by actor Johannes Bah Kuhnke. The discomfort of the audience at the Toronto Film Festival—folks didn’t know whether to laugh or take it seriously—perfectly encapsulates how this film plays on the viewer’s emotional equilibrium. A great provocation.

9. "Muppets Most Wanted"
As good as The LEGO Movie is, the kid in me found a bit more to love about this sequel to the 2011 Muppets reboot. What may have sealed the deal was songwriter Bret MacKenzie’s awesome disco-retro throwback song, “I’ll Get You What You Want.” Sung by an evil Kermit-lookalike who, in the course of seducing the materialistic side of Miss Piggy, smears a “Story Of O” worthy amount of Vaseline on the camera. Delivers on the funny human cameos while finding Jim Henson-like pathos in Kermit the Frog’s realization that his friends don’t even notice he’s gone. Only the original Muppet Movie surpasses this. It’s Face-Off for kids.

10. "Dear White People"
Justin Simien’s potent satire uses the university system as a microcosm for “post-racial” society at large, examining race, class and gender with equal doses of mockery and empathy. Simien’s characters are all quirky and real in ways not often seen onscreen; his refusal to completely beatify or damn anyone forces us to think more deeply about all these people. Tessa Thompson makes an excellent tour guide through the hallowed halls of Winchester University, but I found my alter ego in Tyler James Williams’ Lionel. If only my Afro looked this good back in 1975.

Runner-ups (in order): "Chef," "NAS: Time is Illmatic," "Leviathan," "The Lego Movie," "Top Five," "Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me," "Clouds of Sils Maria," "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," "Pride" and "Guardians of the Galaxy"

1. "Boyhood"
I was fortunate to be at the Sundance premiere, and I felt overwhelmed by the sense of exultation and release. Linklater’s lyrical realist style is beautiful to behold, like the opening, with its diaphanous cloud formations and the subtle camera movements tracing the face of the young boy lying on his back and staring into space.

“Boyhood” is a work of cinema, but it is informed by other artistic forms, like music, literature, photography. The movie is a free and open work dedicated to the act of seeing and watching. It’s an immersive portrait of a boy we see develop—physically, emotionally, socially—over a twelve year time period. The impact and power is transcendent. Before our eyes, a child becomes a young man, defiant, evocative and idiosyncratic. The movie atomizes the process, and makes it vivid, tenuous, funny, sad, vulnerable and finally rather heartbreaking experience.

2. "Winter Sleep"
The seventh feature by Turkey’s greatest director, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, captured the highest prize at Cannes, the Palme d’Or. The movie runs more than three hours, and every minute feels earned. The patient viewer is deeply rewarded by the superb way Ceylan negotiates outer and inner space, using length and duration to shape and color movement, feeling and incident.
The director dedicates the work to Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky, Chekhov and Voltaire. The movie’s protagonist, Aydin (Haluk Bilginer), combines characteristics of Lear, Prospero and Prince Hal. The visually stunning opening half gives way to something more caustic and withering, in exposing the sorrow and pain the man has caused in the sister who believes Audin squandered the privileges he was accorded and his beautiful, much younger wife who rebels against his authoritative nature.

Ceylan is more direct and expansive, concerned with how language distorts and conceals the material achieves a sustained and musical flow, despite the bitterness and rancor. It's a different kind of poetry, of faces and the architecture of bodies as the camera is unflinching and locked in. Sure, it’s long, but every moment pulses.

3. "Goodbye to Language"
“Godard forever,” a fan screamed just before the movie’s Cannes debut. For more than half a century, Godard has obliterated the boundaries of narrative cinema, layering image and sound, reportage and language, music and poetry, in ways that thrill, confound and mesmerize. For his first work in 3-D, Godard looks forward and backward, fusing many of the thematic concerns of his first period, especially the social, sexual and political deconstruction of a marriage, to a more ruminative, moral inquiry about to the very act of watching. In just 70 dense minutes, Godard meditates on the history of the art form. The director has mandated the film is to be shown, theatrically, only in 3-D.

4. "Inherent Vice"
The seventh feature of leading American independent Paul Thomas Anderson marks the first adaptation of a Thomas Pynchon novel. Anderson conjures a gorgeous, funny, sad and painful cinematic equivalent from the language, manners and social mores of Pynchon's 1970-set California novel about a private investigator (Joaquin Phoenix, never better) caught in a labyrinth involving a missing real estate tycoon, his dream lover, neo Nazi bikers, counterrevolutionaries, surfer rockers, a Chinese drug cartel and a runaway heiress.

Anderson's porous style is organic and grants a wonderful freedom and privileged aura to the perfect ensemble (this is one of those movies where every part just feels intuitively). Katherine Waterston and Josh Brolin are revelations. The intricate story, riffing on Raymond Chandler, is another of the director's trenchant and sharp explorations of damaged masculinity that here meshes perfectly with the darker edges of the material. Stylistically, Robert Elswit's soft, muted photography and the deft period recreation are a knockout.

5. "Only Lovers Left Alive"
The director's best film since "Dead Man," is also his most autobiographically inflected work. It's a magnificent portrait of love affair of two soulful, rapturous aesthetes (Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston) whose affair has passed through centuries. The references, from Paul Bowles to Shakespeare, color and accentuate the nervy and subtle interplay of the two. Hiddleston has the most beautiful voice in contemporary cinema and Swinton finds a plaintive emotional register that is haunting. French cinematographer Yorick Le Saux's camerawork, especially the eerie, desolate nighthawk imagery of a fading Detroit, is absolutely sensational.

6. "Listen Up, Philip"
From its adroit use of a narrator to the fonts of the credits and the sharply dramatized social milieu, the third feature of the New York independent Alex Ross Perry is a New York literary movie in the best sense. It achieves the peculiar and the entrancing. The story braids together two great literary works, William Gaddis’ debut novel, “The Recognitions,” and Philip Roth’s “The Ghost Writer,” as it meditates on the nature of ambition (especially the literary sort), friendship, jealousy and creative sabotage.

Perry’s great talent is to make the monstrous and self-pitying protagonist funny, reckless and gloriously entertaining. In his most concentrated work since “Rushmore,” Jason Schwartzman is note perfect as a vainglorious writer and misanthrope. Elisabeth Moss and Jonathan Pryce are also superb. Visually the film is a marvel in the saturated colors of the Super 16mm photography of Sean Price Williams and the evocative production design of Scott Kuzio.

7. "Norte, the End of History"
My personal introduction to the works of the radical Filipino filmmaker Diaz, a major figure on the film art festival circuit for his long, novelistic works of social history and existential crisis. In this riveting and magnetic work, Diaz draws on Dostoyevsky’s “Crime and Punishment” in exploring the intertwined fates of two men, the sociopathic law school dropout who kills a local moneylender and the impoverished street vendor jailed for the crime. One of the director’s rare forays into working in color, Diaz demonstrates a poet’s facility for faces, objects and landscapes. Like Edward Yang’s Taiwanese masterpiece “A Brighter Summer Day,” a murder becomes a widening inquiry into a country’s tortured past, a meditation on its fascist origins and extreme inequality.

8. "Mr. Turner"
The enthralling new work by Mike Leigh is a fragmented, impressionistic study of the last 25 years of the life and art of the visionary Romantic painter J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851). Leigh has been talking about making this movie for at least a decade, and his passion fortunately never suffocates the material. It’s enlivening and provides a bracing perspective of the painter.
Leigh regular Timothy Spall plays (or, more accurately, incarnates) the eponymous Joseph Mallord William Turner, prickly and self-contained, a man of enormous appetites and needs. The byplay between Turner and his father (the fantastic Paul Jesson), gruff and tender, and the widow, Mrs. Booth (Marion Bailey) with whom he carried out a clandestine affair, are absolutely entrancing and skillfully teases out aspects of character, reflection and mood that color the portraiture.

In elevating the restrictions of the biographical form, Leigh shows a great acumen and skill with the camera. It has been a revelation to chart his almost radical evolution as a filmmaker, from the early actor-driven, plaintive style of his 16mm works to the deeper range and subtlety of “Topsy-Turvy,” “Vera Drake”  and this commanding piece. Dick Pope is his cinematographer.

9. "Ida"
The first Polish-language feature of Pawlikowski (“My Summer of Love”)  is a mournful and devastating piece examining Poland’s cruel past that also poses tough, essential questions about forgiveness, shame, heroism and honor. Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska) is an attractive, committed novitiate nun in her late teens who is preparing to accept her vows discovers through her only living relative, her aunt Wanda (Agata Kulesza) that she is Jewish, and that her parents were murdered during the war.
The two women travel to the countryside to the family’s estate to uncover the truth. The austere black and white photography achieves a deft, eerie likeness to newsreel, especially the cold, almost medieval architecture and the empty landscapes. Ida’s innocence and confusion is contrasted with Wanda’s bitter though often riotously bleak dark humor. “Ida” is about two forms of horror collapsing against each other, the abuses perpetrated during the war framed against the privation of post-war Communism.

10. "Jimmy P."
This unfairly neglected film is the second English-language film by the superb French director Arnaud Desplechin (“Christmas Tale”) has almost no relationship to the director’s other work. Benicio Del Toro is a Native American and returning World War II infantryman whose unexplained neurological disorders necessitates the unorthodox treatment of a progressive French psychoanalyst (Desplechin regular Mathieu Amalric).

It was a great year for movies about food: the real stars of "Chef," "Le Chef," "The Hundred-Foot Journey," "The Trip to Italy" and "The Lunchbox" was the food, swoon-worthy lusciousness, delectably displayed.

Even without a new feature from Pixar, it was a spectacular year for animation: "The LEGO Movie," "The Boxtrolls," "Big Hero 6," "The Book of Life" and "Penguins of Madagascar" were all brilliantly imagined and performed.

Every year we get a lot of movies about the importance of friends and families and being yourself and following your dreams. This year, I was very happy that we also got a lot of movies about the importance and the pure, thrilling adventure of being really smart: "The Imitation Game," "The Theory of Everything," "Interstellar," "Big Hero 6."

As each year begins, I especially look forward to discovering new talents, knowing that there are people whose names I might not even know that I won't be able to imagine my life without twelve months later, or some I might have seen but who will transform our notion of who they are and what they can do by the end of December. This year, those actors include Gugu Mbatha-Raw ("Belle" and "Beyond the Lights"), Chris Pratt ("The LEGO Movie" and "Guardians of the Galaxy"), Rosamund Pike ("Gone Girl"), Ben Schnetzer ("Pride" and 2013's "The Book Thief"), Andrew Scott ("Sherlock" and "Pride"), Nelsan Ellis ("Get On Up"), Jillian Bell ("22 Jump Street"), and Jack O'Connell ("Unbroken").  Jon Stewart ("Rosewater"), Chris Rock ("Top Five"), and Angelina Jolie showed exceptional skill and a true cinematic eye as directors and Ava DuVernay's "Selma" was my favorite film of the year.

If you looked hard, you could even find some smart, grown-up, and very romantic love stories: "Beyond the Lights," "Words and Pictures" and "Begin Again."
Documentaries just keep getting better: "Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me," "Finding Vivian Maier," "Particle Fever," "CitizenFour," "1971," "The Unknown Known" and, best of all, "Life Itself."

The weirdest theme of 2014 was demonstrating the free spirit and adorableness of the movie's couple by having them run out on a restaurant check: "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby," "Le Week-end" and "Elsa & Fred." And in "Top Five" they jumped the subway turnstile. What's up with that?

Even though 2014 was The Year of the Horse, there weren't any horse-related movies that I'd put on my list. I thought 2014 was an exceptional year for animation. We finally got to see the much anticipated "The Tale of Princess Kaguya" from Studio Ghibli and "Song of the Sea" from the Cartoon Saloon. Despite the studio's financial woes, DreamWorks developed new software for "How to Train Your Dragon 2," making the fantasy of flying dragons even more realistic while maintaining a sense of humor.

I think the impact of "Guardians of the Galaxy" and "Big Hero 6" will be seen at the comic-cons and it's great to see more humor in superhero movies which sometimes can be too serious as humanity is vanquished by CGI.
The almost frightening importance of technology in today's world was illustrated in two documentaries: "Citizenfour" and "The Internet's Own Boy." The three documentaries on my list were all high tragedies, but "Life Itself" was the most personal and a fine farewell to my friend and mentor Roger Ebert.

Richard Linklater's "Boyhood" had a documentary feel to it. Don't we all wish to someday be able to wrap up our now media-driven lives in such a matter-of-fact way? We could watch our own evolution in the minor events of our lives.

The drama of our times is reflected in "Selma" where people of all races are answering a call for justice and in the more personal "Dear White People" and "Big Eyes."  I remember vividly when as a child, a boy my age told me I couldn't be an artist because I was a girl (just as so many people told me what I was and was not because of my race/ethnicity).

Lastly, as I started out as a theater critic, I still have fondness for the stage. "Birdman," "The Grand Budapest Hotel" and "Into the Woods" displayed a theatrical sensibility.

In alphabetical order, I list, not necessarily the best movies, but the movies I loved the most in 2014.

"Big Eyes"
"Big Hero 6"
"Dear White People"
"The Grand Budapest Hotel"
"Guardians of the Galaxy"
"Song of the Sea"
"The Tale of Princess Kaguya"
"How to Train Your Dragon 2"
"Into the Woods"
"The Internet's Own Boy"
"Life Itself"

"Beyond the Lights"
My colleague Odie Henderson said it all in his review. I will only add that "Beyond the Lights" is the kind of romance for grown-ups that Hollywood used to specialize in in its Golden Age. Gina Prince-Bythewood's "Love and Basketball" is a masterpiece, and has much in common with "Beyond the Lights". Prince-Bythewood is interested in characters who want more than just their own personal romantic happiness. She is interested in people who have stuff to do in life, giant interests and passions, and how does that fit with romantic love? "Beyond the Lights" creates an enormously emotional impact.

Emily's famous monologue at the end of Thorton Wilder's "Our Town" includes the desperate plea, "It goes so fast. We don’t have time to look at one another. I didn’t realize. So all that was going on and we never noticed." Richard Linklater's "Boyhood" meticulously and patiently presents the small moments of life, the ones that may seem incidental on the surface, casual and everyday, but are, in actuality, the real <i>stuff</i> of life, its guts, what we will want to hold onto at the end. The power of the film is not in what happens. It's in its presentation of minutia, the intricacies of relationships, the flow of time. Life isn't made up of big moments, it's made up of the accumulation of the small. You wouldn't know that from half of the films that are out there, but "Boyhood" understands.

"Closed Curtain"
A harrowing and brutal entry in the ongoing "De Profundis" of imprisoned and persecuted Iranian director Jafar Panahi, "Closed Curtain" is the story of a man hiding his dog from the authorities, as well as a cri de couer from the artist behind the camera. At one point, he himself strolls into the story, staring up at the giant posters on the wall, posters of the films that brought him world-wide acclaim: "The Circle," "Offside." At one point, he walks out into the sea across the road, a tiny figure, moving into the waves, perhaps never to return. After "This Is Not A Film" appeared, filmed in secret in Panahi's Tehran apartment and smuggled out of the country to premiere at Cannes, I wondered sadly if this would be the last we heard of him. The fact that "Closed Curtain" exists at all is a ferocious triumph, a lifted middle finger to those who have hounded him. At the same time, it is an intelligent, funny, and very angry film about an artist, a human, trying to do his thing in impossible circumstances. It was one of the most powerful experiences I had in a movie theatre this year.

"Force Majeure"
There are choices one makes in life that are irreversible. What is done cannot be undone. Such choices can have a domino effect, leaving a life in ruins. Ruben Östlund's glorious "Force Majeure" is about a man who makes such a choice in a panicked moment, a choice he tries to deny or laugh off at first, but in the end, has to accept the enormity of it. Taking place over the course of a short family vacation at a mountainous ski resort, "Force Majeure" is a brutal examination of one family's cracking under pressure, surrounded and dwarfed by the towering white slopes. Östlund is ruthless in his devotion to the complete disintegration of one man's sense of self, and how once that avalanche starts, nothing, but nothing, can stop it.

"The Grand Budapest Hotel"
Who knew that nostalgia for the Austro-Hungarian Empire would still "play" in this day and age? (It reminds me of Eddie Izzard's crack that that empire did nothing but "slowly collapse like a flan in a cupboard.") Inspired by the writings of Stefan Zweig (who killed himself in 1942 after fleeing his beloved Austria the decade before), "Grand Budapest Hotel" is an epic poem of nostalgia and slapstick comedy, a longing for a past that was already somewhat rotten, but had beautiful and precious things in it nonetheless. The production design and set decoration is unparalleled, the world created being both strange and somewhat familiar, like a landscape glimpsed in a dream, or in an old photograph. The illusion holds. The illusion holds in all of the performances, the music, the story, and the keening sense of longing running through the whole thing. "Grand Budapest Hotel" is a dazzling film.

A stunning accomplishment of film-making, storytelling, and acting, Pawel Pawlikowski's "Ida" tells the story of a young nun in 1960s Poland, about to take her vows, who goes on a quest to find out what happened to her parents. Pawlikowski places the figures at the bottom of the frame, with space looming above them, creating an overwhelming sensation of the burden of the past, the aftermath of WWII and the ensuing Stalinist years pressing down on the characters from above. Pawlikowski only moves the camera twice in the whole film. Each frame is static, and yet filled with electrical charges. "Ida" is arresting from start to finish, with magnificent performances from the two leads, Agata Trzebokowska and Agneta Kulesza.

"Inherent Vice"
Paul Thomas Anderson's adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's druggy 1970s L.A. noir is a dreamy druggy masterpiece, with a pulse of longing underlying every moment. Longing for what? A simpler time, a happier time, the hopes of the 60s drowned in the mud of Woodstock and shattered by the horror of what flower children were capable of under someone like Charles Manson. Altomont was coming. California was exhausted, broken. "Inherent Vice" is uneasy, paranoid, goofy, with a distinct sense of unreality, captured in every song choice, every performance. It's a big beautiful tangent of a movie. I reviewed it on my own site.

"Love is Strange"
My review for is here.

"Only Lovers Left Alive"
My thoughts are in our top ten films of the year.

"Under the Skin"
The best part of Jonathan Glazer's "Under the Skin" is that its essential mysteries only expand exponentially after the final frame. There is no easy summing-up, no "A-ha!" moment where things fall into place. All we have seen, so strange, and so frightening, seem even more so once the film ends. It's a mood piece, an art film, relentlessly itself, featuring effective non-acting performances, and an unforgettable sound design. "Under the Skin" is an anomaly, and a potent reminder that there is still a ton of room in the multiplexes for challenging material.

1. "Inherent Vice"
To sum up either the plot of Anderson's adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's screw-loose mystery novel or the countless reasons why I consider it to be the film of the year would require far more space--literally and figuratively--than the sentence of two available here. Suffice it to say, this hippie-era requiem disguised as a sort-of whodunnit (though one where the plot logistics are among the least important things on display) manages to work as both an incredibly successful translation of Pynchon's unique literary style into cinematic terms and as an homage to Robert Altman's blissed-out mystery classic "The Long Goodbye" while also coming across as a work as personal and distinct as anything that Anderson has done to date. Throw in a gallery of great performances across the board (led by a never-better Joaquin Phoenix), any number of huge laughs and other moments of surprising emotional power and the end result is the kind of movie that you will want to see again as soon as it is over--a good thing because this is one of those that actually gets better and deeper with each subsequent viewing.

2. "Boyhood"
Linklater's intimate epic, a 12-years-in-the-making chronicle of the childhood of an ordinary Texas boy (newcomer Ellar Coltrane) from age 7 to 18, was easily the most crazily ambitious American film of the year for any number of reasons but that is not why it wound up being one of the very best as well. That was the result of Linklater's increasingly deft touch as a filmmaker ranging from telling a story that is both unique and easily relatable to get top-notch performances from a cast consisting of veteran actors (Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke do some of their best work as the boy's divorced parents) and newcomers (Coltrane is a joy to watch throughout and Lorelei Linklater, Richard's daughter, is great as his older sister) alike. This is the sort of one-of-a-kind film that viewers of all ages are likely to treasure.

3. "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
Set in a mythical European country still recovering from the first World War even as it marches inexorably towards the second, the latest cinematic confection from Anderson focused on the sleazily debonair concierge (Ralph Fiennes, in a performance that demonstrated a heretofore unknown flair for comedy) of a lush hotel who finds himself on the run after being accused of murdering a wealthy dowager. At first glance, it appeared to be so completely removed from even the vaguest notions of reality thanks to its highly stylized look and crazy-quilt casting (including turns from the likes of Edward Norton, Willem Dafoe, Adrian Brody, Jeff Goldblum, Tilda Swinton, Lea Seydoux and Bill Murray, just to name a few) that it almost made Anderson's other films seem like slice-of-life dramas by comparison--it felt like a quaintly raised middle finger directed at critics that have complained that he has gotten more and more insular with each new film. However, as it went on, it quietly reveals heretofore unexpected depths beneath its candy-coated surface and even Anderson's most dedicated fans and foes were surprised to discover how powerful and effective it eventually proved itself to be.

4. "Gone Girl"
Fincher's adaptation of Gillian Flynn's best-selling novel about a seemingly picture-perfect marriage whose facade is brutally and publicly yanked away when the wife (Rosamund Pike in her long-overdue star-making performance) disappears on her fifth anniversary and her husband (Ben Affleck, as good as he has ever been) goes from sympathetic to a suspect in the public eye was the subject of huge pre-release hype but the end result was proof that just because a film is an enormous commercial proposition doesn't mean that it cannot be smart and provocative and deeply felt as well. It may appear to be just another conventional pop thriller on the surface but it quickly plunges viewers into unexpected and unexpectedly bracing waters. Fincher's direction of Flynn's own screenplay adaptation never steps wrong for a second, even when the story threatens to derail into lunacy, and the performances from the eclectic cast are  equally flawless. (Even Tyler Perry, whose acting performances in his own movies are as sloppy and undisciplined as can be, is flat-out great here as a publicity-hungry lawyer willing to take on the husband's case.)  Whether seen as a corrosive indictment of contemporary tabloid culture run amok, an equally incisive examination of a seemingly ideal marriage gone sour or as a superlative adaptation of a favorite book, this is a brilliantly crafted, endlessly twisty and darkly hilarious work that reconfirms Fincher's standing as one of the greatest filmmakers of our time.

