Bifurcated Rivets: From FB

RIP John Ellenby. He taught me on my undergraduate degree and his approach to things was a huge influence on me. A really nice person too.

Bifurcated Rivets: From FB

Important information.

Bifurcated Rivets: From FB


Bifurcated Rivets: From FB

I didn't know that

Bifurcated Rivets: From FB

Gorgeous AnyEvent-HTTP-2.23

simple but non-blocking HTTP/HTTPS client

programming: "90% of coding is debugging. The other 10% is writing bugs"

submitted by /u/BLochmann
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Recent additions: flaccuraterip 0.3.6

Added by NicolaSquartini, Sun Aug 28 09:00:46 UTC 2016.

Verify FLAC files ripped form CD using AccurateRip™

Hackaday: Filtering Noisy Data with an Arduino

One of the first frustrating situations a beginning microcontroller programmer will come across is the issue of debouncing switches. Microcontrollers are faster than switches, and the switch has yet to be built that can change state in zero time like they can on paper. This hurdle is easily overcome, but soon we are all faced with another issue: filtering noise from an analog signal. Luckily [Paul Martinsen] has put together a primer of three different ways to use an Arduino to filter signals.

The first (and fastest, simplest, etc.) way to filter an analog signal is to sample a bunch of times and then average all of the samples together. This will eliminate most outliers and chatter without losing much of the information. From there, the tutorial moves on to programming a running average to help increase the sample time (but consume much more memory). Finally, [Paul] takes a look at exponential filters, which are recursive, use less memory, and can be tweaked to respond to changes in different ways.

[Paul] discusses all of the perks and downsides of each method and provides examples for each as well. It’s worth checking out, whether you’re a seasoned veteran who might glean some nuance or you’re a beginner who hasn’t even encountered this problem yet. And if you’re still working on debouncing a digital input, we have you covered there, too.

Filed under: Microcontrollers

programming: Adventures in building a fast web server

submitted by /u/badcommandorfilename
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Slashdot: EU Copyright Reform Proposes Search Engines Pay For Snippets

An anonymous Slashdot reader reports that the European Commission "is planning reforms that would allow media outlets to request payment from search engines such as Google, for publishing snippets of their content in search results." The Stack reports: The working paper recommends the introduction of an EU law that covers the rights to digital reproduction of news publications. This would essentially make news publishers a new category of rights holders under copyright law, thereby ensuring that "the creative and economic contribution of news publishers is recognized and incentivized in EU law, as it is today the case for other creative sectors."

Read more of this story at Slashdot. Slack-RTM-Bot-0.09

This is a perl module helping to create slack bot with Real Time Messaging(RTM) API.

Recent additions: ghc-prof 1.0.0

Added by MitsutoshiAoe, Sun Aug 28 06:30:45 UTC 2016.

Library for parsing GHC time and allocation profiling reports Net-FullAuto-1.0000231

Perl Based Secure Distributed Computing Network Process

Hackaday: Hackaday Prize Entry: Real Life XEyes

There’s a lot of tech that goes into animatronics, cosplay, and costumes. For their Hackaday Prize entry, [Dasaki] and [Dylan] are taking the eyes in a costume or Halloween prop to the next level with animatronic eyes that look where the wearer of this crazy confabulation is looking. It’s XEyes in real life, and it promises to be a part of some very, very cool costumes.

The mechanics of this system are actually pretty simple — it’s just a few servos joined together to make a pair of robotic eyes move up and down, and left to right. This entire mechanism is mounted on a frame, to which is attached a very small camera pointed directly at the user’s (real) eye. The software is where things get fun. That’s a basic eye-tracking setup, with IR light illuminating the pupil, and a compute unit that can calculate where the user is looking.

For the software, [Dasaki] and [Dylan] have collected a bunch of links, but right now the best solutions are the OpenMV and the Eye of Horus project from last year’s Hackaday Prize. It’s a great project, and a really fun entry for the Automation portion of this year’s Hackaday Prize.

Filed under: The Hackaday Prize Comic for 2016.08.28

New Cyanide and Happiness Comic

Recent additions: mongoDB

Added by VictorDenisov, Sun Aug 28 04:42:01 UTC 2016.

Driver (client) for MongoDB, a free, scalable, fast, document DBMS

Disquiet: Archival Music from Bill Laswell

This track is archival, but it also serves as a current, potent little reminder of what’s going on at bassist-producer Bill Laswell’s quickly expanding Bandcamp page. The track dates from 1993, recorded the year prior for Japanese drummer Hideo Yamaki’s album Shadow Run. It popped up today on Laswell’s Bandcamp outpost. Like many Laswell productions, Shadow Run appears under an individual’s name, but that name stands in for a wide swath of favorite session players, among them Foday Musa Suso (kora, vocals), Bernie Worrell (organ), Toshinori Kondo (trumpet), and Laswell himself. And, on this track, the great Ginger Baker. The track, “Hoisasa,” is a duo of Baker and Yamaki going at their kits, sometimes in swinging unison, often in swaggering counterpoint. It’s a force of nature collaboration. Two other releases under Yamaki’s name also appear on Laswell’s page, both duos with Laswell himself.

Slashdot: Microsoft Lost a City Because They Used Wikipedia Data

"Microsoft can't tell North from South on Bing Maps," joked The Register, reporting that Microsoft's site had "misplaced Melbourne, the four-million-inhabitant capital of the Australian State of Victoria." Long-time Slashdot reader RockDoctor writes: Though they're trying to minimise it, the recent relocation of Melbourne Australia to the ocean east of Japan in Microsoft's flagship mapping application is blamed on someone having flipped a sign in the latitude given for the city's Wikipedia page. Which may or may not be true. But the simple stupidity of using a globally-editable data source for feeding a mapping and navigation system is ... "awesome" is (for once) an appropriate word. Well, it's Bing, so at least no-one was actually using it. "Bing's not alone in finding Australia hard to navigate," reports The Register. "In 2012 police warned not to use Apple Maps as it directed those seeking the rural Victorian town of Mildura into the middle of a desert."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Disquiet: Listening to Yesterday: Branded Interference


I started using an additional video streaming service. Its interface was just different enough from those of other streaming services that my brain had to adjust during the early stages of adoption. Even when watching a TV episode or a movie within a given service, there is a layer of service-specific interface design. It can take awhile for that layer to become mentally invisible, brand transparent, aesthetically neutral. The same can be said of its interference.

There is no truly blank canvas in digital media. One service shows a more granular level of stills during fast forward and reverse, while another does a better job of adjusting to your TV screen, and yet another seems more finicky than its competitors about just how low-rez it’ll consider displaying an image when, for whatever reason, the wifi is sluggish. If the wifi drops below that service’s effete threshold, it defaults to a signal-error screen, while all the other services seem happy to serve up a glitchy entertainment of blocky, vaguely familiar images that suggest Chuck Close trying to give Bill Viola a run for his installation money.

This new service had hit a slow spell, and the screen reverted to a melty image that brought to mind an overplayed VHS cassette, or more to the point the digital simulation of an overplayed VHS cassette on some contemporary retro drama set in the penultimate-lapsarian era of early Internet adoption. The audio held for awhile, so my brain knew who was talking. I began to wait out the low-fidelity spell like one might a snow storm or a case of indigestion. The TV snow of my youth came to mind, but this was something else entirely, a mutant hybrid, half-noise, half-signal.

And then the audio itself gave, the music and voices intermingling into some sludgy, broken stream of consciousness. The effect was familiar but distinct from the failures of other streaming services, which ran different technology on different hardware in different clusters of geolocated farms of different servers. This glitch sounded different from the other services’ subpar moments. It seemed that even the interference was branded, bearing an imprint that was an artifact of countless decisions encoded into the stream. Yesterday this interference felt new, and for some time it will be recognizable. At some point will it, too, become generic, transparent, neutral?

(Photo by fdecomite, used via Flickr and a Creative Commons license.)

Instructables: exploring - featured: Bacon and Tatos

This handy instructable will teach you the way to make Bacon and Tatos; a healthy breakfast for one or a side dish for two. This can also be made without the bacon, using olive oil rather than the grease. Materials needed For this meal you will need:5 strips of bacon2 potatoes of small size2 cutt...
By: JRBss24

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Instructables: exploring - featured: Skee Ball Machine

It started out as a wild suggestion from a friend, "Hey can you make a Skee Ball machine?" Something you don't hear everyday.After a little research I became discouraged by the 'electronics' aspect. The few who have attempted to make a Skee Ball Machine with an actual realistic electronic scoring pa...
By: a12548

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Recent additions: isotope

Added by Michaelt293, Sun Aug 28 02:09:04 UTC 2016.

Isotopic masses and relative abundances.

All Content: Only connect: James Ivory on "Howards End"


Editor's Note: James Ivory is the director of "Howards End," a classic version of E.M. Forster's novel that opens again nationally today in a 4K restoration. I spoke to him about that classic film, about hits and flops, and about his long collaboration with his two main filmmaking partners, screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and producer Ismail Merchant.--MZS

Matt Zoller Seitz: Did you have an inkling when you were directing "Howards End" that it was going to work out as well as it did, much less that people would be interviewing you about it almost 25 years later?

James IvoryWell ... we hoped for that, you know! We had certainly been successful with the other two Forster films we'd done, "Maurice" and "A Room with a View." We thought people would like this one and respond to it. It's a long film, two hours and twenty minutes. A length like that doesn't always bode well. But yes, we had hopes for it. 

How many years had you been thinking about doing a film version of the novel?

It wasn't something that I had wanted to do for a long, long time. It was a wonderful book and all, but it wasn't something I'd thought about for years and years before we made it. 

But our writer, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala—it was very much in her mind. After we had done "A Room With a View" and "Maurice," she urged us to think about "Howards End" as another candidate for adaptation. 

Did the book pose any particular problems as a subject for film adaptation?

[Laughs] Well, fortunately, because I wasn't the screenwriter, I didn't have to face that kind of struggle, and that kind of winnowing out of the best storytelling material. I just didn't have to face that! Because I knew Ruth knew what to do, you see? We'd done so many films together already with Ruth, Ismail [Merchant] and I, some based on very complicated novels, like "The Bostonians" for example, so we could just leave her at it and be confident. 

Of course when I saw her script for the first time, I probably did the usual yelling: "Where's this? Where's that?" You know. But that always happens with adaptations. We'd do that, and then we'd have a bit of a re-think. Ruth or Ismail would tell me, "That's a good bit, but there's just not room," and I'd accept it. That's how we worked.

The great thing about Ruth was she was a very good fiction writer, a novelist, herself. She had a very strong storytelling sense. Sometimes when you have a really good writer on a film, their storytelling sense can be better than that of the director. There were some things about the book that she felt she could improve in the screenplay, some aspects that were fine for the novel but that would have to be fleshed out for the movie.

Like what?

For example, she felt that the characters of a certain social class, in particular Leonard and Jackie Bast, were people Forster didn't know very well, so they didn't come across that strongly in the novel itself. She felt they had to be deepened a bit, because of the way the story pivots around Leonard and his rise and fall. Ruth knew we had to know them better, that we had to see them alone more, and sense the physical hold Jackie had on Leonard. So she built them up and made them into working class people who were sort of living on the edge. 

She didn't approve of Forster's handling of the Basts? 

Not so much approve; it was more a matter of recognizing that Forster just didn't have a sense of who they were, because he just lacked a great deal of knowledge about people like that. I haven't reread the novel since we did the film, so at the moment I couldn't tell you whether I think her sense of that was accurate or not, but at the time I thought she was probably right.

That was really a remarkable run that you and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and Ismail Merchant had there, from 1986 when "A Room With a View" came out all the way through "The Remains of the Day" in 1993. The quality of most of those films is pretty high, in particular the period pieces. During that period you were making—well, not quite one movie a year, but—

No, not by that point—but we were productive, you're right. You know, if you look at the output going back much further than 1986, you see that sometimes we made more than one in a year, right through the seventies and pretty much all through the eighties. We slowed down a bit in the nineties, but there were still instances where did did more than one movie in the the same year. 

What are the factors that go into a run like that, for a filmmaker? Is it luck? Timing? Box office?

All of that, but honestly I'm not entirely sure exactly what goes into that kind of a run! It's quite something. I've seen it happen with other directors. Sometimes there's a period where, if they're lucky, they get the financing where they can make two films in a year. Jean-Luc Godard was like that for a while. And Nicholas Ray

Some of it probably has to do with satisfaction. You know, if the filmmakers were satisfied with the film they just made, they could jump right in and make another one, instead of lingering on the last one. We did that a few times. And you know, sometimes the theatrical films were interspersed with films we made for television.

"A Room With a View" seemed as if it kicked things up to a new level for you and your collaborators. I've never seen anything like that happen in my lifetime, where a little period piece strikes a nerve and just keeps making more money and more money, staying in theaters forever. Not even "Howards End" had the sort of staying power that "A Room With a View" did.  

That's true! We had films before that the public liked very much, films that had a wonderful critical reception or that did very well at the box office. "Heat and Dust" was one of those, and "The Europeans" was another. And earlier, you could probably say that, in a way, "Shakespeare Wallah" was that kind of success. But you're right, "A Room with a View" really set us up with the people who give you money to make movies.

Why is that? Was it just a matter of the money people looking at the box office returns and going, "Wow, these people know how to make hits"?

There's that, but there's also the matter of how much you spend on a movie. See, nobody understood how we were able to make a film like "A Room With a View" so cheaply, for about $3.2 million, and have it look as good as it did.

What was your secret?

