Perlsphere: Let's delete 10,000 files from CPAN

This week, let's delete 10,000 (decimal) files from CPAN. Thanks to Ricardo, we're almost a tenth of the way there.


We're a month into spring and some of the world just celebrated Earth Day, so it's time for the thousands of PAUSE authors to each delete one old distribution (which is three files in your CPAN author directory). Visit your delete files PAUSE page to "increase the Schwartz". You can even clean up your directory with WWW:::PAUSE::CleanUpHomeDir or with App::PAUSE::cleanup.

It's not quite enough for you as the PAUSE author to delete your files. We want to get the word out, so I'd like you to get one other PAUSE author to do the same. Use your social media networks, peer pressure, begging, or whatever your favorite method is, not because there's any danger of running out of space, but because it's fun to delete things and see them disappear.

This is also a good time to pass off modules you don't think you'll maintain anymore. You can use the virtual co-maintainers ADOPTME

If you are feeling left out, you can take over or help with a module. Neil Bowers lists other virtual comaintainers that signal owner intent in Marking modules as 'available for adoption' and maintains the CPAN adoption list to help you find a project

Computer Science: Theory and Application: Automata - how do I get to grips?

I'm in my first year studying computer science, and I've had a lot of fun learning some new things this year coming with not a huge amount of knowledge on the subject.

I've found that with most things I've learnt throughout the first year I've been able to find a way to process things in my mind for instance I'm able to visualise set's in my mind or maybe through the use of venn diagrams or some other kind of visual aid, but when it comes to finite automata and Turing machines the process, use and general theory behind them make sense but when given an example and asked to say what it's purpose is, legal and illegal operations, I find it hard to get started and untangle what it is that I'm looking at. so my question is what techniques do you have to get your head around automata's!

submitted by Sturner4444
[link] [comment]

Bifurcated Rivets: From FB


Bifurcated Rivets: From FB


Bifurcated Rivets: From FB

City of night

Bifurcated Rivets: From FB

Lovely design

Bifurcated Rivets: From FB

Giant Steps

Slashdot: Michigan FIRST Robot Championship Bout for 2014 (Video)

For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, AKA FIRST, holds annual robot challenges, in which student teams build robots, then operate them to the cheers of an adoring crowd. Slashdot watched the Dexter Dreadbots build their 2014 contender. (The Dreadbots are Slashdot's home team.) And we've watched other FIRST competitions before, but this is the 2014 Michigan state championships. The next step after the state finals is an appearance at the National Championship Competition, which starts today, April 23, in St. Louis, although the first day is speeches and such, not actual competition. Keep an eye on to see who wins. And before that, you can watch the matches themselves, streamed live courtesy of NASA. (Alternate video link.)

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Twitch: DVD Review: Urasawa Naoki's MONSTER, Episodes 31-45

(We're past the halfway point? Nooooooooooo...!) Australian distributor Siren Visual continues its release of the Monster anime unabated, and the third boxset, released last month, is the strongest one in quality so far. Despite sporting an IMDB-rating of 8.6, and being shown on English-language channels, Monster was previously never released in its entirety on DVD in an English-friendly version, and this current release shows just how big a shame that is. My reviews of the first and second boxset were very positive indeed, and if you just want to know if this one keeps up with those, rest assured it does. The Story: Years ago, brilliant surgeon Tenma saved Johan, a young boy, only to see him grow up into a human monster: a...

[Read the whole post on]

Recent additions: bifunctors

Added by EdwardKmett, Wed Apr 23 20:57:20 UTC 2014.


Recent additions: perceptron

Added by StefanHoldermans, Wed Apr 23 20:35:49 UTC 2014.

The perceptron learning algorithm.

Instructables: exploring - featured: Polymer Clay Eggs

This year for Easter I decided to try something a little different from the traditional dip dyed eggs I make each year. In this instructable you'll learn how to create beautiful polymer clay Easter eggs.  This is a fairly simple project and is something that can be done by both adults and children....
By: Matt2 Silver

Continue Reading »

Recent additions: signed-multiset 0.4

Added by StefanHoldermans, Wed Apr 23 20:26:15 UTC 2014.

Multisets with negative membership.

Slashdot: The Hackers Who Recovered NASA's Lost Lunar Photos

An anonymous reader sends this story from Wired: "The Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project has since 2007 brought some 2,000 pictures back from 1,500 analog data tapes. They contain the first high-resolution photographs ever taken from behind the lunar horizon, including the first photo of an earthrise. Thanks to the technical savvy and DIY engineering of the team at LOIRP, it's being seen at a higher resolution than was ever previously possible. ... The photos were stored with remarkably high fidelity on the tapes, but at the time had to be copied from projection screens onto paper, sometimes at sizes so large that warehouses and even old churches were rented out to hang them up. The results were pretty grainy, but clear enough to identify landing sites and potential hazards. After the low-fi printing, the tapes were shoved into boxes and forgotten. ... The drives had to be rebuilt and in some cases completely re-engineered using instruction manuals or the advice of people who used to service them. The data they recovered then had to be demodulated and digitized, which added more layers of technical difficulties."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

MetaFilter: Mery Talys and Quicke Answeres

Shakespeare Jest-Books: Reprints of the Early and Very Rare Jest-Books Supposed to Have Been Used by Shakespeare.

Recent additions: x509-system 1.4.4

Added by VincentHanquez, Wed Apr 23 20:01:52 UTC 2014.

Handle per-operating-system X.509 accessors and storage

Recent additions: perceptron

Added by StefanHoldermans, Wed Apr 23 20:01:26 UTC 2014.

The perceptron learning algorithm.

Hackaday: Micro-Robots Are Scary Awesome


A team of scientists at SRI international are creating real-life replicators from Star Gate SG1 — micro-robots capable of smart (and scary!) manufacturing. Thousands working in parallel will be able to achieve tasks previously unheard of, in a completely compact and integrated system.

These tiny ant-like robot systems are magnetically controlled and can use tools, move at incredible speeds, and swarm over surfaces. SRI’s vision was “to have an army of ants under your control”. It’s actually been an ongoing project since the 1990′s — but a recent undisclosed chunk of funding from DARPA has helped accelerate the project — giving it a new title of the MicroFactory for Macro Products project.

You have to see the video to believe it. Potential applications for these tiny swarm-bots include precise pick & place manufacturing, micro bio-technology, electronics manufacturing, and even rapid prototyping of high quality parts.

We get shivers just watching them slide around effortlessly on almost any surface.

[Thanks Matthew!]

Filed under: robots hacks

Paper Bits: prostheticknowledge: Conversnitch Project by Brian House and...



Project by Brian House and Kyle McDonald is a Raspberry-Pi-powered lightbulb attachment that can listen into nearby conversations (which are then posted onto Twitter) - video embedded below:

Conversnitch is a small device that automatically tweets overheard conversations, bridging the gap between (presumed) private physical space and public space online.

Information moves between spaces that might be physical or virtual, free or proprietary, illegal or playful, spoken or transcribed.

The Conversnitch Twitter feed can be found here

Slashdot: Skilled Manual Labor Critical To US STEM Dominance

Doofus writes: "The Wall Street Journal has an eye-catching headline: Welders Make $150,000? Bring Back Shop Class. Quoting: 'According to the 2011 Skills Gap Survey by the Manufacturing Institute, about 600,000 manufacturing jobs are unfilled nationally because employers can't find qualified workers. To help produce a new generation of welders, pipe-fitters, electricians, carpenters, machinists and other skilled tradesmen, high schools should introduce students to the pleasure and pride they can take in making and building things in shop class. American employers are so yearning to motivate young people to work in manufacturing and the skilled trades that many are willing to pay to train and recruit future laborers. CEO Karen Wright of Ariel Corp. in Mount Vernon, Ohio, recently announced that the manufacturer of gas compressors is donating $1 million to the Knox County Career Center to update the center's computer-integrated manufacturing equipment, so students can train on the same machines used in Ariel's operations.' How many of us liked shop? How many young people should be training for skilled manufacturing and service jobs rather than getting history or political science degrees?"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

The Rhizome Frontpage RSS: Seven on Seven NYC is Sold Out (but you can still watch online and join AFK)

General admission tickets to the 5th Anniversary edition of Rhizome's Seven on Seven program, returning to the New Museum on May 3, are sold out. Missed your chance to buy tickets? Live somewhere other than New York City? Worry not—you can still join this celebration of art and tech.  

Everyone, anywhere: we'll be live-streaming the entire event via the front page of, 12-6pm EST on May 3. Don't miss artists Kari Altmann, Ian Cheng, Simon Denny, Holly Herndon, Kevin McCoy, Hannah Sawtell, and Frances Stark, and technologists Nick Bilton, Anil Dash, Jen Fong-Adwent, David Kravitz, Aza Raskin, Kate Ray and Rus Yusupov. (All bios available on Rhizome's Seven on Seven microsite). Microsoft Research's Kate Crawford will give the day's keynote address. Also follow us on Twitter; we'll be using #7x7NYC for discussion about the event.

Londoners: The White Building will host a full weekend of events in conjunction with this 5th Anniversary. On May 3rd, they will live-stream the full program as a public event, and on Sunday, May 4, they'll host a critical forum on the state of art and technology collaboration. Throughout both days, they'll house a mini-exhibition of highlights from five years of Seven on Seven.

New Yorkers: While the event is sold out, we're still offering tickets for the after-party. Join the participants and audience, and the party host committee—comprising Lauren Cornell, Nick Chirls, Alex Chung, Matt Duckor, Audrey Gelman, Sarah Hromack, Julia Kaganskiy, Thessaly La Force, Jill Magid, Hari Nef, Megan Newcome, Slava, and Anthony Volodkin—in the New Museum's Sky Room as we toast the day's work and this program's five years.


MetaFilter: Dedicated "to those who have held the bag on a Snipe hunt"

Published in 1910, William T. Cox's Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods, With a Few Desert and Mountain Beasts is one of the earliest written accounts describing fabulous beasts of lumberjack lore, together called "fearsome critters." Read of tales of the peculiar wapaloosie, the spiky, hairless hodag that swallows trees whole, and the bizarrely violent splinter cat, which smashes trees with its head until it finds food. When you've been there a spell, take a gander through Paul Bunyan's Natural History, in which the goofang fish swims backwards to keep water out of its eyes and the teakettler walks backwards, nostrils steaming. For more harrowing yarns on yesterday's monsters, thumb through Henry Tryon's Fearsome Critters, which closes with a tantalizing snipet about an eternally elusive bird.

Computer Science: Theory and Application: Implementing Reproducible Research - Practices and Guidelines

submitted by rasbt
[link] [comment]

Slashdot: OnePlus One Revealed: a CyanogenMod Smartphone

An anonymous reader writes "Spec-wise, OnePlus One will go toe-to-toe with the latest flagship phones like the Galaxy S5, HTC One (M8), and Sony Xperia Z2. In some areas, it even surpasses them, and at a price point of $300. The One has the same 2.5 GHz Snapdragon 801 MSM8974AC SoC as the Samsung Galaxy S5, build quality similar to the HTC One (M8), and the large 3000+ mAh battery and Sony camera of the Xperia Z2. It also runs CyanogenMod 11S, which is based on Android 4.4."

Read more of this story at Slashdot. POEx-Weather-OpenWeatherMap-0.001001

POE-enabled OpenWeatherMap client

MetaFilter: 3 levels of lasers. It's rescanning the udder and looking for the teats

Something strange is happening at farms in upstate New York. The cows are milking themselves. Rise of the Milkbots. Search-OpenSearch-Engine-Lucy-0.299_02

Lucy server with OpenSearch results Weather-OpenWeatherMap-0.001002

Interface to the OpenWeatherMap API Blog: Surface Mount Soldering 101

Instructions for Soldering and Desoldering SMDs featuring up-close shots of fine-pitch soldering.

Surface Mount Soldering 101 - [Link]

Computer Science: Theory and Application: Some Best Skills/Practices in Computer Science that your University won’t Teach

submitted by asifiat
[link] [11 comments]

Penny Arcade: News Post: Pushing The Envelope

Tycho: As suggested by my equal and opposing force, today’s strip was from the stage at PAX East.  People asked to have one of my many lumps immortalized in the strip for some reason, in an act of craven lump-shaming, but I’ve put them in the strip myself before so maybe it’s fine.  I suggest in the video of the panel that these are akin to the “lovely lady lumps” immortalized by Fergie, but Gorbiriel thinks they are not those and are, in fact, disease.  I can sometimes feel them stealing my vitamins, but beyond that, I think we can both live in here and…

Open Culture: Jimi Hendrix Unplugged: Two Rare Recordings of Hendrix Playing Acoustic Guitar

As a young guitar player, perhaps no one inspired me as much as Jimi Hendrix, though I never dreamed I’d attain even a fraction of his skill. But what attracted me to him was his near-total lack of formality—he didn’t read music, wasn’t trained in any classical sense, played an upside-down right-handed guitar as a lefty, and fully engaged his head and heart in every note, never pausing for an instant (so it seemed) to second-guess whether it was the right one. I knew his raw emotive playing was firmly rooted in the Delta blues, but it wasn’t until later in my musical journey that I discovered his return to more traditional form after he disbanded The Experience and formed Band of Gypsys with Billy Cox and Buddy Miles. While most of the recordings he made with them didn’t see official release, they’ve appeared since his death in compilation after boxset after compilation, including one of the most beloved of Hendrix’s blues songs, “Hear My Train A Comin’.”

Originally titled “Get My Heart Back Together” when he played it at Woodstock in 1969, the song is pure roots, with lyrics that bespeak of both Hendrix’s loneliness and his playful dreams of greatness. (“I’m gonna buy this town / And put it all in my shoe.”) Several versions of the song float around on various posthumous releases—both live and as studio outtakes (including two different takes on the excellent 1994 Blues). But we have the rare treat, above, of seeing Hendrix play the song on a twelve-string acoustic guitar, Lead Belly’s instrument of choice. The footage comes from the 1973 documentary film Jimi Hendrix (which you can watch on Youtube for $1.99). Hendrix first plays the intro, seated alone in an all-white studio, playing folk-style with the fingers of his left hand. It is, of course, flawless, yet still he stops and asks the filmmakers for a redo. “I was scared to death,” he says, betraying the shyness and self-doubt that lurked beneath his mind-blowing ability and flamboyant persona. His playing is no less perfect when he picks up the tune again and plays it through.

Solo acoustic recordings of Hendrix—film and audio—are incredibly rare. In fact, the only other footage may be the short clip above of Hendrix at a party playing a partial blues rendition of “Hound Dog.” If like me you’re a fan of Hendrix, acoustic blues, or both, these videos will make you hunger for more Jimi unplugged. While Hendrix did more than anyone before him to turn guitar amps into instruments with his squalls of electric feedback and distorted wah-wah squeals, when you strip his playing down to basics, he’s still pretty much as good as it gets.

Related Content:

Jimi Hendrix’s Final Interview Animated (1970)

‘Electric Church’: The Jimi Hendrix Experience Live in Stockholm, 1969

Jimi Hendrix Plays “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” Days After the Song Was Released (1967)

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

Jimi Hendrix Unplugged: Two Rare Recordings of Hendrix Playing Acoustic Guitar 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 Jimi Hendrix Unplugged: Two Rare Recordings of Hendrix Playing Acoustic Guitar appeared first on Open Culture. Search-OpenSearch-Server-0.299_01

serve OpenSearch results Search-OpenSearch-0.399_03

provide search results in OpenSearch format

Instructables: exploring - featured: Corkmap - Lasercutting cork

I love maps but most important I love meeting people from different parts of the world. Getting to know their stories and understanding their roots and history makes me feel connected to them. While I was doing my residency at Pier 9 we had recently moved to a new office space with white clean wal...
By: alepalan

Continue Reading »

Slashdot: How Much Data Plan Bandwidth Is Wasted By DRM?

Bennett Haselton writes: "If you watch a movie or TV show (legally) on your mobile device while away from your home network, it's usually by streaming it on a data plan. This consumes an enormous amount of a scarce resource (data bundled with your cell phone provider's data plan), most of it unnecessarily, since many of those users could have downloaded the movie in advance on their home broadband connection — if it weren't for pointless DRM restrictions." Read on for the rest of Bennett's thoughts.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Instructables: exploring - featured: TO DO Chalkboard!

In this Instructable you will learn how to make a TO DO chalkboard using a laser cutter.  I used the laser cutters at TechShop in San Francisco to make this happen.      Things you will need: a vector of stencil letters  .25 inch thick MDF with a pre finished chalkboard surface (18" x 24") a "D"...
By: mignetic

Continue Reading »

Twitch: Dark Czech Comedy KRASNO Taps Into A Coen Vibe

Though recent Czech comedies have generally been of the very light and crowd pleasing variety it appears that writer / director / star Ondrej Sokol has a little something else up his sleeve with Krasno, a dark comedy steeped in obvious genre and noir influences that seems more in line with something that the Coen Brothers would cook up. Cineuropa sums up the story like this:The story follows a reunion, when main protagonists Adam and Michal return to their rural hometown, Šumperk, for a weekend. Michal is visiting his dying father, with whom he has a decaying relationship - he blames him for his mother's mysterious death. They happen upon a bigger reunion at their old high school and wreak havoc after getting drunk. Soon,...

[Read the whole post on] Blog: Mid-Power LEDs Offer Less Expensive Alternative for Lighting Applications


By Steven Keeping:

An entire product and manufacturing infrastructure was built at the start of this decade in anticipation of demand from TV manufacturers for LED backlighting. TV makers were under extreme price pressure from consumers and demanded the LED makers came up with inexpensive backlighting solutions. (See TechZone article “LED Backlighting Enhances LCD TV Picture Quality.”) To support the nascent LED TV sector, the LED makers more than doubled manufacturing capacity and added a similar level of support for the plastic packaging used to mount the backlighting LEDs.


This article provides an overview of the mid-power LED sector with examples of plastic- and ceramic-packaged devices from leading LED vendors.

Mid-Power LEDs Offer Less Expensive Alternative for Lighting Applications - [Link]

Colossal: Artist Zimoun Creates a Roiling Ocean of Packaging Peanuts inside the Windows of an Art Museum

Artist Zimoun Creates a Roiling Ocean of Packaging Peanuts inside the Windows of an Art Museum sound kinetic installation

Artist Zimoun Creates a Roiling Ocean of Packaging Peanuts inside the Windows of an Art Museum sound kinetic installation

Swiss artist Zimoun (previously) just unveiled a large installation inside the windows of the Museo d’Arte di Lugano in Switzerland. Titled 36 Ventilators, 4.7m3 Packing Chips, the kinetic artwork relies on large fans that perpetually blow clouds of packaging peanuts against the museum’s broad windowframes. At night the effect is especially eye-popping as it appears the entire space is filled with a turbulent white sea. Via bitforms gallery:

Using simple and functional components, Zimoun builds architecturally-minded platforms of sound. Exploring mechanical rhythm and flow in prepared systems, his installations incorporate commonplace industrial objects. In an obsessive display of curiously collected material, these works articulate a tension between the orderly patterns of Modernism and the chaotic forces of life. Carrying an emotional depth, the acoustic hum of natural phenomena blends effortlessly with electric reverberation in Zimoun’s minimalist constructions.