5. "The Immigrant"
Under normal circumstances, one would think that Gray's film about the dark side of the immigrant experience as seen through the eyes of a Polish woman (Marion Cotillard) struggling to make it in New York City circa 1921 would be an automatic front-runner for all the year-end awards. After all, it tells a stirring historical drama in a way that feels fresh, vital and alive, the performances are spectacular (between her work her and in "Two Days, One Night," Cotillard was the actress of the year and as the sleaze who falls in love with her even as he is exploiting her, Joaquin Phoenix delivered another great turn) and was an impressive technical achievement to boot despite its relatively low cost. And yet, having barely dribbled it out into theaters this past summer in a manner that could only be described as grudging, The Weinstein Company seems to have chosen to forgo pursuing any of the awards that it so richly deserves. Ignore the lack of hype and check it out for yourself because this one, despite its apparent red-headed stepchild status among those charged with releasing it, is a real keeper.

6. "Under the Skin"
The basic premise for this film--an alien disguised as a gorgeous woman (Scarlett Johansson) prowls the streets of Glasgow luring men into a trap with her seductive nature until she begins to grow a moral center that  causes her to question her mission--makes it sound like one of those silly sleazefests that one stumbles upon inadvertently on Cinemax late at night but this haunting mind-bender from the director of "Sexy Beast" and "Birth" is anything but that. Combining a near-documentary shooting style (with a supporting cast consisting almost entirely of non-actors who were unaware that they were in a movie until after Glazer called "cut") with a brilliant deployment of Johansson's captivating screen presence and some of the creepiest moments to hit the screen in a long time (one of which, a overcast day at the beach gone horribly wrong, is one of the most terrifying things I can ever recall seeing in a film of any kind), the end result was an instant cult classic that is likely to mesmerize moviegoers for years to come.

7. "Lucy"
The year was filled with any number of over-the-top blockbusters but none of them were as stylish, exciting or cheerfully crazy as Besson's wild ride about an unwilling drug mule (Scarlett Johansson) who is transformed into a virtual superwoman after the drug package that has been sewn inside her stomach ruptures and causes her to access 100% of her brain's abilities. Yes, the story is complete nonsense--though no sillier than any other action epic you could name--but you will hardly notice thanks to Besson's exquisite visual style and the verve that he brings to his beautifully choreographed moments of mayhem, Johansson's charismatic and surprisingly soulful performance and a wildly audacious finale that provides all the required thrills while simultaneously managing to evoke the likes of "2001: A Space Odyssey" and "The Tree of Life." This was gourmet eye candy of the highest order and Besson's finest work since "Leon."

8. "Birdman"
See entry on site top ten.

9. "Abuse of Weakness"
Based on her own real-life experience, the always-provocative Breillat (whose previous films have included "Romance," "Fat Girl" and "The Last Mistress") recounts the story of a celebrated filmmaker (Isabelle Huppert) who first suffers a stroke and then, having recovered after more than 18 months of painful therapy, finds herself inexplicably falling under the sway of a slick con man (Kool Shen) who convinces her to eventually fork over nearly all of her savings. Why would a strong and intelligent person do such a thing? Obviously, there are no easy answers and to her credit, Breillat doesn't try to supply any. Instead, she gives us a cooly gripping examination of power, greed, emotional manipulation and simple human need anchored by a stunning performance from Huppert that, in a perfect world, would be contending for all the year-end awards in sight.

10. "Joe"
Nicolas Cage has appeared in more than his fair share of dreadful movies over the years (several of them this year alone, led by the inadvertently hilarious "Left Behind") but as his work in this rural melodrama in which he plays a man with a dark past struggling with his demons while trying to help a boy (Tye Sheridan) being abused by his monstrous father (Gary Poulter, a non-professional who died soon after production on the film was completed) shows, he is still more than capable of delivering a great performance when given the right material. The film also solidifies Green's standing as one of the most interesting young directors around after a recent career shift that saw him eschew the glories of "George Washington" and "All the Real Girls" for nonsense like "Your Highness" and "The Sitter"--the way that he manages to depict people on the lower rungs of the socioeconomic ladder without a hint of condescension is as impressive and valuable as ever. Admittedly, this is a bleak work and perhaps the only one of this list that most viewers might not want to watch a second time but one viewing is more than enough for it to stick with and haunt viewers long after other films are long forgotten.

My ten runners-up, a collection of films that could have made for a more than satisfactory 10 best list if the above films never existed, were Alejandro Jodorowsky's "The Dance of Reality," Roman Polanski's "Venus in Fur," Jim Jarmusch's "Only Lovers Left Alive," Pawel  Pawilkowski's "Ida," Lars von Trier's "Nymphomaniac," Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's "Two Days, One Night," Gillian Robespierre's "Obvious Child," Kelly Reichardt's "Night Moves," Ruben Ostlund's "Force Majeure" and Christopher Nolan's "Interstellar."

Note: I deliberately took "Life Itself," Steve James's documentary celebrating the life and work of Roger Ebert, out of consideration when putting together this list because of what struck me as being an obvious conflict of interest for any number of reasons. However, if I had allowed it to be considered, it would have landed a high place on the list because it was a beautiful piece of work that showed why he was so beloved, both as a critic and as a person, without ever once bogging down into hagiography. Even though it is occasionally difficult to watch, it nevertheless stands as a wonderful and eminently watchable tribute to a person that I was privileged to know both as a colleague and as a friend.

1. "Actress"
2. "Celestial Wives of the Meadow Mari"
3. "Hard to be a God"
4. "Night Moves"
5. "Inherent Vice"
6. "Over the Garden Wall"
7. "Listen Up, Philip"
8. "Only Lovers Left Alive"
9. "Manakamana"
10. "Beloved Sisters"

11 Scarily Good Performances that will not win awards: Michael C. Hall ("Cold In July"), Gene Jones ("The Sacrament"), Misty Upham ("Jimmy P."), Cecep Arif Rahman ("The Raid 2"), William Hurt ("Days and Nights"), Jonathan Pryce ("Listen Up, Philip"), Ryan Reynolds ("The Captive"), Pat Healy ("Cheap Thrills"), Uma Thurman ("Nymphomaniac"), Lisa Loven Kongsli ("Force Majeure") and Melanie Lynskey ("Over The Garden Wall").

10 Low Budget Films That Deserve(d) Blockbuster Treatment: "Actress," "Jealousy," "Night Moves," "Listen Up, Philip," "We Are The Best!," "Rambleras," "Natan," "The Babadook," 
"Obvious Child" and "The Strange Little Cat."

10 Future Candidates for The Unloved: "Automata," "Dracula Untold," "The Captive," "The Zero Theorem," "The Purge: Anarchy," "The Quiet Ones," "The Monuments Men," "Wolf Creek 2," "Dying of the Light" and "Noah"

10 Best B-­Movies of the Year: "Step Up All In," "The Two Faces of January," "The Purge: Anarchy," "Non­Stop," "The Guest," "Seventh Code," "Cold In July," "Cheap Thrills," "Blood Glacier" and "Enemies Closer."

10 films at which I laughed so hard I got looks from fellow patrons: "Listen Up, Philip," "Inherent Vice," "They Came Together," "Hill of Freedom," "La Sapienza," "The Grand Budapest Hotel," "Force Majeure," "Obvious Child," "22 Jump Street" and "Boyhood."

10 Midnight Movies in waiting: "The Congress," "Vanishing Waves," "A Field In England," "The Town That Dreaded Sundown," "The Double," "Zero Theorem," "Enemy," "The Boxtrolls," "Under The Skin" and "Inherent Vice."

10 Performances that single­handedly prop­up dreadful movies: Stacy Keach ("If I Stay"), Michael Fassbender ("Frank"), Michael Parks ("Tusk"), Shia Lebeouf ("Fury"), Ben Schwartz ("This is Where I Leave You"), Stanley Tucci ("Transformers: Age of Extinction"), James Gandolfini ("The Drop"), Radha Mitchell ("Bird People"), Eva Green  ("300: Rise of an Empire") and James McAvoy ("X­Men: Days of Future Past").

10 Actors who are officially "good in everything": Dave Bautista, Oscar Isaac, Eva Green, Adam Driver, Jenny Slate, Dan Stevens, Krysten Ritter, Jack O'Connell, Riz Ahmed and Sara Paxton

1. "Boyhood"
You have to admire this film not just for the amazing 12 year opus director Richard Linklater took us on, but for being an unforgettable cinema experience that has remained at the top of our minds throughout 2014. Linklater just creates worlds and characters we never want to leave, and hopefully this year he will get the award recognition he richly deserves. 

2. "The Theory of Everything"
Two of the best and most riveting documentaries I have ever seen was “Man on a Wire” and “Project Nim" so it’s no surprise director James Marsh has moved his considerable storytelling talents to drama. He eloquently tells the story of famous physicist Stephen Hawking and manages to elevate the well worn path of biopic with an outstanding central performance by Eddie Redmayne as Hawking.  

3. "St. Vincent"
What a joy to see the enigmatic Bill Murray back in a big role as the unlikeliest of everyday saints in a film that completely fits him like a glove (Who else could keep you riveted while sitting in a ratty lawn chair half singing a Bob Dylan song?) First time feature director Ted Melfi does an amazing job of taking what could have been a sappy story into a blast of comic wit, not only with Murray but rest of cast Melissa McCarthy and Chris O’Dowd and particularly his inspiring casting of a hilariously funny Naomi Watts as a Russian pole dancer. 

4. "Whiplash"
An acting tour de force with Miles Teller as the aspiring jazz drummer and the brilliant J.K. Simmons as the stern, almost sadistic conservatory college band leader determined to drive his young pupil to greatness no matter what the cost. By first time feature director Damien Chazelle who based the script on his own experiences, the movie plays like an explosive percussive piece, unrelenting and unforgettable. 

5. "Nightcrawler"
Will never drive the late night streets of LA the same after this eerie on target film by first time director Dan Gilroy about the seedy world of late night news videographers ready to capture the latest disaster for a sensationalist hungry media. Jake Gyllenhaal gives a sterling portrayal as the hungry nocturnal news scavenger who is prepared to cross any ethical boundary to succeed.

6. "Life Itself"
An emotional experience every time I watch this brilliant documentary by director Steve James on Roger Ebert’s life and enduring legacy. 

7. "Mommy"
French Canadian Writer Director Xavier Dolan took some interesting risks in making this film, including an unconventional shooting style (1:1 aspect ration) but uses it to such emotional effect in this combustable story of a single mother trying to deal with a violent out of control teenage son. Its fever pitch parenting at its most scariest. 

8. "The Rover"
It may not be as riveting as his first film “Animal Kingdom” but director David Michod still paints a compelling “near” future tale in the vast expanses of outback Australia, with an unlikely road tale of two drifters (Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson) searching for a scrap of meaning in a disintegrated society.

9. "God Help the Girl"
A little indy pop musical I caught at South by Southwest this year by first time director Stuart Murdoch who is the lead singer and songwriter for Scottish band Belle and Sebastian. The film began as a suite of songs he wrote between albums and he nurtured it for a decade before making it into a film. Set in Glasgow it stars Australian actress Emily Browning and reminded me of  “Once” and also the retro style of  Julien Temple’s 1986 film “Absolute Beginners”. 

10. "Snowpiercer"
It seems fitting to put this last, not because it was my least fav out of the list, but because well lets end with a bang - and what a crazy ride this film from Korean director Bong Joon-ho is. A post- apocalyptic allegoric tale where humanity’s last survivors travel at high speeds around a frozen planet on a super train separated into a rigid class system. Tilda Swinton’s fearless chameleon performance is brilliant. 

1. "Ida"
Eloquent in its silence, mesmerizing in its black-and-white stillness, devastating in its plot turns.

2. "Mr. Turner"  
A rare period piece that feels of the now instead in the past.

3. "Only Lovers Left Alive" 
Vampires done right, with a twist of hipster refinement and wry reflection. 

4. "Boyhood"  
A 12-year experiment that could have gone horribly awry but instead came out miraculously perfect. 

5. "Le Week-end"  
Roger Michell fully redeems himself after his misguided FDR flick with this barbed yet wistful study of longtime British marrieds celebrating their anniversary in Paris. Bonus points for its piquant use of Jeff Goldblum.

6. "Force Majeure"  
A painfully acute and amusingly farcical takedown of what it means to be a man, father and husband.

7. "Two Days, One Night"  
Brimming with heart-breaking humanity and bolstered by quiet though deeply felt performance by Marion Cotillard.

8. "The Drop" 
A mighty fine Tom Hardy is a dark horse Brooklyn bartender with secret powers that a superhero would envy.

9. "The Babadook"  
Old-school scares that prey on new-age fears, done with the sort of nerve-wracking aplomb that hasn’t been seen since “The Exorcist.”

10. "Into the Woods"
Not as disturbing as Stephen Sondheim’s stage version, but the cast and the tunes keep this fractured take on fairy tales humming along quite nicely.

Special mention: It is hard to be objective when it comes to "Life Itself," a documentary about the incredible man who gave birth to this website. But having first seen this consummate summary of Roger’s life and contributions at Ebertfest this year was an emotional experience like no other. The laughs were louder, the tears more frequent and the crowd wowed far more than any average audience. One of the best film experiences I have ever had.

explodingdog: i could love you forever

i could love you forever:

new drawings today at

Twitch: Malaysia's 3 DOORS OF HORRORS Returns With A Trio Of New Shorts!

James Lee is back at it, the prolific Malaysian director this time putting on his producers hat for the return of 3 Doors Of Horrors. This is the second go around for the concept, a collection of three microbudget horror shorts from up and coming Malaysian talents and the results are quite strong. Here are the details on each and you can watch the films themselves below.Turnover by Leroy LowSet in one night in a spooky basketball courtyard. A young man arrived to have a game with his friends when he received a call to tell him the game was cancelled. The young man decided to shoot some hoops on his own since he's already there. But something else is going to join him and...

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Instructables: exploring - featured: Just keep Swimming Aquaponic- Grow Wheat Grass with Betta Fish

For the Mason Jar contest I decided to try Aquaponics. My kids always wanted a Betta fish, so I thought why not try it in a Large Mason Jar as a Aquaponic system. Plus I had read a blog in which it said never fear failure as they are pillar to success and with every try one gets better at what ever ...
By: SonikaJAnand

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programming: Critical Git security vulnerability announced today: update your Git clients

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new shelton wet/dry: Baby baby baby, look to the sky, seeking to find, the third eye

Impending fatherhood can lower two hormones–testosterone and estradiol–for men, even before their babies are born, a new University of Michigan study found. Other studies indicate that men’s hormones change once they become fathers, and there is some evidence that this is a function of a decline after the child’s birth. […] Expectant mothers experience significant hormone [...]

Colossal: Shadow Knives: Silhouette Artwork Cut from Butcher Knives by Li Hongbo

Shadow Knives: Silhouette Artwork Cut from Butcher Knives by Li Hongbo silhouettes sculpture knives food
Cheetah, Metal, 35 x 9.8 x 1.7 cm, 2014

Shadow Knives: Silhouette Artwork Cut from Butcher Knives by Li Hongbo silhouettes sculpture knives food
Wasteland, Metal, 35 x 9.8 x 1.7 cm, 2014

Shadow Knives: Silhouette Artwork Cut from Butcher Knives by Li Hongbo silhouettes sculpture knives food
Gaze, Metal, 35 x 9.8 x 1.7 cm, 2014

Shadow Knives: Silhouette Artwork Cut from Butcher Knives by Li Hongbo silhouettes sculpture knives food
Hawk, Metal, 35 x 9.8 x 1.7 cm, 2014

Shadow Knives: Silhouette Artwork Cut from Butcher Knives by Li Hongbo silhouettes sculpture knives food Hunting, Metal, 35 x 9.8 x 1.7 cm, 2014

Shadow Knives: Silhouette Artwork Cut from Butcher Knives by Li Hongbo silhouettes sculpture knives food
Lotus Pond, Metal, 35 x 9.8 x 1.7 cm, 2014

Shadow Knives: Silhouette Artwork Cut from Butcher Knives by Li Hongbo silhouettes sculpture knives food
Bones of a Snake, Metal, 200 x 38 x 9 cm, 2014

Artist Li Hongbo, whose flexible paper sculptures we’ve admired many times here on Colossal, recently created a new series of silhouette artworks as part of a solo show at Contemporary by Angela Li in Hong Kong. Each piece is delicately cut from the knife leaving a complementary negative space from which it appears to rise. Hongbo says the pieces are meant as a warning, that “human beings will eventually destroy themselves because of their gluttony and their abuse of animals.” You can see more from the series here. If you liked this technique, also check out paper sculptures by Peter Callesen. (via My Amp Goes to 11)

new shelton wet/dry: Maître d’: Ah, good afternoon, sir; and how are we today? Mr Creosote: Better.

Far more attention has been paid to the microbes in our feces than the microbes in our food. […] We characterized the microbiota of three different dietary patterns in order to estimate: the average total amount of daily microbes ingested via food and beverages, and their composition in three daily meal plans representing three different dietary [...]

Computer Science: Theory and Application: Just made what I consider my first algorithm! It effectively extracts a website's main article. It's written in python, and the algorithm itself is less than 15 lines of code. Link to demo in comments.

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Hackaday: Counting Transistors In The Playstation

Over in Russia there are a few people doing extremely in-depth technical teardowns, and the latest is one of the most ambitious ever seen. The PSXDEV team is tearing into the heart of the original PlayStation (Google translatrix), looking at 300,000 transistors, and re-implementing the entire console in a logic level simulator.

While the CPU in the PSX is unique to that specific piece of hardware, a lot of this custom silicon can be found in other places. The core – a RISC LSI LR33300 – is documented in a few rare tomes that are somehow available for free on the Internet. Other parts of this chip are a little stranger. There is a bizarre register that isn’t documented anywhere, a Bus Unit that handles the access between various devices and peripherals, and a motion picture decompressor.

The reverse engineering process begins by de-encapsulating the CPU, GPU, sound processing unit, and CD-ROM controller, taking very high magnification photos of the dies, and slowly mapping out the semiconductors and metals to figure out what cells do what function, how they’re connected, and what the big picture is. It’s a painstaking process that requires combing through gigabytes of die shots and apparently highlight gates, wires, and busses with MS Paint.

The end result of all this squinting at a monitor is turning tracings of chips into logic elements with Logisim. From there, the function of the CPU can be understood, studied, and yes, eventually emulated down to the gate level. It’s an astonishing undertaking, really.

If this sort of thing sounds familiar, you’re right: the same team behind PSXDEV is also responsible for a similar effort focused on the Nintendo Entertainment System. There, the CPU inside the NES – the Ricoh 2A03 – was torn down, revealing the 6502 core, APU, DMA, and all the extra bits that made this a custom chip.

Thanks [Rasz] for the tip.

Filed under: playstation hacks, teardown

CreativeApplications.Net: Blowup Reader 8: New Materials New Methods

solid-spacesNew Materials New Methods, is the eighth in the Rotterdam-based V2_ Institute for the Unstable Media’s series of Blowup Readers. The (free) eBook explores the relationship between innovation, art and science, and simultaneously speculates future opportunities while scanning the past. V2_ Curator Michelle Kasprzak introduces the collection of essays’ (and a related workshop’s) origin as being partially […]

OCaml Planet: Shayne Fletcher: Compiling regular expressions (I)

This post picks up from here which was concerned with parsing - obtaining representations of regular expressions as abstract syntax trees. The ultimate goal is, given a string representation of a regular expression $e$ , produce a 'recognizer' for the expression (referred to as compiling a regular expression). That is, a function string -> bool that can be used to categorize strings as either belonging to the language $\mathcal{L_{e}}$ or not.

Having produced an abstract syntax tree for a regular expression $e$, the first step in compiling the expression is to compute an abstract syntax tree of the corresponding augmented regular expression $(e)\#$. This augmented regular expression is the original expression $e$ concatenated with a unique end-marker $\#$. For the given expression $e$, the accepting state for $e$ is given a transition on $\#$. This is a device that allows us to "forget" about accepting states as the computation of a recognizer proceeds; when the construction is complete, any state with a transition on $\#$ must be an accepting state.

Leaves in the abstract syntax tree of the augmented regular expression $(e)\#$ are labeled by $\epsilon$ or a symbol from from $\mathcal{A}$. For those non-$\epsilon$ leaves we attach a unique integer. Accordingly, we will need functions to generate unique integers (positions) that we will employ as we transform the AST of $e$ into the AST of the augmented expression $(e)\#$ leading to our first code example.

let reset_label, generate_label =
let r = ref (-1) in
((fun () -> r := (-1)), (fun () -> r := !r + 1; !r))

As we construct the syntax tree of the $(e)\#$ we compute four functions : null_pos, first_pos, last_pos and following:

  1. null_pos is $true$ for a syntax-tree node $n$ if and only if the sub-expression represented by $n$ has $\epsilon$ in its language. That is, $true$ if the regular sub-expression recognizes the empty string and $false$ otherwise;
  2. first_pos is the set of positions in the sub-tree rooted at $n$ that correspond to the first symbol of at least one string in the language of the sub-expression rooted at $n$. That is, the set of symbols that can begin a string recognized by the regular sub-expression;
  3. last_pos is the set of positions in the sub-tree rooted at the syntax-tree node $n$ that corresponds to the last symbol of at least one string in the language of the sub-expression rooted at $n$. That is, the set of symbols that can terminate a string recognized by the regular sub-expression;
  4. following, for a position $p$ is the set of positions $q$ in the entire syntax-tree such that there is some string $x = a_{1}a_{2} \cdots a_{n}$ in $\mathcal{L_{(e)\#}}$ such that for some $i$, there is some way to explain the membership of $x$ in $\mathcal{L_{(e)\#}}$ by matching $a_{i}$ to $p$ and $a_{i + 1}$ to a position in $q$.
Of these, following is the last to compute as it relies upon the values of first_pos and last_pos. If the definition is confusing for now, don't worry about it. The rules for computing following will come later and will be obvious at that point. We'll focus for now on null_pos, first_pos and last_pos.