For one thing, actors didn't ask for that much money, because they liked us. They wanted to play interesting roles in films derived from intelligent material. So they didn't charge the kinds of money they'd charge other kinds of producers. 

Also, we shot a lot in Florence, which was not that expensive. And we took the money we saved on casting and locations and spent it on the production, instead of being cheap about the crew. We believed all along in getting the best crew available. The best camerapersons, the best production designer. We never stinted on the crew. The actors complained a bit about being underpaid sometimes, but we really wanted to make sure we could afford the best technicians to make them all look as good as possible, and keep everybody happy. 

That's why relatively inexpensive films like "A Room with a View" and "Howards End" look the way they do, because the people on the crew were experts and we were paying them appropriately. 

I grew up in Dallas, and there's a theater there, the Inwood, where "A Room With a View" played for thirteen months, and "Howards End" for seven. Those were really long runs for the eighties and nineties, a period when films could still have long runs in theaters, and they would be unthinkable today, when even hit films rarely stick around for more than a couple of months. Clearly, something about these films struck a nerve. And it wasn't just in Dallas. I heard about that kind of thing happening in other theaters across North America—where your movies hit, and for whatever reason just kept on playing and playing.

Yes, and it really was something! "A Room With a View" played in the Paris Theater in New York for more than a year. That was amazing, and we were amazed. The success of that film really encouraged the studios to finance our projects. Occasionally they would offer something to us, something that we didn't develop ourselves. "The Remains of the Day" was that kind of movie, one that was offered. "Surviving Picasso" was another. 

Why did they start offering you their own projects?

Because they thought we had the magic formula! They thought we had some kind of secret for making a good film for very little money that would become very profitable. 

And so we moved on to do a string of studio features in the nineties. We had two unsuccessful studio films which slowed down our run a bit. One was "Jefferson in Paris," which didn't cost that much money. The next was "Surviving Picasso," which did. They didn't do well at the box office, didn't do well with critics. That slowed us down. Somehow we managed to raise the money for a few more features. But we didn't get to do more studio features until we made "A Divorce" for Fox. 

"Mr. and Mrs. Bridge" was part of that great run, a very good film with two great lead performances, by Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, but that just did OK and never became a hit.

There was another flop in there, too: "Slaves of New York," based on the [Tama Janowitz] book. And there was also a studio film in there, "Mr. and Mrs. Bridge," which we did for Miramax. 

I don't know if it means anything, but it's interesting to me that some of your best known and most financially successful films were funded independently. 

Yes, although that can be a difficult process in its own way, as you know. And you might be surprised how things came together on some of our movies. "A Room With a View," for instance—on that one we had Japanese investors, even though it was an English story!

What do you think of the film, honestly, now that a lot of time has elapsed? Are there things that make you cringe, that you would do differently? Things that you're particularly happy with, where you think, "Yes, that's about as good as it could have been"?

I'd have to think about that. 

Recently I've been thinking more about the process of adaptation. You know, since ["Howards End"] was restored, I saw it at Cannes, and then I saw it again the other night in New York, and it did make me want to go back and read the novel again, though as I told you, unfortunately I haven't done that as yet. I'm curious to see exactly where we diverge from the novel and where we're faithful to it. I like the film a lot, but I can't remember all the things we changed!

Well, I mean—I remember some of them. For instance, there's a scene where Leonard and Helena's character, Helen Schlegel, go out on the boat, and they talk a bit and then they make love. Well, obviously that's not in the novel. That's not the sort of scene Forster would do! So I'm curious to see if I can pinpoint exactly where during the process Ruth decided that we should go out on our own during that scene. 

Also, the dialogue—it was tricky.  That whole book is full of the most wonderful dialogue, but we couldn't use much of it. Ruth had a sort of a dictum about dialogue. She felt if you had ten lines of very good dialogue in a novel you would be doing well if you could keep three four of them, just to bring a book down to size. 

I can say, also, that I look at it differently now because it now calls up all these associations with time. When I saw it last week again, as watching it I was pleased with it. But I was also thinking  to myself, I don't know if I could put something like that together in such a way now

Of course it goes without saying that so many people I know who were involved with that movie are gone, so of course a film version of "Howards End" would be different in that way if we tried to do it today. But I also wondered if I would have the strength to carry out such a complicated film. There are so many different characters and plot lines and stuff! 

So I felt all that watching it again. But mainly I felt pleasure, really, realizing that so much of it seemed to be ... well, I won't say that nobody else could have done it. There are moments, just like in any film, where you say to yourself, "Oh, I shouldn't have done that," or where you can't even really evaluate what's on the screen because you're too busy thinking back on the time when you shot it, and remembering, "Oh—that was not a good day." But I will say that I look on it with approval. 

Did you have any inkling that Emma Thompson, who plays Margaret Schlegel, would go on to become a kind of cultural institution, much less that she'd win awards for her screenwriting as well as her acting? She was named Best Actress for this performance.

I didn't really think like that. I never had a thought like that when we were making our films. I don't think about Oscars or anything like that, really, when we're making films.  

But yes, there was a point during shooting where I said to myself, "Wow, she's so good that there are people who are sure to notice this."

And they did notice her. They noticed the movie, too. The viewers, the critics.

Yes, they did. We had eight Oscar nominations for "A Room with a View," so I thought, "Maybe we'll get some for this one, too." And we did very well: nine.

I wonder if your thoughts about the film's characters change after the film is done and you have a few years to sit with them and think about them.

How do you mean?

Well, the character of Helen, for instance: when I saw it back in 1992 I had such a huge crush on Helena Bonham Carter that I think that clouded my sense of that character. I didn't see her as particularly destructive. But watching it again, I did. Helen is practically a nice femme fatale. She brings so much misery into the lives of the Basts, and she does it in the name of helping people and doing the right thing.

Sometimes I have that kind of reaction. Sometimes, also, I think about what would happen to the characters after the end of our story. I do have schemes worked out for various characters. 

You know, the interesting thing about Helena is, early on she was cast as this wholesome, beautiful girl, and that's definitely how she was in "A Room with a View." But it turned out that she had an incredible facility for playing dangerous or even violent characters, eccentrics, psychopathic killers and these sorts of fairy tale villains.

In "The Lone Ranger" she plays a brothel madam with a Gatling gun for a leg, and you buy it. That's not a role I would have imagined her in when I was watching "A Room with a View" back in 1986.

Exactly, yeah! You know, we worked with her three times. She's so good! She's also in "Maurice." She has one scene in there where she's watching a cricket match, talking about which of the boys should get a haircut.

Anthony Hopkins was so terrific early on as volatile, menacing or just really dynamic characters, but starting in the nineties he entered this phase where he was playing depressed or repressed or distant men, and he was so great at it that he started to get typecast a little. I wonder if his performance in "Howard's End" contributed to that? And maybe also "The Remains of the Day" right after that? 

And I wonder why you cast Hopkins as this character in the first place? It seems like an obvious choice now, but it didn't then. The last thing he'd done right before you cast him in "Howards End" was "The Silence of the Lambs," where his character eats human flesh and wears another man's face as a mask.

That's a funny story: I had never paid very close attention to him in the earlier part of his career. I was talking to one of the actors from "Maurice," James Wilby, who is English. I said, "We need to find somebody to play the character," and I described what sort of character he was. And James said, "Oh, get Anthony Hopkins, he'd be perfect." And I had never thought of him at all until James mentioned him! 

So then we contrived to get a screenplay to him directly, through one of the sound editors on "The Silence of the Lambs," and he read it, and he said yes. He was keen on it from he beginning, no hesitation. 

Then we did "Remains" with him. That was a film that was originally going to be made by other people. Tony had heard about the book and the screenplay and approached Sony and said he was interested in doing that part. 

And the film didn't get made.

But then after "Howards End" we inherited "Remains" from Sony, and they immediately said to us, "What would you think about Anthony Hopkins doing this part?"

That's funny! I guess they'd seen "Howards End" by that point? Or maybe it was just that he was the Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins and it was a whole different ball game?

I don't know, but whatever the explanation, they were very deferential!

And then a few years later, we were doing "Surviving Picasso," and Tony was the right age and physical type, and we thought in many ways that he was the best possible person for the role. And he said yes very quickly. The last feature we made together, "The City of Your Final Destination," was also one where he said yes immediately, as soon as we sent him the script. 

It must be nice to have relationships like that with other artists, where you trust each other to such a degree that one of you can ask and the other will say yes, and not even feel as if there has to be a discussion.

Yeah, it's a great feeling! Sometimes you get lucky with people like that—where you not only know they're wonderful artists who will give you what you need, but also that you get along with them, that you like them and respect them. Tony could be a little difficult at times, and there were moments on the set where he'd kind of flare up. But every actor does that in various ways, it's not unusual at all. And you knew that no matter what, there would be a special quality that an actor like him would bring to a part, just by virtue of who he is as a person.

What were your favorite scenes to do in "Howards End," and what scenes do you think turned out the best? 

I tended to enjoy shooting the close, personal scenes that were done either in the Wilcoxes' house across the street from the Schlegels, or in the Schlegel house where they could look out the window and see the Wilcoxes. I liked those a lot, and they weren't hard to do, particularly.

And I like watching those scenes the most, too, of all the scenes in the film, because of the interaction between the two sisters and the brother, and the interaction between Leonard Bast and his wife, and the interaction between Margaret and the elder Mrs. Wilcox, played by Vanessa Redgrave. Anything going on in either of those houses, I'd name as my favorite scene to watch as well as to shoot. 

Do you do postmortems on films that don't connect with critics or audiences, and if so, what questions do you ask, and what do you learn about the films, and about your own choices?

I think about that in regards to the films we made later in the nineties. We had two films about heroes, "Jefferson in Paris" and "Surviving Picasso," where we didn't show the heroes as being particular heroic. They both were heavily involved with women, and we showed them both as being mired in sex, you might say. That's not the vision of those men that a lot of people who are interested in them would prefer to have, and I think that hurt us. 

And then on "Surviving Picasso," we had a lot of trouble with Picasso's estate. We got involved, embroiled, in a legal dispute with them, which you might have read about in the papers?

Right. Picasso's estate objected to the film's depicting him as a womanizer, so they wouldn't give you permission to show actual Picassos in the movie, and you had to use work by Matisse and Braque to give a sense of the period. 

Yes. Things like that affect the health of a film.

And on "Jefferson in Paris," we had all this stuff about his slave mistress and slave children. That was a story that had been widely known, going back quite a long ways, to when Jefferson ran for president the second time. It was not an unfamiliar story, really. But throughout the [American] South there were comments to the effect of, "Jefferson was much too fine a man to have had a relationship like that." Well, to me that was a racist remark. But it says a lot that people would need to feel that he wasn't capable of something like that. 

Both that film and "Surviving Picasso" were were expensive compared to some of our other films. They did not do well at the box office, especially "Jefferson in Paris." 

I still wonder if we could have done something different to get around our problems on "Surviving Picasso." Maybe we could have put it together in a different way, I don't know. Maybe it wasn't interesting enough. Maybe we should have made it more explosive, like Picasso's art was. These are the things you think about!

Are you working on something new?

Right now I'm involved in a film in Italy, based on a novel called "Call Me By Your Name." I wrote the screenplay to that. And I am also involved in a film version of Shakespeare's "Richard II." That's what we're hoping to do next, a film of "Richard II" with Tom Hiddleston and Damian Lewis as Richard and Bollingbrook.

Instructables: exploring - featured: Bunny Box LED Light Cover

I had a roll of cotton ribbon printed with simple black and white bunnies that I thought would make a cute little nightlight using a yellow/orange LED inside. This idea was from back in the dark days of winter and was forgotten about until recently. Now that the long summer days are gradually shorte...
By: licheness

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Hackaday: Weather-aware Shoe Rack Helps You Get Ready for the Day

If you’re anything like us, your complete shoe collection consists of a pair of work boots and a pair of ratty sneakers that need to wait until the next household haz-mat day to be retired. But some people have a thing for shoes, and knowing which pair is suitable for the weather on any given day is such a bother. And that’s the rationale behind this Raspberry Pi-driven weather-enabled shoe rack.

The rack itself is [zealen]’s first woodworking project, and for a serious shoeaholic it’s probably too small by an order of magnitude. But for proof of principle it does just fine. The rack holds six pairs, each with an LED to light it up. A PIR sensor on the top triggers the Raspberry Pi to light up a particular pair based on the weather, which we assume is scraped off the web somehow. [zealen] admits that the fit and finish leave a bit to be desired, but for a first Rasp Pi project, it’s pretty accomplished. There’s plenty of room for improvement, of course – RFID tags in the shoes to allow them to be placed anywhere in the rack springs to mind.

[via r/raspberry_pi]

Filed under: home hacks, Raspberry Pi

Instructables: exploring - featured: Half Bathroom Remodelation

I wanted to switch my half bathroom and give it a more modern look. My inspiration came from the grain of the wood I used to cover the wall. Originally I thought to use it in a horizontal style, but when I saw the grain of the wood I changed my original idea. It was created by slicing this particula...
By: Yanira La Puerta

Continue Reading » Test-Map-Tube-0.19

Interface to test Map::Tube features.