Another recent Zimoun piece is an installation at Orbital Garden in Bern using packaging paper and motors that similarly creates a water-like effect. (via Creative Applications which just launched a new print magazine, HOLO) Blog: DC-DC HV Boost Converter


rwilsford07 @

A boost converter works in two stages, ON and OFF. In the ON stage the Semi-conductive Switch is conducting and current builds up in the inductor producing an electromagnetic field, this field stores energy. In the OFF stage the Semi-conductive Switch does not conduct and the electromagnetic field collapses. When the field collapses the energy stored in it can not escape through the Semi-conductive Switch so it goes through the diode and into the load/Capacitor at a much higher voltage. This happens several thousand times a second via the pulses from the NE555 Timer Chip and the result is being able to charge a high voltage capacitor from a low voltage source. Below is some aid for those of you who do not know electronics well.

DC-DC HV Boost Converter - [Link]

MetaFilter: "So... do you... do you suppose we should... talk about money?"

Introducing Sociology: Tim Kreider's influential 1999 essay (previously) on how Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut uses sex and infidelity to cover up a story of greed and murder by the elite gets a brand new afterward by the author to introduce a new site for his non-fiction writing,

MetaFilter: The Most Dangerous Mission...The Most Daring Escape...Behind Enemy Lines

VHS Cover Junkie showcases examples of the now lost art of the home videotape cover. [SLTumbr]

Twitch: Stanley Film Fest 2014 Preview: (Almost) Every Film Reviewed!

There is something frightening going on in the foothills of the Colorado Rockies. The second annual Stanley Film Fest kicks off at the historic Stanley Hotel tomorrow and it is scary how good the lineup is. On top of great flicks, the lineup includes a ton of cool events that promise to put Stanley up there with Fantastic Fest on the fun-o-meter. Being that the Stanley is the inspiration for The Shining's Overlook Hotel, many of the events are Kubrick-related including the festival-closing Big Wheel Death Race! This being a highly curated festival and us being Twitch, we've already run reviews for just about every non-revival film playing at the festival. Check out the gallery below for a look at every single film on offer...

[Read the whole post on] Blog: Homebrew Arduino Pulse Monitor


Movies look cool with those EKG (electrocardiogram), the one that beeps and detects heart activities. A few months ago, we had to shoot a hospital scene for our school project. We needed an EKG instrument. To keep the movie authentic, we didn’t want to fake the readings so we made the next best thing, a pulse monitor. Since my dad is a doctor he gave me some advice to design the pulse monitor.

Homebrew Arduino Pulse Monitor - [Link]

Perlsphere: Fighting CPAN entropy

I first started the adoption list because I thought that we (the Perl community) needed a way to identify CPAN distributions that were in need of some TLC. One of the key factors used to build the list is whether a dist is being used by other CPAN dists. Today I released a new version of Text::Levenshtein, which is used by 4 other dists. I initially imagined I might just fix a couple of the outstanding bugs, but ended up shaving quite a bit more of the yak.

Hackaday: Video: Getting Your Feet Wet with Programmable System On Chip


Ever since I received my PSOC 4 Pioneer kit from Cypress I have wanted to play with this little mixed-signal Programmable System-on-Chip (PSOC) developer board. I love developer boards, providing that they are priced in a way to entice me to not only open my wallet but also make time in a busy schedule. I think my kit was free after winning a swag bag from Adafruit that they themselves obtained at the Open Hardware Summit and gave away on their weekly streamcast. Ultimately it was the invitation to beta test which also was included in that pile of swag that led to my getting involved with Hackaday.

Pioneer 4 Development Kit

PSCO4 Development Board on Hackaday

What is Programmable System On Chip?

So what is a PSOC 4? A quick summary is that it’s based on an ARM Cortex reduced instruction set processor (RISC) and is somewhat capable of supporting shields based on the Arduino footprint, and it also uses a bright red PCB that I have come to associate with a Sparkfun PCB. What doesn’t show is the fact that this programmable system on chip has programmable analog function blocks in addition to programmable digital logic blocks. There is also some supporting input/output circuitry such as a multicolored LED and a capacitive touch sensor directly on the PCB.

This is an intriguing amount of programmability, so much so that Newark/Element 14 highlighted a “100 projects in 100 days” event on it.

Enter the IDE

Over the years I have had to create or install many Integrated Development Environments (IDE) that linked hardware to software. Knowing that you had to, and how to, implement an IDE was part of being an engineer. Nowadays with the Arduino type environment the user has an IDE pretty much as soon as they click on the executable which I find to be one of the best aspects of the genre. It was so quick in fact that I was able to get my teenaged son into writing his first program even before he remembered to do massive eye-rolls and make sounds of utter disdain. He did give up however, just shy of learning how to have the Arduino make sounds of disdain on his behalf.

PSCo4 Cypress Development Kit on Hackaday

Closeup of a Programmable System on Chip Development System

Love Your Developer Board

So here  is why I love cheap developer boards, you have standard hardware that in theory is already working, and demonstration projects are readily available to feed the IDE. Loading untested software code into a project that probably has hardware issues can present a bit of a challenge. Starting with either hardware or software that is already known to be working is a big plus as you don’t necessarily have to troubleshoot the difference between a jump out of bounds of the memory map or a blown address line, or both.

Setting up the IDE consists of downloading and installing PSoC Creator 3.0 from the Cypress website and clicking execute; I usually click “run as administrator” just because I can and it makes me feel superlative as if I have a role to play.


PSOC Creator 3.0 Integrated Development Environment as shown by Bil Herd for Hackaday

PSOC Creator 3.0 Integrated Development Environment

As mentioned above, Newark hosted a 100 Projects event and I have decided to try circuit #2 as a way of exercising all of the steps from selection and compiling to download and use. Simply put this example changes the color of the multicolor LED based on where the user touches the capacitive sensor.

Build and Run

Compiling and running the example was accomplished by a rapid-fire succession of mouse clicks, with the only pause being for the “clean and build” step. A quick click on “Debug” and the “Program” completes the process and a quick test showed the color of the LED changing based on where the capsense (capacitive sense) slider gets touched. At this point both analog and digital components have been included and configured based on a one sheet schematic.

Post-build Pinout

Post-build Pinout of PSCO4 on Hackaday

So why do this? What is the significance of having analog compiled along with digital when the user can just utilize an add-on solder-less breadboard? The answerer is that you absolutely could implement the same designs using external analog components, especially since not all circuits can be realized with the PSOC architecture. However if you are into having more than one screwdriver in the box you will appreciate this version of having multiple answers to a problem. You might like the fact that you can re-implement a design by just pulling it from disc and not have to rebuild the solder-less breadboard (or keep the circuit built for two months in case you might need it, which you do 3.45 months later)

You may also appreciate the cleanliness of a design where most of the support circuitry is tucked up in the chip itself, not to mention real life issues with noise and reliability.

Or you might like it because it is kind of cool to compile analog.

In my case I think it’s kind of cool.

Filed under: ARM, Featured

Twitch: Concept Art And Plot Details For VANISHING WAVES Duo's Upcoming EMERGENCE

It was back on Friday that we first brought word of Vanishing Waves directing duo Kristina Buožytė and Bruno Samper's upcoming science fiction film Emergence, with word that it had received development funding from their local film institute in Lithuania. Nothing further was known at the time but we now have two pieces of concept art for the film along with the first synopsis which promises a tale set in the world of bio-art. Evolution is an ascent towards consciousness. EMERGENCE - it's a fantasy neo noir. Blending an orientalist atmosphere with wonders of synthetic biology and creative bio-design, this metaphysical story explores the themes of free will and deep human desire for the marvelous and mystery. LAMARCK, a professional art appraiser, is tricked into...

[Read the whole post on]

Planet Haskell: Douglas M. Auclair (geophf): 'T' is for Theorem-proving

'T' is for Theorem-proving

So, you've been theorem-proving all your life.

Let's just get that one out there.

When you're given a math problem that says:

"Solve x + 1 = 2 (for x) (of course)"

And you say, "Why, x is 1, of course," quick as thinking, you've just proved a theorem.

Here, let me show you:

x + 1 = 2 (basis)
     -1 = -1 (reflexive)
x + 0 = 1 (addition)
x       = 1 (identity)

Q.E.D. ('cause you rock)

So, yeah. Theorem proving is this, correction: theorem proving is simply this: going from step 1, to step 2 to step 3 until you've got to where you want to be.

How do you go from step 1 to step 2, etc? The same way you do everything! You follow the rules you're given.

Let's prove a theorem, right now.

So, in classical logic, we have a theorem that says

p → p

That is, if you've got a p, that implies (that you've got a) p.


But proving that? How do we go about doing that?

Well, in classical logic, you're given three basic axioms (thanks to sigfpe for his article "Adventures in Classic Land"):

1. p → (q → p)
2. (p → (q → r)) → ((p → q) → (p → r))
3. ¬¬p → p

So, p → p. How do we get there? Let's start with axiom 1 above.

1. p → ((p → p) → p)
axiom 1 (where q = (p → p))
2. (p → ((p → p) → p) → ((p → (p → p)) → (p → p))
axiom 2 (where q = (p → p) and r = p)
3. (p → (p → p)) → (p → p)
modus ponens
4. p → (p → p)
axiom 1 (where q = p)
5. p → p
modus ponens

Q.E.D. (a.k.a. whew!)

I used something called modus ponens in the above proof. It says, basically, that if you've proved something that you're depending on, you can drop it. Or, logically:

p → q, p

Or, we have "p implies q" we've proved p, so now we can just use q.

Now, there's been a lot of thought put into theory, coming up with theorems and proving them, and this has been over a long time, from Aristotle up to now. The big question for a long time was that ...

Well, theorem proving is a lot of hard work. Is there any way to automate it?

So there's been this quest to make theorem proving mechanical.

But to make theorem-proving mechanical, you have to mechanize everything, the axioms, the rules, and the process. Up until recent history, theory has been a lot of great minds spouting truths, and 'oh, here's a new way to look at the world!'

And that has been great (it has), but it hasn't helped mechanize things.

Then along came Frege. What Frege did was to give us a set of symbols that represented logical connectives and then symbols that represented things.

And there you had it: when you have objects and their relations, you have an ontology, a knowledge-base. Frege provided the tools to represent knowledge as discreet things that could be manipulated by following the rules of the (symbolized) relations.

He gave abstraction to knowledge and an uniform way of manipulating those abstractions, so, regardless of the underlying knowledge be it about money or chickens or knowledge, itself, it could be represented and then manipulated.

That way you could go from step 1 to step 2 to step 3, etc, until you arrived at your conclusion, or, just as importantly, arrived at a conclusion (including one that might possibly say what you were trying to prove was inadmissible).

Since Frege, there has been (a lot of) refinement to his system, but we've been using his system since because it works so well. He was the one who came up with the concept of types ('T' is for Types) and from that we've improved logic to be able to deliver this blog post to you on a laptop that is, at base, a pile of sand that constantly proving theorems in a descendent of Frege's logic.

Let's take a look at one such mechanized system. It's a Logic Framework, and is called tweLF. The first example proof from the Princeton team that uses this system is 'implies true,' and it goes like this:

imp_true: pf B -> pf (A imp B) = ...

That's the declaration. It's saying: the proof of B, or pf B, implies the proof of A implies B, or pf (A imp B).

How can you claim such a thing?

Well, you prove it.

imp_true: pf B -> pf (A imp B) =
[p1: pf B]            % you have the proof of B
% ... but now what? for we don't have the proof that A implies B

So the 'now what' is our theorem-proving adventure. Mechanized.

We don't have the proof that A implies B, but we have a logical loop-hole (called a hole) that a proof some something that's true is its proof:

hole: {C} pf C.

Which says, mechanized what I just said in words, so with that:

imp_true: pf B -> pf (A imp B) =
[p1: pf B]
(hole (A imp B)).

And there you go.

... that is, if you're fine with a big, gaping loophole in your proof of such a thing.

If you are satisfied, then, well, here, sit on this rusty nail until you get unsatisfied.

So there.

Okay, so we have an implication, but we need to prove that.

So we introduce the implication into the proof, which is defined as:

imp_i: (pf A -> pf B) -> pf (A imp B)

SO! we have that, and can use it:

imp_true: pf B -> pf (A imp B) =
[p1 : pf B]
(imp_i ([p2: pf A] (hole B))).

So, we have the proof of A and that leads to B. But wait! We already have B, don't we? It's p1 (that is [p1 : pf B])


imp_true: pf B -> pf (A imp B) =
[p1 : pf B]
(imp_i ([p2 : pf A] p1)).


This is what theorem-proving is: you start with what you want, e.g.:

imp_true: pf B -> pf (A imp B)

which is "implies-true is that if you have B proved, then you have the proof that (A implies B) is true, too."

Then you take what you've got:

pf B

And give it a value:

[p1 : pf B]

Then you apply your rules (in this case, implication introduction, or 'imp_i') to fill the holes in your proof, to get:

[p1: pf B] (imp_i [p2: pf A] p1)

Which is the demonstration of your proof, and that's why we say 'Q.E.D.' or 'quod est demonstratum.' 'Thus it is demonstrated.'

Ta-dah! Now you have all the tools you need to prove theorems.

Now go prove Fermat's Last Theorem.

(I am so mean!)

Okay, okay, so maybe Fermat's Last Theorem is a bit much, but if you want to try your hand at proving some theorems, there's a list of some simple theorems to prove.

All Content: Turkish Cinema Thrives at 33rd Istanbul Film Festival


Around 3 million people visit Istiklâl Caddesi, Istanbul’s most iconic avenue, daily. Pretty buildings, mainly from the late Ottoman era, flank the bookstores, cafés and nightclubs along this pedestrian street. However, in April each year, these spots cede the majority of public attention to the cinemas on Istiklâl. In this month, the city plays host to Turkey’s biggest and oldest international film festival. Organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, the festival is the world’s best platform and showcase for Turkish films, new and old.

Only the most naïve cinemagoer would assume that Nuri Bilge Ceylan is all there is to Turkish cinema. As the recently concluded 33rd Istanbul Film Festival (April 5-20) proved, the country is producing exciting, fresh and challenging films. It is an interesting time for Turkey, a fact impossible to ignore while attending the festival. After all, the event headquarters are merely two minutes away from Taksim Square and Gezi Park, the birthplace of the anti-government protests that captured the world’s attention a year ago.

However, there hasn’t been much cinema devoted to this turmoil, unlike, say, in Egypt. It’s too soon to tackle such topics, some filmmakers believe. Hüseyin Karabey, whose feature “Come to My Voice” was in the National Competition, thinks there is a need to develop some perspective and distance before artists can approach those issues. His own film, which won the People’s Choice Award, deals with the hardships faced by Kurds in Turkey. It begins with all of the men in a village taken into custody by the gendarmerie on suspicion of carrying arms. Their families are informed that they will remain arrested unless these arms are handed over. So, 65-year old Berfé sets out on a journey—her granddaughter in tow—to find a gun she can hand over for rescuing her son.

"Come to My Voice" is ostensibly a fable. Framed as a tale narrated by three blind bards, the film lovingly but truthfully sketches a portrait of a tough life, lived in extremely tough conditions. The authorities are painted in unflattering light; the gendarmes are cruel, unsympathetic brutes and the two leads must rely on elements residing on the fringes of society for completing their mission. (No wonder the film doesn’t have state funding.) "Voice" hinges on the relationship between Berfé and her granddaughter; its solid foundation is the reason the film works. Feride Gezer, who plays Berfé, imbues her character with the world-weariness and fatigue that can only come from putting up with unrelenting pain for decades. By the time the credits roll on a superb, rousing folk song (the film was also a joint winner of the festival’s Best Music Award), one is spent but satisfied. This was my favorite film from the lineup by far.

The festival also highlights Turkish cinema from the past year. In this category, outside competition, I discovered "The Impeccables." Director Ramin Matin casts his attention on another problem plaguing Turkey for long: the fight between modernity and tradition. The film opens with a svelte body swaying in the water. It belongs to Yasmine, a vivacious young woman who has come to the coastal town of Çesme for a summer retreat with her shy sister Lale. The two have been distant for long, and the vacation is not just to recharge their batteries but also to reignite their relationship. The sun’s out and the breeze is constant, but a cold air hangs over them and the tension is palpable.

I was glad to see "The Impeccables" because it is a modest story, efficiently told. It proves that no action sequence can be as gripping as a conversation between two people. The sibling relationship is filled with nuances cherry picked from real life, yet some details seem specific to just Turkish society. The psychological rivalry between the two is essayed with acuteness, and the revelation of what exactly drove them apart provides a satisfactory payoff. Ipek Türktan Kaynak, who plays Lale, carries her character through various vicissitudes effortlessly.

Unfortunately, not all films about the gentry are as well done. "Things I Cannot Tell," another entry in the National Competition, falters where the aforementioned films succeed: having strong roots. The first film by Esra Saydam and Nisan Dag, "Things" narrates the story of Damla, a successful New Yorker who misses her Turkish hometown. Six months pregnant, Damla returns to Turkey with her American husband, Kevin, and runs into a former lover, Burak, with whom she had an acrimonious split. Secrets from her past tumble out awkwardly, and all her relationships are put to the test.

"Things" is glossy and pleasant to look at, but hollow to the core. This kind of film could belong to any country or culture; it’s so empty it comes from nowhere. There is no connection to the extremely real pains of immigration, culture shock or homesickness in the film apart from superficial acknowledgments. The film’s portrayal of Kevin is laughably amateur and smacks of ethnocentrism. He isn’t as street smart as Burak; he can’t handle his drinks; he isn’t good at football and has no redeeming quality to him except being nice…ish. Apart from bursting with clichés straight out of an American indie, "Things" suffers from a rather rare problem: being overly and overtly sympathetic to its female protagonist. Damla, by any metric, is an extremely unpleasant person. She lies without abandon or reason, puts her husband through the wringer unfairly and is the cause of nearly all the strife in the plot. Yet, the drama rests on us rooting for her—a nigh impossible task. Ironically, there are very few things Damla actually cannot tell; it’s just that the film would end in five minutes if she did.

The festival experience in Istanbul is not limited to just films. There are a series of Masterclasses and panel discussions open for all. A session by Iranian auteur Asghar Farhadi, President of this year’s Jury, was especially enlightening. He chose the occasion to elaborate on his writing process, and delved into sequences from his oeuvre for anecdotes.

On the festival circuit, Istanbul is undeniably a Tier C member. Nevertheless, it has a unique place of importance because of the light it sheds on Turkish cinema every year. Through the features and documentaries in its lineup, one can gauge what is motivating the artists of this country at this particular time.

Everything else is just gravy.

Penny Arcade: News Post: Make-a-Strip

Gabe: Today’s comic strip was the Make-a-Strip comic we did at PAX East a couple weeks ago. You can actually watch the entire panel and the creation of the comic right here:

OUR VALUED CUSTOMERS: While discussing the upcoming AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2...

programming: pocketcpp - Portable Notepad++ with C++ compiler (GCC 4.8.1)

submitted by steloflute
[link] [3 comments]

Twitch: Blu-ray Review: BETTIE PAGE REVEALS ALL, A Pin-Up Girl As Feminist Icon

How is it possible that an American figure model who ended her career more than 50 years ago continues to be so influential upon today's popular culture? Mark Mori's Bettie Page Reveals All makes the case that the subject of his documentary was a woman ahead of her time. Born in Nashville, Tennessee in 1923, Bettie Page grew up in disadvantageous circumstances; she says her father molested her and her mother didn't want her. Like many young girls of the time, she dreamed of being a glamour girl, and even had a screen test in Hollywood, though that didn't lead anywhere. Instead, she survived an early, unsuccessful marriage, provided for herself with office jobs, and eventually moved to New York City. In her late 20s,...