The results of first_pos, last_pos and follow are sets of integers. Accordingly, we are going to need a type to represent these.

module Int_set : Set.S with type elt = int = Set.Make (
let compare =
type t = int
With this we can present the type of ASTs for augmented regular expressions.

type augmented_regexp =
| Epsilon
| Character of char * int
| Sequence of augmented_regexp * augmented_regexp * pos
| Alternative of augmented_regexp * augmented_regexp * pos
| Repetition of augmented_regexp * pos
| Accept of int
and pos = {

For a given node $n$, the values of its pos record depend only on the sub-expressions of that node. Assuming constructed augmented regular expression syntax trees, we can write null_pos, first_pos and last_pos like this.

let (null_pos : augmented_regexp -> bool) =
fun x ->
match x with
| Epsilon -> true
| Character (_, i) -> false
| Sequence (_, _, p) -> p.null
| Alternative (_, _, p) -> p.null
| Repetition (_, p) -> p.null
| Accept _ -> false

let (first_pos : augmented_regexp -> Int_set.t) =
fun x ->
match x with
| Epsilon -> Int_set.empty
| Character (_, i) -> Int_set.add i (Int_set.empty)
| Alternative (_, _, p) -> p.first
| Repetition (_, p) -> p.first
| Sequence (_, _, p) -> p.first
| Accept i -> Int_set.add i (Int_set.empty)

let (last_pos : augmented_regexp -> Int_set.t) =
fun x ->
match x with
| Epsilon -> Int_set.empty
| Character (_, i) -> Int_set.add i (Int_set.empty)
| Alternative (_, _, p) -> p.last
| Repetition (_, p) -> p.last
| Sequence (_, _, p) -> p.last
| Accept i -> Int_set.add i (Int_set.empty)

Our strategy in building the syntax-tree of $(e)\#$ from the syntax tree of $e$ will be to visit each node of $e$ and invoke a function to construct the corresponding node of $(e)\#$ inductively. These functions will include the generation of unique integers for the non-$\epsilon$ leaves and encode the rules for building the pos records:

  • null
    • Sequence $(e_{1}, e_{2})$ : null_pos $e_{1}$ and null_pos $e_{2}$
    • Alternative $(e_{1}, e_{2})$ : null_pos $e_{1}$ or null_pos $e_{2}$
    • Repetition : $true$
  • first
    • Alternative $(e_{1}, e_{2})$ : first_pos $e_{1} \cup$ first_pos $e_{2}$
    • Sequence $(e_{1}, e_{2})$ : if null_pos $e_{1}$ then first_pos $e_{1} \cup$ first_pos $e_{2}$ else first_pos $e_{1}$
    • Repetition $e$ : first_pos $e$
  • last
    • Alternative $(e_{1}, e_{2})$ : last_pos $e_{1} \cup$ last_pos $e_{2}$
    • Sequence $(e_{1}, e_{2})$ : if null_pos $e_{2}$ then last_pos $e_{1} \cup$ last_pos $e_{2}$ else last_pos $e_{2}$
    • Repetition $e$ : last_pos $e$

Here then are the augmented regular expression syntax-tree node constructor functions.

let (epsilon : unit -> augmented_regexp) =
fun () ->

and (character : char -> augmented_regexp) =
fun c ->
Character (c, generate_label ())

and (repetition : augmented_regexp -> augmented_regexp) =
fun e ->
Repetition (e, {null=true;first=first_pos e; last=last_pos e})

and (alternative : augmented_regexp -> augmented_regexp -> augmented_regexp) =
fun e1 e2 ->
Alternative (e1, e2,
{null=null_pos e1 || null_pos e2;
first=Int_set.union (first_pos e1)(first_pos e2);
last=Int_set.union (last_pos e1) (last_pos e2)})

and (sequence : augmented_regexp -> augmented_regexp -> augmented_regexp) =
fun e1 e2 ->
let b1 = null_pos e1
and b2 = null_pos e2 in
Sequence (e1, e2,
{null=b1 && b2;
if b1 then
Int_set.union (first_pos e1)(first_pos e2)
first_pos e1;
if b2 then
Int_set.union (last_pos e1) (last_pos e2)
last_pos e2})

let (accept : augmented_regexp -> augmented_regexp) =
fun e ->
sequence e (Accept (generate_label ()))

We are now in a position to write the function that transforms a syntax tree of the regular expression $e$ into the syntax tree of the augmented regular expression $(e)\#$.

let rec (augmented_regexp : Syntax.regular_expression -> augmented_regexp) =
fun x ->
match x with
| Syntax.Epsilon -> epsilon ()
| Syntax.Character i -> character (Char.chr i)
| Syntax.Sequence (x, y) ->
(*Be very careful here. Evaluation order matters!*)
let x' = (augmented_regexp x)
and y' = (augmented_regexp y) in
sequence x' y'
| Syntax.Alternative (x, y) ->
(*Be very careful here. Evaluation order matters!*)
let x' = (augmented_regexp x)
and y' = (augmented_regexp y) in
alternative x' y'
| Syntax.Repetition x -> repetition (augmented_regexp x)

We can wrap all of the above up in a convenience function parse_augmented_regexp which first parses a string to build the syntax tree of the regular expression it represents and then transforms the result into the syntax tree of the corresponding augmented regular expression.

let (parse_augmented_regexp : string-> augmented_regexp * int) =
fun s ->
let () = reset_label () in
let ast = regexp_of_string s in
let re1 = augmented_regexp ast in
let re2 = accept re1 in
let count = generate_label () in
(re2, count)
Notice that this function returns a pair of the syntax-tree and the number of positions it contains.

The next step in compiling a recognizer from the expression $(e)\#$ is to compute the follow function. To do this we "unite" the information encoded by the first_pos and last_pos functions. Put plainly, follow is a function that takes each symbol (position) in the regular expression to the (set of) symbols (positions) that can follow it. The information is stored in an array of length equal to the number of symbols appearing in the regular expression. There are only two ways a position in a regular expression can follow another:

  • If $n$ is a Sequence node with left child $c_{1}$ and right child $c_{2}$, then for every position $i$ in lastpos $c_{1}$, all positions in firstpos $c_{2}$ are in follow_pos $c_{i}$
  • If $n$ is a Repition and $i$ a position in lastpos $n$, then all positions in first_pos $n$ are in follow_pos $i$
In addition to computing follow the code below also stores the association between positions and characters of the regular expression. That information goes into an array. The elements of the array have type char option since the Accept symbol has a position but no character associated with it.

let (compute_follow : Int_set.t array -> char option array -> augmented_regexp -> unit) =
fun follow chars x ->
let rec compute x =
match x with
| Sequence (e1, e2, p) ->
compute e1; compute e2;
let first2 = first_pos e2 in
let f i =
follow.(i) <- Int_set.union first2 (follow.(i)) in
Int_set.iter f (last_pos e1)
| Repetition (e, p) ->
compute e;
let f i =
follow.(i) <- Int_set.union (p.first) (follow.(i)) in
Int_set.iter f (p.last)
| Alternative (e1, e2, p) -> compute e1; compute e2
| Epsilon -> ()
| Accept i -> chars.(i) <- None
| Character (c, i) -> chars.(i) <- Some c in
compute x

Now the computation of the augmented regular expression syntax-tree and all four of the associated functions together with the mapping from positions to symbols of $\mathcal{A}$ can be wrapped up in another "high-level" convenience function.

let (regexp_follow : string -> augmented_regexp * Int_set.t array * char option array) =
fun s ->
let re, n = parse_augmented_regexp s in
let follow = Array.make n (Int_set.empty) in
let chars = Array.make n None in
compute_follow follow chars re;
(re, follow, chars)

We're in good shape - but a hop, skip and a jump to computing a recognizer from a regular expression. We'll leave off here on this local maxima for today and finish off the job in the next post!

Open Culture: Noam Chomsky Almost Appeared on Saturday Night Live During the 90s


Image by jeanbaptisteparis

There are those guest hosts on Saturday Night Live who immediately become exemplary cast members they fit in so well. I’m thinking mostly of Alec Baldwin. Then there are those—certain pop stars and athletes—who are too awkward even to make for unintentional humor. Sometimes the show will choose a host for obvious cultural or political reasons, whether or not that person has any sense of humor whatsoever. Lorne Michaels even once considered asking notoriously stiff then-presidential candidate Mitt Romney to host in 2012, a prospect that excited no one except maybe Romney.

Given the show’s many questionable choices, it’s maybe not too surprising that it would consider asking an academic to host. Some extroverted public intellectuals, like Cornell West and Slavoj Zizeck, are natural entertainers. But that they would think of Noam Chomsky—known for his rumpled sweaters and incisive, unsparing geopolitical analysis, delivered in the driest monotone this side of Ben Stein’s Ferris Bueller’s Day Off character—is, well, pretty odd.

It does make a little bit more sense considering that they only asked Professor Chomsky to play himself on the show, not deliver a monologue or do impersonations. According to his assistant Bev Stohl, the show called sometime in the late 90s and told her that the “writers had written a loose script for Noam. The only thing he needed to do was show up on the set and play it straight, answering the questions that were put to him. Sort of like, ‘I’m Noam Chomsky, and I play myself on TV.’” Mostly, writes Stohl on her blog, “I liked the idea of Noam appearing in mainstream media, something that was just beginning to happen in small ways in the 1990’s.”

And how did Chomsky himself feel about the request? It seems he was vaguely familiar with the show and open to the idea. His wife, on the other hand, was not. “After a brief exchange” with her, writes Critical Theory, “he informed Stohl that ‘Carol says no.’” We’ll never know if we were “robbed of either the greatest SNL skit ever” or spared “another terribly unfunny segment,” but the question of whether Chomsky can be funny is still an open one. Matthew Alford at The Guardian writes that during the Q&A after a lecture he attended, “Chomsky was successful not only at conveying his radical political message but also at raising belly laughs from the audience with dark-laced, insightful humour about his politics.” Alford says he measured “a laugh every couple of minutes—very high for a public intellectual but of course not close to the professional comic’s benchmark of one gag every 20 seconds.” He offers some typical Chomsky-an one-liners, such as:

“[The Bush administration’s] moral values are very explicit: shine the boots of the rich and powerful, kick everyone else in the face, and let your grandchildren pay for it.”

“If you’ve resisted the temptation to tell the teacher ‘you’re an asshole’ which maybe he or she is, and if you don’t say ‘that’s idiotic’ when you get a stupid assignment… you will end up at a good college and eventually with a good job.”

And “It’s to the point where Ronald Reagan could put on his cowboy boots and cowboy hat and declare a national emergency because the national security of the United States was in danger from the government of Nicaragua… whose troops were two days from Texas.”

Above, you can catch a glimpse of the lighter side of Chomsky.

via Critical Theory

Related Content:

Noam Chomsky Went Gangnam Style … Ever So Briefly?

Filmmaker Michel Gondry Presents an Animated Conversation with Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky Spells Out the Purpose of Education

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

Noam Chomsky Almost Appeared on Saturday Night Live During the 90s is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

The post Noam Chomsky Almost Appeared on Saturday Night Live During the 90s appeared first on Open Culture.

Instructables: exploring - featured: Burning Laser with Joule Thief

We can burn things specially black or dark colored stuff by simple 3V battery but this will heat up the diode after intensive use. In case we need to make a Laser engraver which needs to operate over long time, Requires assembly to cool the diode down. How ever by using Joule Thief we can increase ...
By: Samiran

Continue Reading »

Matt Might's blog: Equational derivations of the Y combinator and Church encodings in Python

I love the Y combinator and Church encodings.

Every time I explain them, I feel like I’m using sorcery.

I’ve written posts on memoizing recursive functions with the Y combinator in JavaScript and on the Church encodings in Scheme and in JavaScript.

When I spoke at Hacker School, I used Python as the setting in which to derive Church encodings and the Y combinator for the first time.

In the process, Python seemed to hit a sweet spot for the explanation: it’s a popular language, and the syntax for lambda is concise and close to the original mathematics.

I’m distilling the technical parts of that lecture into this post, and in contrast to prior posts, I’m taking a purely equational reasoning route to Church encodings and the Y combinator – all within Python.

In the end, we’ll have constructed a programming language out of the lambda calculus, and we’ll arrive at the factorial of 5 in the lambda calculus, as embedded in Python:

(((lambda f: (((f)((lambda f: ((lambda z: (((f)(((f)(((f)(((f)(((f)
(z)))))))))))))))))))((((((lambda y: ((lambda F: (((F)((lambda x:
(((((((y)(y)))(F)))(x)))))))))))((lambda y: ((lambda F: (((F)((lambda x:
(((((((y)(y)))(F)))(x)))))))))))))((lambda f: ((lambda n: ((((((((((((
lambda n: (((((n)((lambda _: ((lambda t: ((lambda f: (((f)((lambda void:
(void)))))))))))))((lambda t: ((lambda f: (((t)((lambda void: (void)))))
))))))))((((((lambda n: ((lambda m: (((((m)((lambda n: ((lambda f:
((lambda z: (((((((n) ((lambda g: ((lambda h: (((h)(((g)(f)))))))))))
((lambda u: (z)))))((lambda u: (u)))))))))))))(n))))))) (n)))((lambda f:
((lambda z: (z)))))))))((lambda _: ((((lambda n: (((((n) ((lambda _: ((
lambda t: ((lambda f: (((f)((lambda void: (void))))))))))))) ((lambda t:
((lambda f: (((t)((lambda void: (void))))))))))))) ((((((lambda n: 
((lambda m: (((((m)((lambda n: ((lambda f: ((lambda z: (((((((n) ((lambda
g: ((lambda h: (((h)(((g)(f)))))))))))((lambda u: (z)))))((lambda u:
(u)))))))))))))(n)))))))((lambda f: ((lambda z: (z)))))))(n)))))))))
((lambda _: ((lambda t: ((lambda f: (((f)((lambda void: (void)))))))))))
))((lambda _: ((lambda f: ((lambda z: (((f)(z)))))))))))((lambda _: (((
(((lambda n: ((lambda m: ((lambda f: ((lambda z: (((((m)(((n)(f)))))(z)
))))))))))(n)))(((f) ((((((lambda n: ((lambda m: (((((m)((lambda n:
((lambda f: ((lambda z: (((((((n) ((lambda g: ((lambda h: (((h)(((g)(f)
))))))))))((lambda u: (z)))))((lambda u: (u)))))))))))))(n)))))))(n)))
((lambda f: ((lambda z: (((f) (z))))))))))))))))))))))))(lambda x:x+1)(0)

Run the above in your Python interpreter. It’s equal to 120.

As a bonus, this post is a proof that the indentation-sensitive constructs in Python are strictly optional.

Read below for more.

Click here to read the rest of the article

Perlsphere: PBP: 067 C-Style Loops

The Best Practices cast the use of C Style For Loops out of our lexicon.  Personally, I don’t get why this is, but haven’t needed them in a while.The PBP says simply, “No, don’t do this.”  Personally, I don’t know why, because I’ve never had a problem with them; I came from C, and that’s how you write for loops.  However, I’ve seen other people who had a less tortured background struggle with them.  They are apparently not clear to some people.

When I’m in a bad mood, I’ll tell them to learn the darn language they’re using, and get over it.  Then I realize that’s the equivalent of “Get off my lawn!” and I try to reel myself back in.

One thing that is true about the C style of for loop is that it can almost always be written as a while loop instead if you actually need what it does.  While I like having the after-condition in the for instead of in the body where it could be missed (hello, infinite loop!) it isn’t critical and the same loop written as a while is clearer to a lot of people.

Perl also provides a handy other loop to do counting and array iteration, which handles a lot of the cases you’d use the for loop for, anyway.

I generally don’t use the C form any more, but I do occasionally think, “It would be perfect here!”

Twitch: Dear Everyone Piling On Sony For Cancelling THE INTERVIEW: The Problem Is Us

Right, this will be short and sweet:In the past day there has been much hand wringing and wailing over free speech being dictated to and curtailed by hackers and terrorists. How could Sony be so weak and cowardly, etc etc etc. Well, simple, because there's a feeding frenzy happening and the sharks churning up the chum are us. We've done this to ourselves.Yes, the hack cost Sony a great deal of embarrassment. And it will surely cost them some money to resolve what allowed it to happen and to tighten up that security. And it very definitely cost them some relationship capital. What it hadn't cost them until canceling the release of The Interview, however, was any actual capital, not on a significant scale at...

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Perlsphere: SSL certificate update

Tis the season for SSL certificate renewals.  For the past five years,'s SSL certificate was sponsored by IT-Kartellet.  This year, Best Practical Solutions has picked up the cert as part of our ongoing support of

Please let us know of any problems with the update at our usual address, rt-cpan-admin at

Twitch: Sundance 2015: Exclusive BOB AND THE TREES Clip

Set to enjoy its world premiere at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival in the Next section, Bob and the Trees stars Bob Tarasuk in the title role, and we've got an exclusive clip to give a taste of what's to come. Here's the brief, official synopsis: Bob, a 50-year-old logger in rural Massachusetts with a soft spot for golf and gangsta rap, is struggling to make ends meet in a changed economy. When his beloved cow is wounded and a job goes awry, Bob begins to heed the instincts of his ever-darkening self. A logger heeding the instincts of his "ever-darkening self"? Yes, please. Diego Ongaro directed; the cast includes Matt Gallagher, Polly MacIntyre, Winthrop Barrett, and Nathaniel Gregory. The clip, which you can watch...

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programming: Dolphin Emulator's best bug fixes of 2014

submitted by bitshifternz
[link] [8 comments]

Hackaday: Wire Wrap 101

You might notice that many of my writings start with “Back in the day”. Not wanting to disappoint I will say that back in the day we used to use wire wrap technology when we needed a somewhat solid, somewhat reliably assembly. Given a readable schematic a good tech could return a working or near-working unit in a day or two depending on the completeness and accuracy of the schematic.


Properly done a wire wrap assembly is capable of fairly high speed and acceptable noise when the alternative option of creating a custom PCB would take too long or not allow enough experimentation.  Wire wrap is also used in several types of production, from telco to NASA, but I am all about the engineer’s point of view on this.

My first wire wrap tool and wire wrap wire came from Radio Shack in the mid 1970’s.  I still have the wire, because frankly its kind of cheap wire and I use it when it’s the only thing I can reach quickly when I need to make a jumper on a PCB. The tool is still around also, given the fact that I can’t find it at the moment the one shown here is my new wire wrap tool which is good for low quantity wrapping, unwrapping and stripping.

ww-tool2The skinny little wrap tool is okay for hobbyist as the wraps are fine with a little practice.  But I do recommend investing in high-quality wire.  A common wire available is Kynar® coated, a fluorinated vinyl that performs well as an insulator.

Before I go too much further, here’s the video walkthrough of wire wrap, its uses, and several demonstration. But make sure you also join me after the break where I cover the rest of the information you need to start on the road to wire wrap master.


Another important You will also hear me harp on good power and ground layout;  “stubs or lengths of power supply wire that terminate in dead ends should be kept to a minimum and the power and ground wires are routed in close proximity to each other.  DISCRETE WIRING SOLDERLESS WRAPPED ELECTRICAL CONNECTIONS-WIRE WRAPInductively coupling the supply and return together reduces impedance, hence noise.  Obviously there is a lot more to it than that but that’s for another video.

A good wrap has 3-4 turns of the exposed wire on the square post and a turn of insulated wire which improves resistance to vibration and vibration based failure.  The drawing here is from the NASA standards part of their website showing an acceptable wrap.

socket sip

Wire wrap sockets are still available and I keep wire wrap SIP terminal strips as a custom socket footprint can be created as needed.

For more complex wire wrap components such as connectors you might have to find other sources such as electronic junk-yards. Hackaday’s [Brian Benchoff] was able to get a 64 pin “Hershey Bar” wire wrap socket from Apex Electronics in Sun Valley CA with an assist from [Todd Black].

Wrap-ID Labels for Wire Wrap
Wrap-ID Labels for Wire Wrap

Little slip on tags are available to help keep track of “reversed” pin numbering as seen from the bottom of the board.

Wrapping a wire on a post is accomplished by first stripping back the insulation on the wire wrap wire to 1″.  The bare wire is then inserted into the hole on the wire wrap tool end (that is not in the center), and then the wire is pushed in until it is stopped by the tool. Next the tool and wire is placed over the specific square post being sure that the post goes into the hole in the center of the tool. For a manual router the tool is rotated with slight downward force to keep the wire wrap tight until the wire is completely wrapped, between 5-6 turns.

With the hand operated or power tool the same procedure is performed with inserting wire into the tool, then placing tool and wire onto the post, and finally the tool wraps the number of turns it is set up for.

Hand Operated Wire Wrap Gun & Tool Electric Wire Wrap Gun

There are different techniques for organizing the wires on a wire wrap board; sometimes the wires are routed together down channels and sometimes the individual wires connect straight across the board in as little length as possible.  Both techniques have pros and cons as crosstalk and impedance are affected by wire placement.


Discrete components can be soldered to headers that then insert into standard wire wrap sockets as shown above with the 3.3K resistors.

And finally a technician named [Jeff] in the old MOS/Commodore R&D lab showed me how his boards never seemed to have much slack in them.  He would take one of the skinny wire wrap tools and get on a socket pin/tail, then rotate the pin itself taking up the slack.  While this looks better what he didn’t really address was the fact he was making a more pronounced inductor at the end of some wires.  The answer to this technique as well as the channel routing technique (the techs would actually lace up the little bundles some times) was that my boards were to be “jungle routed”, I.E. more or less straight connections between pins, and slack was to be dealt with by adding some convolutions in the wire between the two pins by looping over other pins, similar to what you see on a high speed PCB where a trace will take a few extra turns to control the length/propagation time.