Slashdot: Apple Fixes Three Zero Days Used In Targeted Attack

Trailrunner7 quotes a report from On The Wire: Apple has patched three critical vulnerabilities in iOS that were identified when an attacker targeted a human rights activist in the UAE with an exploit chain that used the bugs to attempt to remotely jailbreak and infect his iPhone. The vulnerabilities include two kernel flaws and one in WebKit and Apple released iOS 9.3.5 to fix them. The attack that set off the investigation into the vulnerabilities targeted Ahmed Mansoor, an activist living in the UAE. Earlier this month, he received a text message that included a link to what was supposedly new information on human rights abuses. Suspicious, Manor forwarded the link to researchers at the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab, who recognized what they were looking at. "On August 10 and 11, 2016, Mansoor received SMS text messages on his iPhone promising ;new secrets' about detainees tortured in UAE jails if he clicked on an included link. Instead of clicking, Mansoor sent the messages to Citizen Lab researchers. We recognized the links as belonging to an exploit infrastructure connected to NSO Group, an Israel-based 'cyber war' company that sells Pegasus, a government-exclusive "lawful intercept" spyware product," Citizen Lab said in a new report on the attack and iOS flaws.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Recent additions: raft

Added by BrianBush, Sun Aug 28 01:17:07 UTC 2016.

Miscellaneous Haskell utilities for data structures and data manipulation. Group-Git-v0.5.9

Base module for group of git repository operations.

Instructables: exploring - featured: Homemade Table Saw Fence Mechanism

In this instructable you'll see: How I built an easy, quick and simple homemade table saw fence mechanism, made of MDF, OSB, Pinewood, Plywood and a pair of ball bearing drawer slides. Firstly, I cut these pieces for the fence, which are made of OSB. Because I didn’t have a single big piece ...
By: Elias Stratakos

Continue Reading »

Slashdot: Japanese Government Plans Cyber Attack Institute

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Stack: The government of Japan will create an institute to train employees to counter cyber attacks. The institute, which will be operational early next year, will focus on preventing cyber attacks on electrical systems and other infrastructure. The training institute, which will operate as part of Japan's Information Technology Promotion Agency (IPA), is the first center for training in Japan to focus on preventing cyber attacks. A government source said that the primary aims will be preventing a large-scale blackout during the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics in 2020, and stopping leaks of sensitive power plant designs. The source also stated that there is potential for a joint exercise in cyber awareness between the Japanese group and foreign cybersecurity engineers in the future.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Computer Science: Theory and Application: Is machine learning the only solution to any image classification/recognition problem in the future?

Take an example for face recognition, the deep neural network is able to achieve 97.5% accuracy.

Do you you think new algorithm for computer vision algorithm can never outmatch machine learning approach in computer vision?

Do we just need better machine learning technique rather than new algorithm?

submitted by /u/RavlaAlvar
[link] [comments]

MetaFilter: Technically still a result

"Babies" made from flour sacks or eggshells have been used for to teach children about the responsibilities of parenthood, but a new study using lifelike simulated babies in Western Australian schools had a surprising result: girls enrolled in the Virtual Infant Parenting Program (VIP) were twice as likely to give birth in their teens.
[original report in The Lancet]

Slashdot: 'Social Media ID, Please?' Proposed US Law Greeted With Anger

The U.S. government announced plans to require some foreign travelers to provide their social media account names when entering the country -- and in June requested comments. Now the plan is being called "ludicrous," an "all-around bad idea," "blatant overreach," "desperate, paranoid heavy-handedness," "preposterous," "appalling," and "un-American," reports Slashdot reader dcblogs: That's just a sampling of the outrage. Some 800 responded to the U.S. request for comments about a proposed rule affecting people traveling from "visa waiver" countries to the U.S., where a visa is not required. This includes most of Europe, Singapore, Chile, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand... In a little twist of irony, some critics said U.S. President Obama's proposal for foreign travelers is so bad, it must have been hatched by Donald Trump. "Travelers will be asked to provide their Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+, and whatever other social ID you can imagine to U.S. authorities," reports Computer World. "It's technically an 'optional' request, but since it's the government asking, critics believe travelers will fear consequences if they ignore it..."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Hackaday: Working in Peace With an Off-Grid Office Shed

Finding a good work space at home isn’t a trivial task, especially when you’ve got a wife and kid. A lot of us use a spare bedroom, basement, or garage as a space to work on our hobbies (or jobs). But, the lack of true separation from the home can make getting real work done difficult. For many of us, we need to have the mental distance between our living space and our working space in order to actually get stuff done.

This is the problem [Syonyk] had — he needed a quiet place to work that was separated from the rest of his house. To accomplish this, he used a Tuff Shed and set it up to run off-grid. The reason for going off-grid wasn’t purely environmental, it was actually more practical than trying to run power lines from the house. Because of the geology where he lives, burying power lines wasn’t financially feasible.

So, he poured a foundation, brought in a pre-assembled shed (a demo unit at a big discount), and got to work outfitting it for use as on office. The first step (and arguably a very important one), was to heavily insulate it. And, we do mean “heavily” — he used 3.5″ of rock wool (5.5″ on the ceiling) in addition to 2″ of foam board.

The insulation was essential, as the entire office is powered by solar panels (with a battery bank); keeping cooling and heating energy use down was paramount. Even with 2kW of panels, heating and cooling are still a huge portion of the energy usage, and he needed power to spare for his computer and other electronics. With the shed so well insulated, [Syonyk] has been able to keep the temperature inside at about 70ºF while the outside temperature is above 100ºF.

The rest of the build was straightforward, with sensible plywood walls and a desk taking up most of the space to hold his multiple computers. Of course, for the Hackaday crowd, a space like this would be best used for efficient hacking.

Filed under: green hacks, solar hacks

MetaFilter: De Coubertin medal: 4th Olympic medal, True Spirit of Sportsmanship

68 years after the first modern Olympic Games, a fourth medal was added to recognize athletes who displayed exceptional sportsmanship. Awarded on rare occasions, the Pierre de Coubertin medal, also known as the True Spirit of Sportsmanship medal, was inaugurated at the 1964 Winter Olympics. It was there that Eugenio Monti's kind gestures lead to two gold medals, for the two- and four-man bobsled, but for the other teams. The medal has now been awarded 18 times, with the latest medal going to New Zealand's Nikki Hamblin and US's Abbey D'Agostino, after the pair tangled in their 5,000m race in the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, but got up to complete the race together.

Pierre de Frédy, Baron de Coubertin was a French educator and historian, founder of the International Olympic Committee, and is considered the father of the modern Olympic Games. He died in 1937, and this medal is awarded in celebration of his view of the games (and life), which are retold on the BBC's introduction to Sports Ethics guide: "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well."

Not all awards were given to participants in Summer or Winter games, and thrice the medal has been awarded posthumously. Here's a quick list of the 18 exceptional individuals:
  1. 1936 Summer Olympics - Lu(t)z Long of Germany, awarded posthumously in 1964 for suggesting to Jesse Owens to make a mark several inches before the takeoff board and jump from there to play it safe, after Owens had fouled two prior qualifying attempts. Owens followed this suggestion, then went on not only to qualify, but take the gold. Long was the first to congratulate Owens.
    "It took a lot of courage for him to befriend me in front of Hitler," Owens said. "You can melt down all the medals and cups I have and they wouldn't be a plating on the 24-karat friendship I felt for Luz Long at that moment. Hitler must have gone crazy watching us embrace. The sad part of the story is I never saw Long again. He was killed in World War II." Owens, though, would continue to correspond with Long's family.
  2. 1964 Winter Olympics - Eugenio Monti was expected to take gold with his two- and four-man bobsled teams for Italy. After learning that the British bobsledders broke their sled and needed a bolt, Monti lent them the part only to have the British pair of Robin Dixon and Tony Nash run a spectacular time and claim the gold. He also lent parts to the Canadian bobsled team (or Monti's mechanics repaired the Canadian sled), who would also go on to win the gold in the four-man race. While Monti's two teams only won bronze in both events, he was later honored with the first Pierre de Coubertin medal for his sportsmanship. And then Monti returned to the Olympics four years later and took gold with his two- and four-man bobsled teams.
  3. 1969 - On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the foundation of the modern Olympic movement by Baron Pierre de Coubertin and his fellow idealists, an Olympic Week was celebrated in the German Democratic Republic. It was there that President Franz Jonas of Austria received the Coubertin medal. (PDF)
  4. 1976 Winter Olympics - Karl Heinz Klee was awarded the De Coubertin medal in February 1977, after Klee served as the secretary-general of the '76 Innsbruck Olympics Committee, which was dubbed the "simple Olympics" by it's organizers (Google books preview). Klee was recognized four years after he resigned as president of the Austrian Ski Federation, when Austrian racer Karl Schranz was expelled from the '72 Winter Olympics in Sapporo, Japan over his dispute with IOC president Avery Brundage, a wealthy American businessman.
  5. 1988 Summer Olympics - Canadian sailor Lawrence Lemieux was in second place, half way through the fifth of the seven total races to determine the medalists in the Finn class when he saw the Singapore team's dinghy capsize. Lemieux deviated from his course to pull Joseph Chan and Siew Shaw Her from the water, and then they waited for another boat to take the rescued sailors back to shore. Then he rejoined the heat, coming in twenty-second place. However, the International Yacht Racing Union recognized his actions and decided to reinstate Lemieux's position when he went off course, rewarding with a second-place finish in his race. Lemieux went on to place eleventh in the class, but was awarded Lemieux the Pierre de Coubertin Medal for Sportsmanship by Juan Antonio Samaranch, President of the International Olympic Committee, who said "by your sportsmanship, self-sacrifice and courage, you embody all that is right with the Olympic ideal." When asked about his heroic and selfless act, Lemieux commented
    My thought process was: do they really need help because a lot of times you are able to save yourself. But I couldn't understand if they were saying yes or no. I just had to go. If I went to them and they didn't really need help, c'est la vie. If I didn't go, it would be something you would regret for the rest of your life. But I wasn't thinking that at the time. It's only now, in retrospect, you think that way. At the time, you just go.
    Lawrence Lemieux talks about sailing in the windy, choppy conditions and going to the rescue of the Singapore sailors
  6. 1994 Winter Olympics - Australian bobsledder Justin Harley McDonald was the captain for his country's two- and four-man bobsledding teams in Lillehammer, Norway. The coach of the Swedish four-man bobsled team asked the Australian captain if he could spare five kilos -- about 11 pounds -- of ballast. He could and did. Sweden then beat Australia, and the accommodating Australian, Justin McDonald, won a Pierre de Coubertin Fair Play Trophy*.
  7. 1999 - Raymond Gafner was a Swedish ice hockey player, referee, and a member of the IOC between 1969 and 1990, and President of the Swiss Olympic Committee (PDF). When numerous new countries were born after decolonisation, he was one of the first to encourage the support of their athletes. (PDF) Because of this, he became a member of the International Olympic Aid Committee (PDF), an organization which has since become Olympic Solidarity. As an IOC honorary member and administrateur délégué was awarded the Pierre de Coubertin medal by the Executive Board during its last meeting of the year. This award pays tribute to those who, through their teaching, research and writing of Intellectual works, have contributed to the promotion of Olympism in the spirit of Pierre de Coubertin. (PDF)
  8. 1952 Summer Olympics - Emil Zátopek, a Czech long-distance runner who had never marathon before, won gold in 10,000 meter, 5,000 meters and marathon races (modern edits of period footage from the official Olympic Channel on YT). International Olympic Committee president Juan Antonio Samaranch awarded Zátopek posthumously the Pierre de Coubertin medal, the IOC's highest honour.
    "I was in the Olympic stadium in Helsinki in 1952 when he was the winner of the marathon," he said. "All 60,000 spectators were standing and crying Zátopek, Zátopek, Zátopek. At that moment, I understood very well what the Olympic spirit means. "Emil was a living legend for all generations. Emil Zátopek was a legend, and a legend never dies."
    He is remembered fondly, with touching stories, by Richard Askwith and Mike Sandrock, and you can see a recent short piece from CNN. Each year, the Czech Republic celebrates the three gold medals Emil won at the Helsinki Olympics with Zátopek's Golden Week, with three races take place in a different city in the Czech Republic each year, always on the same dates that Zátopek won his medals.
  9. 2002 Winter Olympics - Spencer Eccles helped organize the 2002 Olympic Winter Games hosted by Salt Lake City (PDF) as a member of the three person executive committee of the Salt Lake Olympic Organizing Committee and, in recognition of his critical contribution to the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake, was appointed mayor of the Olympic Village during the games. He was awarded the De Coubertin medal on February 2002.
  10. 2003 Rugby Test Match - All Blacks captain Tana Umaga stopped the game to check on Colin Charvis of Wales after he was knocked unconscious. the International Fair Play Committee* awarded Umaga the Pierre de Coubertin medal, making Umaga the first New Zealander to receive the award.
  11. 2004 Summer Olympics - Brazilian long-distance runner Vanderlei Cordeiro de Lima had been running for almost two hours, leading the race when he got attacked by a protester who pushed him to the side of the road, four miles from the finish. Vanderlei recovered and kept running, but was surpassed by Stefano Baldini and Meb Keflezighi, ended up taking 3rd.
    "The attack was a surprise for me. I couldn't defend myself because I was concentrating on my race. I don't know what would have happened if the Greek man who helped me so quickly (Polyvios Kossivas) hadn't reacted the way he did. I give him a lot of credit for his courage. Perhaps things could have been different, because I started to have problems after that, I couldn't concentrate. It was very difficult for me to finish. With my sense of Olympic spirit I showed my determination and won a medal. Still, I am very proud of myself, because this is the result of very hard work. I was well trained and I was expecting to win a medal. I have achieved my goal, no matter what happened, and I am happy to be on the medal podium with these athletes."
  12. May 17, 2007 - Russian foil fencer Elena Novikova-Belova was awarded the Pierre de Coubertin Medal for outstanding services to the Olympic Movement at the Official Closing Ceremony of the XI International Scientific Congress "Modern Olympic Sports and Sport for All" in the Sports Palace in Minsk, Belarus.
  13. May 17, 2007 - Israeli racewalker Shaul Ladany, who is one of the few of Yugoslavia's 70,000 Jews to outlive the Holocaust, went on to compete in two Olympic Games. Though he didn't medal either year, he also survived the Munich massacre in '72, and , he holds the world 100km and world 50-mile records, which he set in 1972. In 2007, Ladany was awarded the Pierre de Coubertin Medal as a special person with "unusual outstanding sports achievements during a span covering over four decades." He turned 80 this year, and he continues to compete in race-walking and swimming events.
  14. 2008 Summer Olympics - Pavle Kostov, Petar Cupać and their coach Ivan Bulaja, out of the medal running, lent their boat to Danes Jonas Warrer and Martin Kirketerp Ibsen whose mast had broken shortly before the start of their race. The Danes went on to win a gold medal, while the Croatian team was awarded the Pierre de Coubertin International Trophy for Fair Play* on November 18, 2008.
  15. April 2, 2009 - Australian Ronald Harvey, former CEO of the Australian Sports Commission and Director of the Australian Institute of Sport Ron Harvey became the second Australian to receive the prestigious De Coubertin medal. A long-time basketballer player and coach and leading sports administrator who served as director of the Australian Institute of Sport from 1987 to 1988 and as Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Sports Commission from 1988 to 1989. He was awarded for "an outstanding contribution to the promotion of the Olympic spirit."
  16. 2014 Winter Olympics - Canadian sports journalist and writer Richard Garneau was posthumously awarded on February 6, 2014.
    The French voice of sports in Canada, Richard Garneau's career spanned six decades and took him to 23 Olympic Games, more than any other journalist in the world. During the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, Garneau was posthumously awarded the Pierre de Coubertin medal by the International Olympic Committee in recognition of his exceptional service to the Olympic movement.... But his true passion was the non-professional sports of the Olympic Games. He loved track and field and was himself a marathon runner. At one time he was head of the Quebec Federation of Athletics.
  17. October 13, 2014 - Michael Hwang is a Barrister and Arbitrator in Singapore. Between 2004 and 2013 he served as Singapore's Non-Resident Ambassador to Switzerland. On stepping down form the Council in 2014 he was awarded the Pierre de Coubertin Medal for services to the International Olympic Council.
    On behalf of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the IOC President Dr Thomas Bach, IOC Member Mr Ng Ser Miang awarded the Pierre de Coubertin medal to Mr Michael Hwang, 71, for his exceptional services to the Olympic movement at the Singapore Sports Museum.
  18. 2016 Summer Olympics - The story of runners Abbey D'Agostino (USA) and Nikki Hamblin (NZL) is one of humanity and sacrifice which has already captured the hearts of people across the globe. New Zealand runner Nikki Hamblin tripped and fell to the ground during the 5,000m race, accidentally bringing American D'Agostino down behind her with around 2,000m to go. The 24-year-old D'Agostino was quick to get up again, yet instead of carrying on with her race she stopped to help the stricken Hamblin to her feet, encouraging her to join her in attempting to finish the race. However, during her tumble, D'Agostino suffered an ankle injury, slowing the runner down, but Hamblin sportingly hung back to in return offer her encouragements. The two women went on to complete the race together.
    Hamblin spoke to reporters afterward to praise D'Agostino's kindness. "I went down, and I was like, 'What's happening? Why am I on the ground?' " Hamblin said. "Then suddenly, there's this hand on my shoulder [and D'Agostino saying], 'Get up, get up, we have to finish this.' And I'm like, 'Yup, yup, you're right. This is the Olympic Games. We have to finish this.' "I'm so grateful for Abbey for doing that for me. That girl is the Olympic spirit right there. I've never met her before. I've never met this girl before, and isn't that just so amazing? Regardless of the race and the result on the board, that's a moment that you're never, ever going to forget for the rest of your life, that girl shaking my shoulder like, 'Come on, get up.' "
    The IOC decided to award both the New Zealander and the American the prestigious Pierre de Coubertin award. Otherwise known as the International Fair Play Trophy, the award has only been handed out 17 [or so] times in Olympic history.
* The International Fair Play Committee, posted previously, has three kinds of World Fair Play Trophies, inspired by Pierre de Coubertin, Jean Borotra, and Willi Daume, for gestures of fair play in which an athlete impedes their own performance to aid a fellow competitor, athletes who have displayed fair play throughout their careers, and person or organisation that has promoted the spirit of fair play, respectively. The De Coubertin Medal and the Pierre de Coubertin World Fair Play Trophy are different awards, but have significant overlap and might have lead to a longer list of De Coubertin Medal recipients on Wikipedia than there should be.