[Read the whole post on]

Colossal: Animals Drawn with Moiré Patterns

Animals Drawn with Moiré Patterns pattern illustration animals

Animals Drawn with Moiré Patterns pattern illustration animals

Animals Drawn with Moiré Patterns pattern illustration animals

Animals Drawn with Moiré Patterns pattern illustration animals

Animals Drawn with Moiré Patterns pattern illustration animals

Animals Drawn with Moiré Patterns pattern illustration animals

This beautiful series of animal illustrations by Milan-based designer Andrea Minini began as a design experiment to obtain complex shapes and depth starting with just a few lines. Using Adobe Illustrator, Minini created textured moiré patterns that give each illustration a surprising intensity. You can see more from this series over on Behance.

Perlsphere: Testing Lies Video

I was recently at the 2014 German Perl Workshop and I've written about it at our company blog.

Open Culture: H.G. Wells Interviews Joseph Stalin in 1934; Declares “I Am More to The Left Than You, Mr. Stalin”

wells and stalin

From the 20/20 point of view of the present, Joseph Stalin was one of the 20th century’s great monsters. He terrified the Soviet Union with campaign after campaign of political purges, he moved whole populations into Siberia and he arguably killed more people than Hitler. But it took decades for the scope of his crimes to get out, mostly because, unlike Hitler, Stalin stuck to killing his own people.

In early 1930s, however, Stalin was considered by many to be the leader of the future. That period was, of course, the nadir of the Great Depression. Capitalism seemed to be coming apart at the seams. The USSR promised a new society ruled not by the oligarchs of Wall Street but by the people – a society where everyone was equal.

H.G. Wells interviewed Stalin in Moscow in 1934 for the magazine The New Statesman. Wells was an avowed socialist and one of the left’s most influential authors. His first novel, The Time Machine, is essentially an allegory for class struggle after all. The interview between the two is fascinating.

Wells opens the piece by stating that he speaks for the common people. While that point is debatable — Stalin calls him out on that assertion – Wells does speak in a manner that is readily understandable. Stalin, in contrast, speaks in fluent Politburo. The blandness of his speech, choked with Communist boilerplate, seems designed to make the listener tune out. But then he drops little bon mots into his monologues that hint at the violence he has unleashed on his country. Take this line for instance:

Revolution, the substitution of one social system for another, has always been a struggle, a painful and a cruel struggle, a life-and-death struggle.

It’s a chilling line. Especially when you consider that at the time of this interview, Stalin was just starting to launch his first wave of political purges and he was plotting to assassinate his main political rival Sergei Kirov.

As the interview unfolds, you can imagine Wells growing increasingly frustrated by Stalin’s narrow, dogmatic view of the world. The Soviet leader, as Wells later wrote in his autobiography, “has little of the quick uptake of President Roosevelt and none of the subtlety and tenacity of Lenin. … His was not a free impulsive brain nor a scientifically organized brain; it was a trained Leninist-Marxist brain.”

At several points in the interview Wells challenges Stalin: “I object to this simplified classification of mankind into poor and rich,” the author fumes.

And when Stalin doesn’t agree with Wells that the Capitalist system was on its last legs, the author actually chides him for not being revolutionary enough. “It seems to me that I am more to the Left than you, Mr. Stalin; I think the old system is nearer to its end than you think.” Now that’s chutzpah.

In the end, the interview presents a dueling version of the future of the left. Wells believed, in essence, that the Capitalist world only needed to be reformed, albeit drastically, to achieve economic justice. And Stalin argued that Capitalism had to be torn down completely before any other reform could take place.

In spite of their differences, Wells left the interview with a positive impression of the Soviet leader. “I have never met a man more fair, candid, and honest,” he wrote.

Wells died in 1946 before the worst of Stalin’s crimes became known to the outside world. Stalin died in 1953. His corpse remained on the floor in a pool of urine for days because his minions were terrified that he might wake up and order their execution.

You can read the entire interview between H.G. Wells and Stalin on The New Statesmen‘s website here.

via Kottke

Related Content:

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How to Spot a Communist Using Literary Criticism: A 1955 Manual from the U.S. Military

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Learn Russian from our List of Free Language Lessons

Jonathan Crow is a Los Angeles-based writer and filmmaker whose work has appeared in Yahoo!, The Hollywood Reporter, and other publications. You can follow him at @jonccrow.

H.G. Wells Interviews Joseph Stalin in 1934; Declares “I Am More to The Left Than You, Mr. Stalin” 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 H.G. Wells Interviews Joseph Stalin in 1934; Declares “I Am More to The Left Than You, Mr. Stalin” appeared first on Open Culture.

The Rhizome Frontpage RSS: Retweeting Fiction

New York City. Photograph by Teju Cole, via Flickr.

On the morning of January 8th, Teju Cole published a fiction in the form of 33 tweets, each posted from the account of a different "collaborator," and then retweeted sequentially by Cole. Titled "Hafiz," it took three hours and fifteen minutes to be published. Like most of Cole's experiments in Twitter publishing, it generated much more social media heat than actual critique. (There are a few notable exceptions.) But "Hafiz," both as a story and presentation, is worth examining, as it is both the closest @tejucole has come to Teju Cole's fiction and a singular commentary on it.

This is not Cole's first foray into Twitter publishing. "Small Fates" (2011-2013), which took the style of Felix Feneon's faits divers, comprised a mammoth and often wearying series of news stories compressed into Tweet-length narratives of violence and disaster. It stood in direct contrast with the slow perambulations and musings of his 2007 novel Every Day Is For The Thief, though both take place primarily in Lagos. His Seven Short Stories About Drones (2013) was a series of similar compressions, ending famous first novels (Mrs. Dalloway, Things Fall Apart) by incorporating drone strikes in their first lines. It was a direct attack on the then-obsession with Obama as reader, and it had the half-life that all political provocations share. If "Small Fates" was the perfect marriage of an antiquated form and contemporary social media, Seven Short Stories About Drones was an addition to an already thriving genre of net-detournement. Cole told the New York Times recently, "…the writers I find most interesting find ways to escape [the novel]," and his ongoing project @_kill_list, which recounts each kill in The Bible, reflects that continuing restlessness in his own output.

"Hafiz" is far less immediately readable than any of these projects; this, perversely, is its greatest strength. Cole has moved beyond his previous formal horizon of a single story per tweet, bringing Twitter's networks into play. If you were one of @tejucole's followers, the experience of watching him string together the RTs was highly disconcerting, so much so that I immediately(and incorrectly)guessed that he was composing a story from found tweets, rather than disseminating his own writing via his followers. (The critic David Vecsey, who did not follow Cole at the time, had the inverse experience: he was captivated by an out of context tweet on another account, and only later realized that it was a part of a collaboratively published story.) The collaborative structure of the project, and the lack of any central voice, fractured the narrative and dispersed its fragments across a riot of feeds. After the nature of Cole's project became clear, however, the clamoring identities distributing "Hafiz" eventually cohere into a single voice, one of semi-deliberate haziness attempting to articulate complex ideas in relatively simple language, a voice similar to that deployed in Cole's two novels.

At the same time, the use of the RT in "Hafiz" can be read as a paratextual comment on Cole's own fiction. In his 2011 novel Open City, the narrator, Julius, encounters a strange subcategory of strangers, from an old man in a movie theater "his head thrown back and his mouth open, so that he looked more dead than sleeping" to his grieving neighbor Seth, to a sole marathon runner he reproaches himself for pitying. Julius invents narratives for each partially in an attempt to deal with his intense empathetic reactions but more, perhaps, to work through the parental absence in his life. Using the analogy of the Freudian view of mourning as the incorporation of the dead into the living, Cole shows how Julius takes strangers inward less to understand them than to use them to consider his own existence and obsessions.

Such a stranger interrupts the commute of the narrator of "Hafiz": a seated man, clutching at his heart, pedestrians looking on. A heart attack is assumed; the paramedics eventually arrive. As in Open City, the narrator appropriates these events as fodder for his own ruminations. He believes the seated man is crying, "Because light is beautiful. Because we do not wish to leave something and stray into nothing" (relayed by @robdelaney, of all people). He quotes Logue's All Day Permanent Red, imposing a high literary aesthetic on a scene which, he admits upon the paramedics' arrival, is just another day for them: "In each unwasted gesture was the message: it's always someone's turn, always someone's bad day" (via @rachelrosenfelt).

As the thirty-three different collaborators' distinct and clanking agendas are stilled to utter a single, unitary voice, so too are the characters in "Hafiz" muted to allow the narrator to meditate. Still, he is distracted not only by the others but also "by my own presence" and thus unable to concentrate. The narrator appears to be the only bystander with any agency. It is he who calls 911 and summons the paramedics; it is he who bends down to feel the seated man's pulse. But it is ultimately another's presence, the young man with the phone, who punctures the narrative with his statement that the  suffering man is a local drunk ("I know him," the young man said. "I've seen him around. Drinks a lot." via @patricknathan), allows another character's interpretation of the events to impinge, almost turning the entire story into a joke.

Was the decision to relay "Hafiz" through the appropriation of other Twitter profiles (via the RT) a deliberate comment on the self-entrapment of his narrators? Or was the marriage of story and form merely the product of Teju Cole's refined and narrow authorial concerns and @tejucole's open, welcoming, and broad Twitter-style? Cole has neglected to directly address this, rather speaking to Vecsey of his fascination with the "clean"ness of a RT as "an occasion for grace... to create a 'we' out of a story I might simply have published in the conventional way." Regardless of authorial intent, "Hafiz" uses the RT to comment on solipsism and empathy in Cole's own fiction and, perhaps, on Twitter itself.

All Content: An Appreciation of Jay-Z's '99 Problems' on Its Tenth Anniversary


Right from the opening seconds, where the camera eye climbs up subway stairs out into the stark, gritty streets of Brooklyn, the viewer immediately knows "99 Problems" is going to be a dizzying, intense experience.

Officially ten years old this month, the video for Jay-Z’s third single off The Black Album (aka his supposed, final album before retiring from recording to briefly run the Def Jam label) still crackles with jolting, frenetic imagery. The song itself, produced by Rick Rubin, who produced many a classic hip-hop track before becoming the behind-the-boards icon everyone from Johnny Cash to Justin Timberlake would go straight to, is just as jarring musically. For starters, it samples the opening, oft-sampled drum break from Billy Squier’s "The Big Beat," the two-chord guitar riff from a live version of Mountain’s "Long Red" and the jangly percussion from Wilson Pickett’s "Get Me Back on Time, Engine Number 9." Add to that Jay-Z picking up Ice-T’s chorus hook from his "99 Problems" ("If you’re having girl problems, I feel bad for you son/I got 99 problems and a bitch ain’t one") as he tells his own tales of inner-city blues, and you have a rap song that doubles as an aural assault.

The video is an assault on the senses (but in a good way), as famed video director Mark Romanek takes his first shot at helming a rap video. Jay, who originally wanted Quentin Tarantino to direct until Rubin advised him to give Romanek a try, wanted to make a hip-hop video that 1) showed the Brooklyn where he grew up and 2) looked like photographic art. Romanek, who’s always had a flair for creating videos that doled out artistic expression, whether it’s Nine Inch Nails’ grimy, disturbing freak show "Closer," Beck’s Truffaut-saluting "Devil’s Haircut," Johnny Cash’s sad-eyed tribute "Hurt" or Fiona Apple’s voyeuristic "Criminal," immediately thought of cribbing from the black-and-white noir photography of New York photojournalists like Weegee. But the visual, urban bluntness also brings to mind the work of late, black photographer (and Brooklyn resident) Roy DeCarava, who captured black-and-white shots of Harlem in the early 20th century.

Much like DeCarava’s photographs, Romanek gets shots of African-American life, one after the other, in "99 Problems," with Jay serving as a tour guide of sorts. First shown outside the famed Marcy Houses where he grew up, eventually making himself at home in one of the apartments as he raps about music-industry gripes, action goes on all around him as the video progresses and Jay walks around his city, telling his tales.

Romanek takes off in several different directions throughout the video, zooming right into people’s face one minute, slowing down the whole momentum of one scene the next. But thanks to exemplary editing from longtime Romanek editor Robert Duffy, the video maintains a rhythmic pulse. It’s literally never out of step. But, just as Jay raps about the problems he’s had in his life—music-industry drama, almost getting caught by police with drugs in his trunk, having to go toe-to-toe with an idiot—"Problems" visually breaks down the problems that have plagued Brooklyn and inner-city America in general. As much as Romanek shows celebrations randomly popping off (whaddup, dude in Viking hat!), he counters it with bleak shots of black men in jail (completely naked, at one point, as they’re showered down) and old men prematurely mourning their loved ones in funeral homes.

As the video shows everything from a guy aiming a gun out an apartment window, pointing it to unsuspecting passersby, to street performers and step teams literally dancing in the street, it’s obvious that Jay and Romanek are both out to show Brooklyn as a land of contradictions. Good things can happen, but really, really bad things can happen, too. (In a New York Times piece on the video, Jeffrey Rotter said, "’99 Problems’ is a celebration and a disparagement of Brooklyn iconography.") And, yet, as Romanek captures it all with cinematographer Joaquin Baca-Asay, who would later work with James Gray on We Own the Night and Two Lovers, there’s a striking, visual poetry to it.

Romanek also saw the humor. He had Rubin walk around Brooklyn as well, wearing a cowboy hat and a fur coat. (Romanek said he wanted Rubin to look like "a rabbinical pimp.") In one, odd instance, he’s seen walking down the sidewalk with, of all people, Vincent Gallo! Romanek also plays hip-hop misogyny for laughs. Whenever Jay uses "bitch" in "Problems," he’s actually referring to everything but a girl. In the first verse, that’s what he calls the music-industry BS he goes through. In the second verse, it’s a female, drug-sniffing dog. In the final verse, it’s a silly-ass dude looking for a fight. But as Jay uses "bitch" in different ways, Romanek uses it ironically, as standard-issue, bikini-clad, big-booty video girls ridiculously grace the screen the second Jay says the word.   

As those shots of butt-nekkid black dudes show, the video also isn’t afraid to be startling in a sensational, controversial manner. Shots of gunplay (or, in Jay’s case, pretending to hold a gun with his hand) were excised from the original cut when it played on MTV (The shots were replaced by a hand obscuring the camera lens.) And, of course, there’s the climactic moment where Jay himself gets shot up with bullets, as his arms flay around in slow motion—a rather violent reminder that Jay was done with rap at the time. The moment scared MTV to the point where it regularly played the video at night, with a pre-video disclaimer attached to it. It’s worth noting that, in the video for his last single, "Dirt Off Your Shoulder," he simply got in a limo at the end and rode off into the sunset. If "Dirt" was his John Ford-ish sayonara, "Problems" was him saying bye-bye, Peckinpah-style.  

"99 Problems" still remains immensely watchable, like nearly all of Romanek’s videos. One of those rare hip-hop videos that eschewed—even mocked—rap-video clichés and actually packs a cinematic punch, the video would go on to win a well-deserved, Video Music Award (back when those meant something, of course) for Best Rap Video, as well as moon-men statues in directing, editing and cinematography.

Back when it began making the MTV and BET rounds ten years ago, Armond White wrote in a New York Press essay, "’99 Problems’ shows a young black man’s New York as it has never been seen before. Jay-Z spins a tale of common aimlessness and selfish survival… His delivery is terse yet eloquent –swingsong, but the world he walks through is ferocious." No matter how much of a hipster playground Brooklyn becomes, "99 Problems" will forever be an energetic, musical snapshot of the borough at its most down-and-dirty.

things magazine: 36 ventilators, 4.7m³ packing chips

36 ventilators, 4.7m³ packing chips, an installation by Studio Zimoun

Hackaday: TherMOFOrmer


3D printers are the tool of choice for all the hackerspaces we’ve been to, and laser cutters take a close second. There’s another class of plastic manipulating machines that doesn’t get enough credit with the hackerspace crowd – the vacuum thermoformer. Surprisingly, there haven’t been many – if any – vacuum formers on Kickstarter. Until now, that is.

[Ben] and [Calvin] are the guys behind the MOFO, and built their machine around ease of use and reliability. After a few prototypes, they settled on their design of aluminum extrusion for the frame, a ceramic heating element for the heater, and an off-the-shelf PID controller for the electronics.

The MOFO has so far been tested with polycarbonate, acrylic, PETG and styrene with good results. The Kickstarter has reward levels of $500 for a 12″x12″ work area, and $1000 for a 24″x24″ work area. That’s not too bad, and building your own similar thermoformer would probably cost just as much. Just the thing if you need to print out a few dozen sets of storm trooper armor.


Filed under: Crowd Funding, tool hacks

All Content: Thumbnails 4/23/14



"The Endless Push and Pull of Lindsay Lohan's Reality Show": Kim Morgan at Vulture examines Lohan's reality show, and her reality. 
"I love watching Lindsay Lohan sort through clothes. It's strangely soothing, like sitting on the bed watching your older sister prepare for a date. Lindsay sorts through boxes of things, her ciggie dangling, stopping once in a while to put on a jacket, moving her shoulders forward and smoothing down the front. She shifts her body to make it work. Her face has focus and when she observes a piece on her terse little frame, she is usually pleased. A pro smoker, she talks through her cigarettes, keeping those cancer sticks clenched in her teeth. “This is good.” She smirks. She almost laughs. Those laughs come liberally throughout the day, throaty laughs with hard-earned miles on them. When you hear that laugh, she isn’t your older sister anymore; she’s your hot divorced aunt, the one who lets you smoke pot in the basement."


"Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein on the indispensability of This Is Spinal Tap": At The Dissolve, Will Harris gets the two Portlandia stars to talk a Rob Reiner's classic.

"Beyond their bond as the co-creators and stars of the IFC seriesPortlandia, Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein share something else in common: They both started their careers in music, Brownstein as part of Sleater-Kinney, Armisen most notably as drummer for the post-hardcore band Trenchmouth. Although Armisen left his music career behind in favor of pursuing a career in acting, which he achieved through his lengthy stint as a cast member onSaturday Night Live, he recently returned to his roots, taking on the additional responsibility of serving as bandleader for NBC’s Late Night With Seth Meyers. "


"'I'm Sorry You Don't Like The Newsroom As Much As You Should'": At, Tara Ariano fillets Aaron Sorkin with a pen knife, starting with the limbs and working inward.

"Aaron Sorkin Wants To Apologize To Everyone About 'The Newsroom' is the headline on Buzzfeed's widely blogged story. Since I do feel that he owes me an apology for The Newsroom, I was very curious to see exactly what he feels he needs to be sorry for -- and as anyone who's familiar not just with his oeuvre but his public persona might predict, it's not so much that he's sorry as sorry not sorry. This fucking guy."


"CriticWire Survey: Right the First Time": Misunderstood masterpieces and defending history's first draft is the subject of this week's CriticWire survey conducted by Sam Adams.

From our very own editor-in-chief Matt Zoller Seitz: 

"'Top Gun' was terrible when it came out and it's still terrible. Every time somebody online tries to stick up for it as some sort of American pop classic, I just roll my eyes. It's a burp from the Reagan era, no more worthy of serious consideration than "Rambo: First Blood Part II.""