I should tell you that [Jeff] threw away my coffee cup one day because of what I had growing in it.  From that day until I left Commodore I would make at least one trip a day to the R&D lab to throw his coffee cup away.

[Wire wrap diagram is from the website on Discrete Wiring]

Filed under: Featured


While the film's synopsis seems simple enough: An epic post-apocalyptic tale about two brothers who struggle to avenge the wrongs done to their family, everything you'll see below leads us to believe the short film is anything but.

Written by Robert Scott Crane and Zoe Taylor and directed by Eric S. Anderson (who's worked as editor on some fairly big TV shows like Six Feet Under and Nip/Tuck) the short film has played some festivals, but is not fully available online. What is available is a grab bag of weirdness and talent that has me intrigued to see the final film.

Check it out:

[Continued ...]

Re: Factor: Gopher

The Gopher protocol is relatively dated now, but when it was first released in 1991, it had a number of modern features that we would later enjoy in the World Wide Web. In particular, in RFC 1436, it lists these features:

  • A file-like hierarchical arrangement that would be familiar to users.
  • A simple syntax.
  • A system that can be created quickly and inexpensively.
  • Extending the file system metaphor, such as searches.

We're going to build a simple word to let us look through Gopherspace using Factor.

Using the URLs vocabulary, we will build a tool to fetch documents from a Gopher server using a URL that looks like this:


This specifies a host, an optional port (defaulting to 70 if not specified), and a path which includes an item type and a selector identifying the document to obtain.

Once a network connection is opened, we can retrieve the specified document by sending the selector followed by a CRLF (carriage return and line feed, ASCII bytes 13 and 10 respectively), and then reading the response:

: get-selector ( selector -- document )
"/" split1 "" or nip write "\r\n" write flush contents ;

: gopher ( url -- document )
>url {
[ host>> ]
[ port>> 70 or <inet> ascii ]
[ path>> rest ]
} cleave '[ _ get-selector ] with-client ;

The item type, which we are ignoring in the code above, can be used a bit like a filename extension to handle documents of different types in particular ways. Some common types that you might see:

  • 0 - plain text
  • 1 - menus
  • 9 - binary
  • s - sound
  • g - GIF images

Right now, our code assumes that all the documents we will fetch are ASCII, and it doesn't have any special handling for menus, or support for a query string that would allow using Gopher "search servers". I added some basic support for those items in the new gopher vocabulary that I committed yesterday. In addition, I built a simple Gopher browser complete with history support and ability to view GIF images in the gopher-ui vocabulary.

Here's how you would use it:

IN: scratchpad USE: gopher-ui

IN: scratchpad "gopher://"

That will pop up a window that looks like this, with clickable links and everything:

It's neat using some of these early protocols, both because they tend to be simpler, but especially when you see that they have a passionate following. As of December 2014, Veronica-2 has indexed 150 gopher servers with over 3 million unique selectors. You can see current stats by going to:


Check it out!

programming: Obfuscating "Hello world!" in Python

submitted by felix1429
[link] [43 comments]

Quiet Earth: Gorgeous First Look at Sexy Drama THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY [Trailer]

I seem to be in the minority of folks who didn't care for Peter Strickland's The Duke of Burgundy (review), which I found overlong and generally uninteresting, but as is clear from the trailer, there are some good things about Stickland's erotic drama – namely the sound design, the lavish visuals and the beautiful women.

The trailer sells The Duke of Burgundy like a delicious sexual thriller. Heck, I'd probably be jumping at the bit to see it from the trailer alone! But if you're going in expecting something really steamy and with a twist of a thriller, you're in for a surprise since Strickland's movie is mostly a complicated relationship [Continued ...]

Open Culture: Discover the Church of St. John Coltrane, Founded on the Divine Music of A Love Supreme

For some time now, people like poet Robert Graves and countercultural guru Timothy Leary have assumed that ancient religion and mysticism were the products of mind-altering drugs. But in the case of one modern religious experience—the inspiration behind John Coltrane’s holy four-part suite, A Love Supreme—it was the distinct absence of drugs that lit the flame. Like many recovering addicts, Coltrane found God in 1957, after having what he called in the album’s liner notes “a spiritual awakening.” Seven years later, he dedicated his masterpiece, “a humble, offering,” to the deity he credited with “a richer, fuller, more productive life.” No rote hymnal, chant, or psalter, A Love Supreme offers itself up to the listener as the product of intensely personal devotion. And like the ecstatic revelations of many a saint, Coltrane’s work has inspired its own devotional cult—The Church of St. Coltrane.

Presided over by Bishop Franzo King and his wife Reverend Mother Marina King, the Saint John Coltrane African Orthodox Church in San Francisco reminds people, says Bishop King in the short documentary at the top of the post, “that God is never without a witness. St. John Coltrane is that witness for this time and this age.” Dig. The vibe of the Coltrane congregation is “a rapturous out-of-your-head-ness” writes Aeon magazine in their introduction to another short film about the church. And just above, you can meet more of the worshippers—of the music, its creator, and his god—in “The Saxophone Saint,” yet another profile of St. Coltrane’s prodigious religious influence. The congregation, NPR tells us, “mixes African Orthodox liturgy with Coltrane’s quotes” and of course music, and A Love Supreme is “the cornerstone of the [Bishop King’s] 200-member church.”

King cites the titles of the suite’s four movements—“Acknowledgement,” “Resolution,” “Pursuance,” and “Psalm”—as the basis for his form of worship: “It’s like saying, ‘Father, Son and Holy Ghost.’ It’s like saying Melody, harmony and rhythm.’ In other words, you have to acknowledge and then you resolve and then you pursue, and the manifestation of it is a love supreme.” The Kings founded the church in 1969, but their introduction to the power of Coltrane came four years earlier when they saw him perform at the San Francisco Jazz Workshop, an experience they describe on their website as a “sound baptism.” Since its inception, they tell us, the church “has grown beyond the confines of San Francisco to include the whole globe. Every Sunday, the congregation includes members and visitors from throughout the world.”

That diverse assembly recently filled the sanctuary of San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral for a service in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Coltrane’s A Love Supreme on Monday, December 8th. Just above you can see Bishop King open the service. His inspired delivery should convince you, as it did New York Times reporter Samuel Freedman, that “the Coltrane church is not a gimmick or a forced alloy of nightclub music and ethereal faith. Its message of deliverance through divine sound is actually quite consistent with Coltrane’s own experience and message.” Hear for yourself in the film below of Coltrane playing A Love Supreme live in Antibes, France, the only live performance of the piece he ever gave.

Related Content:

John Coltrane Performs A Love Supreme and Other Classics in Antibes (July 1965)

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

Watch John Coltrane Turn His Handwritten Poem Into a Sublime Musical Passage on A Love Supreme

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

Discover the Church of St. John Coltrane, Founded on the Divine Music of A Love Supreme is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

The post Discover the Church of St. John Coltrane, Founded on the Divine Music of A Love Supreme appeared first on Open Culture.

Computer Science: Theory and Application: Best C++ IDE for beginner windows user?

I'm taking a second-year C++ course next year at U of Michigan, but my only C++ experience so far is through VS 2008 many years ago. I have both a windows desktop and laptop, so I would like to use Visual Studio, but I've heard that VS has both its own nuances and flexibility that the autograder might not be so nice about. Any recommendations for something I could set up so I can start brushing up on C++ this break?

Edit: Thanks for all the replies! I'll take some of these ideas up with professors/friends and see what they think.

submitted by jussnf
[link] [32 comments]

All Content: More on That Later: The Truth About “Serial”


The first season of "Serial" may be over today, December 18, but its fans—and there are many—won’t stop obsessing over the murder case at its heart, a re-investigation of a Maryland man’s 1999 conviction of his high school girlfriend. 

I thought I would surely be one of the "Serial" obsessives: I devour mysteries, old and new. I’ve read true crime. I’ve admired documentaries like "Murder on a Sunday Morning" and "The Staircase." Over the last few weeks, the BBC/Starz drama series “The Missing,” about a British couple’s search for their abducted five-year-old child, has burned nightmares into my brain. For me, "Serial"’s pedigree couldn’t be stronger: here’s a spinoff of "This American Life"; the creator/presenter, Sarah Koenig, is known for short political profiles, crime reporting, and a memorable look at a gambling addict who sued a casino. 

But on "Serial," we’ve heard the style of "This American Life" style gone slack and meandering. The first episode, which hooked listeners, found Koenig amazed and astonished that her subject, a convicted murderer whom she meets in a Maryland prison, could be such a nice, presentable and well-spoken guy. To his credit, the guy refrains from telling Koenig how naïve she is. (He’s been in prison a while, so perhaps he’s inclined be patient with visitors, no matter how silly they are.) 

Some background: Adnan Syed and Hae Min Lee were high schoolers in 1999, sweethearts until shortly before Lee’s disappearance. She was found dead, six weeks later in a suburban park. Syed was convicted largely on the testimony of a friend, Jay, who told police that Syed asked for help in concealing Lee’s body; Jay pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact. Koenig never manages to score an interview with Jay, the detectives who cracked the case, or Lee’s family.

Koenig does locate various classmates of victim and convict. Some gossip, some refuse to talk. There has to be an hour of chatter between Koenig and her producer, musing about those interviews that got away. So much musing that it becomes difficult, at times, to separate fact from supposition. As Koenig likes to say, "More on that later...," as though she’s leading into a advertising break. "Serial"’s crossover audience appeal is remarkable; I’ve heard it discussed by everyone from older literary-minded listeners familiar with "In Cold Blood" and other New Yorker magazine crime writing to 20something listeners who wouldn’t be caught dead watching CBS’s "48 HRS" or the more lurid "Dateline NBC." The medium—longform podcast—may be new, yet that doesn’t make "Serial" better. 

What does "Serial" serve up? Gut feelings. Koenig starts with a hunch and more or less stops there. "My interest [in the story]...," she says. "Like, you’re a really nice guy." Even Syed grows weary of that angle. "To be honest with you," he tells her. "I feel like I want to shoot myself, If I hear someone else say, "I don’t think he did it because you’re a really nice guy."

Which is the greatest moment in "Serial." 

Less convincing, though, are Syed’s sort-of acquaintances, who step forward after 15 years to provide dubious alibis. (Right. And these helpful alibis-come-lately cannot possibly be contaminated by media accounts or ulterior motives on the part of the tellers. These people, like, forgot to say anything back when it counted.) "Serial"’s like a National Geographic Radio Expedition about capturing vocal fry in the wild. 

"Serial" isn’t, as its creator promises on the show website, "one story—a true story—over the course of a whole season...we’ll follow the plot and the characters wherever they take us and we won’t know what happens at the end of the story until we get there, not before you get there with us."

It’s about Sarah Koenig feeling her way through her feelings, ad nauseam. "Serial"’s been slammed with criticism for Koenig’s "white privilege." (Evidence: she remarked upon the teenagerish style of the diary of the victim, a teenager.) To her credit, Koenig does, in fact, uncover the racial dynamics that may have been in play at the time of Syed’s trial. Lee was Korean-American, Syed is Muslim, their pal Jay—Syed’s former friend and accuser, is African-American. The jury in Syed’s post-9/11 trial was mainly African-American and believed him. However, "Serial"’s audio clips from the trial reveal Jay as a calm and diffident witness, even under a barrage of cross-examination. 

Mostly, though, Koenig’s narrator persona is clueless, prolix and so visible (audible?) in the story, her words usually come at the expense of other figures and facts. Which leaves the listening audience to fill in the blanks with speculation. Which may be the biggest appeal of "Serial." 

Good true crime stories make you remember both the teller and the tale. Mikal Gilmore’s "Shot in the Heart" opens with a lyrical remembrance: "One by one, I had watched them all die. First, my father. Then my brothers Gaylen and Gary. Finally my mother, a bitter and ravaged woman. In the end, there was just me, the youngest." Gilmore-as-narrator sounds old, but he was in his 30s when he wrote his mournful family history, in his teens when his older brother Gary Gilmore, a convicted double murderer, was executed by firing squad in Utah. 

Joseph Wambaugh begins "The Onion Field," with a seemingly mundane look at the last night in the lives of two soon-to-be murdered L.A. cops. "The night in the onion field was a Saturday night." Simple, but believe me, the author is pissed about what happens next: a series of judicial fuckups and reversals that will almost make you lose faith in the system. 

Hardly anybody in "Serial" is passionate about anything. (A private detective and thelawyer from Virginia’s Innocence Project, interviewed in Episode 7, perk up the proceedings.) "You’re juggling all these questions and you have to eliminate them all," the attorney advises Koenig. "If you get attached to one you’re going to make the same mistakes that law enforcement does. I reach a tipping point where I’ve answered questions to my satisfaction and my answers are better than law enforcement.")

Sometimes, the result is unsatisfying—there are no answers. "That’s my fear," replies Koenig. "That I’m going to get through all this and be like, I don’t know."

I can live with "I don’t know." As “The Missing” draws closer to its sure-to-be-dreadful end, I keep thinking, “The material is so bleak and terrifying, maybe I don’t want to know.” As the couple (James Nesbitt and Frances O’Connor) agonize for eight years for their lost son, the actors don’t even look like the same people they were before. Tragedy, it is said, transforms a person’s character. But in “The Missing,” tragedy and grief reveal character: the child’s mother uses her calm, remote manner to shut away her grief, to cling to a new, protective man. Whereas the father, once a harried businessman, becomes a crazed, self-styled detective, willing to kill; to go to the ends of the earth rather than face his loss.

But “Serial” is real life, and Koenig leans on so many versions and voices that it becomes impossible to determine what, among all the noise, matters.

I hope it’s not because I don’t care. I care about miscarriages of injustice; but "Serial" barely notices justice, let alone how it may or may not have been miscarried. Dwelling on the minutiae of who sounds nice, who might be a liar, which interview went well, who’s been helpful: it amounts to nothing. Koenig notes, at one point, that it’s not her job to exonerate Syed. (Avid listeners have wondered what, exactly, Koenig job is, then.)

"Serial" didn’t bother, for too long, with the salient information that Syed’s case is headed to the Maryland Court of Special Appeals. His lawyers argue that he deserves a new trial because he had ineffective assistance of counsel. In short, he’s arguing that first his lawyer sucked. Appeals courts consider matters of law; they don’t re-try original evidence. The Virginia Innocence Project is seeking DNA testing on some un-tested physical evidence found at the crime scene. “Serial”’s final revelation is the pursuit of that evidence. (Though the scientific tests have no bearing on Syed’s current “bad lawyer” appeal, the DNA test could indicate that another person was with Lee at the time of her death, and force another type of appeal.)

For "Serial" superfans, there’s more fun to be had in ignoring the hard, boring legal process, and pore over new alibis and alternate theories of the crime. Maybe it’s useless criticizing "Serial" as a documentary, because the podcast is something else entirely: a true crime entertainment, a Choose Your Own Adventure game for the folks playing along at home. "Serial"’s a hit online, with discussion boards, parody video and audio clips; hate-listeners, crime-solvers, and some earnestly, thrillingly living the whole experience as if it were happening to them. Gaming it. You can be Jay! How would it feel to testify against a friend? Or Asia: Why don’t you want to get involved? Or Hae Min Lee! Sorry, you can’t play. You have been murdered. "Serial" forgot about her.

The lowest and most lurid crime shows (hello, "Dateline") send a message that the world’s sad and sick. The best crime writing and documentary asks something of you. Reading "Shot in the Heart," you mourn, with Gilmore, the tragedies of his family, which seems to be cursed with violence. Watching "Murder on a Sunday Morning," an Academy Award winning documentary, you’re outraged that an obviously innocent teenager could be sentenced to death—until a court finally believed that his confession was coerced. In West Memphis, Arkansas, three young men served 20 years before public pressure and justice won out; they were recently freed. A series of documentaries about them (“Paradise Lost” and “West of “Memphis”) chronicled their cases. Despite years lost to prison, the men and the films were remarkably uncynical. They asked us to get involved, to make laws ensuring that police videotape suspect interrogations in their entirety.

Today there’s a groundswell of support, among Reddit users, for Lee’s family (who still have not commented); Redditors have set up a scholarship fund at her Baltimore high school.

"Serial" asks nothing of us; nothing more than to muse on counter-narratives and the “idea of mystery.” And to get set for “Serial”’s second season, already underway.In a way, that’s as cynical as ending with, "It’s a sick, sad world. More on that later..." 

programming: My Overused Sublime Text Keyboard Shortcuts

submitted by tommyjmarshall
[link] [11 comments]

All Content: “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge”: The Record-Breaking Bollywood Rom-Com Celebrating 1000 Weeks in Cinemas


Aditya Chopra’s “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge” is one of the world’s favorite films. Released in 1995, the romantic melodrama is still in its original theatrical run and this week reaches a remarkable milestone: 1000 consecutive weeks screening in a single cinema, the Maratha Mandir in Mumbai. To say that "DDLJ," as it is commonly called, is the longest-running film in Indian history is to understate its astonishing achievement. It became the longest running-film in Indian history when it surpassed the five and half-year benchmark of the action classic “Sholay”. That was 14 years ago.

The film is a phenomenon. In the Maratha Mandir, it plays before audiences that know every scene and can sing every lyric. "DDLJ"’s famous tagline is “Come… fall in love” and those audiences come back again and again to fall in love with the charming joker Raj (Shahrukh Khan) and sensible, beautiful, spirited Simran (Kajol) as completely as the couple fall in love with each other.

Raj and Simran’s is the love story of a generation. There has been no equivalent couple in Western movies in the period since "DDLJ"’s release. They are among the immortal screen couples. Watching "DDLJ" I feel the same desperate desire for the lovers to be united that I feel watching “Casablanca”, “When Harry Met Sally” or “Brief Encounter.”

Simran and Raj both grew up in London. Raj, a wealthy playboy, has just goofed his way through several wasted years at university, and Simran, an obedient daughter, has just been told it is time for her to return to India and marry the man she has been betrothed to since childhood, but whom she has never met.

They each leave for a month’s vacation in Europe with friends. They meet on a train, and again throughout their trips. Raj hits on her, annoys her, embarrasses her. They bicker in the furious way only star-crossed lovers in a classic rom-com can. At the end of the holiday they are in love, but Simran is taken to India by her unforgiving father (Amrish Puri) and told to forget her dreams by her downtrodden mother (Farida Jalal), who knows the futility of challenging his will.

Much of the film’s unprecedented appeal lies in the chemistry between Khan and Kajol. At times, Khan is Tom Cruise, at others he’s Cary Grant, and in between he’s Jerry Lewis. His is a huge, hilarious, overpowering performance and it made him a megastar. Kajol’s performance, though more restrained, is equally intoxicating.

When we first see Simran she dances, naked except for a towel, in a routine that is essentially a PG-13 striptease. It’s both innocent and seductive, and within minutes we have no doubt she is a woman for whom a suitor would cross continents in the hope of proving "DDLJ"’s title, which translates as “The Brave Heart Will Take the Bride”.

Having flown to India, Raj follows Simran’s fiancé as he goes hunting in the forest and catches him in a snare, just so he can rescue his rival and win entry into his inner circle. Later, when Simran observes the female-only fast Karva Chauth, Raj starves himself in sympathy. These scenes play like parts of an ancient myth. The musical numbers, as Bollywood musical numbers generally do, play like something by Busby Berkeley. The infamous fist fight plays like a sequence from a bad kung-fu film. And the whole movie plays like a soap opera. But, though critics seldom admit it, there is nothing as entertaining as a masterful soap opera.

"DDLJ" has such widespread popularity because it manages to convey two entirely opposing messages. It argues that we should follow our hearts and chase happiness wherever it leads, regardless of the obstacles in our paths, while simultaneously suggesting we should respect the ways of our elders, particularly our parents, and do nothing that challenges their will. Progressive-minded viewers seize the first message, traditionalist viewers seize the second, and both are so thoroughly enchanted by the soundtrack and the scenery and the emotion they don’t question the contradiction.

Nothing I have written about "DDLJ" will be news to anyone in India. But in the West, where Bollywood films are often indefensibly ignored, there may be many readers to whom it is all news. It angers me to think of critics who don’t write about Bollywood and it saddens me to think of moviegoers who never experience its joys.

India has done as much for the movies as America, and there are as many great Bollywood films as there are great Hollywood films. Not to have seen “Mother India”, “Pyaasa” or “Sholay” is not to have seen “Gone With The Wind”, “Casablanca” or “Star Wars”. And not to have seen "DDLJ" is to have missed out on the good feelings that flow from one of the greatest feel-good films.

In India, many will take "DDLJ"’s 1000-week anniversary as an opportunity to watch it for the tenth or the hundredth or perhaps even—fittingly—the thousandth time. In the West, those who have not seen the film will find no better occasion to watch it for the first. “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge” sends an irresistible message to film fans who have yet to embrace Bollywood: “Come… fall in love”.

The Rhizome Frontpage RSS: Artist Profile: Jennifer Chan

The latest in a series of interviews with artists who have developed a significant body of work engaged (in its process, or in the issues it raises) with technology. See the full list of Artist Profiles here.

Jennifer Chan. Tralier for the exhibition "Young Money" (Future Gallery, 2012).

I remember when I first saw the videos you were making in 2012 while you were at Syracuse, and I recall feeling as though you were imitating a "bro net art aesthetic" as a way to critique it. For example, the trailer for your exhibition "Young Money" (above) includes a shot of you holding cash, a rotating pizza, and a floating rendering of a bong. But now, ironically, that has actually become your signature style and when I see others making videos in that vein, I think they are copying you. How do you feel your video style came to be, and now that you've been immersed in it for some years, why do you use the formal elements that you do?