bit-player: The secret life of tweets

On Twitter you can say anything you want as long as it fits in 140 characters. The length limit is one of those frozen accidents of history, like QWERTY and the genetic code. In olden days (2006), tweets had to fit into cell-phone text messages, which imposed a limit of 160 characters. (Twitter reserves 20 characters for the sender’s @handle.) Back then, resources were so scarce the company had to squeeze the vowels out of its name: “twttr,” they called it. Now, we have bandwidth to burn. On the other hand, human attention is still a constraint.

Tweet being composed. The text reads: 'To my prolific tweeps: I dote upon every precious character you send my way, which is why I am sometimes grateful you can send me no more than 140.' This message exceeds the 140-character limit by 5 characters.

Last year, a proposal to raise the limit to 10,000 characters was shouted down in a storm of very terse but intense tweets.

The 140-character limit is enforced by the Twitter software. When you compose a tweet, a counter starts at 140 and is decremented with each character you type; if the number goes negative, the Tweet button is disabled (as in the screen capture above). Based on this observation, I had long believed that every tweet was indeed a little snippet of pure text composed of no more than 140 characters. Was I naïve, or what?

My belated enlightenment began earlier this week, when I began having trouble with links embedded in tweets. Clicking on a link opened a new browser tab, but the requested page failed to load. The process got stuck waiting to connect to a URL such as The “” domain gave me a clue to the source of the problem. A long URL (, for example) can use up your 140-character quota in a hurry, and so twitterers long ago turned to URL-shortening services such as and TinyURL, which allow you to substitute an abbreviated URL for the original web address. The shortening services work by redirection. When your browser issues the request “GET″, what comes back is not the web page you’re seeking but a message such as “REDIRECT”. The browser then automatically issues a second GET request to the provided destination address.

In 2011 Twitter introduced its own shortening service, Use of this service is automatic and inescapable. That is, any link included in a tweet will be converted into a 23-character URL, whether you want it to be or not, and even if it’s already shorter than 23 characters. The displayed link may appear to refer to the original URL, but when you click on it, the browser will go first to a address and only afterwards to the true target. Embedded images also have URLs.

A drawback of all redirection services is that they become a bottleneck and a potential point of failure for the sites that depend on them. If goes down, every link posted on Twitter becomes unreachable, and every image disappears. Is that what happened earlier this week when I was having trouble following Twitter links? Probably not; a disruption of that scale would have been widely noted. Indeed, I soon discovered that the problem was quite localized: It plagued all browsers on my computer, but other machines in the household were unaffected.

When I did a web search for “ broken links,” I quickly discovered a long discussion of the issue in the Twitter developer forum, with 87 messages going back to 2012. Grouchy complaints are interspersed with a welter of conflicting diagnoses and inconsistent remedies. Much attention focused on Apple hardware and software (which I use). A number of contributors argued that the problem is not in the browser but somewhere upstream—in the operating system, the router, the cable interface, or even the internet service provider.

After a day or two, my problem with Twitter links went away, and I never learned the exact cause. I hate it when that happens, although I hate it more when the problem doesn’t go away. However, that’s not why I’m writing this. What I want to talk about is something I stumbled upon in the course of my troubleshooting. I found a plugin for the Google Chrome browser, Goodbye, that promised to bypass and thereby fix the problem. How could it do that? If is not responding, or if the response is not getting through to the browser, how can code running in the browser make any difference? It seems like tinkering with your television set when the broadcaster is off the air.

The source code for Goodbye is on GitHub, so I took a look. The program is just a couple dozen lines of JavaScript. What I saw there sent me running back to my Twitter feed, to examine the web page using the browser’s developer tools.

Here’s a tweet I posted a few days ago, as it is displayed by the Twitter web site. Note the link to an arXiv paper:

Beckett tweet

And here’s the HTML that encodes that tweet in the web page:

Beckett tweet HTML

The text of the tweet (“A problem in coding theory that comes from a Samuel Beckett play: ”) amounts to 66 characters, plus 25 more for the link (“ “). But that’s not all that Twitter is sending out to my followers. Far from it. The block of HTML shown above is 751 characters, and the complete markup for this one tweet comes to just under 7,000 characters, or 50 times the nominal limit.

Take a closer look at the anchor tag in that HTML block:

Beckett tweet HTML anchor tag

The href attribute of the anchor tag is a URL; that’s where the browser will go when you click the link. But, reading on, we come to a data-expanded-url that gives the final destination link in full. And then that same final destination URL appears again in the title attribute. This explains immediately how Goodbye can “bypass” the service. It simply retrieves the data-expanded-url and sends the browser there, without making the detour through

I have two questions. First, if you’re going to use a shortened, redirected URL, why also include the full-length URL in the page markup? The apparent answer is: So that the web browser can show the user the true destination. This is clearly the point of the title attribute. When you hover on a link, the content of the title attribute is displayed in a “tooltip.” I’m not so sure about the purpose of the data-expanded-url attribute. It’s surely not there to help the author of Goodbye Twitter presumably has some JavaScript of its own that accesses that field.

The second question is the inverse of the first: If you’re going to include the full-length URL, why bother with the shortening-and-redirecting rigmarole? Twitter could shut down the servers and doubtless save a pile of money. Those servers have to deal with all the links and images in some 200 billion tweets per year. The use of redirection doubles the number of requests and responses—that’s a lot of internet bandwidth—and introduces delays of a few hundred milliseconds (even when the service works correctly). Note that Twitter could still display a shortened URL within the text of the tweet, without requiring redirection.

Twitter’s own developer documents offer an answer to the second question:

Tens of millions of links are tweeted on Twitter each day. Wrapping these shared links helps Twitter protect users from malicious content while offering useful insights on engagement.

The promise to “protect users from malicious content” presumably means that if I link to a sufficiently sleazy site, Twitter will refuse to redirect readers there, or perhaps will just warn them of the danger. (I don’t know which because I’ve never encountered this behavior.) As for “offering useful insights on engagement,” I believe that phrase could be translated as “helping us target advertising and collect data with potential market value.” In other words, is not just a cost center but also a revenue center. Every time you click on a link within a tweet, Twitter knows exactly where you’re going and can add that information to your profile.

A few months ago, Twitter announced a slight change to the 140-character rule. @handles included in the text will no longer count toward the character total, and neither will images or other media attachments. Some press reports suggested that links would also be excluded from the count, but the official announcement made no mention of links. And redirection is clearly here to stay.

I can suggest two takeaway messages from this little episode in my life as an internaut.

If you want to limit the “insights on engagement” that Twitter accumulates about your activities, you might consider installing a plugin to bypass redirection. There’s an ongoing argument about the wisdom and morality of such actions, focused in particular on ad-blocking software. I have my own views on this issue, but I’m not going to air them here and now.

The other small lesson I’ve learned is that using alternative URL-shortening services with Twitter is worse than pointless. Pre-shrinking the URL has no effect on the character count. It also obscures the true destination from the reader (since the title attribute is “”). Most important, it interposes two layers of redirection, with two delays, two potential points of failure, and two opportunities to collect saleable data. Yet I still see lots of and links in tweets. Am I missing or misunderstanding something?

MetaFilter: Hands–down the best game I've played in years.

else Heart.Break() (trailer) is simultaneously one of the most delightful, and most melancholy, games in recent memory. Welcome to Dorisberg, a town in which reality itself can be reprogrammed—using a variant of BASIC, no less!—and in which a group of aimless twentysomething rebels suffers under the watch of the all–seeing Ministry. The story is short, but the town is ridiculously complex, as hinted at by the sheer length and breadth of its soundtrack. There are secrets within secrets. And sadnesses within sadnesses, too. Users have been writing delightfully complex scripts, too, rewiring the entire city to suit their purposes. eH.B() was created by Erik Svedang, whose ultrashort Blueberry Garden has been one of my favorite games for close to a decade.

MetaFilter: Saturday Cartoons - Election Year Edition

It's hard to believe America has never had a woman President, considering that in 1932, theaters across the country were showing the campaign film "Betty Boop for President", which contained many gags that seem just as relevant today. Then in 1948, the same animation studio recycled some of the content for the Popeye cartoon "Olive Oyl for President".
via Miss Cellania, who should have been elected Blog Queen years ago

MetaFilter: It's the pits

What toilets and sewers tell us about ancient Roman sanitation

Hackaday: Amazing Carbon Foam Doesn’t Take Much Bread

A lot of people knew the Space Shuttle had ceramic tiles to protect its nose from reentry heat. That’s mostly because the tiles fell off a lot and each one was a unique shape, so it got a lot of press coverage. However, you didn’t hear as much about the parts of the orbiter that got really hot: the forward part of the wings and the tip of the nose. For those, NASA used an exotic material called RCC or reinforced carbon-carbon. Other uses include missile nose cones and Formula One brakes. A similar material, carbon fiber-reinforced silicon carbide appears in some high-end car brakes. These materials can take high temperatures, easily.