"Hollywood Has a Major Problem": At Medium, Paul Cantor writes about the rise of television and the death of cinema. 

"Every Friday night, no matter what is going on in the world, a slate of new films gets released in theaters. And like clockwork, the companies who make and distribute these movies cross their fingers and hope people show up in droves.

If the actors are popular enough, if the director has some critical cache, if the marketing campaign hits its stride, maybe, just maybe, one of these movies becomes a hit. Everyone lives another day and the Hollywood machine keeps on rolling.

So why does it seem like the buzz around movies is duller than it has ever been? Forget the pomp and circumstance at award shows, the paparazzi and the rosy spin Hollywood puts on its business."

Image of the Day

Read about Lytro photography at The Verge.

Video of the Day

A police officer trips excited students. Read more at USA Today

programming: TDD is dead. Long live testing. (DHH)

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[link] [67 comments]

programming: How FPGAs work, and why you'll buy one

submitted by chtef
[link] [27 comments]

programming: You Have Ruined JavaScript

submitted by compedit
[link] [102 comments] Blog: PWM Control using Arduino – Learn to Control DC Motor Speed and LED Brightness


praveen @ writes:

In this article we explain how to do PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) control using arduino. If you are new to electronics, we have a detailed article explaining pulse width modulation. We have explained PWM in this tutorial using 2 examples which will help you learn how to control LED brightness using PWM and how to control DC motor speed using PWM.

PWM Control using Arduino – Learn to Control DC Motor Speed and LED Brightness - [Link] NEWS: Calgary Expo


New Humanist Blog: The question isn’t whether Britain is Christian, it’s whether it should be

Open Culture: The Getty Adds Another 77,000 Images to its Open Content Archive


Last summer we told you that the J. Paul Getty Museum launched its Open Content Program by taking 4600 high-resolution images from the Getty collections, putting them into the public domain, and making them freely available in digital format. We also made it clear — there would be more to come.

Yesterday, the Getty made good on that promise, adding another 77,000 images to the Open Content archive. Of those images, 72,000 come from the Foto Arte Minore collection, a rich gallery of photographs of Italian art and architecture, taken by the photographer and scholar Max Hutzel (1911-1988).

getty tapestryThe Getty also dropped into the archive another 4,930 images of European and American tapestries dating from the late 15th through the late 18th centuries.

All images in the Getty Open Content program — now 87,000 in total — can be downloaded and used without charge or permission, regardless of whether you’re a scholar, artist, art lover or entrepreneur. The Getty only asks that you give them attribution.

You can start exploring the complete collection by visiting the Getty Search Gateway. Images can also be accessed via the Museum’s Collection webpages. Be sure to look for the “download” link near the images.

For more information on the Open Content program, please visit this page. For more open content from museums, see the links below.

Related Content:

Download 35,000 Works of Art from the National Gallery, Including Masterpieces by Van Gogh, Gauguin, Rembrandt & More

Download Over 250 Free Art Books From the Getty Museum

40,000 Artworks from 250 Museums, Now Viewable for Free at the Redesigned Google Art Project

LA County Museum Makes 20,000 Artistic Images Available for Free Download

The Rijksmuseum Puts 125,000 Dutch Masterpieces Online, and Lets You Remix Its Art

The Getty Adds Another 77,000 Images to its Open Content Archive 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 The Getty Adds Another 77,000 Images to its Open Content Archive appeared first on Open Culture.

Colossal: Instagrammer Varun Thota Becomes an Instant Pilot with a Toy Plane and an iPhone

Instagrammer Varun Thota Becomes an Instant Pilot with a Toy Plane and an iPhone toys airplanes

Instagrammer Varun Thota Becomes an Instant Pilot with a Toy Plane and an iPhone toys airplanes

Instagrammer Varun Thota Becomes an Instant Pilot with a Toy Plane and an iPhone toys airplanes

Instagrammer Varun Thota Becomes an Instant Pilot with a Toy Plane and an iPhone toys airplanes

Instagrammer Varun Thota Becomes an Instant Pilot with a Toy Plane and an iPhone toys airplanes

Macau-based web designer and developer Varun Thota is the son of a helicopter and a devoted flight enthusiast. His childhood was filled with hours in front flight simulators and even today he carries a small Kinder egg airplane that he likes to photograph against dramatic backgrounds, as if a hand was reaching out of the sky controling each flight. It’s a simple enough idea, but wonderfully executed by Thota. You can see more over on his Instagram account. (via the Instagram Blog)

50 Watts: Kjel, The Black Swan

Illustrations by Dražen Jerabek for 'Kjel, The Black Swan' by Želimir Hercigonja (Croatia, 2003) via the International Children's Digital Library The illustrator Dražen Jerabek has a facebook page. This post first appeared on April 23, 2014 on 50 Watts

Acephalous: Recap & Podcast on Game of Thrones, Season 4, Episode 3: “Breaker of Chains”


You can read my full recap here, but just in case you want to know where I come down on the episode’s most controversial issue:

Speaking of still being alive, Jaime Lannister is, and he’s a man, and he has needs. In a reversal of the Jaime-is-becoming-a-better-human-being plot, here we have a sex-starved Jaime raping his sister over the body of their dead child — in other words, we have a return to the incestuous relations that make King’s Landing the city we love to hate.

As for whether it’s a rape, director Alex Graves told Alan Sepinwall that “it becomes consensual by the end, because anything for them ultimately results in a turn-on, especially a power struggle.” Which means, yes, it’s rape.

So, there’s that out of the way…

My podcast with Steven Attewell on the new episode of Game of Thrones is also available:

Audio available here.

Hackaday: Sci-Fi Contest Roundup: Science Nonfiction

Yep, we have a Sci-Fi contest on our hands, with a week to go until entries are due. There are amazing prizes for the best Sci-Fi build, but in the spirit of the Internet, a few teams have elected to put together a science nonfiction project. We won’t hold that against them, because these builds are really, really cool.

Rockin’ bogie, man

rockerFirst up in the ‘real life science fiction’ category is an adorable little rocker bogie robot designed and built by a team at MADspace, the Eindhoven Hackerspace.

A rocker bogie suspension is rather unique in that it can be used to drive over obstacles twice the size of the wheels, has a zero turning radius, and is found on every rover that has ever gone to Mars. The suspension system has articulated rockers on each side of the chassis , with pivoting wheels at each of the four corners of the robot. While this type of suspension can’t go very fast, it can go just about anywhere.

The team loaded up their bot with a Raspberry Pi, a pair of webcams, 20Ah of batteries, gyro, and a web interface. The suspension works beautifully, and most of the parts are 3D printable. Very cool. There’s a pair of videos with this bot in action below.

Spider bot. Just add two more legs.


Continuing on with the science nonfiction theme of this post is a cute little hexapod walker reminiscent of designs that have been proposed to visit the moon and asteroids.

This is a rather unique hexapod, controlled entirely with 12 PWM channels on an ATMega1284. Although each leg only has two degrees of freedom (the software has support for 3 DOF, though) the movement is surprisingly smooth. It’s an inexpensive build, too, with 5 gram servos providing all the power to the legs. Video below.

Filed under: contests

BOOOOOOOM!: Mo Costello




“Vitamins For Troubled Hearts”, photo series by photographer Mo Costello.

View the whole post: Mo Costello over on BOOOOOOOM!.

BOOOOOOOM!: Music Video: Young Fathers “Get Up”


Love the production on this song by Edinburgh, Scotland-based hip hop trio, Young Fathers. Watch the video for “Get Up” from their debut album Dead, below.

View the whole post: Music Video: Young Fathers “Get Up” over on BOOOOOOOM!.

CreativeApplications.Net: 36 ventilators whirl 4.7m3 of packing chips – Zimoun unleashes a plastic storm

Opening this Saturday (April 26) and presented by the Art Museum of Lugano in Switzerland, 36 ventilators, 4.7m³ packing chips is the new installation by Zimoun, swiss born and Bern based artists known for his architecturally-minded platforms of sound.

Arduino Blog: Upgrading the OpenWrt-Yun image on the Yún


Today we released the upgraded version of the OpenWrt-Yun image on the Arduino Yún.
This version includes all the latest and greatest from stable OpenWrt, the latest (Python) Bridge (with a php contribution and fixes to the file module), we also added Mailbox support to REST api and other fixes to some open issues.

The new image contains also the fix to the well known Heartbleed bug, a big security issue that impacted on almost all websites of the world.

If you own an Arduino Yún we suggest you to follow the link and read the procedure to update the board.
You’ll need to download the zip file from the download page. Remember that updating the OpenWrt-Yun image will cause the loss of all files and configurations you previously saved on the flash memory of the Yún.

Hackaday: Need An Idea For Your Next Kickstarter? Check Out This Kickstarter!


Kickstarter has become the most powerful force in kickstarting new hardware projects, video games, documentaries, and board games, and now everyone wants a piece of the action. The problem obviously isn’t product development and engineering; you can just conjure that up with a little bit of Photoshop and some good PR. The only you really need for a good Kickstarter is an idea, and META is just the tool for the job. It’s the Arduino-powered Motivational Electronic Text Adviser, the perfect device to generate the next big idea in the world of crowdfunding.

The Arduino-powered META includes three buttons and an Arduino-controlled LCD display. Press a button, and the next big hardware project to wash across the blogs faster than the announcement of a campaign for a $300 3D printer will appear on the screen.

Because META is Arduino-compatible, it’s compatible with existing Arduino sketches. This makes turning the META into the next home automated Bluetooth low energy 4.0 internet of things a snap. Because this is open hardware the laser cut enclosure can easily be upgraded to an RGB LED 3D printer robotic drone bluetooth boombox.

If Kickstarters aren’t your thing, there’s also a cloud-based META that will generate ideas in the mobile app browser cloud. Bitcoin.

Filed under: Crowd Funding

BOOOOOOOM!: Gregory Halpern


Photos by New York-based photographer Gregory Halpern.

View the whole post: Gregory Halpern over on BOOOOOOOM!.

BOOOOOOOM!: Daniel Shea


Photos by Daniel Shea.

View the whole post: Daniel Shea over on BOOOOOOOM!.

BOOOOOOOM!: Ryan McGennisken


Paintings by Australian artist Ryan McGennisken, currently showing work at BSDA. More below!

View the whole post: Ryan McGennisken over on BOOOOOOOM!.

Open Culture: Sylvia Plath Annotates Her Copy of The Great Gatsby


The true fan of a writer desires not just that writer’s complete works, even if they all come signed and in first editions. No — the enthusiast most dedicated to their literary luminary of choice must have, in addition, the books written by that author, those owned by that author, preferably anointed with liberal quantities of revealing marginalia. In the case of such relatively recently deceased writers as David Markson, the whole of whose well-annotated personal library got donated to The Strand shortly after his passing, you can sometimes actually come to possess such treasures. In the case of poet Sylvia Plath, part of a page of whose copy of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby you see above, you might have a trickier time getting your hands on them. Justin Ray’s post at Complex, which quotes Plath as calling Fitzgerald “a word painter with a vivid palette” who chooses words with “jewel-cut precision,” has more on the book and its markings.

“Plath studied a crap-ton of literature in school,” Ray writes. “It isn’t immediately clear whether she was in high school or college when she annotated Gatsby,” but whenever she did it, she underlined “Daisy’s prediction of what her daughter will be like” with the word “L’Ennui,” a word she would use to name an early poem that reflects “a post romanticism and the death of idealism, two ideas also in Gatsby, according to an essay by Anna Journey.” Elsewhere, you can also read “Princess Daisy,” Park Bucker’s piece on Plath’s annotated Gatsby. “The volume represents a fascinating piece of evidence of Fitzgerald’s rising reputation and influence in the early 1950s, as well as the academic background and tastes of a major American poet,” writes Bucker. “Although Sylvia Plath and F. Scott Fitzgerald rarely inhabit the same sentence, their association should not appear strained. A young, intense poet would naturally be drawn to the lyric quality of Fitzgerald’s prose.” And just imagine its value to die-hard fans of both of those tragic pillars of American letters — a group in which, if you’ve read this post and everything to which it links, you should perhaps consider counting yourself.

Related Content:

Hear Sylvia Plath Read Fifteen Poems From Her Final Collection, Ariel, in 1962 Recording

See F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Handwritten Manuscripts for The Great Gatsby, This Side of Paradise & More

Haruki Murakami Translates The Great Gatsby, the Novel That Influenced Him Most

83 Years of Great Gatsby Book Cover Designs: A Photo Gallery

Read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby & Other Major Works Free Online

Gertrude Stein Sends a “Review” of The Great Gatsby to F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925)

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.

Sylvia Plath Annotates Her Copy of The Great Gatsby 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 Sylvia Plath Annotates Her Copy of The Great Gatsby appeared first on Open Culture.

Michael Geist Blog: Government Buries Massive Trademark Overhaul in Budget Implementation Bill

It started innocuously enough with the House of Commons Committee on Industry, Science and Technology releasing its long-awaited report on intellectual property in Canada in March 2013. The report included a recommendation that Canada ratify several international patent and trademark treaties, which came as a surprise (particularly to opposition members of parliament) since no witness had raised the issue before the committee.  

Within weeks, the government accepted the recommendation and one year later it moved to ratify the treaties with scant debate or discussion. Yet the ratification of five intellectual property treaties about which few Canadians have ever heard and that seem certain to increase fees for business was only the start.

Indeed, earlier this month, the government quietly included provisions in the budget implementation bill that will radically overhaul Canadian trademark law. My weekly technology law column (Toronto Star version, homepage version) notes those changes have not been subject to any serious debate, discussion or public consultation.  

Unlike copyright and patent laws, which are focused on striking a policy balance between access and protection, the primary purpose of trademark law is consumer protection. Since consumers often rely on trademarks as an easy means of identifying a product or service (prominent examples include the Nike swoosh or McDonald's golden arches), trademark protection helps limit confusion and potential consumer harm.

Given the link between trademarks and consumer protection, it should come as little surprise to find that a key requirement for trademark protection is "use" of the mark. If a company is not using the trademark, there is little risk of confusion and therefore no need for protection.

Legal cases dating back more than one hundred years have long emphasized the importance of use in order to properly register a trademark. A recent Supreme Court of Canada decision confirmed that "while the Trade-marks Act provides additional rights to a registered trade-mark holder than were available at common law, registration is only available once the right to the trade-mark has been established by use."

Despite the long legal history requiring use, the Canadian government is planning to drop the need for use in order to register trademark. If the provisions in the budget implementation bill are enacted, trademarks will be available to signs (which the law says includes everything from words and names to sounds and smells) that are either used or proposed to be used.  

The trademark law community has reacted with alarm to the planned changes.

Experts note that the change may be unconstitutional because a system no longer based on use may unduly encroach on property and civil rights, which falls under provincial jurisdiction. Moreover, many believe that the changes will result in sharply increased costs for Canadian business since the reforms will create considerable legal uncertainty, likely causing a spike in challenges to proposed trademarks.  

The reforms also seem to open the door to "trademark trolls", who could scoop up dozens of unused, proposed trademarks with plans to pressure legitimate businesses to pay up in order to release the trademarks for actual use.

With some in the intellectual property community warning that "instead of simplifying steps for businesses, the Bill proposes a much less useful Register, higher investigation costs, and shifts the onus to police over-reaching to businesses, as opposed to the Trademarks Office", Industry Minister James Moore has surprisingly succeeded in proposing changes that are both anti-business and anti-consumer.  That may be a boon for a few lawyers, but the business community has been left wondering how trademark reforms that no one seems to have requested found their way into a budget implementation bill.

TheSirensSound: This Social Coil

This Social Coil Profile

This Social Coil was created in spring 2011, founded in Nordrhein-Westfalen – Germany. It´s hard to describe the music direction exactly. It´s something between post-rock, indie and alternative, instrumentals and vocals. The influences ranges from post-rock, post-punk and typical alternative sounds. Lyrics often treat philosophically typical thoughts of the life.

[ After The Day Before ]. The album was recorded with a dynamic range between minmial DR10 and maximum DR13. This is a very high value for current albums, unfortunately albums are currently maximizes primarily on volume. Therefore, it appears subjectively a little quieter, but certainly it´s not. Greetings .

released 01 January 2014

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

This Social Coil - After The Day Before

Artist – This Social Coil
Album – After The Day Before [ * * * * * ]
Release Date – 2014
Genre – Post-rock, Shoegaze, Indie [ EXCELLENT ]


1. Amnesia 05:06
2. Deep 04:39
3. Black White Voice 05:45
4. Shining Target 08:03
5. Voices 04:59
6. Somewhere In December 05:01
7. Terra Corvi 06:55
8. Stop This Game 08:45
9. This Mountain Too High 06:49
BY ALL MEANS This Social Coil – After The Day Before

This Social Coil

Penny Arcade: Comic: Pushing The Envelope

New Comic: Pushing The Envelope

TheSirensSound: flyingdeadman

flyingdeadman Profile

[ Echoes and Dust ]. Flyingdeadman is just one of those bands who produces music with no words we typically call instrumental/post-rock. Fabien and Aurélien are now at their second record titled Sending Fires To The Sky and the main difference with their debut, The Forgotten T(h)ree, is that they now emphasis on a cinematic edge that makes the music even much more interesting. I like how they evolved with this latest release demonstrating their capability to gather all the characteristics of post-rock music to create a sound that evokes an engaging atmospheres.

The seven movements of Sending Fires To The Sky gives a sprawling melody driven with a strong melancholic. Each track has its slow start and a powerful melodic crescendo and the French duo prove that they are quite pretty in their execution and the whole album is an easy and engaging listening. The pensive, graceful build up on opener ‘Exit From The Polar Shield’ starts with a registered voice that sounds like a radio transmission with an interesting and intricate arpeggios before allowing the warm guitars to explode and overtaking the stage center.

As my friend Gavin said, the following ‘Soul Journey Through Rays Of Dawn’ “takes its time to get going but builds into something quite lovely”. The following ‘Ilae’ is really an enjoyable track with its layered guitars that converse and converge with each other in an absolutely amazing way. ‘Near The Shore’ might be my favorite from Sending Fires To The Sky: it builds rapidly with a surprising sense of urgency, retreating only when the soaring lead guitar has taken the foreground and extended its reach as far as it can go.

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

flyingdeadman - Sending Fire To The Skies

Artist – flyingdeadman
Album – Sending Fire To The Skies
Release Date – 2014
Genre – Instrumental, Post-rock [ As We Know It ]


1. exit from the polar shield 06:33
2. soul journey through rays of dawn 06:37
3. ilae 06:31
4. near the shore 05:56
5. this is the last time… 09:12
6. …I see you… 04:13
7. …for the first time 04:32
GO GET IT flyingdeadman – Sending Fire To The Skies


flyingdeadman - The Forgotten T(h)ree

Artist – flyingdeadman
Album – The Forgotten T​(​h​)​ree
Release Date – 2011
Genre – Instrumental, Post-rock [ As We Know It ]


1. Opium’s failure 03:58
2. one lover’s gone 04:16
3. two needles 08:56
4. the forgotten t(h)ree 03:23
5. four issues 08:57
6. five knights dying 06:43
7. six lights shinning in the night (bonus track) 08:19
GO GET IT flyingdeadman – The Forgotten T​(​h​)​ree


Computer Science: Theory and Application: Job Interview for my Class

Hello, I am a 16 year old high schooler who wants to become a programmer when I grow up. For my class, I have to interview someone in the programming field, but as I don't know anyone who works in the field, I came here, hoping to be able to interview someone. I promise it will only take 10 minutes of your time and it will be of a great help for me!