I want to defensively say "I wasn't copying art bros; they're copying me!" but I really don't think there is any originality after the internet and in some sense we subconsciously or directly retain emotional and aesthetic affects of everything we see. I wasn't thinking it was particularly "bro-ey" style that informed works like Young Money [the eponymous video work of the exhibition by that title]...Before I discovered "postinternet" art I was watching a lot of amateur YouTube videomakers like Wendy Vainity, Epic Mealtime, and random videos of boys performing pranks and dares, so there were some definite influences from vloggers and pro-am producers. I noticed that people actually enjoyed performing "bro" ironically, and I wanted to channel that parodic pleasure. It can't and won't be about youth and fantasy forever though. I'm currently working on a 15-minute video about equality that bastardizes film and documentary tropes...

Bad videomaking seemed sincere, effortless and convenient for the net. My older videos were inspired by fan culture on YouTube and could be lumped in with screen-recorded videos, unboxings, and reviews made by young videogamers. A direct aesthetic influence was my friend Daniel Waldman who made videos for fun with Windows Movie Maker and posted every one of them on YouTube without caring whether people thought it was art or not. 

@mikepepi asked on twitter recently, "What is a net art bro anyways?" Since you play so much with these tropes, I wonder how you would answer him? My fear is that it is easy to hear that term and not associate yourself with it. And Mike is right, no one has really defined the term, kind of letting a lot of people off the hook to not look inwardly and correct conscious or unconscious misogynist behaviors. 

Here is my answer: 

Are YOU an Art Bro?

//You are an art bro if you're a man or a woman who thinks the art world is equal as is, and that there are no internal politics that exclude certain artists from participating and being as visible as you are.  The art bro mostly validates the voices and work of men, in the same way men quote the words of other men who quote the words of other men–patrilineage produces patriarchy. Art bros don't believe in community or solidarity. 

//To be more incendiary, I will cop pickup artist terms to compare art bros to the idea of an "alpha" or a "beta" male–terms created by the male seduction communities and men's rights blogospheres ("manosphere") to push insecure men to honor traditional ideas of masculinity. That's gender, it's always a self-conscious and precarious performance anyway. ;)

The alpha art bro is shameless, confident, sociopathically opportunistic, and defensive with professional critique. The beta may be polite and eloquent but he tip-toes around being a bro; he feels entitled and competitive to the accomplishments of art bros and schmoozes with who they perceive to be art power while crying bitter tears of rejection. Omega males do their own things; they don't believe in tribal feudalism, observe and get their opportunities while the alpha and beta dudes are pissfighting. The last "type" I didn't include in the flowchart is the ~chill bro~ with a bit of Peter Pan syndrome. He might smoke too much pot or be late all the time. He's apathetic to everything except his pleasure and just cruises on, working when he feels like it. 

Important Objects from Jennifer Chan on Vimeo.

As you mention, you're directly influenced by popular internet culture and tropes. Your work plays with and against these tropes through imitation and exaggeration, but I have also noticed a personal narrative element that subtly moves through your work, often hidden beneath layers of humor and critique. Can you talk about your use of personal narrative and performance within your works? And how and why you tie that in with your interest in pop net?

I think pop experiences and ideologies contain universalities that people instantly latch onto or reject... in that way pop culture is unexpectedly political and persuasive. There are pleasures in the escapism it offers, such as karaoke and cover songs as affinity... There's a personal suturing to a text for its aspirational or fantastical qualities or how one ideologically aligns with it, just as there is a parodic pleasure in performing things you despise but indulge in ridiculing (Recall Alanis Morissette reperforming Fergie's My Humps in a sad way or James Franco making Bound 3 in a homophobic way?). Then there is a fan affinity or even a meticulous labor in the way people supercut moments of their favorite boyband member or even make careful tutorials of how to best use a certain software. This is all fandom; I personally love observing how people digest it and spit it out and right now, it happens to be how men define themselves in dialogue with popular ideas of masculinity, sex, romance and body image. It's a shared obsession. 

I was born in Canada and grew up in Hong Kong; I don't think I noticed how powerfully syndicated American media (and subsequently, cultural values) were until I moved back to Canada and noticed there were Canadian content restrictions. For me, the personal subtext is a way of dealing with mediated fantasies and ideologies that don't apply to my condition or deliver ever, in real life.

In terms of performance and when I choose to appear, I mostly choose not to because there's no way to control the context of my image without being reduced to some "Asian chick." Like you said in a previous discussion on MetaMute: "When you put your body online, you're in dialogue with porn." And in Young Money, I emerge after the point-of-view ejaculation scene from behind the "hidden" camera and direct it on myself, to affirm I am the director who set up the scene up. So far, there isn't much user-generated porn made from women's perspectives and I thought it was important to pull that rug on viewers in addition to trivializing the "cumshot” trope in porn. All the way through before that it was just video collage of some dudes hanging out on skype and ordering pizza... the video might as well have been made by a dude. I guess I most often perform when other people perform for me, I feel a need to implicate myself to reveal my relationship to the performing subject or invoke pathos. Another way of thinking about this impulse is quotation, which people do when no one else has said it better. Because I think and work through "found" online media, I shoot only when a video of something I've thought up hasn't been shot already, and I perform when no one else can say something better from my perspective. This was the case in Important Objects where I was invited to make a selfie work for Museum of Internet and I made a video portrait of my nails,  food and objects I find important as a way of distracting my bitter, heartbroken self. I suppose I enjoy the feel of being "present" but not being actually in front of a camera for the duration of a video. 

In your piece "2011" you made for Sleek magazine, you keep the pop track but the personal narrative comes through a lot more clearly and directly than in your other work, as you narrate a story about your roommate sexually assaulting you. You do well at describing the banal reality of this act—that it can seem almost normal or expected for it to happen. You even start off by saying "Worse things could have happened to me," as though to negate the severity of the actual act and to kind of pre-emptively inform the viewer that you know it's not "that bad," to anyone who might say to you that you "let it happen." As a woman artist making work at times about your personal life or feelings, do you feel you are at liberty to express yourself the way you want to, or do you feel you have to couch your feelings/thoughts in a way to make them more digestible for an audience?

I said "not that bad" because people generally think rape is the worst thing that can happen to a woman—that it makes a rape survivor a "damaged good" or irreparably traumatized. The apathetic tone or blocking out of emotion was really how I dealt with it, I didn't get paranoid or break down afterwards... just very slowly became angry over years when I realized that my refusal to have sex was blurred and ignored by someone I had considered a friend. This article by Charlotte Shane best describes the realization and banality of living down sexual assault, and perhaps resounds more closely with date rape or assaults from exes, husbands, friends, acquaintances etc. One is way more likely to feel they are creating unnecessary (negative) attention around themselves when they call someone they know out for sexual violation, and that's how a lot of assault from people we know goes unreported.

What I learned from reflecting on all this is that it's possible for people to be regular nice people who open doors for the elderly, etc. AND also emotionally manipulate or pressure on people to have sex.

I am comfortably embarrassed with making these parts of my personal life public. I, like you, enjoy externalizing shame as a means of drawing empathy or discomfort about what people think are black-and-white social issues. I have a deep belief, like Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby, that art is for empathy and asking questions about human nature. Technology is only a means to an end of doing that. 


Age: 26

Location: Chicago, IL.

How/when did you begin working creatively with technology?

I made Photoshop brushes and digital collages on DeviantArt in my teens. I was a goth-turned-emo kid and I remember buying a domain called "" to show off my digital art. I made posters for local hardcore shows in Hong Kong. Here is one I scrounged up:

I didn't know about contemporary art until my second year of university, so back then this type of work was my sense of what design should be. I wanted to be a graphic designer.

Where did you go to school? What did you study?

I did a HBA in Communications, Culture, Information Technology at University of Toronto, and a MFA in Art Video at Syracuse University. 

I think institutional support is really important for emerging artists but at the same time it makes them less likely to rebel against pre-existing schools of thought or market models. 

What do you do for a living or what occupations have you held previously?

I do freelance work and part-time teaching. I've done some gallery admin and served ramen in Hong Kong before.

What does your desktop or workspace look like? (Pics or screenshots please!)

I usually working from my dinner table. :D


More about Jennifer Chan can be found at or by following @jenninat0r on Twitter.

CreativeApplications.Net: 10 Most Memorable Projects of 2014

can_2014bestimage-1500newnewAt CAN we don’t really care for lists. But as we look back as the year winds down, we’re known to make an exception. To keep up with our tradition, we present our most memorable projects of the year.

programming: PostgreSQL 9.4 Released

submitted by godlikesme
[link] [150 comments]

Colossal: Randomly Generated Polygonal Insects by ‘Istvan’ for NeonMob

Randomly Generated Polygonal Insects by Istvan for NeonMob  insects geometric

Randomly Generated Polygonal Insects by Istvan for NeonMob  insects geometric

Randomly Generated Polygonal Insects by Istvan for NeonMob  insects geometric

Randomly Generated Polygonal Insects by Istvan for NeonMob  insects geometric

Randomly Generated Polygonal Insects by Istvan for NeonMob  insects geometric

Randomly Generated Polygonal Insects by Istvan for NeonMob  insects geometric

Randomly Generated Polygonal Insects by Istvan for NeonMob  insects geometric

Randomly Generated Polygonal Insects by Istvan for NeonMob  insects geometric

Randomly Generated Polygonal Insects by Istvan for NeonMob  insects geometric

Created by designer ‘Istvan’ of Chaotic Atmosphere, these geometric insects are a beautiful exercise in fictional biology, code, and digital illustration. The collection of nearly 100 organisms with day/night variations is titled Biotop from Polygonia was made in Cinema 4D using random values within parameters designed by Istvan. You can see the full series over on NeonMob, a digital platform for discovering, collecting, and trading art online. (via Laughing Squid)

All Content: Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb


When the two writers of the first “Night At The Museum” picture, Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant, wrote a jokey but highly pragmatic book entitled “Writing Movies For Fun And Profit,” franchise star Ben Stiller blurbed it thus: “These two guys are the reason ‘Night At The Museum’ won so many Oscars.” Behind the good-natured jokey cynicism there’s a truth: as talent-packed as any “Night At The Museum” picture may be—in this third installment  Rebel Wilson, Dan Stevens and Sir Ben Kingsley join cast regulars Stiller, the late Robin Williams, Steve Coogan, Owen Wilson, Mizuo Peck and others—one doesn’t come to a movie of this sort expecting anybody’s best work. Or at least one certainly shouldn’t, because it won’t materialize.

What “Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb” does offer is a tired faux-“Indiana Jones” style prologue giving a little back story on the ancient Egyptian tablet (which looks like a giant gold ATM pad) with the magic to bring all the historical exhibits to life after the sun goes down. Looks like the tablet has got a case of ancient-curse rot, and it’s causing the exhibits to intermittently run rampant, causing Ricky Gervais’ museum director to lose his job and Stiller’s guard-turned-keeper-of-the-museum’s-secrets to head across the pond, where a personage housed in the British Museum may be able to reverse the rot. And so the familiar folk from the first two films, including an incontinent Capuchin monkey, a mugging Attila The Hun, Coogan and Wilson’s tag-team pompous Roman and aw-shucks cowhand, both in miniature, and more, get to rub elbows with a Sir Lancelot who’s plenty confused upon reanimation and an Egyptian semi-deity played by Kingsley. While Stiller has to distract his British counterpart, a chatty night guard played by the voluble Wilson.

The movie’s scenario and incidental bits are largely as stale as any studio product gets; to go by this movie, there’s no higher form of humor than the juxtaposition of old people doing new/modern things. So, despite the fact that Andrea Martin is by herself one of the funnier performers alive, “Secret” introduces her librarian character by showing her playing Candy Crush. Ten minutes can’t go by in this movie without it showing Neanderthals’ dancing to “Shake Your Groove Thing” or “To Be Real” or “Best Of My Love” or I can’t tell you what. The CGI Capuchin monkey peeing is also ostensibly hilarious. I know this is largely a kid’s movie but, I can’t say I was super-engaged. Every now and then a cast member will cook up a moderately engaging bit of business—one of the Neanderthals, for instance, is a Stiller doppelganger, also played by Stiller, and their interactions sometimes call to mind the dynamic of the mirror scene in the Marx Brothers’ “Duck Soup”— and coax a laugh or two, but then the movie shifts back into its formula and becomes a drag again. Things pick up a bit in the last third, in which Lancelot’s confusion over “Camelot” yields a funny pair of celeb cameos, only to revert to form with a what-will-happen-at-the-last-minute-to-save-the-day finale and treacly coda. “They come…to learn, Williams’ Teddy Roosevelt mutters rather half-heartedly near the end of this picture, reflecting on the function that museums can, or ought to, play in the lives of children. He also mentions sparking the imagination, all that sort of thing, and at this point, having endured, among other things, an action scene inside an M.C. Escher drawing that should have been a lot more creative fun than it turned out, the adult viewer, reflecting on the idea that this is “just” a kid’s movie, might conclude that kids deserve a little better. As did Williams and Mickey Rooney, both of whom will have this expensive but ultimately indifferent item at the tail ends of their respective filmographies. 

BOOOOOOOM!: Marta Berens


“Fairytale”,  photos by Polish photographer Marta Berens. More below.

View the whole post: Marta Berens over on BOOOOOOOM!.

Tea Masters: Testing Oolong like an electronic piano

A musician friend gave me a very simple advice to select a good electronic piano (for my children) a few years ago: play the highest and the lowest note on the piano. These 2 notes are the most difficult to get right and natural since they are the most extreme ones. If they sound good, then the notes in between should also sound good.

This advice came back to my mind when I read Thomas' review of my Fushou Shan High Mountain Oolong:
"This is utterly transcendent tea, unsurpassed, unmistaken. Gao Shan is the best of oolong, as far as I can tell, and this Fu Shou Shan is the very best of Gao Shan. I've tried the entire run of High Mountain: Fu Shou Shan from different sources, Da Yu Ling, Lishan, etc, This is the impeccable summit, indeed. Have a cup of tea. You won't want anything else."
Fushou Shan Oolong belongs to the same exclusive, above 2000 meters elevation as Lishan and DaYuLing. They represent the most sought after, finest Oolongs from Taiwan. These highest plantations produce the highest and purest aromas (notes!). Of course, they are also subject to changing weather conditions and the skill of the maker. Some days are better than others and it's still important to select these Oolongs. And given the expectations generated by the high prices, this task is even more important here. But the main problem is that these teas are so famous, rare and expensive that many shops find it easier to sell teas from other mountains, packaged with these famous names, and at a lower, competitive price.

The latest tea scandal has brought to light that only 1 third of Oolong teas sold in Taiwan is locally grown. For Da Yu Ling and Fushou Shan, the fake rate is much, much higher. In an e-mail, Thomas, who wrote the review, told me that my Fushou Shan was "the most expensive (of the teas he compared), but worth every penny". High prices don't necessarily mean that a tea is genuine or better. But when a retail price is close to wholesale prices, then it's probably too good to be true. Especially if such a tea pales in comparison with the winner of the comparison. By comparing the top High mountain Oolongs from different origins, Thomas found out which source provides the highest and purest note. Thanks for your feedback!
Hung Shui Oolong of 2013
On the other side of the price spectrum, my cheapest tea right now is the winter 2013 Baozhong mix. It costs 15 USD for 150 grams. By tasting the cheapest tea of a vendor, you'll understand what's the minimum requirement a vendor has towards his product. How low is he ready to go to make a sale? How strict is the selection? To find out how my Baozhong mix tastes, I propose to read this customer review:
"Don't be fooled by the lesssened smell of the dry leaves, this one develops a powerful sweetness like white choclate. Also like white or milk choclate, it has a simpler taste than its purer brothers (I also tried the Jade baozhong) but it its flavours are more balanced. The Jade Baozhong (which is very enjoyable, too) has more of melons and subtropical forests, but this mix from last winter came slightly rounder out of my gaiwan. This is probably because it is a blend, but perhaps the storage of one year and half helped, too. I don't know, since I did not taste it last year. Anyway, this is a beautifully sweet thing, its price is very fair and I deeply enjoyed it.

Regards from Germany,
Stephan without e"
Thank you very much for posting your reviews on !

Note: The giveaway of the Shan Lin Xi High Mountain Oolong of spring 2013 is almost over. The 1200 meters version is gone now, but I am replacing it now with the 1400 meters batch.

BOOOOOOOM!: Daesung Lee


“Futuristic Archeology”, photos by Korean photographer Daesung Lee about the desertification of Mongolia, and the rapidly changing environment’s affect on the traditional Mongolian nomadic lifestyle. The series was created using printed images on a giant billboard. More images below.

View the whole post: Daesung Lee over on BOOOOOOOM!.

New Humanist Blog: The New Humanist's top Christmas reads

Open Culture: John Cage Performs Water Walk on US Game Show I’ve Got a Secret (1960)

Back in 2011, we featured John Cage’s 1960 television performance of his piece Water WalkIts video quality may have left something to be desired, but now, thanks to the YouTube channel of Bard College’s Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, you can watch the entire ten-minute segment in much crisper quality than most surviving programs from that era. This unlikely happening occurred on I’ve Got a Secret, the long-running occupation-guessing game show whose guest roster also included chess prodigy Bobby Fischer, “fifth Beatle” Pete Best, and fried-chicken icon Colonel Harland Sanders. For this particular episode, wrote Dan Colman in our earlier post, “the TV show offered Cage something of a teachable moment, a chance to introduce the broader public to his brand of avant-garde music.”

For Water Walk, Cage rounded up a variety of “instruments” all to do with that liquid — a bathtub, a pitcher, ice cubes in a mixer — and the unconventional symphony they produce culminates in the Rube Goldbergian mixing of a drink, the sipping of which the composition dictates about two and a half minutes in. Naturally, Cage being Cage, the piece incorporates audience reaction noises; when host Gary Moore warns him that certain members of the studio audience will laugh, Cage responds, “I consider laughter better than tears.”

You can learn more about this intersection of far forward-thinking artistry and the midcentury televisual mainstream in Laura Paolini’s piece “John Cage’s Secret,” available at “At that moment in 1960, a rupture was being deepened,” Paolini writes. “High art and low were becoming more and more comfortable with one another over the airwaves. At this moment, as the screens glow their blue auras into the homes of North America, everyone sees something they haven’t seen before. And everyone has an opinion about it.” And those opinions, I like to think Cage would have said, only extend the art further.

Related Content:

John Cage Performs Water Walk on “I’ve Got a Secret” (1960)

10 Rules for Students and Teachers Popularized by John Cage

Listen to John Cage’s 5 Hour Art Piece: Diary: How To Improve The World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse)

Hear Joey Ramone Sing a Piece by John Cage Adapted from James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake

Watch a Surprisingly Moving Performance of John Cage’s 1948 “Suite for Toy Piano”

Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture and writes essays on cities, language, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

John Cage Performs Water Walk on US Game Show I’ve Got a Secret (1960) is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

The post John Cage Performs Water Walk on US Game Show I’ve Got a Secret (1960) appeared first on Open Culture.



“Gold Coast” photos by photographer Ying Ang. More below.

View the whole post: Ying Ang over on BOOOOOOOM!.

new shelton wet/dry: Thus I enforce thy rotten jaws to open, and in despite I’ll cram thee with more food!

In a recent study, Mann and some colleagues induced a bad mood in 100 college students by making them watch clips from sad movies. They then fed half the students their favorite comfort food, while the other students ate food they enjoyed, but wouldn’t consider comfort food. Once the students had finished eating, the researchers [...] Blog: Captain Herrmano’s Mystery Box – a Reverse Geocache


by Raffi @

Today we’ll be talking about Captain Herrmano’s Mystery Box, a piece of hardware that I built over a year ago. But what is this box, what does it do, who was it built for and who is this Captain Herrmano anyway? This will be the topic of this article.
What is Captain Herrmano’s Mystery Box?

The box is a so-called “reverse geocaching puzzle”. The inspiration for this project was a reverse geocaching box built in 2009 by Mikael Hart. Unlike Mikael’s version of the box, it’s not enough to simply find and visit the target place. To unlock the treasure of Captain Herrmano, the player has to solve more tasks.

The special thing about this box is that it interacts with the player, and not just via text – it also has sound and light feedback, as well as other means of communication. But more about that later.

So who is this captain anyway? Captain Herrmano is an old pirate, whose spirit guards the chest and guides the player through the challenges. The chest, in turn, contains the pirate’s treasure.

Captain Herrmano’s Mystery Box – a Reverse Geocache - [Link] Blog: Feeling the light in a whole new way


by Mark (Moonyoung) Lee & Kevin J. Wang:

What is seeing without feeling? The field of Virtual Reality has recently been gaining much attention, with the Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard paving the path of visualizing a world that is not physically there. But what if the virtual reality experience could be enhanced by incorporating tactile sensing? The Haptic Glove we developed accomplishes just that – without seeing the physical structure of the object, you will still be able to feel the presence of virtual objects.

The goal of the project is to create an exoskeleton on the forearm arm that provides tactile perception for the user. The volume of the virtual object will be emulated based on the intensity of a light source that is placed inside a black box. Depending on the relative brightness of the source to the phototransistors that are mounted onto the exoskeleton, a distance between the user’s hand and the light source can be determined. By varying the brightness of the LED light source, the size of the virtual object will vary. To provide the tactile perception, servos mounted on the exoskeleton provides a pulling force, preventing the user’s fingers from reaching closer to the light source. In addition to the resistive force that act against the fingers’ movement, there are also flat surfaces at the tips of the exoskeleton that will flip up to make contact with the user’s fingers, which actually provides the sense of touching a real object.

Feeling the light in a whole new way - [Link]

Arduino Blog: Workshop and talk with Massimo Banzi in London #ArduinoTour


It’s going to be a great weekend in London in mid January. Massimo Banzi, Arduino co-founder will be at the Somerset House in London for three days. The program starts with a talk followed by a Q&A, on Friday January 16th in the Screening Room, South Wing at Somerset House. (book your ticket here)

On Saturday 17th, and Sunday January 18th you can take part to two 8 hours sessions that will be held at Makerversity, in the New Wing of Somerset House. The workshop is suitable for beginners, designers, teachers, artists, hackers, and everyone interested in Arduino (no prerequisites needed). At the end of the two sessions each participant will be able to prototype autonomously a simple project with Arduino. The participation is available for a max of 20 people: you can check details and book your ticket here. The presentation taking place on Friday is free for workshop participants.