[AvE] wanted to make some carbon foam for experiments. It does take a little bread, though. Not money, but literal bread. To create the foam, he burns bread slices in a chamber full of argon. The stuff has some amazing properties.

In the video below, you can see the foam protecting a thermocouple from a torch flame and even holding melting aluminum. Not bad for a few pieces of bread.

Building with carbon fiber has a lot of benefits. Graphene, another form of carbon, has many interesting properties too. Perhaps history will record that our time was the carbon age.

Thanks for the tip [Itay].

Filed under: misc hacks

s mazuk: so you can get a cool wireframe effect if you hold up fabric...

so you can get a cool wireframe effect if you hold up fabric netting to a blacklight bug zapper

s mazuk: unflatteringcatselfies:This was Molly’s first time outside.


This was Molly’s first time outside.

Computer Science: Theory and Application: Is getting a Masters degree worth the extra time and effort?

I'm currently in undergrad compsci and I know 100% I want to go into software engineering. Can anyone that has experience in SE say whether or not going to graduate school and getting your Masters is worth the difference in starting salary/position?

submitted by /u/DaWylecat
[link] [comments]

programming: Carbide – Programming environment for JS in the vein of Bret Victor's principle of immediate feedback

submitted by /u/phySi0
[link] [comments]

Paper Bits: "That’s a striking level of prominence for a movement that until recently was extremely obscure. A..."

“That’s a striking level of prominence for a movement that until recently was extremely obscure. A movement lurking in Reddit and 4chan threads and in community blogs and forums, a movement of right-wingers who openly argue that democracy is a joke. That it’s weak, it’s corrupt, and it caters to the whims of a fickle electorate rather than the needs of the citizenry. That Congress and the president must be replaced with a CEO-like figure to run the country as it truly should be, without the confused input of the masses. For some in the movement, Donald Trump really is that figure. For the hardcore, even the most authoritarian-styled presidential candidate in decades isn’t good enough. Welcome to the alt-right.”

- The alt-right is more than warmed-over white supremacy. It’s that, but way way weirder. (via azspot)

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal: Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Spidermen

Also, everyone's just pretending Xavier is psychic.

New comic!
Today's News:

programming: "How I Got Started With Programming Side Projects" - My experience with personal projects in college, and some advice for new and current computer science majors [x-post from /r/compsci]

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Planet Lisp: Quicklisp news: August 2016 Quicklisp dist update now available

New projects:
  • assoc-utils — Utilities for manipulating association lists — Public Domain
  • caveman2-widgets-bootstrap — An extension to caveman2-widgets which enables the simple usage of Twitter Bootstrap. — LLGPL
  • cells — A Common Lisp implementation of the dataflow programming paradigm — LLGPL
  • cl-mpg123 — Bindings to libmpg123, providing cross-platform, fast MPG1/2/3 decoding. — Artistic
  • cl-neovim — Common Lisp client for Neovim — MIT
  • cl-out123 — Bindings to libout123, providing cross-platform audio output. — Artistic
  • cl-soil — A thin binding over which allows easy loading of images — BSD 2 Clause
  • cl-sxml — SXML parsing for Common Lisp — GNU General Public License
  • clump — Library for operations on different kinds of trees — FreeBSD, see file LICENSE.text
  • dirt — A front-end for cl-soil which loads images straight to cepl:c-arrays and cepl:textures — BSD 2 Clause
  • ext-blog — A BLOG engine which supports custom theme — BSD
  • for — An extensible iteration macro library. — Artistic
  • git-file-history — Retrieve a file's commit history in Git. — MIT
  • illogical-pathnames — Mostly filesystem-position-independent pathnames. — BSD 3-clause (See illogical-pathnames.lisp)
  • maxpc — Max's Parser Combinators: a simple and pragmatic library for writing parsers and lexers based on combinatory parsing. — GNU Affero General Public License
  • parse-front-matter — Parse front matter. — MIT
  • path-string — A path utility library — MIT
  • pseudonyms — Relative package nicknames through macros — FreeBSD (BSD 2-clause)
  • — Common Lisp implementation of Graham Cormode and S. Muthukrishnan's Effective Computation of Biased Quantiles over Data Streams in ICDE'05 — MIT
  • queen.lisp — Chess utilities for Common Lisp — MIT
  • read-number — Definitions for reading numbers from an input stream. — Modified BSD License
  • simple-gui — A declarative GUI definition tool for Common Lisp — BSD
  • slack-client — Slack Real Time Messaging API Client — Apache-2.0
  • trivial-rfc-1123 — minimal parsing of rfc-1123 date-time strings — MIT
  • with-cached-reader-conditionals — Read whilst collection reader conditionals — BSD 2 Clause
Updated projects3bmd3d-vectorsagmalexandriabinfixburgled-batteriescavemancaveman2-widgetsceplcepl.cameracepl.devilcepl.sdl2cepl.skitterceramicchirpcity-hashcl-anacl-asynccl-azurecl-conspackcl-ecscl-fadcl-gamepadcl-gracecl-influxdbcl-jpegcl-libuvcl-messagepackcl-messagepack-rpccl-mpicl-mtgnetcl-oclapicl-openglcl-openstack-clientcl-packcl-quickcheckcl-rediscl-rethinkdbcl-scancl-sdl2cl-smtpcl-stringscl-tokyo-cabinetcl-unificationcl-yaclyamlcl-yamlclackclassimpclmlclos-fixturescloser-mopclxclx-truetypecoleslawcollectorscorona,croatoandbusdendritedexadordissectdjulaeazy-gnuplotesrapexscribeexternal-programfare-memoizationfare-scriptsfiveamflarefngendlgenevaglkitglsl-specgslliteratejson-mopkenzo,lacklambda-fiddlelisp-namespacelispbuilderlparallelmcclimmel-baseneo4cloclclopticlosicatprometheus.clproveqlotqt-libsqtoolsqtools-uiquickapprandom-staterclremote-jsrestasrtg-mathserapeumsip-hashskitterspinneretsquirlstumpwmtreedbtriviatrivial-documentationtrivial-nntptrivial-open-browsertrivial-wstrivialib.type-unifyubiquitousugly-tiny-infix-macro,utilities.print-itemsutilities.print-treevarjovgplotvomweblocksweblocks-utilswoowu-sugar.

Removed projects: scalpl.

OCaml Planet: Shayne Fletcher: Perfectly balanced binary search trees

The type of "association tables" (binary search trees).

type (α, β) t =
| Empty
| Node of (α , β) t * α * β * (α, β) t * int
There are two cases : a tree that is empty or, a node consisting of a left sub-tree, a key, the value associated with that key, a right sub-tree and, an integer representing the "height" of the tree (the number of nodes to traverse before reaching the most distant leaf).

The binary search tree invariant will be made to apply in that for any non empty tree $n$, every node in the left sub-tree is ordered less than $n$ and every node in the right sub-tree of $n$ is ordered greater than $n$ (in this program, ordering of keys is performed using the function).

This function, height, given a tree, extracts its height.

let height : (α, β) t -> int = function
| Empty -> 0
| Node (_, _, _, _, h) -> h

The value empty, is a constant, the empty tree.

let empty : (α, β) t = Empty

create l x d r creates a new non-empty tree with left sub-tree l, right sub-tree r and the binding of key x to the data d. The height of the tree created is computed from the heights of the two sub-trees.

let create (l : (α, β) t) (x : α) (d : β) (r : (α, β) t) : (α, β) t =
let hl = height l and hr = height r in
Node (l, x, d, r, (max hl hr) + 1)

This next function, balance is where all the action is at. Like the preceding function create, it is a factory function for interior nodes and so takes the same argument list as create. It has an additional duty though in that the tree that it produces takes balancing into consideration.

let balance (l : (α, β) t) (x : α) (d : β) (r : (α, β) t) : (α, β) t =
let hl = height l and hr = height r in
if hl > hr + 1 then
match l with
In this branch of the program, it has determined that production of a node with the given left and right sub-trees (denoted $l$ and $r$ respectively) would be unbalanced because $h(l) > hr(1) + 1$ (where $h$ denotes the height function).

There are two possible reasons to account for this. They are considered in turn.

(*Case 1*)
| Node (ll, lv, ld, lr, _) when height ll >= height lr ->
create ll lv ld (create lr x d r)
So here, we find that $h(l) > h(r) + 1$, because of the height of the left sub-tree of $l$.

(*Case 2*)
| Node (ll, lv, ld, Node (lrl, lrv, lrd, lrr, _), _) ->
create (create ll lv ld lrl) lrv lrd (create lrr x d r)
In this case, $h(l) > h(r) + 1$ because of the height of the right sub-tree of $l$.

| _ -> assert false
We assert false for all other patterns as we aim to admit by construction no further possibilities.

We now consider the case $h(r) > h(l) + 1$, that is the right sub-tree being "too long".

else if hr > hl + 1 then
match r with

There are two possible reasons.

(*Case 3*)
| Node (rl, rv, rd, rr, _) when height rr >= height rl ->
create (create l x d rl) rv rd rr
Here $h(r) > h(l) + 1$ because of the right sub-tree of $r$.

(*Case 4*)
| Node (Node (rll, rlv, rld, rlr, _), rv, rd, rr, _) ->
create (create l x d rll) rlv rld (create rlr rv rd rr)
Lastly, $h(r) > h(l) + 1$ because of the left sub-tree of $r$.

| _ -> assert false
Again, all other patterns are (if we write this program correctly according to our intentions,) impossible and so, assert false as there are no further possibilities.

In the last case, neither $h(l) > h(r) + 1$ or $h(r) > h(l) + 1$ so no rotation is required.

create l x d r

add x data t computes a new tree from t containing a binding of x to data. It resembles standard insertion into a binary search tree except that it propagates rotations through the tree to maintain balance after the insertion.

let rec add (x : α) (data : β) : (α, β) t -> (α, β) t = function
| Empty -> Node (Empty, x, data, Empty, 1)
| Node (l, v, d, r, h) ->
let c = compare x v in
if c = 0 then
Node (l, x, data, r, h)
else if c < 0 then
balance (add x data l) v d r
balance l v d (add x data r)

To implement removal of nodes from a tree, we'll find ourselves needing a function to "merge" two binary searchtrees $l$ and $r$ say where we can assume that all the elements of $l$ are ordered before the elements of $r$.

let rec merge (l : (α, β) t) (r : (α, β) t) : (α, β) t =
match (l, r) with
| Empty, t -> t
| t, Empty -> t
| Node (l1, v1, d1, r1, h1), Node (l2, v2, d2, r2, h2) ->
balance l1 v1 d1 (balance (merge r1 l2) v2 d2 r2)
Again, rotations are propagated through the tree to ensure the result of the merge results in a perfectly balanced tree.

With merge available, implementing remove becomes tractable.

let remove (id : α) (t : (α, β) t) : (α, β) t =
let rec remove_rec = function
| Empty -> Empty
| Node (l, k, d, r, _) ->
let c = compare id k in
if c = 0 then merge l r else
if c < 0 then balance (remove_rec l) k d r
else balance l k d (remove_rec r) in
remove_rec t

The remaining algorithms below are "stock" algorithms for binary search trees with no particular consideration of balancing necessary and so we won't dwell on them here.

let rec find (x : α) : (α, β) t -> β = function
| Empty -> raise Not_found
| Node (l, v, d, r, _) ->
let c = compare x v in
if c = 0 then d
else find x (if c < 0 then l else r)

let rec mem (x : α) : (α, β) t -> bool = function
| Empty -> false
| Node (l, v, d, r, _) ->
let c = compare x v in
c = 0 || mem x (if c < 0 then l else r)

let rec iter (f : α -> β -> unit) : (α, β) t -> unit = function
| Empty -> ()
| Node (l, v, d, r, _) ->
iter f l; f v d; iter f r

let rec map (f : α -> β -> γ) : (α, β) t -> (α, γ) t = function
| Empty -> Empty
| Node (l, k, d, r, h) ->
Node (map f l, k, f k d, map f r, h)

let rec fold (f : α -> β -> γ -> γ) (m : (α, β) t) (acc : γ) : γ =
match m with
| Empty -> acc
| Node (l, k, d, r, _) -> fold f r (f k d (fold f l acc))

open Format

let print
(print_key : formatter -> α -> unit)
(print_data : formatter -> β -> unit)
(ppf : formatter)
(tbl : (α, β) t) : unit =
let print_tbl ppf tbl =
iter (fun k d ->
fprintf ppf "@[<2>%a ->@ %a;@]@ " print_key k print_data d)
tbl in
fprintf ppf "@[<hv>[[%a]]@]" print_tbl tbl

The source code for this post can be found in the file 'ocaml/misc/' in the OCaml source distribution. More information on balanced binary search trees including similar but different implementation techniques and complexity analyses can be found in this Cornell lecture and this one.

ScreenAnarchy: Horror Channel FrightFest 2016 Day 2 Highlights

UK genre fans are currently enjoying five days of nailbiting action with the 2016 edition of the Horror Channel FrightFest now underway in Shepherd's Bush, London, and we are chronicling the event with the official FrightFest TV daily highlights packages. Day Two's subjects? Director Ben Parker, Actors Charlotte Salt & Johannes Kuhnke and Composer James Bradfield discuss The Chamber; Director Gabriele Mainetti discusses They Call Me Jeeg Robot; Director Alastair Orr discusses From A House On Willow Street; Director Adam Levins discusses Population Zero; Director Andy Edwards discusses Ibiza Undead; and Actor Dominic Monaghan discusses Pet. ...