Thank you in advance! :D

submitted by yamsushi
[link] [8 comments]

Open Culture: Stream Indie Cindy, the Pixies’ First Album in 23 Years

A quick fyi: Indie Cindy, the Pixies’ first album since 1991, will be released on April 29th. But thanks to NPR’s First Listen site, you can stream the entire LP online for free, for a limited time. Though the band might not sound the same without Kim Deal, Pixies fans will instantly recognize the “disarming beauty nestled against dissonant snarls.” Above, you can listen to the album’s title track. Here you can stream the entire album or the individual tracks – or pre-order it on iTunes or over at Amazon.

Related Content:

The Pixies “Acoustic Sessions”: See the Alt-Rock Stars Rehearse for the 2005 Newport Folk Festival

The Pixies’ Black Francis Creates Soundtrack for Famous German Expressionist Film, The Golem


Stream Indie Cindy, the Pixies’ First Album in 23 Years 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 Stream Indie Cindy, the Pixies’ First Album in 23 Years appeared first on Open Culture.

TheSirensSound: Minerva Superduty

Minerva Superduty Profile

[ Minerva Superduty ] is a 4-piece collective located in Kalamata, Greece. Not willing to fall under a certain tag, the band got together in late 2011 to create punchy and unsettling instrumental music. Been working & performing ever since, fusing their influences and experimenting. On March 6th, 2014 they released their self titled debut album which is now available on BandCamp.

Minerva Superduty

George – guitar
Spyros – guitar
Stavros – bass
and Philippos – drums

Released 06 March 2014
Front cover art by Yiorgos P. Kavounis
Recorded at Menios’s basement, Kalamata, 2013.
Mixed, mastered and produced by Kostas Ragiadakos and Minerva Superduty

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

Minerva Superduty - Minerva Superduty

Artist – Minerva Superduty
Album – Minerva Superduty
Release Date – 2014
Genre – Post-hardcore, Speed-metal, Crust-core, Instrumental


1. Sklenos pt.1 03:36
2. Corvie 04:36
3. Gargantua 04:02
4. Sklenos pt.2 03:13
5. Tsakonas Emperor 04:25
6. Ω3 03:59
Minerva Superduty – Minerva Superduty

Minerva Superduty

Instructables: exploring - featured: How to Polish Titanium.

Titanium is the literally the hardest metal I've worked with. It's still metal though and metal can be polished. It doesn't have to take long either. This piece is a Fish Bone Knotless Gear Tie. It's grade 2 titanium and measures about 2" X 1/2". I spent about 45 seconds per step with exception of t...
By: Mrballeng

Continue Reading »

Perlsphere: Why reading code is good for me

  • So I can start kicking butt faster – When I start a new job or a new contract. Or when I hack on a new feature. Or every day of my life as a programmer that involves legacy code. Yeah pretty much all the time.
  • So I can learn new tricks – Healthy languages evolve. Idioms and slang are tools for more efficiently expressing ideas. I want to be on top of that. Also its best way to peak inside the mind of a talented developer and steal and copy their skills.
  • So I can work better with others – I understand their idioms because I have seen them before. And I can probably articulate why their idioms are awesome or feeble.

I must remember that attitude matters. If I think of reading code as a painful chore it will be. But if I look for opportunity I find it.

The Geomblog: The Shape of Information

A brief synopsis of my general-audience talk at Haverford College. 

I'm currently visiting Haverford College at the invitation of +Sorelle Friedler as part of Haverford's big data lecture series. Today's talk was a general audience talk about data mining, titled 'The Shape Of Information': (GDrive link)
The Shape Of Information 
What makes data mining so powerful, and so ubiquitous? How can the same set of techniques identify patients at risk for a rare genetic disorder, consumers most likely to like Beyonce's latest album, or even a new star from an sky survey ?  
The answer starts with an idea Descartes had nearly 500 years ago. He suggested expressing geometry in terms of numbers (coordinates). This turned out to be a powerful technique that led (among other things) to the development of the calculus. Data mining returns the favor. It starts with sets of numbers that describe a collection of objects. To find patterns in these objects, we create a geometry in which the numbers are coordinates. And just like that, objects become shapes, and the search for information becomes a quest for common structure in these shapes. 
In this search, we are not limited by the geometry of our world: we can dream up ever more intricate geometries that capture the shape of the information that we seek to find in our data. In this sense, data mining is the best kind of science fiction come to life: we craft a world out of our imagination, and let the laws of this world lead us to fascinating discoveries about the data that inhabits it.
I had a great time visiting with Sorelle's students in their data mining class. Haverford College continues to impress me with the quality of their undergrads (and their faculty !)

TheSirensSound: Her Name Is Calla

Leeds / Leicester / York, United Kingdom [ 2004 – present ] Leeds / Leicester / York, United Kingdom based six piece Her Name Is Calla [ formed in 2004 ] and signed to the ace indie label Gizeh Records in 2007. The bands official debut single ‘A Moment of Clarity’ was released in October 2007 and a debut mini album “The Heritage” followed in June 2008.

Prior to this the band issued the 16 minute epic ‘Condor and River’ on Gizeh Records’ sister CDR label Loom in May 2007, limited to just 250 copies, which quickly sold out. The song has since been re-released on 12” vinyl through Field Records. Her Name Is Calla’s sound brings to mind a raw, stripped back Radiohead with strong post-rock influences thrown into the mix playing an array of intruments from dictaphones to banjo’s. Signed to Denovali records in Germany. Touring veterans. Described by NME as ‘massive, pastorally apocolyptic music” and by The Sun as ‘rare and beautiful’.

Band Members Are:

Thom Corah – Live Synthesis, Trombone, Vocals, Percussion
Michael Love – Bass, Vocals, Percussion
David Dhonau – Cello
Adam Weikert – Drums, Synthesizers
Tom Morris – Vocals, Guitar, Piano, Synthesis
Sophie Barnes – Trumpet, Vocals, French Horn, Accordian

[ Live at Denovali Swingfest 2010 ] ~ On the 8th October 2010, we drove from Pocklington, UK, stopping along the way to collect band members until we reached Dover. There we had a brief hour and a half rest on the ferry, before reaching Calais in France. From there, we drove straight to Essen in Germany for Swingfest, an event organised by our label, Denovali. The entire journey took around eighteen hours in total, arriving at 5am. At that point, some of us dived into comfy hotel beds, whilst Thom and Mike slept in the van. After about three hours sleep, we woke up and headed straight for the venue, guzzling cough syrup, flu and cold medication and pain killers along the way, trying our best to fight off the various throat infections, colds and pains we were infected with.

Naturally, this was all forgotten about when we were greeted by the incredible audience that attended the festival. They supported not just ourselves and the other bands, but also bestowed their respect upon the other folks that made the festival possible: Christoph, who engineered all of the bands on both days, Timo and Thomas who organised the entire thing, the guys from Kodiak who cooked for the hundreds of people that attended, and the venue staff who served everyone’s drinks and kept the venue clean and safe for everyone. Plus the abundance of people that we’ve missed out who covered the festival with their glowing reports and overwhelming support. It truly was a lovely occasion, with a brilliant atmosphere, and we look forward to our next visit.

Please accept this live recording of our performance at the show as a token of thanks to everyone who has supported us throughout this year. It has had some extreme lows for us, but also some ecstatically positive high points. We hope that we can continue to give back to you at least an ounce of the support and commitment that you show us. This live EP is dedicated to everyone who has given us help, kindness and commitment throughout 2010.

An Enclave
The Monroe Transfer & Her Name Is Calla

So, long-term sufferers will remember that, about a thousand years ago, we started work on some collaborative recording with our good friends Her Name Is Calla. We’re very happy to report that a 5 track EP will finally be available on 8th April as a pay-what-you-think-it’s-worth download from our Bandcamp pages.

Recording was a bit of a leap into the dark for all of us, as we gave ourselves only a short amount of time to write and record the material, and we had no idea what we’d come up with. The results don’t really sound like anything that either band would have written on their own, but have little bits of everyone’s involvement scattered throughout. In fact, come to think of it, I think I wrote about the recording process somewhere. Yep, here it is. We’re not going to break down who wrote what, or whose idea each bit was: we said from the start that it would be presented by the bands as a whole, and that was that. Do feel free to speculate, though.


< < < < < [ 2014 Title "Navigator" Update ]. > > > > >

Navigator is the third album by Her Name is Calla. It follows on from their critically acclaimed album The Quiet Lamb (2010, Denovali). Written over the course of the last three tumultuous years as life, death, distance, divorce and everything else in between tried its best to pull the band apart. The album was written largely by Tom (Vocals/guitar) and Adam (Drums/keys) sending countless demo’s to each other over several years.

Navigator is a story of dreams that fail and do not materialise as youth slips away. It is the story of leaving one life behind and heading into the unknown of another. It is a story of losing love, life, faith and identity, and the great depression that brings. More importantly, It is about finding the way back home again. Navigator will be released via Function Records later this year.

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

Her Name Is Calla - Navigator

Artist – Her Name Is Calla
Album – Navigator [ * * * * * ]
Release Date – 2014
Genre – Experimental, Music-noir, Dark-ambient, Contemporary-classic [ Rich Textured / Awesome ]


01. I Was On The Back Of A Nightingale
02. The Roots Run Deep
03. “It’s Called, ‘Daisy’”
04. Ragman Roll
05. Meridian Arc
06. Navigator
07. Burial
08. A Second Life
09. It Was Flood
10. Whale Fall: A Journal
11. Dreamlands
12. Perfect Prime
SOLD OUT Her Name Is Calla – Navigator
FILEFACTORY Her Name Is Calla – Navigator


The Monroe Transfer Her Name Is Calla - An Enclave

Artist – The Monroe Transfer / Her Name Is Calla
Album – An Enclave [ * * * * * ]
Release Date – 2013
Genre – Experimental, Dark-core, Post-rock, Music-noir [ GET ALL ]


1. #5 01:42
2. #1 08:15
3. #3 03:48
4. #4 03:32
5. #7 04:13
PURCHASE The Monroe Transfer / Her Name Is Calla – An Enclave
FILEFACTORY The Monroe Transfer / Her Name Is Calla – An Enclave


Her Name Is Calla - Ragman Roll

Artist – Her Name Is Calla
Album – Ragman Roll
Release Date – 2012
Genre – Experimental, Dark-core, Post-rock, Music-noir [ GET ALL ]


1. Ragman Roll 04:51
2. It Was Flood 07:08
Her Name Is Calla – Ragman Roll


Artist – Her Name Is Calla
Album – This Room Is Under Construction
Release Date – 2012
Genre – Experimental, Dark-core, Post-rock, Music-noir


01 – This Room Is Under Construction 12:00
Her Name Is Calla – This Room Is Under Construction


Artist – Her Name Is Calla
Album – Kinship : The Full Cycle
Release Date – 2012
Genre – Experimental, Dark-core, Post-rock, Music-noir


01. A Moment of Clarity
02. Lincoln
03. Nylon
04. New England
05. Paying for your Funeral
06. Wren
07. “Motherfucker! It’s Alive and it’s Bleeding”
08. Rebirth
09. The Long Distance Runner
10. A Blood Promise (Original Declaration)
11. Pour More Oil (Original Declaration)
12. The White and the Skin
13. A Sleeper
14. Moss Giant
15. A Blood Promise
16. Pour More Oil
17. Interval One
18. Condor and River
19. Long Grass
20. Homecoming
21. Thief
22. Interval Two
23. The Union: I Worship a Golden Sun
24. The Union: Recidivist
25. The Union: Into the West
Her Name Is Calla – Kinship : The Full Cycle


Artist – Her Name Is Calla
Album – The Birds of Chernobyl Tour Single
Release Date – 2011
Genre – Experimental, Dark-core, Post-rock, Music-noir


1. Predator 06:40
2. The Birds of Chernobyl 06:56
Her Name Is Calla – The Birds of Chernobyl Tour Single


Artist – Her Name Is Calla
Album – Maw
Release Date – 2011
Genre – Experimental, Dark-core, Post-rock, Music-noir


01 – Maw
02 – The Beat That My Heart Skipped
03 – Dreamland
Her Name Is Calla – Maw


Artist – Her Name Is Calla
Album – Live at Denovali Swingfest
Release Date – 2010
Genre – Experimental, Dark-core, Post-rock, Music-noir


Her Name is Calla – Live at Denovali Swingfest 2010 – 01 -Motherfucker! It’s Alive and It’s Bleeding
Her Name is Calla – Live at Denovali Swingfest 2010 – 02 Condor and River
Her Name is Calla – Live at Denovali Swingfest 2010 – 03 Pour More Oil
Her Name Is Calla – Live at Denovali Swingfest


Artist – Her Name Is Calla
Album – The Quiet Lamb
Release Date – 2010
Genre – Experimental, Dark-core, Post-rock, Music-noir


01 – Her Name Is Calla – Moss Giant
02 – Her Name Is Calla – A Blood Promise
03 – Her Name Is Calla – Pour More Oil
04 – Her Name Is Calla – Interval 1
05 – Her Name Is Calla – Condor And River
06 – Her Name Is Calla – Long Grass
07 – Her Name Is Calla – Homecoming
08 – Her Name Is Calla – Thief
09 – Her Name Is Calla – Interval 2
10 – Her Name Is Calla – The Union- I Worship A Golden Sun
11 – Her Name Is Calla – The Union- Recidivist
12 – Her Name Is Calla – The Union- Into The West
Her Name Is Calla – The Quiet Lamb


Artist – Her Name Is Calla
Album – Long Grass Ep
Release Date – 2010
Genre – Experimental, Dark-core, Post-rock, Music-noir


1 – Long Grass
2 – A Sleeper
3 – The White And The Skin
DENOVALI Her Name Is Calla – Long Grass
FILEFACTORY Her Name Is Calla – Long Grass

Maybeshewill & Her Name Is Calla

Artist – Maybeshewill / Her Name Is Calla
Album – This Time Last Year, Last Time This Year/Condor And River EP ( * * * * * )
Release Date – 2008
Genre – Experimental, Dark-core, Post-rock, Music-noir


A1 – Maybeshewill – This Time Last Year
A2 – Maybeshewill – Last Time This Year
AA – Her Name Is Calla – Condor and River
FILEFACTORY Maybeshewill / Her Name Is Calla – Split Password –

A Blood Promise

Artist – Her Name Is Calla
Album – A Blood Promise
Release Date – 2009
Genre – Experimental, Dark-core, Post-rock, Music-noir


1 – Nylon (Live At The Holy Trinity Church)
2 – A Blood Promise (Demo)
3 – Pour More Oil (Demo)
Her Name Is Calla – A Blood Promise Password –

A Moment Of Clarity

Artist – Her Name Is Calla
Album – A Moment Of Clarity
Release Date – 2007
Genre – Experimental, Dark-core, Post-rock, Music-noir


01 – A Moment Of Clarity
02 – Lincoln
Her Name Is Calla – A Moment Of Clarity


The White And The Skin - Nylon

Artist – Her Name Is Calla
Album – The White And The Skin / Nylon
Release Date -
Genre – Experimental, Dark-core, Post-rock, Music-noir


01 – The White And The Skin
02 – Nylon
Her Name Is Calla – The White And The Skin / Nylon Password –

Hideous Box

Artist – Her Name Is Calla
Album – Hideous Box
Release Date – 2010
Genre – Experimental, Dark-core, Post-rock, Music-noir


01 – Hideous Box
02 – With Eyes So Full Of Sparks Of Love
03 – The Good Book
Her Name Is Calla – Hideous Box



Artist – Her Name Is Calla
Album – Condor and River Ep
Release Date – 2007
Genre – Experimental, Dark-core, Post-rock, Music-noir


1 Condor 16:49
2 River 1:22
Her Name Is Calla – Condor And River Ep


Artist – Her Name Is Calla
Album – The Heritage
Release Date – 2008
Genre – Experimental, Dark-core, Post-rock, Music-noir


1 Nylon 6:30
2 New England 9:14
3 Paying for Your Funeral 5:02
4 Wren 5:21
5 Motherfucker! It’s Alive and It’s Bleeding 8:10
6 Rebirth 17:03
Her Name Is Calla – The Heritage



The Half-Dipper: Eight Chapters of an Academic Life, I-II

Ideas from CBC Radio (Highlights): The Human Factor - Hannah Arendt

When Hannah Arendt’s Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil was published 50 years ago it created an instant uproar that has never ended. A discussion on the ideas of Hannah Arendt and why she was so controversial.

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal (updated daily): April 23, 2014

Another favorite comic up up over at The Nib:

programming: I finished writing my free book on game programming!

submitted by munificent
[link] [199 comments]

Potz!Blitz!Szpilman!: Brad Downey & Akay

Brad Downey & Akay

i like this art: Sarah Charlesworth

13-Garden-Of-Delight-1988-Sarah-Charlesworth 209.1230 a001432134-001Sarah_Charlesworth_6875
Sarah Charlesworth

Work from her oeuvre.

“Ms. Charlesworth was part of a wave of talented artists, many of them women, who rephotographed existing photographs or dissected the medium’s conventions with staged tableaus. This work was an important step between the cerebral rigors of 1970s Conceptual Art and the more permissive image-play of 1980s Pictures Art.

Her Pictures Generation contemporaries included Cindy Sherman, Sherrie Levine, Louise Lawler, Laurie Simmons and Ellen Brooks, as well as Richard Prince, James Casebere and James Welling. and she spoke for many of them when she told Bomb magazine in 1990, “I’ve engaged questions regarding photography’s role in culture for 12 years now, but it is an engagement with a problem rather than a medium.”

Ms. Charlesworth is probably best known for large, exquisite photographic works in which rarefied images — ancient masks, figures lifted from Renaissance paintings, disembodied Hollywood-starlet gowns — are isolated against fields of lush monochrome color. At once seductive and didactic, they compete with painting in visual strength, wink at advertising and slyly raise questions about cultural and sexual stereotypes, personal symbolism and the role of pleasure and beauty — in both art and life — as perhaps particularly female pursuits.” – Roberta Smith, NY Times

Re: Factor: Checksum Improvements

Just a quick update, some checksum improvements have been contributed to Factor.

Some new checksums have been implemented:

And some checksum performance has been improved:

  • checksums.md5 is a lot faster (benchmark is 0.080 vs 0.583 seconds)
  • checksums.sha is a bit faster (benchmark is 0.418 vs 0.686 seconds)

You can find these changes (and more!) in the development version of Factor.

Perlsphere: Using File::Copy to Deploy Files to a Windows UNC Path

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

Below is script that illustrates the use of File::Copy to copy files to a UNC path on a Windows network.  The example code downloads a copy of the hosts file made available by the Malware Domain List and copies it to the appropriate directory on a Windows machine in order to prevent the machine from being able to successfully resolve those malicious sites.  


use LWP;
use File::Copy;
use strict;
use warnings;

#URL of hosts file
my $URI = '';

#downloads host file
my $ua = LWP::UserAgent->new();
my $request = HTTP::Request->new(GET => $URI);
my $response = $ua->request($request);
my $content = $response->content();
#print $content;

#writes downloaded hosts file to file
open(my $hosts2, ">", "hosts2.txt");
print $hosts2 "$content";
close $hosts2;

#opens file that stores list of PC names
open(my $computers, "<", "computers.txt")
   or die "cannot open < computers.txt: $!";

#copies file to proper location on each computer  
   my $computer=$_;
   print $computer;
   my $path1='hosts2.txt';
   my $path2="\\\\$computer\\C\$\\WINDOWS\\system32\\drivers\\etc\\hosts";
   copy("$path1","$path2") or die "Copy failed: $!";

close $computers;

Arts & Letters Daily: Deconstructing De Man

Deconstruction is dead. So why the interest in Paul de Man? Because his end marked the end of something that transcended theory… more»

Arts & Letters Daily: Is philosophy obsolete?