BOOOOOOOM!: Max Gärtner


Intricate paper cuts, screen prints, and spray painted works by Berlin-based artist Max Gärtner, who currently has a show up at BC Gallery.

View the whole post: Max Gärtner over on BOOOOOOOM!. Blog: Kristall 511 solder wire won´t dirt your PCB


Innovative flux and a high qualty alloy provide to Stannol Kristall 511 solder wire excellent processing properties with a minimum of clean transprarent residues.

You, who are at production of electronic devices, know, how important is a choice of a suitable solder. A designer of a given device might not focus on a solder used at soldering of the first protoype, bu tin a production it will manifest itself – sooner or later. Not that some solder would be miraculous and otherone unusable, but each one is suitable for something else.

Similarly lie in other segments, even here are some exceptions, when by using the newest materials and know-how from development of solders exist types suitable for multiple applications. One of them is solder Kristall511 Ecoloy with an innovative flux based on synthetic resins. The result is a small spatter and clean, transparent residues, which don´t influence electrical properties of a PCB, i.e. they belong to a “No clean” category – they can stay on a PCB withot cleaning. Kristall 511 is a considerably active solder and it shows its strength even at surfaces with not that optimal solderability and also there, where it´s necessary to solder quickly (for example components that are exceptionally sensitive to temperature). KRISTALL 511 was developed for automated soldering of SMT components, as well as for hand soldering and rework.

This way Stannol, as a producer with rich experience in development of solders (from 1920), produced a combinatio of an alloy+flux with properties meeting majority of requirements of production:

  • small amount of transparent residues
  • excellent spreading even at poorly solderable sorfaces (copper, brass, nickel,…)
  • highly active
  • electrically safe residues
  • low spitting
  • mild odour and small amount of fumes

On stock we have two novelties KRISTALL 511 Sn95,5Ag3,8Cu0,7 (593132) (diameter 1mm, 500g) and KRISTALL 511 Sn96,5Ag3,0Cu0,5 (810050) (diameter 1mm, 500g) solder wires. Technical details can be found in the Kristall_511 datasheet.

Kristall 511 solder wire won´t dirt your PCB - [Link] Blog: Programming an Arduino via WiFi with the ESP8266


Gary Servin has been working on a new project a method to flash an Arduino via WiFi using the ESP8266:

I’ve been working on a new robot called RoDI for a summer course at my Alma mater. RoDI is a low cost wireless robot to teach robotics and programming I started developing last year (reminder to self: I still need to post about it), but it wasn’t until a month ago that I started to work on it more often.
The first version used a HC-06 Bluetooth module to communicate with the computer. I wanted to to use WiFi, but the cost of the WiFi modules was a problem, since the idea was that the entire robot would cost less than 30 USD. Then, I read about the ESP8266 WiFi modules on Hackaday, and started working on a new version of RoDI, this time with WiFi :D. I wanted to be able to flash the atmega328 inside the robot via WiFi because the robot doesn’t have a USB to Serial converter.


Programming an Arduino via WiFi with the ESP8266 - [Link]

BOOOOOOOM!: Skate Video of the Day: Gold and Grey

goldandgrey-skate-01 goldandgrey-skate-02 goldandgrey-skate-03

I saw this video on The Berrics way back in June (I mentioned it here) and loved it, but there was no embed link to share the video. Really excited for it to finally show up on Vimeo! This is Kyle Camarillo’s entry into the REDirect film series, a collaboration between RED cameras and The Berrics, featuring 12 visionary filmmakers.

This was my favourite of the entire series, and its pretty much two guys, Miles Silvas and Jack Curtin, tearing up San Francisco for the entire clip. Love the sense of speed in it. Watch “Gold and Grey” below.

View the whole post: Skate Video of the Day: Gold and Grey over on BOOOOOOOM!.

New Humanist Blog: What is our fascination with severed heads?

A new book explores the magnetism that severed heads hold in Western culture.

Open Culture: How to Defeat the US with Math: An Animated North Korean Propaganda Film for Kids

Yes, North Korea won yesterday. Threatening 9/11-like violence, the DPRK scared Sony and America’s four largest theater chains into pulling the plug on the release of The Interview. And, just like that, Americans lost their right to watch their own propaganda films — even dumb funny ones — in their own theaters. But, don’t despair, we can still watch propaganda films from North Korea on YouTube — like the vintage animation for children above. You don’t need to understand what’s being said to get the gist. Take your schoolwork seriously, bone up on your geometry, and you can launch enough missiles to force America into submission. True, geometry doesn’t put you in a good position to hack corporate computers. But seemingly you can get that help from China.

via The Week

Related Content: 

Donald Duck’s Bad Nazi Dream and Four Other Disney Propaganda Cartoons from World War II

Neuroscience and Propaganda Come Together in Disney’s World War II Film, Reason and Emotion

How the CIA Turned Doctor Zhivago into a Propaganda Weapon Against the Soviet Union


How to Defeat the US with Math: An Animated North Korean Propaganda Film for Kids is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

The post How to Defeat the US with Math: An Animated North Korean Propaganda Film for Kids appeared first on Open Culture.

Computer Science: Theory and Application: How to determine optimal ordering?


  • A mapping of M keys to N values, where N is about 80% of the size of M
  • The ordering of M is fixed, but N can be ordered arbitrarily
  • The objective is to traverse M and N simultaneously, minimizing backwards seeks

How do you find the optimal ordering of N to accomplish this?

Right now I've got dummy code in place which just orders the items of N according to their first reference in M. However, I'm pretty sure that's suboptimal. In a case where an item of N has one reference early in M, and a bunch towards the end, intuitively you'd want that item to fall towards the end. I'm having trouble coercing this intuition into an algorithm, though.

Any ideas? I'm not too worried about the runtime of the sorting algorithm; read time is much more important, and anyway we're dealing with sets on the order of 100 items.

[edit] clarification: This is for a book, for inventory purposes. I am given an index of items, a large number of photographs of said items, and the mapping between them. Some photographs have more than one item on the picture. A human has to run down the index, and verify that all items in the photo are physically present. Thus, I want to minimize backtracking among the photos as the person runs down the index of items and the list of photos, respectively.

submitted by coriolinus
[link] [9 comments]

Open Culture: Watch Adam Savage Build Barbarella’s Space Rifle in One Day

In a new video by Tested, Adam Savage (model maker, industrial designer and television personality) shows you how to build a replica of the space rifle from the 1968 sci-fi film Barbarella. To design the replica, Savage had only one document to work with — a photograph showing Jane Fonda holding the gun, which originally appeared on the cover of a 1968 issue of LIFE Magazine. The 77-minute video above takes you inside Savage’s build process, moving from start to finish. If DIY is your thing, you won’t want to miss it.

via Digg

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

Watch Adam Savage Build Barbarella’s Space Rifle in One Day is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

The post Watch Adam Savage Build Barbarella’s Space Rifle in One Day appeared first on Open Culture. Comic for 2014.12.18

New Cyanide and Happiness Comic

Instructables: exploring - featured: Back Yard Chicken Tractor

We built a Chicken Tractor so our chickens can be moved around to different areas of the yard or garden. Build frame we went with a crazy tee-pee design because we don't have a clue! Its my first home, my first chickens, and my first attempt to build something like this! Build nesting laying bo...
By: wesleyTyler

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Gunshow comic feed: What the Hell's Going on, part 6

That's all for Tammy. See ya.


Ideas from CBC Radio (Highlights): The Sharing Economy and The Public Good, Part 2

Is a Sharing Economy sustainable for the economy, for us and for the planet? A public event in collaboration with the Munk School of Global Affairs. Featuring Jeremy Rifkin, Bob Rae, Anita M. McGahan, and moderator Janice Stein.

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal (updated daily): December 18, 2014

i like this art: Derek Frech


Derek Frech

Work from Secure Document at Actual Size.

“Actual Size is pleased to present Secure Document, an exhibition of recent works by Derek Frech, curated by Park Myers. Secure Document consists of three main works in which Frech has established a lexicon of encryption using security measures and mechanisms of information protection. Each work as well as the exhibition in its entirety strips its original content to a point in which the constructs and devices intended to provide security become the content.

Secure Document is comprised of works that seize encryption technologies and alter them symbolically and materially. Works in the exhibition include Encrypted Documents, a series of layered prints in which an appropriated and reformed algorithm used for the encryption of visual information is applied to documents containing redacted information. Only a selection of the prints from this series will be on display, while the additional prints will be housed in a protective case in the gallery. Untitled, a screen-based animation, distorts information to a point of unintelligibility to address the cycles of abstraction that data must undergo in order to be communicated. Tamper Evident is created through a print and removal process on metal in which forms of residue and mark making become physical allusions to digital distortion.

The exhibition restructures the hierarchies of information transmission and reception to direct the viewer to the hidden mechanics of communication. Secure Document focuses on the issues of how supposed authenticated information is understood, and the invisible modifications, mediations and subsequent forms of reception that are involved in visual communication.” – Actual Size

Instructables: exploring - featured: Play with glowing neurons? A novel framework for interactive neuron simulation in hardware.

Please note: The present EEPA theory and the corresponding hardware implementation were developed in the context of my bachelor thesis research. The explanations given here are written for a broad audience. If you are interested in the thesis, the project, have questions or remarks, please do not he...
By: nspike

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Cowbirds in Love: Just Deserts

Sorry if you expected a series of illustrations depicting arid wastelands and were disappointed by the title of this comic.

The Shape of Code: Ratfor, R, RUNOFF, RPG and Ruby

R is for Ratfor, R, RUNOFF, RPG and Ruby

Ratfor is a structured form of Fortran from the days when structured programming was the in-thing and Fortran did not have much of it (lots got added in later revisions). I think its success came from allowing users to claim a degree of respectability that Fortran did not have, and which Fortran did not appear to gain when structure constructs were added to it (but then all successful languages are treated with suspicion in some circles).

The maintainers of R provide a valuable lesson on issues that are not important for a language to be widely used, such as the following (which I’m sure many of those involved with languages incorrectly think are important):

  • Technical language details are not important (e.g., functional, imperative, declarative, object-oriented, etc); as far as I can tell the language has hardly changed over the years, yet users are not bothered. What is important is how easily the language can be used to solve its users’ problems. There are umpteen different ways a language can be designed around R’s very useful ability to operate on vectors as a single unit or to dynamically create data-frames, it does not make much difference how things are done as long as they work.
  • Runtime efficiency is often not important; a look at the source of the R runtime system suggests that there are lots of savings to be had (maybe a factor of two). Users are usually a lot more willing to wait for a running program to complete than struggle with getting the program running in the first place; the R maintainers have concentrated on the tuning the usability of the ecosystem (intentionally or not, I don’t know). Also, R appears to be like Cobol in that the libraries are the best place to invest in performance optimization. I say ‘appears’ because I have noticed a growing number of R libraries completely written in R, rather than being a wrapper to code in C or Fortran; perhaps the efficiency of the runtime system is becoming an important issue.

    Most programs don’t use a lot of cpu resources, this was true back when I was using 8-bit cpus running at 4MHz and is even more true today. I used to sell add-on tools to make code run faster and it was surprising how often developers had no idea how long their code took to run, they just felt it was not fast enough; I was happy to go along with these feelings (if the developers could recite timing data a sale was virtually guaranteed).

plot is an unsung hero in R’s success, taking whatever is thrown at it and often producing something useful (if somewhat workman-like visually).

RUNOFF is the granddaddy of text processing systems such as *roff and LaTeX. RUNOFF will do what you tell it to do (groff is a modern descendant), while LaTeX will listen to what you have to say before deciding what to do. A child of RUNOFF shows that visual elegance can be achieved using simple means (maintainers of R’s plot function take note). Businesses used to buy computers and expensive printers so they could use this language, or one of its immediate descendants.

RPG must be the most widely used proprietary programming language ever.

Is Ruby’s current success all down to the success of one web application framework written in it? In its early years C claim to fame was as the language used to write Unix (I know people who gave this as the reason for choosing to use C). We will have to wait and see if Ruby has a life outside of one framework.

Things to read

“The R Book” by Michael J. Crawley.

OCaml Planet: OCaml Platform: OPAM 1.2 and Travis CI

The new pinning feature of OPAM 1.2 enables new interesting workflows for your day-to-day development in OCaml projects. I will briefly describe one of them here: simplifying continuous testing with Travis CI and GitHub.

Creating an opam file

As explained in the previous post, adding an opam file at the root of your project now lets you pin development versions of your project directly. It's very easy to create a default template with OPAM 1.2:

$ opam pin add <my-project-name> . --edit
[... follow the instructions ...]

That command should create a fresh opam file; if not, you might need to fix the warnings in the file by re-running the command. Once the file is created, you can edit it directly and use opam lint to check that is is well-formed.

If you want to run tests, you can also mark test-only dependencies with the {test} constraint, and add a build-test field. For instance, if you use oasis and ounit, you can use something like:

build: [
  ["./configure" "--prefix=%{prefix}%" "--%{ounit:enable}%-tests"]
build-test: [make "test"]
depends: [
  "ounit" {test}

Without the build-test field, the continuous integration scripts will just test the compilation of your project for various OCaml compilers. OPAM doesn't run tests by default, but you can make it do so by using opam install -t or setting the OPAMBUILDTEST environment variable in your local setup.

Installing the Travis CI scripts

Travis CI is a free service that enables continuous testing on your GitHub projects. It uses Ubuntu containers and runs the tests for at most 50 minutes per test run.

To use Travis CI with your OCaml project, you can follow the instructions on Basically, this involves:

  • adding .travis.yml at the root of your project. You can tweak this file to test your project with different versions of OCaml. By default, it will use the latest stable version (today: 4.02.1, but it will be updated for each new compiler release). For every OCaml version that you want to test (supported values for <VERSION> are 3.12, 4.00, 4.01 and 4.02) add the line:
  • signing in at TravisCI using your GitHub account and enabling the tests for your project (click on the + button on the left pane).

And that's it, your project now has continuous integration, using the OPAM 1.2 pinning feature and Travis CI scripts.

Testing Optional Dependencies

By default, the script will not try to install the optional dependencies specified in your opam file. To do so, you need to manually specify which combination of optional dependencies you want to tests using the DEPOPTS environment variable. For instance, to test cohttp first with lwt, then with async and finally with both lwt and async (but only on the 4.01 compiler) you should write:

   - OCAML_VERSION=latest DEPOPTS=async
   - OCAML_VERSION=4.01   DEPOPTS="lwt async"

As usual, your contributions and feedback on this new feature are gladly welcome.

Greater Fool - Authored by Garth Turner - The Troubled Future of Real Estate: Bad choices

COON modified

Andres says he’s a hipster at odds with his messed-up generation. “If I was anyone else in Vancouver I would probably be buying a postage stamp condo and patting myself on the back for having a proper down payment,” he says. But he’s different. Praise be.

“I’m currently up to $107,000 in RRSPs thanks to an old government pension plan buyout and $12k in my TFSA,” he tells me. “The problem is that currently $70k of my RRSP is not invested, nor is $12k of my TFSA. I’m sort of paralyzed right now, where I have no idea where to park these funds and I’m losing money to inflation while adding about $5k a month into this stagnant pool. What do I do?”

Sarah ives in Edmonton, is single, 29, and has a government gig. “Just paid off my student loan earlier this year.  Car was stolen a few months back (Edmonton, remember?) and I decided I don’t really need one, so no plans to replace.  Rent and all utilities (incl. phone) is less than $1000/month.  I owned a house once; it was awful… not going to make that mistake again!”

Now she’s got twenty grand to invest and, like Andres, can’t pull the trigger. Should I try to time the market, she asks, or just do it?

“Your answer will likely be “don’t try to time the market, just go all in”… to which I will reply “but… but… with the economy in a bit of a shit storm, shouldn’t I try to buy what’s low now, and then just add/rebalance as the other funds drop in price?

“My divorced parents both own $700,000 houses making $70K outside Vancouver.  They do the low interest savings account and mutual fund thing.  I mentioned ETFs a few weeks ago, and they both had mild strokes.  My friends (in Van) are poor and don’t have money, so they don’t know anything about investing.  So… thank you for being the voice of reason for financial orphans like myself!”

See how people keep asking me questions they know the answers to? It’s weird. I feel like the pope.

Of course these two should invest. They should have done it days ago, weeks ago or months ago. They’re young with vast time horizons. Temporary market fluctuations become irrelevant over the sweep of decades, so long as you cling to the three guiding principles: balance, diversity and liquidity. A 60/40 portfolio of ETFs – a basic four or five for Sarah and double that for Andres – will probably do as well in the next decade as it did in the last (which included the GFC and endless moaning).

Market timing usually doesn’t work because people have lives. They fail to rebalance. They have no actual idea where a top or a bottom is. And they’re massively influenced by the idiot bleatings of the mainstream media, friends with phobias but no money, and their petrified parents. In time, most fail. So don’t do it. Mr. Market will eat you.

This week gives a fine example. On Monday everyone was pissy and morose with markets falling, oil unloved and sentiment negative. By Wednesday there were massive gains – for a few reasons. The US central bank gave a signal that economy is strong enough for rate increases this year as retail sales, industrial production and housing starts all surged. Oil stabilized at fifty-five bucks, and suddenly energy stocks – beaten up badly – looked too low not to love. Money is still cheap, inflation is nowhere, America is growing and gas is on sale. All of that outweighed the meltdown in Russia, and the growing list of layoffs in Alberta. So markets exploded.

Nobody tells you this is about to happen. So what most market-timers do is avoid perceived trouble (Sarah says the economy sucks, so she hesitates), then jump in when things pop and they feel more confident. In short, they buy rising assets and avoid or sell falling ones. They suffer from recency bias – believing what just happened will happen in the future. It’s classic. And fatal.

This is why investors fled screaming from stocks and equity mutual funds in the winter of 2009, just before markets rebounded. They thought losses would beget more losses. Like many of the doomer dipsticks who read this blog (because it’s free and warm) they believed everything was going to zero. History shows us they should have bought, not sold. Like now.

Things we know: the world still runs on oil. When it falls by half, well, duh. Second, US growth is solid and entrenched, so you should have more exposure there. Third, Europe, China and Japan will all benefit from the energy collapse and are some of the biggest economies on the globe. Why wouldn’t you want them when the needle’s at cheap? Fourth, volatility is here to stay, so the more balanced and diversified your holdings, the lower the risk. Fifth, when you can shelter thirty-six thousand (as of next month) from all taxes, present or future, inside your TFSA, and invest in stuff that’s proven it will grow an average of 7% a year even when the lights go out, why wouldn’t you?

By the way, how did we get such wimpy kids?

Perlsphere: The 2014 White Camel Awards

In the lands where the camel roams, the white camel is a rare and revered individual. Each year, The Perl Foundation recognizes significant non-technical achievement in Perl with the White Camel Awards. This is the 15th year we've done this, and I don't think anyone will be surprised by this year's recipients. Oh, and happy birthday Perl (from Saint Petersburg and Saint Perl 6, GMT+0300)!

Perl community - Amalia Pomian

Amalia Pomian takes care of everything when organizing the events: booking the place to hold the meetings, creating the schwag, taking care that the guest speakers have a great itinerary here, arranging the talks, promoting the events, keeping in touch with all the participants, and most other things.

Perl user groups - VM Brasseur

VM Brasseur now runs the San Francisco Perl mongers (now on Meetup) and has been instrumental in keeping that group running smoothly and constantly growing. She also runs the Perl Companies project to mine job adverts data to identify organizations using Perl. Coincidentally, Fred Moyer, the former organizer of the same group, received a White Camel Award last year.

Perl advocacy - Neil Bowers

Neil Bowers went on a tear this year with CPAN advocacy and participation. He's highlighted areas that need attention, advocated for different and better ways to handle CPAN, and motivated the community to take up the good fight. his blog, The good, the bad, and the beautiful, is a gold mine of CPAN advice. Curiously, it's only this year attended his first Perl mongers meeting.

Neil, a bit annoyed that we apparently pass over Mark Keating each year, awarded him a Silver Camel. We'd love to give Mark his own White Camel once he moves on from his roles inside The Perl Foundation (the people who give out the award)!

things magazine: It’ll all blow over

WindyTy offers an instantly understandable image of the world’s weather systems, swirling around the edges of continents (via Engadget) / also intriguing, the world of the London Sound Survey and the lost world of British Tape Recording Clubs. See below.