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ScreenAnarchy: OOZHAM Trailer: Revenge Has Many Faces

Before Malayalam director Jeethu Joseph directed Drishyam, the blockbuster family drama that went on to be remade in several other Indian languages, he created the thriller Memories, starring Prithviraj as an alcoholic police officer who takes up a parallel investigation into a series of strange murders.  It released a few months before Drishyam, was decently reviewed, and in no way predicted the amazing success of the latter film. And yet -- and I know I'm in the minority here -- I much preferred Memories to the blockbuster Drishyam, for a number of reasons, including the fact that Prithviraj's performance as the broken, alcoholic Sam Alex was incredibly interesting, especially as he was drawn into the mystery and the attempt to resolve it. So I'm actually...

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Computer Science: Theory and Application: Cryptobin - share encrypted text and files

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Electronics-Lab: Reverse Engineering a Simple Four Function Calculator: die decap


Electronupdate did a teardown and analysis of a cheap four function calculator:

It’s such an amazingly old looking die.
Even with 400x magnification it would not be too hard to reverse engineer back to a schematic! This must be a very old design indeed. When one thinks of high-tech it’s always the new-new thing… however some designs can be very old indeed and still be in production.

Reverse Engineering a Simple Four Function Calculator: die decap – [Link]

The post Reverse Engineering a Simple Four Function Calculator: die decap appeared first on Electronics-Lab.

Electronics-Lab: Whoa Board: Dream With Touch Sensing EL Wire, Panels, Paint


The Whoa Board makes things glow. It also makes glow-y things sense touch. It’s an open prototyping platform for wearable electronics!

Turn any EL (Electro-Luminescient) material into a touch sensor with no additional hardware. It’s an open prototyping platform for wearable electronics! Open source and Arduino IDE compatible.

Whoa Board: Dream With Touch Sensing EL Wire, Panels, Paint – [Link]

The post Whoa Board: Dream With Touch Sensing EL Wire, Panels, Paint appeared first on Electronics-Lab.

Electronics-Lab: ElbSupply – Linear Bench Power Supply With Constant Current and Voltage Modes

A lot of power supply designs are here and there on the Internet, but not all of them have constant current and voltage modes. You can read the following Q&A in electronics.stackexchange to learn what constant current and voltage modes mean.

Elia over built a linear bench power supply with the following features:

  • Output voltage range: 0 – 15V.
  • Output current range: 0 – 3A.
  • Constant voltage with current limiting and constant current modes.
  • LCD interface.


ElbSupply Inside


LT3083 the adjustable 3A low dropout regulator from Linear technology is used to provide the output voltage.
To reduce the power dissipation in the linear regulator, supply voltage is not connected directly with the adjustable LDO regulator input. Elia added a stage to reduce the input voltage of LT3083 to (Vout+2) using a buck converter. This Buck converter, TI TPS54331, is configured to follow the output voltage of the adjustable regulator plus 2 volts as an output voltage of the buck converter.

ATmega8 MCU is used to drive the 16*2 LCD, read values from the rotary switch STEC12E08, read user buttons and to produce the reference PWM signals for voltage and current.

These PWM signals are converted to analog value, the way used to convert the PWM signal to an analog value proportional with PWM is by using “resistor, a capacitor and an opamp”.
LM334, an adjustable current source, used in the output voltage of LT3083. Elia said in a log, it is needed for stable operation, the LT3083 needs a minimum load current of 1mA.

Design Files and Source Code


ElbSupply is an Open-source hardware project. You can download the source files from the GitHub repository.

PCB and schematic are designed using KiCAD and source code was written in C with state machine code methodology.
[Project Page]

The post ElbSupply – Linear Bench Power Supply With Constant Current and Voltage Modes appeared first on Electronics-Lab.

Planet Haskell: Edward Z. Yang: Optimizing incremental compilation

When you run make to build software, you expect a build on software that has been previously built to take less time than software we are building from scratch. The reason for this is incremental compilation: by caching the intermediate results of ahead-of-time compilation, the only parts of a program that must be recompiled are those that depend on the changed portions of the dependency graph.

The term incremental compilation doesn't say much about how the dependency graph is set up, which can lead to some confusion about the performance characteristics of "incremental compilers." For example, the Wikipedia article on incremental compilation claims that incremental compilers cannot easily optimize the code that it compiles. This is wrong: it depends entirely on how your dependency graph is set up.

Take, for example, gcc for C:


The object file a.o depends on a.c, as well as any header files it (transitively) includes (a.h, in this case.) Since a.o and main.o do not depend on each other, if a.c is rebuilt, main.o does not need to rebuilt. In this sense, C is actually amazingly incremental (said no C programmer ever.) The reason C has a bad reputation for incremental compilation is that, naively, the preprocessing of headers is not done incrementally at all (precompiled headers are an attempt to address this problem).

The dependency graph implies something else as well: unless the body of a function is placed in a.h, there is no way for the compiler that produces main.o to inline the body in: it knows nothing about the C file. a.c may not even exist at the point main.o is being built (parallelism!) The only time such optimization could happen is at link-time (this is why link-time optimization is a thing.)

A nice contrast is ghc for Haskell:


Here, Main.{hi,o} depend not only on Main.hs but A.hi, the module it imports. GHC is still incremental: if you modify an hs file, only things that import that source file that need to be recompiled. Things are even better than this dependency diagram implies: Main.{hi,o} may only depend on specific pieces of A.hi; if those pieces are unchanged GHC will exit early and report compilation is NOT necessary.

Despite being incremental, GHC supports inlining, since unfoldings of functions can be stored in hi files, which can subsequently be used by modules which import it. But now there is a trade-off: if you inline a function, you now depend on the unfolding in the hi file, making it more likely that compilation is necessary when A.hi changes.

As one final example, incremental compilers in IDEs, like the Java compiler in Eclipse, are not doing anything fundamentally different than the operation of GHC. The primary differences are (1) the intermediate products are held in memory, which can result in huge savings since parsing and loading interfaces into memory is a huge timewaster, and (2) they try to make the dependency diagram as fine-grained as possible.

This is all fairly well known, so I want to shift gears and think about a less well-understood problem: how does one do incremental compilation for parametrized build products? When I say parametrized, I mean a blend of the C and Haskell paradigms:

  • Separate compilation. It should be possible to depend on an interface without depending on an implementation (like when a C file depends on a header file.)
  • Cost-free abstraction. When the implementation is provided, we should (re)compile our module so that we can inline definitions from the implementation (like when a Haskell module imports another module.)

This problem is of interest for Backpack, which introduces libraries parametrized over signatures to Haskell. For Backpack, we came up with the following design: generate distinct build products for (1) uninstantiated code, for which we know an interface but not its implementation, and (2) instantiated code, for which we know all of their implementations:


In the blue box, we generate A.hi and Main.hi which contain purely the results of typechecking against an interface. Only in the pink box do we combine the implementation of A (in the red box) with the user of A (Main). This is just a graph; thus, incremental compilation works just as it works before.

We quickly ran into an intriguing problem when we sought to support multiple interfaces, which could be instantiated separately: if a client instantiates one interface but not the other, what should we do? Are we obligated to generate build products for these partially instantiated modules? This is not very useful, since we can't generate code yet (since we don't know all of the implementations.)


An important observation is that these interfaces are really cheap to generate (since you're not doing any compilation). Thus, our idea was to do the instantiation on-the-fly, without actually generating build products. The partially instantiated interfaces can be cached in memory, but they're cheap to generate, and we win if we don't need them (in which case we don't instantiate them.)

This is a bit of a clever scheme, and cleverness always has a dark side. A major source of complexity with on-the-fly instantiation is that there are now two representations of what is morally the same build product: the on-the-fly products and the actually compiled ones:


The subtyping relation between these two products states that we can always use a compiled interface in place of an on-the-fly instantiated one, but not vice versa: the on-the-fly interface is missing unfoldings and other important information that compiled code may need.

If we are type-checking only (we have uninstantiated interfaces), we might prefer on-the-fly interfaces, because they require less work to create:


In contrast, if we are compiling a package, we must use the compiled interface, to ensure we see the necessary unfoldings for inlining:


A particularly complicated case is if we are type-checking an uninstantiated set of modules, which themselves depend on some compiled interfaces. If we are using an interface p+a/M.hi, we should be consistent about it, and since r must use the compiled interfaces, so must q:


The alternative is to ensure that we always build products available that were typechecked against the on-the-fly interfaces, as below:


But this has the distasteful effect of requiring everything to be built twice (first typechecked against the on-the-fly interfaces, and then built for real).

The dependency graphs of build products for an ahead-of-time compiler is traditionally part of the public API of a compiler. As I've written previously, to achieve better incrementality, better parallelism, and more features (like parametrized modules), dependency graphs become more and more complicated. When compiler writers don't want to commit to an interface and build tool authors aren't interested learning about a complicated compilation model, the only systems that work well are the integrated ones.

Is Backpack's system for on-the-fly interface instantiation too clever for its own good? I believe it is well-designed for the problem it tries to solve, but if you still have a complicated design, perhaps you are solving the wrong problem. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Toronto After Dark Film Festival Updates: 2016 Toronto After Dark Film Fest to run October 13-21!

The 11th Annual Toronto After Dark Film Festival will take place from October 13 - 21, 2016. The Call for Film Entries runs until July 29, 2016. Enter Your Film Here. Visit the About Us Page For other Key 2016 Dates & Info.  To get updates please subscribe to our E-Newsletter. 

Toronto After Dark Film Festival Updates: 2016 Festival ALL-ACCESS PASSES now on Advance Sale!

Festival ALL-ACCESS Passes now on sale to the 2016 Festival! But hurry: there’s only 200 Available, and they sell out every year! Find out why they’re so popular and snap up yours before they’re all gone here.

Toronto After Dark Film Festival Updates: Over 800 Films Submitted to Toronto After Dark 2016! Official Titles to be Announced by End Sep

Toronto After Dark’s 2016 Call for Film Entries has now closed. We would like to thank over 800 filmmakers from around the world who chose to submit their works for programming consideration by our festival this year.  A special thank you also to many individuals and organizations who helped spread the word on our Call this year. All the films are now being reviewed. If you submitted a film to Toronto After Dark 2016 and are waiting for an update from us, or are interested in submitting to our event next year, please check our Submissions Page for key info and dates.

The first wave of 10 selected Feature Film titles will be announced by Mid-September. This will be followed by a Final Announcement of all the remaining programmed titles, including all short films, along with the festival schedule, by the end of September 2016. Individual Tickets to screenings will go on sale by Early October, while the festival’s popular ALL-ACCESS Passes, are already on Advance Sale.

Penny Arcade: News Post: PAX Dev Tickets And Infoburst

Tycho: PAX Dev still has tickets available, so come get ‘em.  August 31st and September 1st, come learn from and with industry peers at the Westin.  Learn what, you may ask?  We have a full schedule available for your perusal.  Suffice it to say: good stuff. Geoff Zatkin of Experiment 7 and EEDAR is doing the Kickoff this year, and he’s somebody you want to hear.  I’ve never had a conversation with him where I didn’t gain several I.Q. points by the end.  Who knows what you’ll be able to accomplish by the end of his presentation; spontaneous… Comic for 2016.08.27

New Cyanide and Happiness Comic

The Geomblog: Congrats to John Moeller, Ph.D

My student +John Moeller ( just defended his Ph.D thesis today! and yes, there was a (rubber) snake-fighting element to the defense.

John's dissertation work is in machine learning, but his publications span a wider range. He started off with a rather hard problem: attempting to formulate a natural notion of range spaces in a negatively-curved space. And as if dealing with Riemannian geometry wasn't bad enough, he was also involved in finding approximate near neighbors in Bregman spaces. He's also been instrumental in my more recent work in algorithmic fairness.

But John's true interests lie in machine learning, specifically kernels. He came up with a nice geometric formulation of kernel learning by way of the multiplicative weight update method. He then took this formulation and extended it to localized kernel learning (where you don't need each kernel to work with all points - think of it like a soft clustering of kernels).

Most recently, he's also explored the interface between kernels and neural nets, as part of a larger effort to understand neural nets. This is also a way of doing kernel learning, in a "smoother" way via Bochner's theorem.

It's a great body of work that required mastery of a range of different mathematical constructs and algorithmic techniques.  Congratulations, John!

Penny Arcade: News Post: Titanfail

Tycho: There’s more story in the Tutorial of Titanfall 2 than there was in Titanfall, and I love the personality they’ve brought to the bots themselves.  I really liked the Titanfall 2 test as a generality; I also liked Tribes 2, and Gabriel and I were the only ones.  I suspect that it was a pretty rough weekend over at Respawn. As I was playing it, and liking it, I was also making assumptions about things that weren’t true.  For example, I wasn’t aware that Burn Cards were gone gone.  I read an article where a developer delivers what I would describe as…

ScreenAnarchy: Review: HAPPY HOUR, An Absorbing Long-Form Masterwork

When I first settled down to view Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Happy Hour earlier this year at its New Directors/New Films festival press screening, its great reputation preceded it, a reputation that included some uniquely anomalous features, unusual even in the context of the adventurous and idiosyncratic landscape of the world film festival circuit. After Happy Hour premiered in competition at last year’s Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland, besides winning a prize for Hamaguchi’s screenplay, the best actress prize was shared by its four-woman central ensemble cast. That was unusual enough, but even more remarkable was the film’s length – 5 hours and 17 minutes, to be exact. Such a prodigious running time can be a daunting proposition, even for the most dedicated, die-hard fest-goer, especially with...