An ascendant view holds that while philosophy may pose important questions, progress isn’t possible until science provides answers. That view is wrong… more»

Arts & Letters Daily: Want to reboot civilization?

In the event of a mega-catastrophe, a civilization-erasing event, what is the most important piece of knowledge for humans to preserve?… more»

All Content: "Life Itself" To Play at Cannes Film Festival with New Footage


It was announced this morning that Steve James' "Life Itself," which has already been warmly received at the Sundance Film Festival and is sure to be again tomorrow when it plays at Roger Ebert's 16th Annual Film Festival, will play at the 67th Annual Cannes Film Festival. Roger Ebert loved Cannes, writing about it for years (and read some of that content here) and it's remarkable to think that the film about his life will be a part of the event he so loved.

Steve James, the film's director, commented on both his pride at being included in Cannes and the connection between Roger and the fest: "The film's selection is a thrilling first for me and for Kartemquin. Beyond that, its also a statement about what Roger meant to the festival. He loved Cannes and Cannes loved him. We were so inspired by his writing about the festival, that we've created a new section in the film devoted to his adventures there over the years. Roger was a student of great cinema and of the dreams and spectacle that for him defined Cannes. We can't wait to share his story and our film with everyone there."

Chaz Ebert, commented exclusively to on the emotional resonance of "Life Itself" being chosen for Cannes:

"Roger attended the Cannes Film Festival for about 35 years and its emphasis on the "auteur," the director as the shaper of the film, became very special to him. He said that seeing movies on the giant screen at the Palais des Festivals in the comfortable seats next to movie lovers from around the world made you automatically want to give a film an extra star. He helped introduce the American audiences to Cannes through his book, "Two Weeks In the Midday Sun," still one of the most entertaining books ever written about the festival. So it seems only fitting that the documentary about Roger, "Life Itself," based on his memoir, will be shown at the Cannes Film Festival next month.

I will go and honor his memory and stay in a hotel on the Croisette in a room that bears his name, The Roger Ebert Suite at the Hotel Splendid. And then I will go to the American Pavilion and partake of seminars in the Roger Ebert Conference Room on the beach. Not bad for someone who says he flunked French a few times and taught himself to understand it by reading TinTin comic books and listening to Monsieur Capretz. I will miss his joy at the festival and how he thrilled at each new discovery. Roger was one of the best friends of the festival and I thank the Cannes Film Festival for honoring him through the exhibition of his life's story."

"Life Itself" will play in the Cannes Classics section of the festival and will be released later this year by Magnolia, including the new footage of Roger at Cannes. 04.23.2014

New Cyanide and Happiness Comic.

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

REMAXGAL modified

Snapped by Norman, in Toronto. (Hey, this could be a regular feature)

If you’re shopping for real estate in Nova Scotia, you have an advantage few other people do – complete and unfettered access to the detailed sales records of most properties. The local real estate board makes it available to the website/broker Viewpoint, which makes it free to you.

Sadly, elsewhere, this critical info is hidden from buyers, along with the number of days a property’s been on the market, whether or not any deals have fallen through, what the current owner paid and how many times it’s been relisted. Buyers in Mississauga or Kelowna are forced to ask a real estate agent for what little of this data is available, and then only for specific properties they identify.

Of course, you can always go to the land registry office (or pay your lawyer to do so), in order to get a complete record of what a house sold for in the past, and what kind of financing was placed against it. At least for now.

There seems to be a movement afoot to strip even this critical information from the public record. That, of course, would go hand-in-glove with the real estate industry’s current push to remove transparency from the system, as I described yesterday. Once average or median sale prices are obliterated by local boards, replaced by meaningless Frankenumber indices, most consumers will have no true picture of market conditions.

“Looks like even a public record for the price paid for a home is also going the way of the Dodo,” says an inside source in Ontario. “So much for transparency.”

Here’s what one lawyer is revealing to his realtor clients:


The government has established a procedure in which land transfer taxes may be paid in advance of the closing date and in doing so, allow the solicitor on closing to register the deed as “zero consideration” and the land transfer tax payable would show as zero. In this way, the public is unable to determine the purchase price paid by the purchaser nor the land transfer tax which was payable for the transaction. I have recently had two separate occasions in which it was necessary to invoke this procedure as my investor client did not wish to have his acquisition cost a matter of public record given the plans of renovation and resale.

Call it the Flipper Strategy. If you buy a piece of junk, throw some money at it and double the price when you sell it six months later in a bidding war to an unsuspecting virgin, your lawyer can forever cover the deed.

And speaking of bidding wars, the media obsession continues. “Toronto’s real estate bidding wars are reaching a fever pitch,” reported the CBC yesterday. In fact the public broadcaster’s Toronto TV station now has a daily feature called “The Real Deal” dedicated to pumping the notion that house prices will rise forever, without end, amen.

Actually, in places like Toronto and Calgary, they will. Until they stop.

My political sources (incredibly, I still have some who are not dead) tell me the Big Owe received a stiff memo from Finance Department economists the other day when the price of a detached SFH in two of Canada’s major cities passed the $1 million mark. “That sure caught their attention,” I’m told. “Most of these guys (MPs and the Cabinet) believed Flaherty’s four mortgage rule changes were enough to let this thing cool off on its own. But now they understand the true nature of the problem.”

And what’s that?

As I detailed yesterday, it’s the banks, now increasingly aggressive to scoop up what business they can in a market where mortgage volumes have been sliding. That explains the 2.99% five-year specials. It explains the cash-back loans, the interest-only payments, the skip-a-payment plans and the “Honey, I’m pregnant” emotional blackmail YouTubes.

Naturally the real culprit here is federal mortgage insurance and CMHC, which continues to tolerate these systemic abuses. But it’s easier to blame the banks, especially if you are in the government and read stories about multiple bidders pushing the price of trashy semis into the $900,000 range.

So will Owe stop being a wuss and a caretaker Minister of Finance, and pull a F-like nasty on the lenders? All I can tell you is that he is being urged to do so. The feds don’t want a housing dump, but neither do they want to go into the next election with seven-figure homes and a population more indebted than Greece.

There are two reasons houses cost too much. Money’s too cheap and people have no discipline.

Guess which one they think they can fix?

All Content: #215 April 23, 2014

Sheila writes: Those of you attending Ebertfest in Illinois this week, a note from Chaz:

We will have our annual Ebert Club Meet and Greet at the Roger Ebert Film Festival, Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 8 am - 10 am in the Illini Union, General Lounge. Also invited are the Far Flung Correspondents and writers from We look forward to seeing you there!


The Quiet Ones (2014). Directed by John Pogue. Written by Craig Rosenberg. Starring Jared Harris, Sam Claflin, Olivia Cooke. Synopsis: A university professor and a team of students conduct an experiment on a young woman, uncovering terrifyingly dark, unexpected forces in the process. In theaters April 25, 2014.

Clutter (2013). Directed by Diane Crespo. Written by Paul Marcarelli. Starring Natasha Lyonne, Kathy Najimy, Carol Kane. Synopsis: A family must de-clutter or lose their home. In theaters June 7, 2013.

Jersey Boys (2014). Directed by Clint Eastwood. Written by Marshall Brickman. Starring Christopher Walken, Freya Tingley, Francesca Eastwood. Synopsis: The story of four young men from the wrong side of the tracks in New Jersey who came together to form the iconic 1960s rock group The Four Seasons. In theaters June 20, 2014.

The Immigrant (2013). Written and directed by James Gray. Starring Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Renner . Synopsis: On the mean streets of Manhattan, Ewa falls prey to Bruno, a charming but wicked man who takes her in and forces her into prostitution. Opens in the US in limited release May 16, 2014.

The Green Inferno (2013). Directed by Eli Roth. Written by Eli Roth and Guillermo Amoedo. Starring Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy, Daryl Sabara. Synopsis: A group of student activists travel from New York City to the Amazon to save a dying tribe. Unfortunately, they crash in the jungle and are taken hostage by the very natives they protected. In theaters September 5, 2014.

Whitewash (2013). Written and directed by Emanuel Hoss-Desmarais. Starring Thomas Haden Church, Anie Pascale. Synopsis: In the harsh, wintry woods of rural Quebec, Bruce (Thomas Haden Church), a down-on-his-luck snowplow operator, accidentally kills a man during a drunken night joyride. Stricken with panic, he hides the body and takes to the deep wilderness in hopes of outrunning both the authorities and his own conscience. But as both begin to close in, Bruce falls apart mentally and morally and mysteries unravel to reveal who he was before the accident, the truth behind his victim, and the circumstances that brought them together in a single moment. In theaters May 2, 2014.

Cold in July (2014). Directed by Jim Mickle. Written by Nick Damici. Starring Michael C. Hall, Don Johnson, Vinessa Shaw . Synopsis: In 1980s East Texas, two fathers pitted against each other in revenge must band together to uncover a darker truth. In UK theaters June 27, 2014. Opens in the US in limited release May 23, 2014.

The Rover (2014). Written and directed by David Michôd. Starring Guy Pearce, Robert Pattinson, Scoot McNairy. Synopsis: A loner tracks the gang who stole his car from a desolate town in the Australian outback with the forced assistance of a wounded guy left behind in the wake of the theft. In theaters June 13, 2014.

The Signal (2014). Directed by William Eubank. Written by Carlyle Eubank, William Eubank and David Frigerio. Starring Brenton Thwaites, Olivia Cooke, Robert Longstreet. Synopsis: A group of college students are lured to the middle of the desert by a hacker. In theaters June 13, 2014.

If I Stay (2014). Directed by R.J. Cutler. Written by Shauna Cross. Starring Chloë Grace Moretz, Mireille Enos, Jamie Blackley. Synopsis: Mia Hall thought the hardest decision she would ever face would be whether to pursue her musical dreams at Juilliard or follow a different path to be with the love of her life, Adam. But what should have been a carefree family drive changes everything in an instant, and now her own life hangs in the balance. Caught between life and death for one revealing day, Mia has only one decision left, which will not only decide her future but her ultimate fate. In theaters August 22, 2014.

The Captive (2014). Directed by Atom Egoyan. Written by Atom Egoyan and David Fraser. Starring Ryan Reynolds, Scott Speedman, Rosario Dawson. Synopsis: A father tries to track down his kidnapped daughter.

Ebertfest: Live-Streamed Panels

Sheila writes: The 16th annual Roger Ebert's Film Festival is about to kick off tomorrow night. The full lineup of films is listed here. To those of you who will be attending, please join us for the Meet and Greet and stop by and say Hello (information at the top of the newsletter)! Every morning of the festival various panels will be held on different topics; the panels are free and open to the public. Panel guests this year will include Panelists include Brie Larson, Patton Oswalt, Steve James, Matt Zoller Seitz, Chaz Ebert, and more. To those of you who live far away, the panels will be live-streamed! You can check out the schedule and topics here.

Interview with William Friedkin

Sheila writes: William Friedkin's 1977 film "Sorcerer" is finally getting a Blu-Ray release. There's a wonderful interview with Friedkin in "Vanity Fair" about the troubled (putting it mildly) shoot and the unfortunate fact (for Friedkin's film, anyway) that a little movie with robots and laser guns opened at the same time, changing the industry forever. Friedkin says in the interview, "I think fate plays the most significant part in all of our lives and that’s what happened. For a long period there I enjoyed nothing but success: critical and commercial. All I was interested in then and now is how close I could come to my vision of the film I wanted to make. In those days, we had no idea what kind of money films made, until Star Wars. It wasn’t in the papers every day. The quality of the film is all I cared about. Of course, you’re disappointed, but I never guided my life by any of that." Read the whole thing here.


The Amazing Adventure (1936). Directed by Alfred Zeisler. Starring Cary Grant, Mary Brian, Peter Gawthorne. Synopsis: A bored millionaire wagers his doctor that he can support himself at a working class job for year without touching his inheritance.

Watch "The Amazing Adventure."

So's Your Aunt Emma (1942). Directed by Jean Yarbrough. Starring Zasu Pitts, Roger Pryor, Warren Hymer. Synopsis: A dizzy old spinster gets involved in the boxing racket and gangland murders as is falsely accused of being notorious murderer "Ma Barker."

Watch "So's Your Aunt Emma."

The Web (1947). Directed by Michael Gordon. Starring Vincent Price, Ella Raines, Edmond O'Brien. Synopsis: An attorney acting as a body guard, apparently kills a man in defense of his employer's life, and later believes the victim was set up to be murdered.

Watch "The Web."

Penny Arcade: News Post: Return of the Stream

Gabe: Now that PAX East is behind us things are getting back to normal around here and that means we have more time to stream. I’ll be playing some Trials Fusion with Erika today at 3:00pm PST (about two hours from now). You can watch us right here: Watch live video from CWgabriel on and if this works you should be able to join in the chat right here: Jamie will be in there to answer your questions and keep out the trolls. If you have anything you want to talk about post PAX come join us. -Gabe out  

CreativeApplications.Net: It Only Happens All of the Time – Sonic Environment by Jacqueline Kiyomi Gordon

Constructed by Jacqueline Kiyomi Gordon within San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) new exhibition series Control: Technology in Culture, It Only Happens All of the Time is an installation that shapes sound, movement, and perception.

the waxing machine: videogameads: FAMiCOM GRAND PRiX II: 3D HOT...


Famicom Disk System


Planet Haskell: Douglas M. Auclair (geophf): 'S' is for Simply Summing

'S' is for ... simply summing.

Okay, this post was going to be about symmetries and super-symmetries, then I was going to transition to sieves, like the Sieve of Eratosthenes, and how that relates to fizz-buzz, ...

But then I thought: 'eh.'

Yeah, that's what I thought: 'eh.'

I'm a moody brute, filled with deep, indiscernible thoughts, 'cause that's how I roll.

So, yeah: eh. This one will be a simple post today.


Sum the numbers 1.

Yeah, I just said that; humor me.

Okay, the sum of 1 is 1. Toughie.

Next, sum 1 + 2.

3, right? Still with me?

Okay, 1 + 2 + 3.

Got it? 6. No probs.

Now: sum 1 to 10. No laptop help, just sum it yourself.

A little more fun, right? So, that's 55.

Okay, no computers: sum 1 to 100.

Hm, hm, hm. Done yet?

La-di-dah. You're not even trying, are you? You're just reading this post.

Okay, the sum from 1 to 100, inclusive, no computers is ... 5,050.

1 to 1000: 500,500.

Pattern? You bet.

1 to ... oh, I don't know: 123:

That's a might harder, but, no computers:

62 00 + 12 4 0 + 18 6 = 7,626.

Okay, let's verify, by asking my Haskell interpreter: 

Prelude> sum [1 .. 123]

Yeppers, I was right. I was also as fast as a person typing a program into their computer to solve it, if they were using a functional programming language, and much, much faster than a person using a computer if they weren't and called up Excel, for example (loading ... loading ... loading ... blue screen of death) (You really need to virus-clean your computer, because I see you don't have a Mac, do you, tsk, tsk!) or if they pulled out their HP calculator from their high school days because they are that old, boys and girls!

You see this thing in my hand, children? This is not a smart phone, it's a calculator.

Children: Ooh! Papa, can I borrow it for a sec ...

Children, borrowing it, the puzzling over it: Um, Dad, ... where's the Plants vs. Zombies 2 app?

Yeah, a calculator, it calculates. And that's it. No google, no nothing, just numbers and numeric operations.

Children, looking uncomprehendingly at the thing in their hands, then, tossing the cootied thing from their hands and run to their rooms, screaming, remembering with horror the time Dear Old Dad got out an LP and told them that music came out of it, but ... it didn't have playlists!

Yeah. Calculator. But would your calculator get you that sum that fast? I mean, after you go to the CVS to buy a new battery. Those things are long-lasting, but thirty years later? And you expect your calculator to still just work?

Pfft! Heh.

Pick a number (natural number), any number, I'll sum it for you, from the origin.

Sum 1 to 31415.


31415 * 15708 = 314,15 0,000 + 157,075, 000 + 21,990,5 00 + 0 + 251,320 = 493,466,820

Okay, that took a bit longer, let's see what Haskell says:

Prelude> sum [1..31415]

Okay. Damn! ... Sometimes I impress even myself.

How do I do this? How do I add all the numbers from 1 to 31,415 and in under a minute? And perfectly, perfectly, correctly?

Well, I'll tell you.

But first, I'll tell you a story.

Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Gauss, and he was a naughty, little, precocious lad, always getting into trouble for dunking Susie Derkins' pigtails in the inkwell at his desk, and that would be fine if she had jet black hair, but you know the Viking types, right? All blond-haired, blue-eyed things, and getting your honey-blond long-flowing locks dunked into ink was not on the agenda for poor, little Susie, who cried, and had to be sent home to console herself with an appointment at the beautician's who thought the Goth-look actually fit Susie well, so she came back the next day as Suze-in-black-leather-and-studs which was disruptive for the class in other ways, so Gauss found himself at detention again.

But this time the math teacher had had enough of little Gauss' pronouncements and recitations of π to sixty-seven places, and decided to teach the little scamp but good.

Not that I'm channeling, or anything. It's not 'Mary Sue'-writing; it's 'walking in your character's moccasins a mile' ... even though Gauss probably didn't wear moccasins all that often, anyway.

Still with me?

So, mean-old Herr Schopenhauer told little Gauss. "Okay, twerp, this is gonna be a light one on you. You can go home after you sum the number from one to one hundred."

Huh? One to one hundred? But that will take all night!

"That's right," said mean old Herr Bergermeister Meisterburger, "so you'd better get crackin'!" And he cackled evilly with Schadenfreude.

The Head-Master had several names, don't you know, ... and a peridiction for Schadenfreude with his afternoon tea and muffin.

So, what could little Gauss do? He got cracking, the poor lamb.

1 = 1
1 + 2 = 3
1 + 2 + 3 = 6
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 10 ... obviously, you just add the last number to the previous sum
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 = 15 ... now, wait a minute ...
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 = 21 ... there seems to be another pattern here ...
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + 6 + 7 = 28 ... Gauss looked at the chalkboard, then ...

Got it! Little Gauss thought.

Then he wrote:

1 + 2 + 3 + ... + 98 + 99 + 100 = 5,050.

"G'nite, Teach!" Gauss crowed, and off he skipped home with Suze, where they shared a chocolate milk and a strawberry poptart ... before all that sugar glaze had been added to the crust (shudder).

And Herr Herren HerringSchönheit was left stuttering a "Vat? Vat? Git back here, you rapscallion!"

Okay, what's a rap-scallion? Is it a thug onion with 'tude, a glock, and a triple-platinum pedigree?

But all Herr whatz-his-name could do was sputter, because little Gauss got it.

The sum from one (zero, actually) to any number reduces to a simple formula:

sum [1..n] = n * (n + 1) / 2

Either n or n + 1 is even, so one of them is divisible by two, so it works.