Planet Lisp: Quicklisp news: December 2014 Quicklisp dist update now available

New projects:
  • arc-compat — Arc compatible package for CL — Artistic
  • array-utils — A few utilities for working with arrays. — Artistic
  • blackbird — A promise implementation for Common Lisp. — MIT
  • cl-acronyms — A program that expands an acronym based on grammatical rules. — MIT
  • cl-ca — cellular automaton library — Public Domain
  • cl-libuv — Low-level libuv bindings for Common Lisp. — MIT
  • cl-rabbit — Simple RabbitMQ interface for Common Lisp using CFFI — MIT
  • cl-webkit — Interface to the WebKit2 Document Object Model — MIT
  • cl-xspf — Common Lisp API for reading and writing XSPF. — Lisp Lesser GNU General Public License
  • classimp — Common Lisp/CFFI bindings for Open Asset Import Library ( — Unspecified
  • croatoan — Common Lisp bindings for ncurses. — MIT
  • dweet — A client for Common Lisp — MIT
  • eazy-gnuplot — Super Duper Doopa Booka Lispy Gnuplot library — LLGPL
  • eazy-project — Generate and Manage a Project — LLGPL
  • exponential-backoff — An implementation of the exponential backoff algorithm — MIT
  • gcm — Google Cloud Messaging (GCM) library for Common Lisp — MIT
  • genhash — Generic hashtable code — Public Domain
  • hspell — Hspell bindings for Common Lisp. — MIT
  • introspect-environment — Small interface to portable but nonstandard introspection of CL environments. — WTFPL
  • lambdalite — A functional, relational Lisp database — MIT
  • mk-string-metrics — efficient implementations of various string metric algorithms — MIT
  • scalpl — Bitcoin exchange API & market maker — public domain
  • utilities.print-tree — Simple facilities for printing tree structures in an easy to read way. — LLGPL
  • woo — A non-blocking HTTP server written in Common Lisp — MIT
  • wu-sugar — Defines '&' for string concatenation and provides a few other useful functions. — BSD
  • xecto — Xecto is a simple parallel vector-processing library — BSD
Updated projects: architecture.service-provider, asdf-linguist, asteroids, avatar-api, babel, basic-binary-ipc, caveman, chunga, cl-ana, cl-async, cl-async-future, cl-autowrap, cl-cffi-gtk, cl-closure-template, cl-conspack, cl-enumeration, cl-fad, cl-freetype2, cl-fuse, cl-gd, cl-gendoc, cl-glfw3, cl-inflector, cl-json, cl-libevent2, cl-logic, cl-mediawiki, cl-opengl, cl-pass, cl-plplot, cl-ppcre, cl-quickcheck, cl-read-macro-tokens, cl-rethinkdb, cl-rlimit, cl-sdl2, cl-unicode, cl-who, clack, clazy, clip, clod, closer-mop, clsql-helper, clss, coleslaw, colleen, com.informatimago, commonqt, consix, crane, curry-compose-reader-macros, daemon, dbus, defpackage-plus, documentation-template, drakma, drakma-async, eco, envy, esrap, esrap-liquid, external-program, fast-http, fast-io, flexi-streams, form-fiddle, fset, gbbopen, gendl, glyphs, green-threads, hdf5-cffi, helambdap, hunchensocket, hunchentoot, iolib, jsown, lass, local-time, log4cl, lquery, mcclim, mel-base, mgl-pax, modularize-interfaces, myway, new-op, ningle, plump, plump-tex, policy-cond, pp-toml, prove, pzmq, qlot, qmynd, qtools, quri, readable, restas, rock, sdl2kit, serapeum, sheeple, slime, smug, spinneret, staple, stumpwm, sxql, telnetlib, towers, trivial-ldap, trivial-mimes, trivial-raw-io, utilities.print-items, verbose, vom, weblocks, weblocks-stores, weblocks-tree-widget, weblocks-utils, websocket-driver, wookie, xhtmlambda, yason, zs3.

Removed projects: cl-api, cl-binaural, cl-proc, lisp-magick, okra.

To get this update, use (ql:update-dist "quicklisp").

This Quicklisp update is supported by my employer, Clozure Associates. If you need commercial support for Quicklisp, or any other Common Lisp programming needs, it's available via Clozure Associates.

Quiet Earth: Terrifying IT FOLLOWS Trailer Builds Mystery

The Guest's Maika Monroe stars in one of the year's most praised festival films, It Follows (Our Review). The film's first trailer has dropped and it does an amazing job at setting a chilling tone for the film and setting up a sense of mystery.

The film directed by David Robert Mitchell (The Myth Of The American Sleepover), has drawn comparisons to 80s horro films as well as Brian De Palma's early work.

After a strange sexual encounter, a teenager finds herself haunted by nightmarish visions and the inescapable sense that something is after her.

It Follows opens in the UK on February 27. Radius TWC will relea [Continued ...]

Gongfu Girl: Really, really aged tea

bottle of teaThe role played by tea in the formation of an independent United States is a familiar one, but one aspect of this history that I had never considered before was the possibility that some of the actual tea offloaded in protest into Boston Harbor might be preserved in the archival collections of historians and collectors. Knowing that tea casks, related documents, and other Boston Tea Party artifacts were still in existence, I shouldn’t have been surprised that there is actual tea, but it’s interesting to think about what that tea would be like after contact with salt water, political foment, rough handling, and after so much time. If I did not know about teas aged intentionally, I might assume that the leaves would have organically degraded into dust, like a tomato or a leaf of lettuce. But after a friend brought an article on this very topic to my attention I did a little exploring, and found that there are quite a few samples of this tea, tucked into vials, bottles, little glass caskets, and in display cases in various locations throughout the country.

Sometimes the most unassuming objects can take on powerful meaning. A small, sealed glass bottle of tea, displayed at the American Antiquarian Society, is a case in point. Donated in 1840 by the Reverend Thaddeus M. Harris (1768-1842), a Unitarian clergyman in Dorchester, Massachusetts, and a member of AAS, the tea is one of the most compelling objects for visitors touring the library. Less than five inches high, the mold-blown, pale aqua bottle filled with tea leaves is wrapped at its mouth with twill tape and sealed with red sealing wax. Its attached paper label reads: “Tea Thrown into Boston Harbor Dec. 16, 1773.”

Read the rest of the article, “An Old Vial of Tea with a Priceless Story: The Destruction of the Tea, December 16, 1773.”

A little additional historical background, from the article, “Tea leaves in glass bottle collected on the shore of Dorchester Neck the morning of 17 December 1773“:

Tea Act of 1773
The seeds of the Boston Tea Party were sown in the spring of 1773, when Parliament passed the Tea Act of 1773 in an attempt to prevent the East India Company from going bankrupt. This act authorized the company to sell a half million pounds of tea directly to the colonies, without paying the usual duties and tariffs. This meant that the East India Company could undersell anyone, including smugglers, whose tea colonists had been drinking almost exclusively since the passage of the Townshend Acts that placed taxes on everyday items like glass, paper, and tea in 1767 (all the Townshend Acts except that on tea had been repealed in 1770). Parliament reasoned that if the colonists could buy East India Company tea more cheaply than any other, they would begin drinking it again, thus saving the company. Instead, the act revived the colonists’ old argument about taxation without representation and led to the events of 16 December.

What if it were possible to actually brew and drink some of this historically weighty tea? Would you do it? Would it be a disrespectful act of self-indulgence, like wanting to roast and consume a woolly mammoth that has been frozen for centuries?

Note: the accompanying photo is not the actual artifact from the Boston Tea Party (but you can view a photograph of one here). I did not have usage rights for the photo used in the article quoted, so I used a different photo.

Possibly Related Posts:

Penny Arcade: News Post: Southron Swords, Part Two

Tycho: It’s fun to sit on ice. The original plan, hazily enunciated, was to have Robert, Mike, and myself all enter the same abattoir and have them done all at once, like what happens when there is a Salon Excursion where ladies might roll deep and nails are buffed to a gleam.  The number of participants is really the only commonality, now that I think of it.  The Venn Diagram is very sparse in the middle; there is only a tiny sliver of conceptual overlap, vanishingly small. Steam removed a Greenlight game for content reasons and then reversed their decision more or less in the…

Quiet Earth: SUSPIRIA 4K Restoration Looks Stunning [Gallery]

Synapse films are currently hard at work restoring Dario Argento's Giallo classic Suspiria for a 4K Blu-ray release and have shared some test images from the process.

They are quick to say these should be considered test images created for sizing, basic color, etc. only and are not final color, or final restored images. They still need to do restoration, and apparently the film is in dire shape.

But even these samples of their preliminary work are pretty stunning. Suspiria is easily one of best looking horror films of all time and its mood relies heavily on its colouring and image.

I'm certainly excited to see this release moving forward. Blue Underground released the film a few years back as a special [Continued ...]


Colossal: Heirloom: A Tablecloth Created with Lace-like Patterns of Collected Seeds by Rena Detrixhe

Heirloom: A Tablecloth Created with Lace like Patterns of Collected Seeds by Rena Detrixhe table seeds sculpture multiples lace furniture

Heirloom: A Tablecloth Created with Lace like Patterns of Collected Seeds by Rena Detrixhe table seeds sculpture multiples lace furniture

Heirloom: A Tablecloth Created with Lace like Patterns of Collected Seeds by Rena Detrixhe table seeds sculpture multiples lace furniture

Heirloom is a 2013 installation by artist Rena Detrixhe created from thousands of collected seeds that were applied in lace-like patterns to a large piece of sheer fabric. The resulting tablecloth makes it appear as if the seeds are hovering just above the surface. You can see much more of her environmental and textile-based artwork here.

Quiet Earth: Primer Meets Frankenstein in THE PHOENIX PROJECT [Trailer]

It's impossible not to think of Primer when watching the first trailer for Tyler Graham Pavey's feature debut, The Phoenix Project. Forget that it's about guys in a garage building amazing new technology; even just the way it's shot and the colour grading is so obvioulsy inspired by Shane Carruth's time travel classic that it inspired hope that it will live up to that film. No pressure, guys!

The films was also written by Tyler Graham Pavey and produced by Ironwood Gang Productions which is his own company, so even in producing the film, Tyler seems to be following in the footsteps of Carruth.

Four scientists craft a machine to reanimate deceased organisms.

The film also stars Corey Rieger, Andrew Simpson, David Pesta.

Here's the trailer.

[Continued ...]

Arduino Blog: Programmable 3d-printed decorations for your Xmas


We can’t miss the chance to play with some LEDs now that holidays are coming and mix some electronics with 3d printing on Materia 101.

In the tutorial of this Kristoffer is experimenting on Xmas decorations, Arduino Micro and some code to play around with.

The result is what you see in the picture below!
Do you want to make it too? Follow the steps on Scuola >>
Check the previous tutorials on 3d printing with Material 101

Interested in getting in touch and showing your experiments? Join Kristoffer on the Arduino forum dedicated to Materia 101 and give us your feedback.

Perlsphere: ZipRecruiter Wants You

By now I'm sure that some of you have heard about ZipRecruiter, the job board startup that recently picked up $63 million dollars in funding and whose backend is written almost entirely in Perl using DBIx::Class, Catalyst, Template Toolkit. And they use sqitch for sane database management.

You'll probably recognize some of the names of people who work with them. Randal Schwartz has been consulting with them for a year. Mark Jason Dominus works there and has released some nifty open source software he wrote for them and while I don't claim to be as talented as Randal or Mark, I have been consulting there for a while now. It's huge amounts of fun. There are also tons of men and women who aren't as publicly involved in tech communities who are nonetheless very talented.

They're growing like mad and hiring for quite a few positions. And yes, they need Perl developers (and Python, and Javascript, and, and, and ...). And they do allow remote work.

Aside from the benefits they list in working there, here are some that I know readers of this blog will appreciate:

  • They're happy to hear new ideas
  • They love it when people write tests
  • They love to see refactoring to cleaner designs

I might add that when they picked up that $63 million in funding, they were already very profitable and are still growing like mad.Come join us and tell 'em I sent you (note: I don't get any perks for this. I just like the company and want to help Perl devs, too).

explodingdog: A Boy Interested in Nothing

A Boy Interested in Nothing

The Rhizome Frontpage RSS: Rhizome Today: 'Clicking is through, it's all about scrolling now'

This is Rhizome Today for Wednesday, December 17, 2014.

There was a moment yesterday, right before I set Jesse Darling's article "Post Whatever: On Ethics, Historicity, and the #usermilitia" to Public, that I realized that most of her footnotes should actually have been hyperlinks--since the article originally appeared in print, this is how it had been written. Worse, one of them included a joke about the strangeness of printing a hyperlink on paper, inviting the reader to ineffectually mash the printed link with their finger.

Yesterday, Rhizome contributing editor Orit Gat published a research commission from UK agency Opening Times in which arts writers (yours truly included) were asked to respond to several questions about writing online.

The first question on Gat's list was, "Are there any forms of writing that you feel are inherent to the internet?" While many responses mentioned the listicle, only one (Chris Fite-Wassilak) mentioned the hyperlink (to find it you have to go here.) 

The only thing I feel that is actually inherent to the net is the hyperlink. Which is useful in letting information, references, or otherwise sit closer to the text than a footnote; but then can be often used in the place of explanation, thought, or perspective.

If the footnote suggested further reading that one might explore after finishing a given text, the hyperlink is more radical. It says, "here, you may as well look at this now, I'll still be here when you get back, if you ever do." It is an acknowledgment that one's text is never a standalone entity, but just one node in a much larger body of writing online. This is why it was so grating back when the Times et al wouldn't use external hyperlinks (remember this 2008 article "Mainstream News Outlets Start Linking to Other Sites"? It's a good read.)

Lately, the practice of not linking seems to be making something of a comeback--links are mostly non-existent on Triple Canopy commissioned articles, and on e-flux Journal they are included only within marginalia, never in the main text. And on Rhizome, we don't do as much linking as we should. Fite-Wassilak notes that " as one tech writer said at a talk a few days ago, 'clicking is through, it’s all about scrolling now.' " 

Our web habits are changing, but there does seem to be something worth retaining in the idea that the hyperlink proposed: that we should acknowledge the interconnected, collective nature of our writings, the porousness of the boundary around each text.

There was a certain amount of anxiety voiced in the responses to Gat's prompt about "overproduction" on the web and the decline of fact-checking and rigorous editing. Wendy Vogel asked, "I try to keep in mind the question, What if a future scholar ends up using this piece as a primary source?" I understand this concern, and I feel that a publication like Rhizome has an institutional responsibility to try and write for the historical record in our main journal articles. But I also have a much more optimistic view of the kind of poorly fact-checked, informal writing that the web facilitates. (Hence, Rhizome Today). Future historians would usually be better off with fifty conflicting accounts of a given exhibition than a single "authoritative" one. 

Daniel Lemire's blog: Optimizing polymorphic code in Java

Oracle’s Java is a fast language… sometimes just as fast as C++. In Java, we commonly use polymorphism through interfaces, inheritance or wrapper classes to make our software more flexible. Unfortunately, when polymorphism is involved with lots of function calls, Java’s performance can go bad. Part of the problem is that Java is shy about fully inlining code, even when it would be entirely safe to do so.

Consider the case where we want to abstract out integer arrays with an interface:

public interface Array {
    public int get(int i);
    public void set(int i, int x);
    public int size();

Why would you want to do that? Maybe because your data can be in a database, on a network, on disk or in some other data structure. You want to write your code once, and not have to worry about how the array is implemented.

It is not difficult to produce a class that is effectively equivalent to a standard Java array, except that it implements this interface:

public final class NaiveArray implements Array {
    protected int[] array;
    public NaiveArray(int cap) {
        array = new int[cap];
    public int get(int i) {
        return array[i];
    public void set(int i, int x) {
        array[i] = x;  
    public int size() {
        return array.length;

At least in theory, this NaiveArray class should not cause any performance problem. The class is final, all methods are short.

Unfortunately, on a simple benchmark, you should expect NaiveArray to be over 5 times slower than a standard array when used as an Array instance, as in this example:

public int compute() {
   for(int k = 0; k < array.size(); ++k) 
   int sum = 0;
   for(int k = 0; k < array.size(); ++k) 
      sum += array.get(k);
   return sum;

You can alleviate the problem somewhat by using NaiveArray as an instance of NaiveArray (avoiding polymorphism). Unfortunately, the result is still going to be more than 3 times slower, and you just lost the benefit of polymorphism.

So how do you force Java to inline function calls?

A viable workaround is to inline the functions by hand. You can to use the keyword instanceof to provide optimized implementations, falling back on a (slower) generic implementation otherwise. For example, if you use the following code, NaiveArray does become just as fast as a standard array:

public int compute() {
     if(array instanceof NaiveArray) {
        int[] back = ((NaiveArray) array).array;
        for(int k = 0; k < back.length; ++k) 
           back[k] = k;
        int sum = 0;
        for(int k = 0; k < back.length; ++k) 
           sum += back[k];
        return sum;

Of course, I also introduce a maintenance problem as the same algorithm needs to be implemented more than once… but when performance matters, this is an acceptable alternative.

As usual, my benchmarking code is available online.

To summarize:

  • Java fails to fully inline frequent function calls even when it could and should. This can become a serious performance problem.
  • Declaring classes as final does not seem to alleviate the problem.
  • A viable workaround for expensive functions is to optimize the polymorphic code by hand, inlining the function calls yourself. Using the instanceof keyword, you can write code for specific classes and, thus, preserve the flexibility of polymorphism.

explodingdog: Robots Aren’t Scary I put up some new drawings at...

Robots Aren’t Scary

I put up some new drawings at yesterday.

CreativeApplications.Net: Nova – Slit-scan as mechanism for growth, decay and transformation

nova_8Created by James Alliban, Nova is an experimental study of the slit-scan technique with a particular focus on emphasising its spacial and temporal properties.

new shelton wet/dry: Doomed for a certain term to walk the night, and for the day confined to fast in fires

via { Paul Soulellis } Blog: Toshiba Introduces New Low-Height Transistor Output Photocoupler


Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. (TAEC) announced the launch of a new transistor output photocoupler in a low-height SO6L 4 pin package – the TLP385. With its low-height of 2.3 mm (max), 45 percent lower than DIP4 packages, the TLP385 can be used in situations with strict height requirements. Applications including motherboards, programmable logic controllers, AC adapters, I/O interface boards, inverter interfaces and general purpose power supplies are suited to the new photocouplers.

Toshiba’s new photocoupler has an isolation specification equivalent to DIP4 F (wide lead) type package products, and provides a creepage and clearance distance of 8 mm (min) and isolation voltage of 5 kVrms (min).

Toshiba Introduces New Low-Height Transistor Output Photocoupler - [Link]

Planet Lisp: Zach Beane: ELIZA from 1966

A few days ago Jeff Shrager posted that James Markevitch translated some 1966 BBN paper tape source code with the oldest known Eliza program. (Jeff’s site,, tracks the genealogy of Eliza.)


Picture from

   (lambda nil
      (prog (sentence keystack phraselist)
               (setsepr "
" " " "	")
               (setbrk "." "," ? | - + "(" 
")" L32 @ BS L14)
               (setq flipflop 0)
               (control t)
               (sentprint (quote (tell me your troubles"." 
please terminate input with an enter)))
         a     (prin1 xarr)
                  ((equal sentence (quote (goodbye)))
                     (return (sentprint (quote (it's been 
my pleasure))))))
               (go a)

The 1966 Eliza code is on github.

Jeff’s post prompted some historical context from Jeff Barrett:

The original Eliza was moved to the ANFS Q32 at SDC (one of the (D)ARPA block grant sites) in the mid 1960’s. The programmer responsible was John Burger who was involved with many early AI efforts. Somehow, John talked to one of the Playboy writers and the next thing we knew, there was an article in Playboy much to Weizenbaum’s and everybody else’s horror. We got all sorts of calls from therapists who read the article and wanted to contribute their “expertise” to make the program better. Eventually we prepared a stock letter and phone script to put off all of this free consulting.

The crisis passed when the unstoppable John Burger invited a husband and wife, both psychology profs at UCLA, to visit SDC and see the Doctor in action. I was assigned damage control and about lost it when both visitors laughed and kept saying the program was perfect! Finally, one of them caught their breath and finished the sentence: “This program is perfect to show our students just exactly how NOT to do Rogerian* therapy. *I think Rogerian was the term used but it’s been a while.

A little latter we were involved in the (D)ARPA Speech Understanding Research (SUR) Program and some of the group was there all hours of day and night. Spouses and significant others tended to visit particularly in the crazy night hours and kept getting in our way. We would amuse them by letting them use Eliza on the Q32 Time Sharing System. One day, the Q32 became unavailable in those off hours for a long period of time. We had a Raytheon 704 computer in the speech lab that I thought we could use to keep visitors happy some of the time. So one weekend I wrote an interpretive Lisp system for the 704 and debugged it the next Monday. The sole purpose of this Lisp was to support Eliza. Someone else adopted the Q32 version to run on the new 704 Lisp. So in less than a week, while doing our normal work, we had a new Lisp system running Eliza and keeping visitors happy while we did our research.

The 704 Eliza system, with quite a different script, was used to generate a conversation with a user about the status of a computer. The dialogue was very similar to one with a human playing the part of a voice recognition and response system where the lines are noisy. The human and Eliza dialogues were included/discussed in A. Newell, et al., “Speech Understanding Systems; Final Report of a Study Group,” Published for Artificial Intelligence by North-Holland/ American Elsevier (1973). The content of that report was all generated in the late 1960s but not published immediately.

The web site,, has a little more information about the Raytheon 704 Lisp. The SUR program was partially funded and on-going by 1970.

TheSirensSound: Evillookingbird

Evillookingbird Profile

Evillookingbird is an Instrumental warfare. Pianos in an epic battle with bass and drums, sometimes earshattering and chaotic, then emerging into subtlety or melancholy. An unseen combination of genres blending together into something that is sure to surprise you.

So, the sound of evillookingbird is quite eclectic and dark, with large contrasts between heavy, chaotic parts and moments of quiet melancholy. Brilliant classical piano or futuristic synths, a heavy but defined bassline and hyperkinetic drums. We are mixing classical music with post/prog/mathrock, with electronics, and a whole lot more. We heard people describe it as a more classical Badbadnotgood, with 65dos and Muse poured on top. Whether that is a correct description, I don’t know, I’ll leave that to you guys. In conclusion, pianobased music that delivers a surprisingly heavy punch in the gut. Bring your earplugs.


Keys – Tim Vandecaetsbeek.
Drums – Mathias Verduyckt.
Bass – Vincent Van Schoonbeek.

< < < < < [ [ BANDPAGE ] | [ POST OF THE DAY ] | [ FACEBOOK ] ]. > > > > >

Evillookingbird - Evillookingbird

Artist – Evillookingbird
Album – Evillookingbird [ * * * * * ]
Release Date – 2014
Genre – Ambient, Post-rock, Piano Driven Post-rock [ EXCEPTIONALLY GOOD ]


01 – Intro+Re-Entry
02 – 5557
03 – Labyrinth
04 – FixedActionPattern
05 – Paranoia | 06 – TrashVortex+Saudade
FREE DL ON BANDPAGE Evillookingbird – Evillookingbird

Penny Arcade: Comic: Southron Swords, Part Two

New Comic: Southron Swords, Part Two

TheSirensSound: Zoo Books

Zoo Books Profile

We’re called Zoo Books, and we play a blend of post-hardcore and mathrock music. We are influenced by bands such as [ Native ] and [ The Reptilian ], two bands we think are very unique in the scene. We are three friends who have been making music together for a while, but this is our first real attempt at a release. The demo was recorded by ourselves in my basement and it turned out extremely well, but obviously we’d love to have our work reviewed by others as well. So check it out guys.