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Penny Arcade: News Post: Thornwatch on BoardGameGeek

Gabe: Thornwatch is so close to finally becoming a real thing. It’s coming together so fast now that it has literally been improving every day for the last couple weeks. We took a prototype to Gencon a few weeks ago and while we were there we sat down and played the game with folks from BoardGameGeek. If you have not had the chance to see Thornwatch at a PAX, this is a really good look at the game: I was also on a panel at GenCon called “Betrayal to Thornwatch” lucky you, that was filmed as well. Mike Selinker ran this panel about Lone Shark Games and their pretty ridiculous…

Disquiet: Listening to Yesterday: Light and Truth


“What is that sound,” Billy Bragg once sang. “Where is it coming from?” He was not describing the room in my home where something, yesterday, was ringing. For awhile I thought it was just my ears — allergies, age, perhaps a cold. I heard the ringing, but figured it might be internal. Then someone else came in and asked what the sound was. Aside from my laptop, there was nothing on that might emit sound. The guitar amp was off, the modular synthesizer was off, a handful of musical gadgets were off. Even the power strip into which most of them were plugged was off. This was all self-evident in the bright room.

I turned off the light switch on the wall. The room went dark, except for the bit of sunlight that made it through the drawn blinds. The room also went silent. The sound had something to do with the light fixture that hung from the ceiling. I turned the light switch on, slowly, and the room began to become more visible. The sound was gone. The room, however, was darker than it had been. Minutes ago two incandescent bulbs had filled the room with light and sound. Now one of the bulbs was dead. That whine, that electric buzz, had had something to do with the now dead bulb’s last moments of function. I pictured its filament, close to the breaking point, the tension in its failing, spring-like connection, before it finally had given way.

(Photo by Dave Crosby, used via Flickr and a Creative Commons license.)

Planet Haskell: Functional Jobs: Full-Stack Developer (Haskell/PureScript) at CollegeVine (Full-time)


CollegeVine is looking for a product-focused full-stack developer to help engineer the future of mentorship and higher education attainment.

There aren't many industries left that haven't been significantly disrupted by technology in some way, but you're reading about one right here! You will find many opportunities to apply high-leverage computer science (think machine learning, probabilistic reasoning, etc.) as well as plenty of opportunities for the more human side of the problem. As it stands, the current admissions process is a huge source of stress and confusion for students and parents alike. If we execute correctly, your work will impact the entire next generation of college graduates-to-be.

You will join a fast-moving company whose culture centers around authenticity, excellence, and balance. You'll find that everyone likes to keep things simple and transparent. We prefer to be goal-oriented and hands-off as long as you are a self-starter.

Our modern perspective on developer potential means we celebrate and optimize for real output. And that's probably the reason why we're a polyglot functional programming shop, with emphasis on Haskell and functional paradigms. Our infrastructure and non-mission-critical tooling tends to be in whatever works best for the task at hand: sometimes that's Haskell with advanced GHC extensions a-blazin', other times it's minimalist Ruby or bash—basically, it's a team decision based on whatever sits at the intersection of appropriateness, developer joy, quality, and velocity.

As an early-stage company headquartered in Cambridge, MA, we have a strong preference for key members of our team to be located in the Boston metro area; however, given that our company has its roots in remote work (and that it's 2016), we are open to remote arrangements after one year of continuous employment and/or executive approval.


You know you are right for this position if:

  • You have at least five years of professional software engineering experience, and at least two years of preference for a high-level programming language that's used in industry, like Haskell, Clojure, OCaml, Erlang, F#, or similar.
  • You have some front-end experience with JS or a functional language that compiles to JS, like PureScript, Elm, Clojurescript, or similar. We use PureScript, React, and ES6 on the front-end. It's pretty awesome.
  • You are a self-starter and internally motivated, with a strong desire to be part of a successful team that shares your high standards.
  • You have great written communication skills and are comfortable with making big decisions over digital presence (e.g. video chat).
  • You have polyglot experience along several axes (dynamic/static, imperative/functional, lazy/strict, weird/not-weird).
  • You are comfortable with modern infrastructure essentials like AWS, Heroku, Docker, CI, etc. You have basic but passable sysadmin skills.
  • You are fluent with git.
  • You instrument before you optimize. You test before you ship. You listen before you conclude. You measure before you cut. Twice.


We offer a competitive salary and a full suite of benefits, some of them unconventional, but awesome for the right person:

  • Medical, dental, vision insurance and 401k come standard.
  • Flexible hours with a 4-hour core - plan the rest of your workday as you wish, just give us the majority of your most productive hours. Productivity ideas: avoid traffic, never wait in line at the grocery store, wake up without an alarm clock.
  • Goal-based environment (as opposed to grind-based or decree-based environment; work smarter, not harder; intelligently, not mindlessly). We collaborate on setting goals, but you set your own process for accomplishing those goals. You will be entrusted with a lot of responsibility and you might even experience fulfillment and self-actualization as a result.
  • Daily physical activity/mindfulness break + stipend: invest a non-core hour to make yourself more awesome by using it for yoga, tap-dance lessons, a new bike, massage, a surfboard - use your imagination! Just don’t sit at a computer all day! Come back to work more relaxed and productive and share your joy with the rest of the team. Note: You must present and share proof of your newly enriched life with the team in order to receive the stipend.
  • Equipment/setup budget so you can tool up the way you want. A brand new 15" MBP is standard issue if you have no strong opinions.

Remember: We’re a startup. You’re an early employee. We face challenges. We have to ship. Your ideas matter. You will make a difference.

Get information on how to apply for this position.

OCaml Planet: Functional Jobs: Full-Stack Developer (Haskell/PureScript) at CollegeVine (Full-time)


CollegeVine is looking for a product-focused full-stack developer to help engineer the future of mentorship and higher education attainment.

There aren't many industries left that haven't been significantly disrupted by technology in some way, but you're reading about one right here! You will find many opportunities to apply high-leverage computer science (think machine learning, probabilistic reasoning, etc.) as well as plenty of opportunities for the more human side of the problem. As it stands, the current admissions process is a huge source of stress and confusion for students and parents alike. If we execute correctly, your work will impact the entire next generation of college graduates-to-be.

You will join a fast-moving company whose culture centers around authenticity, excellence, and balance. You'll find that everyone likes to keep things simple and transparent. We prefer to be goal-oriented and hands-off as long as you are a self-starter.

Our modern perspective on developer potential means we celebrate and optimize for real output. And that's probably the reason why we're a polyglot functional programming shop, with emphasis on Haskell and functional paradigms. Our infrastructure and non-mission-critical tooling tends to be in whatever works best for the task at hand: sometimes that's Haskell with advanced GHC extensions a-blazin', other times it's minimalist Ruby or bash—basically, it's a team decision based on whatever sits at the intersection of appropriateness, developer joy, quality, and velocity.

As an early-stage company headquartered in Cambridge, MA, we have a strong preference for key members of our team to be located in the Boston metro area; however, given that our company has its roots in remote work (and that it's 2016), we are open to remote arrangements after one year of continuous employment and/or executive approval.


You know you are right for this position if:

  • You have at least five years of professional software engineering experience, and at least two years of preference for a high-level programming language that's used in industry, like Haskell, Clojure, OCaml, Erlang, F#, or similar.
  • You have some front-end experience with JS or a functional language that compiles to JS, like PureScript, Elm, Clojurescript, or similar. We use PureScript, React, and ES6 on the front-end. It's pretty awesome.
  • You are a self-starter and internally motivated, with a strong desire to be part of a successful team that shares your high standards.
  • You have great written communication skills and are comfortable with making big decisions over digital presence (e.g. video chat).
  • You have polyglot experience along several axes (dynamic/static, imperative/functional, lazy/strict, weird/not-weird).
  • You are comfortable with modern infrastructure essentials like AWS, Heroku, Docker, CI, etc. You have basic but passable sysadmin skills.
  • You are fluent with git.
  • You instrument before you optimize. You test before you ship. You listen before you conclude. You measure before you cut. Twice.


We offer a competitive salary and a full suite of benefits, some of them unconventional, but awesome for the right person:

  • Medical, dental, vision insurance and 401k come standard.
  • Flexible hours with a 4-hour core - plan the rest of your workday as you wish, just give us the majority of your most productive hours. Productivity ideas: avoid traffic, never wait in line at the grocery store, wake up without an alarm clock.
  • Goal-based environment (as opposed to grind-based or decree-based environment; work smarter, not harder; intelligently, not mindlessly). We collaborate on setting goals, but you set your own process for accomplishing those goals. You will be entrusted with a lot of responsibility and you might even experience fulfillment and self-actualization as a result.
  • Daily physical activity/mindfulness break + stipend: invest a non-core hour to make yourself more awesome by using it for yoga, tap-dance lessons, a new bike, massage, a surfboard - use your imagination! Just don’t sit at a computer all day! Come back to work more relaxed and productive and share your joy with the rest of the team. Note: You must present and share proof of your newly enriched life with the team in order to receive the stipend.
  • Equipment/setup budget so you can tool up the way you want. A brand new 15" MBP is standard issue if you have no strong opinions.

Remember: We’re a startup. You’re an early employee. We face challenges. We have to ship. Your ideas matter. You will make a difference.

Get information on how to apply for this position.

Quiet Earth: First Look at A.D. Calvo's SWEET, SWEET LONELY GIRL [Trailer]

We've been following the rising star of writer/director A.D. Calvo for some time; he showed great promise and has continued to deliver an interesting array of horror films and his latest looks like another success.

Sweet, Sweet Lonely Girl stars Erin Wilhelmi as Adele, a young woman who moves in to care for her aging aunt, a woman who rarely leaves her room never mind communicating with the outside world. Lonely, Adele befriends Beth (Quinn Shephard) and very quickly, the pair become intimate friends. And then Adele discovers that Beth isn't who she claims to be, throwing Adele down a treacherous path.

I'm always impressed by the tension in Calvo's movies and his knack for always finding and get [Continued ...]

ScreenAnarchy: Nordic Genre Boost: More About Those Seven Films From This Year's Edition

This year's Nordic Genre Boost wrapped up in Haugesund, Norway during the Norwegian International Film Festival. When we reported on the selections back in February we reported that the Nordic Genre Boost exists to help a fledgling genre film scene in the Nordic countries continue to grow. The co-production market introduces filmmakers to producers, sales agents and distributors, not only form Nordic countries, but from other potential partners as well.    Now that the market has wrapped up it is too soon to tell if any partnerships were made but thanks to a follow up from ScreenDaily we have much better descriptions of all seven projects selected for this year's edition.    These are some of the Nordic genre films to keep an eye out...

[Read the whole post on]

All Content: Southside With You


As Michelle Robinson (Tika Sumpter) gets dressed in her home on the South Side of Chicago, her mother (Vanessa Bell Calloway) playfully teases her about the amount of effort Michelle is putting into her appearance. “I thought this wasn’t a date,” she chides. Michelle insists it isn’t. “You know I like to look nice when I go out,” she says. When her father joins his wife in ribbing their daughter, Michelle digs in her heels about this being a “non-date”. But it’s clear the lady doth protest too much. In her mind, there’s no way she’s falling for the smooth-talking co-worker who invited her to a community event. She’s seen this type of brother before, and she thinks she’s immune to his brand of charm.

Soon, the brother in question, Barack Obama (Parker Sawyers), picks up Miss Robinson. Our first glimpse of him, backed by Janet Jackson’s deliriously catchy 1989 hit “Miss You Much," is a master class of not allowing one’s meager means to interfere with one’s confidence level. Barack smokes with the preternaturally efficient coolness of Bette Davis, yet drives a car built for Fred Flintstone. The large hole in the passenger side floor of his raggedy vehicle will not diminish his swagger nor derail his plan. Using the community event as a jumping-off point, he intends to gently push this non-date into the date category.

So begins the romantic comedy "Southside with You," a mostly-true account of the first date between our current President and the First Lady. Like “Before Sunrise,” a film which invites comparison, “Southside with You” is a two-hander that's top-heavy with dialogue, walking and a knowing sense of location. Unlike that film, however, we already know the ending before the lights go down in the theater. So, writer/director Richard Tanne replaces the suspenseful pull of “will they or won’t they?” with an equally compelling and understated character study that humanizes his larger-than-life public figures. Tanne reminds us that, before ascending to the most powerful office in the world, Barack and Michelle were just two regular people who started out somewhere much smaller.

This down-to-earth approach works surprisingly well because “Southside with You” never loses sight of the primary tenet of a great romantic comedy: All you need is two people whom the audience wants to see get together—then you put them together. So many entries in this genre fail miserably because the filmmakers feel compelled to overcomplicate matters with useless subplots and extraneous characters; they mistake cacophony for complexity. “Southside with You” builds its emotional richness by coasting on the charisma of its two leads as they carefully navigate each other’s personality quirks and life stories. We may be ahead of them in terms of knowing the outcome, but we’re simultaneously learning the details.

“Southside with You” is at once a love song to the city of Chicago and its denizens, an unmistakably Black romance and a gentle, universal comedy. It is unapologetic about all three of these elements, and interweaves them in such a subtle fashion that they become more pronounced only upon later reflection. The Chicago affection manifests itself not only in a scene where, in front of a small group of community activists welcoming back their favorite son, Barack demonstrates a rough version of the speechmaking ability that will later become his trademark, but also when Barack takes Michelle to an art gallery. He points out that the Ernie Barnes paintings they’re viewing were used on the Chicago-set sitcom “Good Times.” Then the duo recite Chicago native Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem about the pool players at the Golden Shovel, "We Real Cool." Even the beloved founder of this site, Roger Ebert, gets a shout-out for championing “Do the Right Thing," the movie Barack and Michelle attend in the closing hours of their date.