Try it out:

1 = 1 * (1 + 1) / 2 = 1 * 2 / 2 = 1
1 + 2 = 2 * (2 + 1) / 2 = 2 * 3 / 2 = 3
1 + 2 + 3 = 3 * (3 + 1) / 2 = 3 * 4 / 2 = 3 * 2 = 6
... so obviously:
1 + 2 + 3 + ... + 31,415 = 31,415 * (31,415 + 1) / 2 = 31,415 * 15,708 = that big number I computed earlier. Yeah, almost five-hundred million!

Put that into your "ceci-n'est-pas-unu-pipe" and smoke it. I'd buy that for a dollar.

Now, there's something you can impress your friends at Happy Hour with.


Okay, so you can sum 1 to ... whatevs, but what if a friend asks you, very kindly, and very politely, 'Okay, Ms. Smartypants, how about summing 1,000 to 2,000? What's that, huh? Betcha can't do that! Huh? Amirite? Amirite? Lookacha sweating bullets now, arencha? So, well, what is it? Huh?"

Yeah, really politely. Like that.

Now you could say, "But-but-but, Gauss' summer[-function, not -time] doesn't work like that."

But then you'd have feet of clay and egg on your face.

And with this hot summer coming, you don't want egg on your face. Trust me on that one.

So. What to do?

Think about it, that's what.

You simply make your 1,000 your zero, by scaling each number back by 1,000, then get your sum, then scale back each number by 1,000. For each time you applied the scale, you apply the scale to the result.

So, the sum of 1,000 to 2,000 inclusive is:

1,000 + 1,001 + 1,002 + ... 1,998 + 1,999 + 2,000 =

scaled back is

0 + 1 + 2 + ... + 998 + 999 + 1000 = 1000 * (1000 + 1) / 2 = 500,500

Now scale each number forward again, by adding 1,000 back to each number. You did that 1,001 times, right? (Don't forget to count the zero.) That's a rescalation (that's a word now) of 1,001,000. Add that to your sum to get 1,501,500.

There's your answer.

Let's check:

Prelude> sum [1000..2000]

Bingo! Tickets! This must be the Front Row!

And you, very politely, just told your friend where they could put their superior 'tude, too.

Win-win! Good times; good times!

See y'all tomorrow. By the way, what's the number of moves needed to solve the Towers of Hanoi? Not that 'Towers of Hanoi' is going to be my topic for 'T.'

Not at all.

Instructables: exploring - featured: Wooden egg with beads

This is how it's made,a wooden egg with beads glued on. Materials Wooden egg Pencil and eraser Hobby glue (little bit stronger than regular wood glue) Needles Seed beads - various color How it's made First we trace with a pencil the patterns of the design. After that we put some glue in that ...
By: karcsika922

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Colossal: Detailed Stencil Street Art by Jana & JS

Detailed Stencil Street Art by Jana & JS street art stencils

Detailed Stencil Street Art by Jana & JS street art stencils

Detailed Stencil Street Art by Jana & JS street art stencils

Detailed Stencil Street Art by Jana & JS street art stencils

Detailed Stencil Street Art by Jana & JS street art stencils

Detailed Stencil Street Art by Jana & JS street art stencils

Jana & JS are a street art duo currently based in Austria who specialize in detailed stencil work, frequently depicting people with cameras or couples sharing intimate moments. Shown here are a few pieces from recent stops in the German countryside and Brookyln, see much more on their website and on Facebook. (via Hi-Fructose, StreetArtNews)

explodingdog: explodingdog: Go Forward


Go Forward

MattCha's Blog: 2013 Kim Jong Yeol (Butea) Balhyocha "Saebyok" (Sunrise) Hwagae Valley Balhyocha

What is "Sunset" without "Sunrise"?

This is another seasonal favorite from producer Kim Jong Yeol through Pedro's O5tea of Vancouver.

These dry leaves smell of sweet creamy, subtly sweet, and even slightly musty milk chocolate.

The first infusion is light, sweet, has a slight fruity/vegital suggestion which turns into slight notes of coco. It all ends with a long cool aftertaste in the middle throat overlapping the coco base taste. The tongue has a slight tingle to it with this tea, the taste really opens in the throat. The feeling on the tongue is slightly sticky as it coats the mouth but also tingling. There is a certain fresh, brisk, crispness to this tea a balance between fresh and cool and grounding and chocolate. The qi is immediately relaxing.

The second infusion starts with a rich, creamy, sweet, and cool coco nuance which has a slight taste of mango in it. This initial taste gives more room to a creamy rich slightly deeper coco tastes in the end mixed with cool menthol tastes. The mouth, tongue, and throat is coated in a thick mouthfeel which flavours cling to.

The third is much the same, the mouthfeel and throatfeel is more full now. There is a mango fruit edge in very creamy coco tastes. In this infusion a base creamy wood taste is just barely noticeable now.

The fourth is a touch of caramel and wood now with creamy almost papya coco edges over a thick mouthfeel. The cool menthol has weakened a bit now. The mouthfeel remains strong and supports these wonderful flavours.

The fifth is quite woody now with a very nice full mouthfeel. There are some suggestion of sweet fruit but much of the flavour depth has faded now. There are sweet, floral notes that appear now as well, adding to the interesting depth of this balhyocha. A very noticable cooling menthol finish also hold.

This tea is taken for a few more infusions and even enjoyed in an overnight steeping... MMMmmmm.


explodingdog: explodingdog: beep



explodingdog: expectations


Computer Science: Theory and Application: IamA 4th year PhD student in Computer Science. AMA

Hi all,

20-something days ago [1], /u/wibbly-wobbly posed the question of whether a grad student AMA would be welcome in the community. The answer seemed to be a resounding yes, but no one followed up and started the AMA.

So I'll do it. I'm a 4th year (almost 5th O_o) grad student in CS. My specialty is Artificial Intelligence, in particular, Natural Language Processing. I'm an American citizen at a high ranking American university, so I cannot answer any immigration questions. (Important detail to many here, I'm sure; hopefully we'll have plenty non-Americans to help with answer as well).

AMA. Hopefully other grad students (and maybe former grad students) can also chime in replies.

[1] /r/compsci/comments/21vpz4/rmath_is_having_a_graduate_student_panel_would/

submitted by slashcom
[link] [338 comments]

explodingdog: I can't find my favorite from many years ago. It says, "One day God looked down and said, y'all dead."

here it is:

Paper Bits: Photo

explodingdog: Photo

Planet Haskell: Russell O'Connor: How to Fake Dynamic Binding in Nix

The Nix language is a purely functional, lazy, statically scoped configuration language that is commonly used to specify software package configurations, OS system configurations, distributed system configurations, and cloud system configurations.

Static scoping means that variables are statically bound; all variable references are resolved based on their scope at declaration time. For example, if we declare a set with recursive bindings,

> let a = rec { x = "abc"; x2 = x + "123"; }; in a

{ x = "abc"; x2 = "abc123"; }
then the use of x in the definition of x2 is resolved to "abc". Even if we later update the definition of x, the definition of x2 will not change.
> let a = rec { x = "abc"; x2 = x + "123"; }; in a // { x = "def"; }

{ x = "def"; x2 = "abc123"; }

Generally speaking, static binding is a good thing. I find that languages with static scoping are easy to understand because variable references can be followed in the source code. Static scoping lets Nix be referentially transparent, so, modulo α-renaming, you can always substitute expressions by their (partially) normalized values. In the previous example, we can replace the expression rec { x = "abc"; x2 = x + "123"; } with { x = "abc"; x2 = "abc123"; } and the result of the program does not change.

> let a = { x = "abc"; x2 = "abc123"; }; in a // { x = "def"; }

{ x = "def"; x2 = "abc123"; }

That said, on some occasions it would be nice to have some dynamic binding. Dynamic binding is used in Nixpkgs to allow users to override libraries with alternate versions in such a way that all other software packages that depend on it pick up the replacement version. For example, we might have the following in our nixpkgs declaration

  boost149 = callPackage ../development/libraries/boost/1.49.nix { };
  boost155 = callPackage ../development/libraries/boost/1.55.nix { };
  boost = boost155;
and perhaps we want to make boost149 the default boost version to work around some regression. If we write nixpkgs // { boost = boost149; } then we only update the boost field of the nix package collection and none of the packages depending on boost will change. Instead we need to use the config.packageOverrides to change boost in such a way that all expressions depending on boost are also updated. Our goal is to understand the technique that packageOverrides and other similar overrides employ to achieve this sort of dynamic binding in a statically scoped language such as Nix. This same technique is also used to give semantics to object-oriented languages.

First we need to review normal recursive bindings. The rec operator is can almost be defined as a function in Nix itself by taking a fixed point. Recall that in Nix lambda expressions are written as x: expr.

> let fix = f: let fixpoint = f fixpoint; in fixpoint; in
   let a = fix (self: { x = "abc"; x2 = self.x + "123"; }); in

{ x = "abc"; x2 = "abc123"; }

The function self: { x = "abc"; x2 = self.x + "123"; } is an object written in the open recursive style. By taking the fixpoint of this function, the recursion is closed yielding the desired value. Written this way, we had to prefix the recursive references to x with self.. However using Nix’s with operator, we can bring the values of self into scope allowing us to drop the prefix.

> let fix = f: let fixpoint = f fixpoint; in fixpoint; in
   let a = fix (self: with self; { x = "abc"; x2 = x + "123"; }); in

{ x = "abc"; x2 = "abc123"; }

This is pretty close to a definition of rec. We can almost think of rec { bindings } as syntactic sugar for fix (self: with self; { bindings }).

In order to override the definition of x instead up updating it, we need to intercept the definition of x before the open recursion is closed. To this end, we write a fixWithOverride function that takes a set of overriding bindings and an open recursive object and applies the override bindings before closing the recursion.

> let fix = f: let fixpoint = f fixpoint; in fixpoint;
       withOverride = overrides: f: self: f self // overrides;
       fixWithOverride = overrides: f: fix (withOverride overrides f); in
   let open_a = self: with self; { x = "abc"; x2 = x + "123"; }; in
   fixWithOverride { x = "def"; } open_a   

{ x = "def"; x2 = "def123"; }

Success! We have manage to override the definition of x and get the definition of x2 updated automatically to reflect the new value of x. Let us step through this code to see how it works. First we defined open_a to be the same as our previous definition of a, but written as an open recursive object. The expression fixWithOverride { x = "def"; } open_a reduces to fix (withOverride { x = "def"; } open_a). What the withOverride function does is takes an open recursive object and returns a new open recursive object with updated bindings. In particular, withOverride { x = "def"; } open_a reduces to

self: (with self; { x = "abc"; x2 = x + "123"; }) // { x = "def"; }
which in turn reduces to self: { x = "def"; x2 = self.x + "123"; }. Finally, fix takes the fixpoint of this updated open recursive object to get the closed value { x = "def"; x2 = "def123"; }.

This is great; however, we do not want to have to work with open recursive objects everywhere. Instead, what we can do is build a closed recursive value, but tack on an extra field named _override that provides access to withOverride applied to the open recursive object. This will allow us to perform both updates and overrides at our discretion.

> let fix = f: let fixpoint = f fixpoint; in fixpoint;
       withOverride = overrides: f: self: f self // overrides;
       virtual = f: fix f // { _override = overrides: virtual (withOverride overrides f); }; in
   let a = virtual (self: with self; { x = "abc"; x2 = x + "123"; }); in rec
   { example1 = a;
     example2 = a // { x = "def"; };
     example3 = a._override { x = "def"; };
     example4 = example3._override { y = true; };
     example5 = example4._override { x = "ghi"; };

{ example1 = { _override = <LAMBDA>; x = "abc"; x2 = "abc123"; };
  example2 = { _override = <LAMBDA>; x = "def"; x2 = "abc123"; };
  example3 = { _override = <LAMBDA>; x = "def"; x2 = "def123"; };
  example4 = { _override = <LAMBDA>; x = "def"; x2 = "def123"; y = true; };
  example5 = { _override = <LAMBDA>; x = "ghi"; x2 = "ghi123"; y = true; };

One remaining problem with the above definition of virtual is that we cannot override the method x2 and still get access to x.

> let fix = f: let fixpoint = f fixpoint; in fixpoint;
       withOverride = overrides: f: self: f self // overrides;
       virtual = f: fix f // { _override = overrides: virtual (withOverride overrides f); }; in
   let a = virtual (self: with self; { x = "abc"; x2 = x + "123"; }); in
   a._override { x2 = x + "456"; }

error: undefined variable `x' at `(string):5:23'

Remembering that Nix is statically scoped, we see that the variable x in a._override { x2 = x + "456"; } is a dangling reference and does not refer to anything in lexical scope. To remedy this, we allow the overrides parameter to withOverride to optionally take a open recursive object rather than necessarily a set of bindings.

> let fix = f: let fixpoint = f fixpoint; in fixpoint;
       withOverride = overrides: f: self: f self //
           (if builtins.isFunction overrides then overrides self else overrides);
       virtual = f: fix f // { _override = overrides: virtual (withOverride overrides f); }; in
   let a = virtual (self: with self; { x = "abc"; x2 = x + "123"; }); in rec
   { example6 = a._override (self: with self; { x2 = x + "456"; });
     example7 = example6._override { x = "def"; };

{ example6 = { _override = <LAMBDA>; x = "abc"; x2 = "abc456"; };
  example7 = { _override = <LAMBDA>; x = "def"; x2 = "def456"; };

This illustrates is the basic technique that packageOverrides and other similar overrides use. The packageOverrides code is a bit more complex because there are multiple points of entry into the package override system, but the above is the essential idea behind it. The makeOverridable function from customisation.nix creates an override field similar to my _override field above, but overrides function arguments rather than overriding recursive bindings.

The syntax virtual (self: with self; { bindings }) is a little heavy. One could imagine adding a virtual keyword to Nix, similar to rec, so that virtual { bindings } would denote this expression.

After writing all this I am not certain my title is correct. I called this faking dynamic binding, but I think one could argue that this is actually real dynamic binding.

Planet Haskell: Douglas M. Auclair (geophf): 'R' is fer Realz, yo!

'R' is for Let's Get Real (the Real Number line)

... because this reality you're living in?

It isn't. It's entirely manufactured for you and by you, and you have no clue that you're living in this unreality that you think isn't.

It's as simple, and as pervasive, as this:

The 'Real Numbers'?

They aren't.

Let's take a step back.

First, as you know, there was counting, and that started, naturally, from the number one.

But even that statement is so obviously flawed and ridiculous on the face of it to a modern-day mathematician. Why are you starting with the number one? Why aren't you starting with the number zero?

This isn't an argument over semantics, by the way, this has real (heh!), fundamental impact, for the number one, in counting, is not the identity. You cannot add one to a number and get that number back, and if you can't do that, you don't have a category (a 'Ring'), and if you don't have that, you have nothing, because your number system has no basis, no foundation, and anything goes because nothing is sure.

But getting to the number zero, admitting that it exists, even though it represents the zero quantity, so technically, it refers to things that don't exist (and therefore a fundamental problem with the number zero in ancient societies) ... well, there was a philosopher who posited that the number zero existed.

He was summarily executed by Plato and his 'platonic' buddies because he had spouted heresy.

If number zero exists, then you had to be able to divide by it, and when you did, you got infinity. And, obviously, infinity cannot be allowed to exist, so no number zero for you.

We went on for a long, long time without the number zero. Even unto today. You study the German rule, then you learn your multiplication tables starting from which number? Not zero: one.

"One times one is one. One times two is two. One times three is three."

Where is the recitation for the "Zero times ..."?

And I mean 'we' as Western society, as shaped by Western philosophy. The Easterners, lead by the Indians, had no problem admitting the number zero, they even had a symbol for it, 0, and then playing in the infinite playground it opened up, and therefore Eastern philosophy thrived, flourished, while Western philosophy, and society, stagnated, ...

... for one thousand years, ...

Just because ... now get this, ... just because people refused to open their eyes to a new way of seeing the world, ...

... through the number zero.


That's what happened when finally West met East, through exchange of ideas through trade (spices) and the Crusades (coffee served with croissants), and philosophers started talking, and the number zero was raised as a possibility.


Mathematics, mathematical ideas, and ideas, themselves, exploded onto the world and into though. Now that there was zero, there was infinity, now that there was infinity, and it was tenable, people now had the freedom to explore spaces that didn't exist anymore. People could go to the New World now, both figuratively and literally.

For growth in Mathematics comes from opening up your mind the possibilities you wouldn't ('couldn't') consider before, and growth in Mathematics leads to opening the mind further.

Take, for example, the expansion of the counting numbers, from not admitting zero to, now, admitting it, yes, but then the fractional numbers. You could count fractionally now.

From zero to infinity there were an infinite number of numbers, but, with fractions, we now found that from zero to one, there were an equal number of infinite number of fractions.

The really neat discovery was that if you put all the fractions in one set, and you put all the counting numbers into another, there was a one-to-one correspondence between the two.

An infinity of counting numbers was the same size as an infinity of counting-by-fraction numbers.


So, infinity was the biggest number, fer realz, then, eh?

No, not really.

Because then came what we call the 'Real Numbers' (which aren't, not by a long shot), and then we found an infinite number of numbers between one-half and one-third.

But the thing with these numbers?

The were rationals (fractional) in there, to be sure, but they were also irrationals.

There were numbers like π and τ and e and other weird and wonderful numbers, and the problem with these numbers was that there was no correspondence between them and the rational numbers. There was no way you could combine rational numbers in any form and point directly to τ, for example. These numbers were transcendent.

What's more: they were more. There were infinitely more transcendent numbers, irrational numbers, than there were rationals.

And not even countably infinite more, they were uncountably more infinite.

There was an infinite that was bigger than infinity, and this we call the Continuum.

Why? Because between zero and one and then between one and two there's this measured, discrete, gap, and this we use for counting. There's a measured, even, step between the counting numbers, and even between the fractional numbers: you can count by them, because between them there is this discreteness.

Between the Reals there's no measurable gap. You can't count by them, and you can't add 'just this much' (every time) to go from τ to π ...

(Heh, actually, you can: π = τ + τ, but then what? What's the 'next' irrational number? There's no such thing as the 'next' irrational number, because no matter what 'next' number you choose, there will always be an uncountably infinite number of numbers between that 'next' number and the number you started from, so your 'next' number isn't the next number at all, and never will be.)

So, wow, the Reals. Lots of them. They cover everything, then, right?

Not even close.

There are numbers that are not numbers.

For example, what is the number of all the functions that yield the number zero?

There are, in fact, an infinite number of those.

How about all the functions that give you ('eventually') π?

... Ooh! There are several different ones to find π, aren't they?

Yes. Yes, there are. In fact, there are an uncountably infinite number of functions that compute π.

Now, wait. You're saying, geophf, that there are uncountably infinite number of functions to find each and every Real number and that the Real numbers are uncountable as well, so that means...

Yeah, the Continuum reigned supreme for just a while as the biggest-big number, but it was soon toppled by this Powerset infinity (my term for it, it's actually called something else).

Now, I don't know the relation between the functions that yield numbers, and the functions that construct functions that do that.

But do you see where we're going with this?

As big as you can stretch yourself, there's new vistas to see in mathematics (and meta-mathematics, let's not neglect that, now, shall we?).

But we still haven't scratched the surface.