Released 12 December 2014

  • Guitar/Vocals: Matthew Mawhinney
  • Bass: Jeremy Link
  • Drums/Vocals: Ruben Veguilla
  • Additional vocals on Slamewise Jangly by Matthew Short of Water Polo


Engineered and mixed by Jeff Barow

  • Recorded at F**k St. Studios
  • Masted by Bill Henderson of Azimuth Mastering | Album artwork by Tim Rooney


< < < < < [ [ BANDCAMP ] | [ FACEBOOK ] ]. > > > > >

Al Berkowitz - Man in the air (EP)

Artist – Zoo Books
Album – Water Polo [ * * * * * ]
Release Date – 2014
Genre – Experimental, Math-rock, Post-rock [ GET IT / GET ALL ]


1.Welcome to the Jangle 00:54
2. Barney Rabble 01:54
3. Slappers Only 02:55 | 4. Slamwise Jangly 03:01
Zoo Book – Water Polo


Zoo Books - Righ Hooks

Artist – Zoo Books
Album – Right Hooks
Release Date – 2014
Genre – Post-hardcore, Math-rock, Post-rock [ GET IT ]


1. 40″ Sturgeon 02:4
2. Wait… what? 02:37
Zoo Books – Right Hooks


Zoo Books - Demo

Artist – Zoo Books
Album – Demo [ * * * * * ]
Release Date – 2014
Genre – Post-hardcore, Math-rock, Post-rock [ GET IT ]


1. Djangle Unchained 02:15
2. Slappers Only 02:47
3. Twinkle Tappies 02:50
4. Why Not Scorpion? 01:51
Zoo Books – Demo

Zoo Books

TheSirensSound: Infinite Third

Infinite Third Profile

[ Infinite Third ]. This one is a kicker without a doubt and I don’t know if the name of the project somehow reflect the projected sounds but it does look a lot like it is indeed the case. Billy Mays aka [ Infinite Third ] current installments attribute some awesome field recordings on an ambient atmosphere that stands on its own.

The environmental sounds on the field recording side include sirens sound, droplets, spoken words / crowd voxs and more importantly… it basically goes as far as your imagination can goes. So even if a particular sound is not present you simply imagine the sound at the back of your mind and at some point you’ll literally hear it. Just like how you will picture scenery while listening to a particular tune and you can actually see it or yourself in it. It’s the same with the sound effect on this album.

“A Sun Weeping” is the first piece in a 6-part series of conceptual ambient/drone albums compiled from [The Exploratory Sessions] which were recorded and streamed live back in the summer of 2011. I’ve been getting restless leaving them unreleased for 3 years. So, I will be gradually making them public over the coming months. Each one is loosely related yet they all have a distinct feel and cover different themes and emotions. I’m so proud to be finally sharing these with you all and I welcome your thoughts/feedback/insight on the experience.

< < < < < [ 2009 “GENTLY” ]. > > > > >

On this day 5 years ago, I released my debut album “Gently.” I had no idea what I was doing but I knew that I had to do it. Reflecting on the time since, I’m faced with this realization that for as often, and as drastically, as things seem to change, there is always this underlying familiarity to it all. Back then, I wrote that I had created this album during “what could be called quite a tumultuous year.” (in 2009 my dad passed away and, just before that, I lost all of my possessions in an apartment fire). What’s interesting is that the year also had many extreme “ups” and the creation of this album is one of them.

Today, many of the details have been rearranged but that continually-flowing inspiration with subtle shades of bittersweetness is still very much present. Though, when I look back honestly, it’s clear that there has been some kind of inevitability to all that’s happened. I’m finding that perhaps tending to the sorrow/confusion/fear is just as important to a balanced life as cultivating all the peace/contentment/joy.

It might even be that those “darker” experiences which I sometimes dread and desperately try to avoid end up giving me the opportunity to go deeper into what I am and provide a much-needed space to ask better questions about what I’m doing here. I don’t know for sure but that feels like a solid way to put it for now. One thing I do know is that, for me, art seems to be an ongoing documentation of this entire process. What I create and exhibit is inextricably tied to the rawness and mystery of my private experience.

Much like wandering through memories, when I listen back to “Gently” there are things I maybe wish I would have done differently. But the insight that hits me is that this album authentically represents a very real moment and I did my best to translate an overall inner experience into something tangible and, in that sense, I believe it’s perfect. So, as I continue to explore this curious existence and settle into new spaces, physically and otherwise, I feel a sort of endless refinement taking place, which seems to deepen naturally as time passes. Openly I intend to welcome whatever appears and trust that I will do my best to meet it and interact with it in a way that honors the humbled gratitude I feel to simply be alive. Love and Respect. ___[ Billy Mays III ].

< < < < < [ [ FACEBOOK ] | [ GENTLY IS BRILLIANT ] | [ BANDCAMP ] ]. > > > > >

Infinite Third - Gently

Artist – Infinite Third
Album – Gently [ * * * * * ]
Release Date – 2009
Genre – Ambient, Instrumental, Post-rock [ EXQUISITE RELEASE ]


01. Yield 03:17
02. A Cleansing Breath 03:09
03. To Circle the Drain 02:48
04. Light 01:58
05. Sprawling Certainty 05:06
06. Momentary 03:13
07. Pristine Castles 02:39
08. To Go On 03:22
09. Paradise, Perfect 06:02
10. Thoughts Like Clouds 02:42
11. Lungs of Gold 02:51 | 12. A Void Does Not Exist 05:01


Infinite Third - Live @ The Venture Compound

Artist – Infinite Third
Album – Live @ The Venture Compound
Release Date – 2014
Genre – Ambient, Electronic’, Experimental, Field Recordings, Drone [ EXCELLENT ]


1. Live at The Venture Compound (September 20, 2014)
Infinite Third – Live @ The Venture Compound


Infinite Third - Swamp Master

Artist – Infinite Third
Album – Swamp Master
Release Date – 2014
Genre – Ambient, Electronic’, Experimental, Field Recordings, Drone [ EXCELLENT ]


1. Swamp Master 13:58
2. Tunnel To Beyond 05:46
3. Hovering 07:13
4. Galactic Oppressor 11:28
Infinite Third – Swamp Master


Infinite Third - Meditation Laser

Artist – Infinite Third
Album – Meditation Laser
Release Date – 2014
Genre – Ambient, Electronic’, Experimental, Field Recordings, Drone [ EXCELLENT ]


1. Float 03:44
2. Satellite Wandering 07:48
3. Tomorrow’s Sorrow 07:03
4. Meditation Laser 22:07
Infinite Third – A Sun Weeping


Infinite Third - Modern Anxiety

Artist – Infinite Third
Album – Modern Anxiety [ * * * * * ]
Release Date – 2014
Genre – Ambient, Electronic’, Experimental, Field Recordings, Drone [ EXCELLENT ]


1. Lymphatic System 09:04
2. Modern Anxiety 04:23
3. Contemplating Contemplation 16:31
4. Invisible Mesh 18:26
Infinite Third – Modern Anxiety


Infinite Third - A Sun Weeping

Artist – Infinite Third
Album – A Sun Weeping [ * * * * * ]
Release Date – 2014
Genre – Ambient, Electronic’, Experimental, Field Recordings, Drone [ FREAKING EPIC ]


1. Cloud Coverage 03:50
2. Sunrise Machine 07:59
3. Lunar Sadness 06:06
4. A Sun Weeping 15:23
5. Nevertheless 11:13
EXCELLENT Infinite Third – A Sun Weeping


Infinite Third - Electronicalm (Part II)

Artist – Infinite Third
Album – Electronicalm (Part II)
Release Date – 2014
Genre – Ambient, Electronic’, Experimental, Field Recordings [ TOTALLY AWESOME ]


01. Vacuuming in Reverse 03:38
02. Moratorium 03:22
03. Sensei (Krishnamurti) 03:11
04. Psi Key 02:26
05. Saving Daylight 02:05
06. Blissstuff 03:17
07. Momentary Bear 02:28
08. Thirty One Seconds 00:30
09. Dying Brood 03:56
10. Nights Are Black 03:05
11. I Want To Go To Outer Space (Featuring Sunya Chavi) 04:20
12. December 25th, 2012 03:23
13. Starcruiser 02:39
14. Generation Why 03:00
15. It’s OK To Be Everything 02:16
Infinite Third – Electronicalm


Infinite Third - Eardrops 3

Artist – Infinite Third
Album – Eardrops 3
Release Date – 2013
Genre – Ambient, Electronic’, Experimental, Field Recordings [ TOTALLY AWESOME ]


01. (pursuit) 02:19
02. (morning) 03:12
03. (nature) 02:57
04. (nectar) 03:16
05. (propelled) 03:32
06. (crying) 02:36
07. (perception) 03:37
08. (sap) 02:29
09. (finding) 02:56
10. (edge) 02:56
11. (rest) 01:34
12. (wish) 04:54
13. (cuddle) 02:40
14. (embrace) 01:43
15. (euphoria) 03:14
16. (star) 02:40
17. (rhinoceros) 02:31
18. (deep) 02:44
19. (reply) 03:57
20. (eyes) 02:31
21. (one) 04:58
22. (distance) 04:28
23. (bear) 05:33
24. (humility) 04:20
Infinite Third – Eardrops 3


Infinite Third - Eardrops 2

Artist – Infinite Third
Album – Eardrops 2
Release Date – 2013
Genre – Ambient, Electronic’, Experimental, Field Recordings [ TOTALLY AWESOME ]


01. (attention) 02:30
02. (forgiveness) 02:43
03. (hope) 02:31
04. (raw) 03:41
05. (telephone) 02:18
06. (awakening) 03:18
07. (secret) 02:56
08. (spoken) 03:44
09. (slow) 01:22
10. (resounding) 06:53
11. (three) 03:32
12. (work) 03:11
13. (trajectory) 02:28
14. (residu) 02:15
15. (mosquito) 03:36
16. (joy) 02:01
17. (palace) 02:22
18. (far) 03:11
19. (transmogrify) 02:48
20. (father) 03:32
21. (majesty) 04:16
22. (space) 03:36
23. (intimate) 04:36
24. (inside) 04:04
Infinite Third – Eardrops 2


Infinite Third - Eardrops

Artist – Infinite Third
Album – Eardrops
Release Date – 2012
Genre – Ambient, Electronic’, Experimental, Field Recordings [ TOTALLY AWESOME ]


01. (yield) 02:32
02. (reverberate) 02:26
03. (suchness) 02:23
04. (light) 02:44
05. (moments) 05:00
06. (emanate) 02:14
07. (zero) 04:20
08. (leaflet) 01:23
09. (sky) 01:12
10. (circling) 02:25
11. (forever) 02:24
12. (certain) 02:58
13. (theme) 01:28
14. (sunset) 02:14
15. (thoughts) 02:43
16. (ether) 02:22
17. (air) 02:17
18. (magnet) 03:56
19. (explore) 02:09
20. (go) 02:39
21. (burial) 03:57
22. (generate) 01:36
23. (form) 02:18
24. (void) 02:15
25. (vacuum) 03:22
26. (end) 03:44
27. (nuclear) 03:48
28. (begin) 05:28
Infinite Third – Eardrops


Infinite Third - Electronicalm

Artist – Infinite Third
Album – Electronicalm
Release Date – 2012
Genre – Ambient, Electronic’, Experimental, Field Recordings [ TOTALLY AWESOME ]


01. Spectral Harmony 04:24
02. Minimal Mammal 02:00
03. What Lives in the Light 03:08
04. Party in the Red Sea 02:00
05. Bedrooms (Michael) 05:35
06. Experience Time 02:47
07. Next Level 03:54
08. Surface Report, Outlook Ambiguous 03:22
09. Hypertotality 01:50
10. Felt by the Shell 02:41
11. Boss Battles 03:46
12. A Cappella Goodbye 00:56
13. Mountainous Dance Floor 02:28
14. Soundtracking Death 03:53
FREE DOWNLOAD Infinite Third – Electronicalm
BANDCAMP STREAM + PURCHASE Infinite Third – Electronicalm

Infinite Third

TheSirensSound: Fabrizio Paterlini

Fabrizio Paterlini  Profile

< < < < < [ FABRIZIO PATERLINI ] > > > > >


It is fitting that composer and pianist Fabrizio Paterlini was born and lives in the ancient northern Italian city of Mantua. A romantic and historically significant centre of musical and artistic excellence, the city’s elegance and cultural depth permeate Paterlini’s exquisite original solo piano compositions. Yet despite Mantua’s unavoidable influence in informing the composer’s work, his cinematic music is far from localized, or even recognizably Italian, instead tapping directly into universal human emotions.

Listeners and critics alike are torn as to how best label Paterlini’s beautiful sound. Neo-classical, Ambient, Minimalist and New Age have all been considered, but it is more pertinent to note some of the adjectives regularly used in appreciation of his sonic palette. Ethereal, soulful, lush, emotive, dreamy, delicate and, tellingly, passionate, all appear with unerring frequency. The composer himself describes his work as “like a glass of red wine on a summer evening,” in awareness of the calming effect of his reflective melodies on the listener.

Paterlini began playing piano at six-years-old. From the first moment he stroked the keys his life irrevocably changed, music becoming “a choice made every day…explored in all its aspects.” And so music and his life’s path became, and remain, inextricably linked; while he progresses as a musician and composer, so his development as a human being runs parallel. Formal study in his chosen artistic endeavour came with five years at Campiani’s Academy, Mantua’s Academy of Arts, from where he graduated in Music Theory.

The 1990s saw Paterlini extensively cutting his teeth as a gigging musician by performing rock classics, pop and jazz in local bands. While playing with these outfits he began to compose music, at this stage principally material of a progressive rock persuasion. As the decade and century drew to a close Paterlini reached an important decision, being to concentrate exclusively on the piano – the instrument that, in his own words, “best expresses his inner world.” Yet it was not until 2006 that he began composing music for solo piano.


Christmas and new years-eve are getting closer – is there any better way to end the year than having a new fresh track to download for free? So let me introduce to you “Kepler”, a track i’ve been composing last summer, which is quite different from the rest of my production, but it surely will help you understanding in which direction I am going to my music (and probably will also let you better understand the new album when it will be released in 2015!) – the song is free to download and (as usual) I count on you for sharing it!

Next year will bring a new album (as just said) and, hopefully some gigs around the world. I’ll keep you posted, as usual! So I wish everyone of you a great holiday time, may you spend good days with your beloved ones, listening to good music and drinking some good (italian) red wine! We’ll talk again in 2015! ___[ Fabrizio ].

< < < < < [ [ .COM ] | [ SOUNDCLOUD ] | [ FACEBOOK ] ]. > > > > >

Fabrizio Paterlini  - The Art of the Piano

Artist – Fabrizio Paterlini
Album – The Art of the Piano [ * * * * * ]
Release Date – 2014
Genre – Instrumental, Piano, Minimalism, Solo Piano [ STUNNING AS USUAL ]


1. Somehow familiar 03:39
2. Midsummer tiny song 03:42
3. My piano, the clouds 02:46
4. Empty room 03:17
5. Conversation with myself 03:41
6. Broken 03:47
7. If melancholy were music 02:49
8. Wind song 02:28
Fabrizio Paterlini – The Art of the Piano


Fabrizio Paterlini  - Now

Artist – Fabrizio Paterlini
Album – Now [ * * * * * ]
Release Date – 2013
Genre – Instrumental, Piano, Minimalism, Solo Piano [ STUNNING AS USUAL ]


01. After the rain there will always be the sun 03:01
02. Not from the past, not for the future 03:23
03. Summer nights 01:55
04. Darkness is not the opposite of light 02:24
05. Iceland 02:31
06. My perfect time 02:40
07. Silent eyes 03:08
08. Unrequited #4 02:31
09. Harmattan 02:44
10. Behind the sky 03:13
11. Finale 02:56
12. There’s a light we might see (DIGIPACK only)
13. You are not alone (DIGIPACK only)
Fabrizio Paterlini – Now


Artist – Fabrizio Paterlini
Album – Autumn Stories
Release Date – 2012
Genre – Instrumental, Piano, Minimalism, Solo Piano [ STUNNING STUNNING SOUND ]


01. Week #1 02:20
02. Week #2 02:20
03. Week #3 02:22
04. Week #4 03:02
05. Week #5 03:37
06. Week #6 03:45
07. Week #7 02:32
08. Week #8 04:54
09. Week #9 03:31
10. Week #10 02:13
11. Week #11 03:30
12. Week #12 02:34
13. Week #13 03:11
14. Week #14 02:57
15. Week #5 – Piano solo (CD only)
16. Week #7 – Piano solo (CD only)
17. Week #14 – Piano solo (CD only)
FREE DOWNLOAD Fabrizio Paterlini – Autumn Stories


Artist – Fabrizio Paterlini
Album – Viandanze
Release Date – 2009
Genre – Instrumental, Piano, Minimalism, Solo Piano [ STUNNING STUNNING SOUND ]


01. Profondo blu 02:54
02. Nuovi orizzonti (free) 03:35
03. Esoterica virtu 04:12
04. Primi passi 04:19
05. Viandanze 04:06
06. La polvere e l’incanto (free) 03:29
07. L’attesa 03:23
08. Sottovoce 03:46
09. In cerchio 03:51
10. Lontana, dolcemente sospesa 03:32
11. Continua metamorfosi 02:56
12. Veloma 02:47
PURCHASE Fabrizio Paterlini – Viandanze


Artist – Fabrizio Paterlini
Album – Viandanze re-imagined
Release Date – 2010
Genre – Instrumental, Piano, Minimalism, Solo Piano [ STUNNING STUNNING SOUND ]


1. Forever Blue 05:54
2. Viandanze (re-imagined) 04:24
3. Lontana, dolcemente sospesa (re-imagined) 04:10
4. Veloma (re-imagined) 02:59
FREE DOWNLOAD Fabrizio Paterlini – Viandanze re-imagined


Artist – Fabrizio Paterlini
Album – Remixed
Release Date – 2009
Genre – Instrumental, Piano, Minimalism, Solo Piano [ STUNNING STUNNING SOUND ]


1. Forever blue (March Rosetta re-imagined version) 05:54
2. Veloma (Lost comsonaut rmx) 02:29
3. Viandanze (12 Theory adagietto) 06:42
4. Far away from here (Ales//Musiques d’images rmx) 04:30
5. Lontana, dolcemente sospesa (Lunchtray rmx) 06:10
6. Viandanze (Wilhelms desolate/Code rmx) 05:07
7. Passeggiata al tramonto (F. Paterlini) 02:04
8. Passeggiata al tramonto (Piano Solo version) 01:53
FREE DOWNLOAD Fabrizio Paterlini – Remixed


Artist – Fabrizio Paterlini
Album – Viaggi In Aeromobile
Release Date – 2011
Genre – Instrumental, Piano, Minimalism, Solo Piano [ STUNNING SOUND ]


01. L’airone [00.05:03]
02. Soffia la notte [00.03:24]
03. Passaggi [00.04:29]
04. Ti Parlo [00.04:38]
05. Colori [00.04:20]
06. Il segreto rivelato [00.03:45]
07. Due passi [00.04:12]
08. Torna da me [00.03:52]
09. Con queste mani [00.04:14]
10. Far away from here [00.04:17]
11. Pensieri confusi [00.04:11]
12. Barari [00.01:35]
PURCHASE Fabrizio Paterlini – Viaggi In Aeromobile
FILEFACTORY Fabrizio Paterlini – Viaggi In Aeromobile


Artist – Fabrizio Paterlini
Album – Fragments Found
Release Date – 2010
Genre – Instrumental, Piano, Minimalism, Solo Piano [ STUNNING SOUND ]


01 Girasoli e lavanda 4:18
02 Frozen River (Part II) 4:06
03 Fragments Found 2:45
04 Pensiero notturno 3:14
05 Il gigante e la balena 3:01
06 Five-thirty_am 3:35
07 Déjà vu 2:55
08 Rue des trois frères 1:51
09 Controvento, senz’olio 3:42
10 Still Travelling 3:44
PURCHASE Fabrizio Paterlini – Fragments Found
FILEFACTORY Fabrizio Paterlini – Fragments Found


Artist – Fabrizio Paterlini
Album – Morning Sketches [ * * * * * ] X 2
Release Date – 2009
Genre – Instrumental, Piano, Minimalism, Solo Piano [ STUNNING SOUND ]


Fabrizio Paterlini – Morning Sketches – 01 The stars that fell over that night
Fabrizio Paterlini – Morning Sketches – 02 Racconto di luna
Fabrizio Paterlini – Morning Sketches – 03 Untitled (Lost Letters) – -Piano solo-
Fabrizio Paterlini – Morning Sketches – 04 Still travelling (Live)
Fabrizio Paterlini – Morning Sketches – 05 Found letters
Fabrizio Paterlini – Morning Sketches – 06 Pensiero notturno (March Rosetta rmx)
FREE DL Fabrizio Paterlini – Morning Sketches


Artist – Fabrizio Paterlini
Album – Viandanze EP [ * * * * * ]
Release Date – 2008
Genre – Instrumental, Piano, Minimalism, Solo Piano [ STUNNING SOUND ]


01. Profondo blu
02. Nuovi orizzonti
03. Esoterica virtu
04. Primi passi
05. Viandanze
06. La polvere e l’incanto
07. L’attesa
08. Sottovoce
09. In cerchio
10. Lontana, dolcemente sospesa
11. Continua metamorfosi
12. Veloma
13. Qui ed ora
FREE DOWNLOAD Fabrizio Paterlini – Viandanze EP

————————————————————————————————————————————————————– / 2014-12-19T06:12:07