Is the world quantized, like the rational numbers? Or is it a continuum like the Reals?

Or is something else, even something more?


Direct current comes to you in a straight, steady line.

The thing about DC ('direct current')? It sucks.

(Just ask Marvel.)

If you want clean, pure, ... powerful, ... well: power, over any kind of distance, you have to ask ... not our friend Tommy (Edison), but our wild-child Tesla.

He proposed to Edison that we should use AC ('alternating current') to provide electricity, and Edison threw him out of his lab, that idiot, telling him never to show his face there again.

Guess how your electricity is delivered to your home today?

The thing about alternating current? It's a wave-form, and not only that, it's a triple wave-form. How do real numbers model electricity? Well, with DC, you've got one number: "That there is 5 volts or 5 amps or 1.21 gigiwatts."

Boy, that last one came out of the blue: like a bolt of lightning!


But if it's alternating current, then you need the sine and cosine functions to describe your power. Functions? Wouldn't it be nice if it were just a number?

Yes, it would be nice, and there is a number to describe wave-form functions, like your alternating current.

'Imaginary' numbers.

They are called 'imaginary numbers,' because, if you look hard enough on the number line, with good enough eyes, eventually you'll see the number π or τ or e or 1, or 2, or 3, or even zero.

But no matter how hard you strain your eyes, you will never see a number with an imaginary component, because why? Because most imaginary numbers, being on the curve of the wave-form are either above or below the number line. They 'aren't' numbers, then, because they're not on the numberline.

They're imaginary.

I mean, come on! The square-root of negative one? Why would anybody do this? Unless they were daft or a bit batty.

The thing is, without imaginary numbers, we wouldn't have the forms to get our heads around alternating current.

Most of the world, except those very lucky few who lived within a mile or two of a power plant, would be in darkness.

And the computer? Pfft! Don't get me started. Hie thee to the nunnery, because we are now back in the Dark Ages.

Or at most in the Age of 'Enlightenment' where you had to run for cover when the landlady bellowed "'ware slops!" ... unless you wanted raw sewage mixed with rotted fruit on your head.

But now, here we are, because we have both Real and imaginary numbers, together giving us the complex number set (which, it turns out, is not bigger than the Reals, as there is a one-to-one correspondence between each real number and each complex number. Fancy that! An infinity 'more' number of complex number above and below the Real number line gives the same number of complex numbers as Reals).

We're good?

Not even close.

Last I checked, I don't live in Flatland, and, last I checked, nor do you.

Complex go 'above' and 'below' the Real number line, but ... what about the third dimension? Is there numbers to model us in three dimension?

What would such numbers look like?

And here's a stunner. If I were on Mars, or the Moon, and you were here, reading this blog post, how would I know where to look to see you?

The Moon, and Mars, too, has their own three-dimensional frames of reference, and the Earth has its own, too (it's called geocentric). So, to draw a line from a satellite (such as the Moon, known as 'Earth's satellite') so that it can look down at a spot on the Earth, you actually have to use a four-dimensional number to connect the two three-dimensional frames of reference so that one can look at the other. This four-dimensional number is called the Quaternion.

It's simple, really, it's just rocket science.

And it's really ... mind-bending, at first, wrapping your head around the math and drawing pictures, or using both your hands, three fingers out indicating both sets of axes, and you use your nose to draw the line connecting the two, and then you scream, 'but how do I measure the angles?'

Not that I've worked on satellite projects or anything. cough-EarthWatch-cough.

But nowadays, you can't get into making a realistic game without having quaternions under your belt. Monster sees you, monster charges you, monster bonks you on the head. Game over, thank you for playing, please insert $1.50 to die ... that is to say, to try again.

The thing is: how does the monster 'see' you? The monster has it's own frame of reference, just as you do. The monster exists in its own three-dimensional coordinate system, just as you do. If you were standing on a little hillock, would you expect the monster not to see you because you're slightly elevated?

Of course not! The monster sees you, the monster bonks you. All of this happens through transformation of disparate coordinate systems via quaternions.

Now that's something to impress people with at cocktail parties.

'Yeah, I spent all day translating coordinate systems using quaternions. Busy day, busy day."

Just don't say that to a mathematician, because he'll (in general, 'he') will pause, scratch his head then ask: "So you were checking out babes checking you out?"

Then you'll have to admit that, no, not that, you were instead avoiding your boss trying to catch your eye so he could hand you a whole stack of TPS reports to work on over the weekend.

Like I ... didn't. Ooh. Ouch! Guess who was working through Easter?

Fun, fun!

Okay, though. Four dimensions. We've got it all, now, right?

Not if you're a bee.

Okay, where did that come from?

Bees see the world differently from you and me.

Please reflect on the syntax of that sentence, writers.

Bees see the world differently (not: 'different') from you and me (not: 'from you and I').

Gosh! Where is the (American) English language going?

(But I digress.)

(As always.)

If you look at how they communicate through their dance, you see an orientation, but you also see some other activity, they 'waggle' (so it's called the 'waggle-dance') and the vigor at which they do their waggle communicates a more interesting cache of nectar. There are other factors, too.

The fact of the matter: three dimensions are not enough for the bee's dance to communicate what it needs to say to the other drones about the location, distance, and quantity of nectar to be found.

So, it has its waggle-dance to communicate this information. Everybody knows this.

Until, one little girl, working on her Ph.D. in mathematics, stopped by her daddy's apiary, and, at his invitation, watched what he was doing.


"Daddy," she said, "those bees are dancing in six dimensions."

Guess who changed the topic of her Ph.D., right then and there?

Combining distance, angle from the sun, quantity of interest, ... all the factors, the bees came up with a dance.

They had only three dimensions to communicate six things.

The thing is, nobody told the bees they had only three dimensions to work with. So they do their dance in six dimension.

If you map what they are doing up to the sixth dimension, it gives a simple (six-dimensional) vector, which conveys all the information in one number.

Bees live in six dimensions, and they live pretty darn well in it, too.

Or, put this way: 80% of the world's food supply would disappear if bees didn't do what they did.

You are living in six dimensions, or, more correctly, you are alive now, thanks to a little six-dimensional dance.

Six dimensions.

Okay, but what if you're Buckaroo Banzai?

Pfft! Eight dimensions? Light weight.

In String Theory, we need at least ten dimensions for super strings, and twenty-six dimensions for some types of strings.

So, 'R' is for real numbers.

The neat thing about numbers, is ... they can get as big as you can think them.

And they're good for a Ph.D. thesis ... or two.

OCaml Weekly News: OCaml Weekly News, 22 Apr 2014

  1. P3 v. 2014-04-15d
  2. ppc64le backend
  3. llpp v18
  4. topkg
  5. React 1.0.1
  6. Opam Dependency Solving in the Cloud
  7. Obj.magic for polymorphic identifiers
  8. Other OCaml News

OCaml Planet: Caml Weekly News: OCaml Weekly News, 22 Apr 2014

  1. P3 v. 2014-04-15d
  2. ppc64le backend
  3. llpp v18
  4. topkg
  5. React 1.0.1
  6. Opam Dependency Solving in the Cloud
  7. Obj.magic for polymorphic identifiers
  8. Other OCaml News

Colossal: Our Changing Seas: A Ceramic Coral Reef by Courtney Mattison

Our Changing Seas: A Ceramic Coral Reef by Courtney Mattison sculpture ocean environment coral climate change ceramics
Photo by Courtney Mattison

Our Changing Seas: A Ceramic Coral Reef by Courtney Mattison sculpture ocean environment coral climate change ceramics
Photo by Arthur Evans

Our Changing Seas: A Ceramic Coral Reef by Courtney Mattison sculpture ocean environment coral climate change ceramics
Photo by Arthur Evans

Our Changing Seas: A Ceramic Coral Reef by Courtney Mattison sculpture ocean environment coral climate change ceramics
Photo by Arthur Evans

Our Changing Seas: A Ceramic Coral Reef by Courtney Mattison sculpture ocean environment coral climate change ceramics
Photo by Arthur Evans

Our Changing Seas III is the third piece in a series of large-scale ceramic coral reef sculptures by artist Courtney Mattison. The sprawling installation is entirely hand-built and is meant to show the devastating transition coral reefs endure when faced with climate change, a process called bleaching. She shares via email:

At its heart, this piece celebrates my favorite aesthetic aspects of a healthy coral reef surrounded by the sterile white skeletons of bleached corals swirling like the rotating winds of a cyclone. There is still time for corals to recover even from the point of bleaching if we act quickly to decrease the threats we impose. Perhaps if my work can influence viewers to appreciate the fragile beauty of our endangered coral reef ecosystems, we will act more wholeheartedly to help them recover and even thrive.

Our Changing Seas III is currently on view at the Tang Museum at Skidmore College through June 15, 2014. (via Colossal Submissions)

Planet Haskell: Douglas M. Auclair (geophf): 'F' is for function

'F' is for function.

Okay, you just knew we were going there today, didn't you?

Today, and ... well, every day in the last 2,600 years (I'm not joking) has had this dynamic tension between objects and functions. Which is greater?

Read this tell-all post to find out!

Sorry, I channeled Carl Sagan in Cosmos for a second. 

Not really.

But I digress.

WAY back when, back in the olden times, there were just things, and then when you had a full belly and your one thing, your neighbor, who happened to be named 'Jones,' had two things.

And then keeping up with the Jones' came to be a real problem, because you had one thing, and they had two. So you got one more.

And counting was invented.

For things.

In fact, in some cultures, counting doesn't exist as an abstract thing. You don't count, in general, you have different counting systems for different things. Counting, for example, pens, is a very different thing than counting eggs.

Ha-ha, so quaint! Who would ever do that?

Well, you do. What time is it? You have a different way for counting time than you do for counting distance or for counting groceries that you need to buy, don't you?

But, at base, they are all just things: time, distance, and gallons of milk.

Sorry: litres of milk. How very British Imperial of me!

Question: why are Americans just about the only ones using the British Imperial system any more? That is, the real question is: why are the British not using the British Imperial system? They onto something we're not?

Anybody want a satellite coded wrongly because some engineers intermingled British Imperial units with metrics?

Okay, so, units, things, metrics, whatevs.

And counting.

Counting is doing something to something, whereas, at first, it's important you have that chicken in your stomach (cooked is nice, but optional), suddenly it's become important that you have not one chicken, a hen, but a (very rarely) occasional rooster with all your hens would be nice, too.

(Roosters are big jerks, by the way.)

Counting was all we had, after the chickens and their yummy eggs, that is, and that for a long while.

Question: which came first, the chicken or the egg.

Answer: that's obvious, the egg.

Think about it. You have eggs for breakfast, then you have a chicken-salad sandwich.

Like I said: obvious! First the egg, then the chicken.

Unless you're one of those weirdos that eat chicken sausage with your breakfast, then it's a toss-up, but in that case I have no help for you.

Okay, chickens, eggs (egg came first) (You read that first, right here on this blog) (and you thought there was no point to math!), and then counting, for a long, long time.

Then, ... counting became too much, because you ran out of fingers, then toes, to count your mutton on. It happens. That's a good thing, because then people started to have to think (that's a good thing, too), and they thought, 'how do I count all my mutton when I run out of fingers and toes? I need to know that I have more sheep than the Jones', and I've paired each of my sheep to his, and I have more than twenty-two than he does. How many more do I have!"

Then people started getting smart. They did more than one-to-one, or pairwise, groupings, they started grouping numbers, themselves.

All this is very nice background, geophf, but to what end?

First counting, then grouping, those are operations, and on or using numbers.

Then addition and subtraction, which are abstractions, or generalizations on counting, then multiplication, and let's not even go into division.


Counting, adding, multiplying. These things worked for you chickens (and eggs) (first), but also on your mutton, and when you settled down, it worked on how many feet, yards, the hectares of land you had, too. The same principles applied: numbers worked on things, no matter what the things were, and the operations on numbers worked on ... well, no matter what the numbers counted.

Now. Today.

Or, sometime back in the 40s anyway, way back before the Birkenstock-wearers were mellowing out with lattes, anyway. A couple of dudes (Samuel Eilenberg and Saunders Mac Lane, specifically) said, 'Hey, wait!' they exclaimed, 'it doesn't matter what the thing is, at all!' they said, 'as long as the things are all the same thing, we don't care all all about the thing itself at all!'

And they invented a little something that eventually became known as Category Theory, which is the basis of ... well, a lot of things now: quantum thermodynamics, for one, and computer science, for another.

And they nailed it. They created a one-to-one correspondence between the things in categories and the things in Set theory.

Why is that important? Set theory is this:


Got me?

A set is a thing that contains a thing. The fundamental set is the set that contains nothing (the 'empty set'), which is this:


And other sets are sets that contain sets:

{{}, {{}, {{}, {}}}}

With sets you can model numbers if you'd like:

0: {},
1 {{}} (the set that contains '0'), 
2: {{}, {{}}} (the set that contains '0' and '1')
3: {{}, {{}}, {{}, {{}}}} (the set that contains '0', '1', and '2')


And as Gödel (eventually) showed, once you model numbers, you can model anything.

(We'll get to that ... for 'G' is for Gödel-numbering, I'm thinking)

How? Well, once you have numbers, you can count with them (as just demonstrated), you can add one to them (the 'successor' function), you can take away one from the (the 'predecessor' function), you can add two of them together (successively add one to the first number until the second number is zero. Try it!), subtract, by doing the opposite (or by just removing duplicates from both until one of them is gone ... 'pairwise-subtraction'!), multiply two together (successive addition), divide numbers ... (um, yeah)... and, well, do anything with them.

Once you have Number, you have counting, and from that, you have everything else.

So, our dudes mapped category theory things (morphisms) down to Set mapping functions, and they had it.

Because why?

Well, it's rather cumbersome to carry a whole bunch of sets for your Pert formulation, especially when you want to see the money you (don't) save by paying off your mortgage's principal early.

Banker: oh, geophf, pay off your mortgage principal early, you'll save a ton in the long run.
me: uh, that was true when mortgage interest was 10-15-21%...

(you remember those Jimmy Carter days?)

me, continuing: ... but now that my interest rate is 2.5% I save zip after 30 years for early payment.

Try it. Run the numbers. Bankers haven't. They're just repeating what was good advice, ... twenty-five years ago.

But when you have objects, whose representations do not matter, be they 0, 1, a googol, or {{}, {{}}, {{}, {{}}}}, then you can concentrate on what's really important.

The functions.

Whoopsie! I slipped and gave the answer, didn't I?

Me, and Alan Kay, both.

Alan Kay, inventor of Smalltalk, and inspirer of the movie Tron: The objects aren't important, it's the messages that go between them that is.

So there.

Well, okay, functions win. It used to be the chicken (or the egg), but now we've ... grown a bit, worrying less about what fills our stomach, and where we're going to get our next meal (and not be the next meal), you know: survival.

We've transcended our stomachs.


Well, okay, functions rule, so back off.

The dudes didn't stop there, because there's been some really neat things going on with functions, since discovering functions are things in and of themselves, because if functions are things, in and of themselves, then, well, ...

Well, you can number them (tomorrow) (promise), you can count them, you can add them, you can multiply them, you can exponate them, you can ...

You can, in fact, operate on them, applying functions to functions.

So, our dudes did just that. They said their functions, their morphisms have two rules to be a function.

You can ask what it is, it's identity:

id f = f

And you can string them together, composing them:

g . f = ... well, g . f

So, if you have 

> f x = succ x


> g x = x * 2

then (g . f) gives you some function, we can call it, h, here if you'd like, and h is the composition of applying f to your number first, then g, or

> h x = 2 (x + 1)

Try it!

Pull up your functional programming language listener (I use Haskell for now) (until I find or invent something better)

and enter the above.

Now, it's an interesting proposition to show that

(g . f) == h

But, for now, in Haskell, we cannot do that.

Now, in some other programming languages (I'm thinking of my experience with Twelf), you can, but first you have to provide numbers, on you own, like: 0, 1, 2, ...

... and prove they are what they are, you know: they follow in order, and stuff like that ...

Then you provide the functions for identity and composition, and then you can prove the above statement, because now you have theorems and a theorem prover.


No, ... no 'yay'!

I mean, 'yay,' if that's your thing, proving theorems (I happen to have fun doing that at times), but 'ick,' otherwise, because it's a lot of work to get to things like just plain old addition.

See, theorem-prover-folk are these hard-core fighters, right on the edge of discovering new mathematics and science. Not plain-old-little me, I just use the stuff (to build new theories from preexisting, proved, ones), so I'm a lover of the stuff.

To quote an eminent mathematical philosopher: I'm a lover, not a fighter.

And, no, Billie-Jean is not my lover. She's just a girl that claims that I am the one.


So, but anyway, using the above two functions, identity and composition, you're now able to reason about functions generally, making new functions by stringing together (composing) other, preexisting functions.

This is so important that Eilenberg and Mac Lane gave this process it's own name 'natural transformation.'

But okay, Categories have units and you don't particularly care what those units are; we saw one set of units, numbers, themselves, as an example,

But units can be anything.

Even functions, so you have a category of functions (several categories, in fact, as there are different kinds of functions, just so you know) ... You can even have categories of categories of things (things being some arbitary unitary types, like numbers, or functions, or categories, again ... it can get as wild and woolly as you want it to get).

And types. Categories can be used to model types, so you can have a category that represents the natural numbers ... as types:

Nat : Category

zero : 1 -> Nat
succ : Nat -> Nat

so zero = zero ()
one = succ zero ()
two = succ one
three = succ two
etc ...

And those formula, those functions works, regardless of the underlying type of things like 'number' or even 'function.'

Category theory was originally called 'Abstract nonsense,' by the way, because Eilenberg and Mac Lane saw it as so abstract that they were actually talking about nothing.

Sort of like how Set Theory does, starting from nothing, the empty set, and building everything from that object, but even more abstractly than that, because category theory doesn't even have the 'nothing'-object to start from, it just starts identifying and composing functions against objects about which it doesn't care what they are.

Now, there was, at one point, a working definition of abstraction, and that was: the more useful a theorem is, the less abstract it is.

The contrapositive implied: the more abstract a formula is, the less useful.

But I find I play in these domains very happily, and in playing, I'm able to invent stuff, useful stuff that's able to do things, in software, that other software engineers struggle with and even give up, stating: "This can't be done."

I love it when I'm told I "can't" do something.

You know what I hear when I hear the word "can't"?

I hear opportunity. 

Everyone else may have given up on this particular task, because it 'can't' be done. But me? I go right in with my little abstract nonsense, reinventing the language that was unable to frame the problem before with a language that can, and I find, hey, I not only can do it, but I just did.

Language frames our thoughts, telling us what we can and cannot do. English is a very complex language, taking in a lot of the world and describing it just so.

The language of mathematics is very, very simple, and describes a very tiny world, a world that is so tiny, in fact, doesn't exist in reality. It's a quantum-sized world: mathematics and has the possibility to be even smaller than that.

But so what? I get to invent a world that doesn't exist, each time I apply a theorem from mathematics that others are unfamiliar with.

And when I do so, I get to create a world where the impossible is possible.

It's very liberating, being able to do things others 'can't.' And when I pull it off, not only do I win, but my customers win, and maybe even those developers who 'can't' win, too, if they're willing to open their eyes to see possibilities they didn't see before.

'F' is for functions, a totally different way of seeing the world, not as a world of objects, but as a world of possibilities to explore. / 2014-04-23T21:25:20