Though its depiction of romance is recognizable to anyone who has ever gone on a successful first date, “Southside with You” also takes time to address the concerns Michelle has with dating her co-worker, especially since she’s his superior and the only Black woman in the office. The optics of this pairing worries her in ways that hint at the corporate sexism that existed back in 1989, and continues in some fashion today. Her concern is that her superiors might think she threw herself at the only other Black employee which, based on my own personal workplace experience, I found completely relatable. This plotline has traction, culminating in a fictional though very effective climactic scene between Barack, Michelle and their boss. It’s a bit overdramatic, but the payoff is a lovely ice cream-based reconciliation that may do for Baskin-Robbins what Beyoncé’s “Formation” did for Red Lobster.

Heady topics aside, “Southside with You” is often hilarious and never loses its old-fashioned sweetness. Sumpter’s take on Michelle is a tad more on-point than Sawyers’ Barack, but he compensates by exuding the same bemused self-assurance as his real-life counterpart. The two leads are both excellent, but this is really Michelle’s show. Sumpter relishes throwing those “you think you’re cute” looks that poke sharp, though loving holes in all forms of braggadocio, and Sawyers fills them with surprising vulnerability. The two manage to create a beautiful tribute to enduring love in just under 90 minutes, making “Southside with You” an irresistibly romantic and rousing success.

ScreenAnarchy: Philadelphia Unnamed Film Festival Announces Lineup For Inaugural Year

There is a new kid on the block in Philadelphia, an upstart film festival with a lineup of film oddities that will satisfy the appetite of most fantastic cinema fans. The Phliadelphia Unnamed Film Festival starts off its first year this October, an excellent time of year to get you in the mood for Halloween.    The new film We Go On from the makers of Yellow Brick Road will screen during the festival. Exploitation director Kurando Mitsutake's follow up to Gun Woman, Karate Kill is also part of the lineup. Wait for the 80s style love scene is all I am going to say about that one. Tim Reis' take on were-creature lore, Bad Blood The Movie, screens in colorful and sticky glory.   ...

[Read the whole post on]

OUR VALUED CUSTOMERS: To her friend... (From the OVC Archive!)

Colossal: New Hybrid Wildlife Murals Painted by Alexis Diaz


All images via @alexis_diaz

Puerto Rican artist Alexis Diaz (previously here and here) brings incredible detail to the large-scale animals and humans he paints, producing murals that illustrate those both living and dead. Alien lifeforms, tentacles, and dried bone are all created from thousands of tiny brushstrokes, each separate element merging together to produce enchanting scenes. Many of his works are created entirely freehand, with Diaz working line by line to meticulous paint his hybrid creatures.

“I feel like having an intimate conversation between the wall, the surrounding space and me,” said Diaz to WideWalls. “I put elements together like in a puzzle until the moment of mutual understanding.”

Diaz’s work was recently included in the group exhibition “Freedom as Form” at Wunderkammern in Milan. You can see more of his intricate murals and sketches on his Instagram and Facebook. (via Cross Connect Magazine)








programming: The true cost of interruptions: Game Developer Magazine discovered that a programmer needs up to 15 minutes to start editing code again following an interruption.

submitted by /u/yourbasicgeek
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Open Culture: Angelo Badalamenti Reveals How He and David Lynch Composed the Twin Peaks‘ “Love Theme”

On my last trip to New York, some friends took me to a favorite new-wave Chinese place of theirs. When I asked where to find the bathroom, they said to go downstairs. The staircase deposited me into one of the most surreal bathroom approaches I’ve ever experienced: a long, narrow, fully mirrored hallway with a hauntingly familiar composition piped in from speakers installed along its length. Not until I resurfaced and asked what the deal was could I identify the music: the “Love Theme” from David Lynch’s early-1990s television series Twin Peaks.

Many TV themes have lodged themselves into our collective memory, mostly through sheer repetition, but few have retained as much evocative power as the one Lynch’s composer, Angelo Badalamenti, recorded for his short-lived postmodern detective show. It had that power from the moment Badalamenti put his fingers to the keyboard, a story told in the clip above. “What do you see, David?” he remembers asking the director as he sits down before the very same Fender Rhodes on which he composed Twin Peaks‘ major themes all those years ago. “Just talk to me.”

“We’re in a dark woods,” Badalamenti recalls Lynch first saying. “There’s a soft wind blowing through sycamore trees. There’s a moon out, some animal sounds in the background. You can hear the hoot of an owl. Just get me into that beautiful darkness.” Badalamenti plays as he played then, which drew an immediate response from Lynch: “Angelo, that’s great. I love that. That’s a good mood. But can you play it slower?” With the feedback loop between the scene in Lynch’s mind and the mood of Badalamenti’s music engaged, Lynch added a detail: “From behind a tree, in the back of the woods, is this very lonely girl. Her name is Laura Palmer.”

Badalamenti lightens his improvisation in a way that makes it somehow eerier. “That’s it!” The composer and the director play off one another’s ideas, almost like two long-collaborating musicians in a jam session. “She’s walking toward the camera, she’s coming closer… just keep building it! Just keep building it!” Eventually, they’ve created an entire rising and falling dramatic arc in this single piece of music (arguably more dramatic than the one created by the series itself, which Lynch left after two seasons). “David got up, gave me a big hug, and said, ‘Angelo, that’s Twin Peaks‘” — and to this day, a part of the culture.

Related Content:

Hear the Music of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks Played by the Danish National Symphony Orchestra

Play the Twin Peaks Video Game: Retro Fun for David Lynch Fans

David Lynch’s Twin Peaks Title Sequence, Recreated in an Adorable Paper Animation

David Lynch Draws a Map of Twin Peaks (to Help Pitch the Show to ABC)

Hear the Music of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks Played by the Experimental Band, Xiu Xiu: A Free Stream of Their New Album

Elementary School Students Perform in a Play Inspired by David Lynch’s Twin Peaks

David Lynch Directs a Mini-Season of Twin Peaks in the Form of Japanese Coffee Commercials

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities and culture. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer, the video series The City in Cinema, the crowdfunded journalism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Angeles Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

Angelo Badalamenti Reveals How He and David Lynch Composed the Twin Peaks‘ “Love Theme” 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.

Penny Arcade: Comic: Titanfail

New Comic: Titanfail

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal: Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Things Have Changed

The phrase 'but the all-seeing eye sees all' is actually a great interjection at any point in any conversation.

New comic!
Today's News:

All Content: Mechanic: Resurrection


Usually, when a studio declines to screen a movie for reviewers, the reflexive assumption is that the picture is a dog. This largely turns out to be true, but not always.

As for “Mechanic: Resurrection,” the disinclination of Lionsgate to present it to viewers was a little puzzling in a different respect. Sure, the 2011 film “The Mechanic,” a Jason Statham/Ben Foster starring remake of the 1972 Charles Bronson/Jan-Michael Vincent master hitman thriller, only got a 53% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but I thought it was pretty okay, and that’s all that counts. Given that the sequel pairs off Statham’s implacable best-of-the-best anonymous assassin with charming genre movie mascot Jessica Alba, and has Tommy Lee Jones third-billed or so, with Hong Kong eminence Michelle Yeoh rounding out the supporting cast, well, how bad could it be?

Not good, is the answer, learned at an early Thursday evening screening. Despite some of the most picturesque locations money can buy, and some not unimpressive looking movable props (yachts with helipads and such) and so on, “Mechanic: Resurrection” suffers from a storyline and script that strains credulity and insults intelligence even by the low bar set by the majority of contemporary action movies. 

The picture opens with Statham’s Arthur Bishop comfortably ensconced, à la Travis McGee, on a houseboat in Rio. The steadiness of the houseboat is such that Bishop, now known as Santos, can rock out with a vinyl turntable. But not for long. Lunching at his favorite cliffside outdoor restaurant, he’s approached by a femme fatale who Knows Who He Really Is, and who tells him her “Principal” wants him to kill three targets. Santos/Bishop’s violent refusal to play ball is met with an attack by a small military battalion’s worth of men. Not only does this action sequence fail to build a head of steam, but the lack of logic is a little startling. I need you to kill these men for me, because only you can do it, and if you refuse, I will kill you myself. Spot the flaw in this thinking.

Bishop of course escapes, and regroups at a seaside village in Thailand, watched over by old pal Mei, played by Yeoh. Soon enough a honey trap with Alba as the bait makes itself known. But Alba’s not a villainess. Her character, Gina, is being extorted in a sense by supervillain Crain, a bland Sam Hazeldine. If Gina doesn’t play ball, Crain’s going to torch the Cambodian orphanage at which Gina is a beloved fixture. Yes, you read that right.

Tending to Gina’s wounds in one scene, Mei says to her patient, “My father was a doctor of Eastern medicine. He was a healer.” Well, yes, I would hope so. Later in the movie, Gina says to Bishop, “Those kids are everything to me. If they get trafficked or killed I just couldn’t take it.” Bishop responds, “I was an orphan too.” Wow. This isn’t just a character note: it’s a plot point. Crain was a childhood friend of Bishop back at the orphanage. This wasn’t particularly convincing in the last James Bond film and it works even less here, although if you choose to buy it you may wonder what it is with British orphanages that make them turn out such efficient killers. There’s also the matter of the phrasing of the dialogue itself. “If they get trafficked or killed” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. Alba is an appealing screen presence (and director Daniel Gansel takes some advantage of this with a few beach-set shots of the sort that they used to call “cheesecake”). She is not the most virtuoso actor, but not even Meryl Streep could make such dialogue sing.

It’s kind of perplexing: clearly not too much expense was spared in the beautiful locations and blow-stuff-up effects tech. Writers in every industry come cheaper and cheaper these days; surely the producers could have invested some of their financing in a script with more inventiveness and engagement power than the one they had on set. Of course, this still would have left the uninspired direction of Gansel. Might he have delivered something more enjoyable with better material? We’ll never know. As for Tommy Lee Jones, his role as a roguish arms dealer is not much more than a cameo, for which he chooses to repeat many of the performing riffs he worked to good effect way way back in 1992’s “Under Siege,” the elemental but enjoyable action film that kind of made Jones into a big star. His work here is one of two pieces of wit the movie has to offer; the other is courtesy of production designers Sebastian T. Krawinkel and Antonello Rubino, who place a replica of the sculpture in the Mosfilm logo title shot in the repository of Soviet kitsch that serves as Jones’ character’s panic room. 

CreativeApplications.Net: Building Towards a Point of Always Building – Digital Design Theory

DDT-coverCAN reviews “Digital Design Theory,” a recent Princeton Architectural Press text compiling writing from over five decades of thought on computation and design.

All Content: Don't Breathe


At its best, Fede Alvarez’s “Don’t Breathe” is a tight, confined thriller—the kind of morality play that toys with audience loyalty and works to convey its protagonists' predicament by making us feel claustrophobic right alongside them. For long passages, the movie plays out in real time, and Alvarez and his team have a remarkable sense of film geography, established in a beautiful unbroken shot that defines the space for this largely one-setting exercise in terror. Alvarez was also wise to reunite with “Evil Dead” star Jane Levy, an actress who can do a lot with very little in terms of character development and is remarkably fearless physically, and even wiser to cast Stephen Lang, a fantastic character actor for decades who has been given one of his most memorable roles here. Like a lot of films of this breed, “Don’t Breathe” gets a little less interesting as it proceeds to its inevitable conclusion, replacing tension with shock value, but it works so well up to that point that your heart will likely be beating too fast to care.

Rocky (Levy), her boyfriend Money (Daniel Zovatto) and wishes-he-was-boyfriend Alex (Dylan Minnette) rob houses in the wealthy suburbs of Detroit. Alex’s dad manages a security company and therefore has access to keys that allow for a lot less “breaking” in breaking & entering. Rocky has a horrible mother and a baby sister that she’ll do anything to get out of their dysfunctional and dangerous home. Tired of quickie jobs that net a few nice watches and some jewelry, Money stumbles on a possible crime that would truly change their lives. Deep in the desolate, rundown heart of Detroit—on one of many blocks with no neighbors and few active utilities—lives a blind man (Lang). A few years earlier, his daughter was killed in a car accident and he received a massive cash settlement that Money believes is in a safe in the house. Rocky, Money and Alex will just go in and take it. He’s a blind veteran who lives alone. How hard could it be?

The men of “Don’t Breathe” are given almost no defining character traits whatsoever, and that’s to the film’s detriment. You can feel Alvarez rushing to get to the centerpiece when he could have taken a beat or two to give us a reason to care about Money and Alex beyond the former being a tough guy and the latter being the nice one. Rocky/Levy fares a little better, as the actress imbues a few very short scenes with a palpable dose of urgency. She doesn’t rob for profit or need; she is stealing money that’s just sitting in a safe to save her life and that of her sister. She’ll get the cash, they’ll all flee Detroit to California, and everyone will live happily ever after. The complex morality of Rocky’s dilemma is one of the most interesting narrative elements of “Don’t Breathe.” In theory, we shouldn’t be rooting for a young lady to steal money from a blind man, but we do.

And that moral complexity takes a sharp turn when things go wrong in the main event of “Don’t Breathe.” Without spoiling nearly as much as the previews do, let’s just say that these three low-level criminals vastly underestimate both the current situation in their target’s home and its resident’s certain set of skills. The MVP of this midsection is arguably cinematographer Pedro Luque, who works with Alvarez to very clearly define the blueprint of the house and where our characters are within it. Unlike a lot of modern horror, which uses quick cuts and shaky camerawork to induce fear, Alvarez and Luque understand that we’ll relate to the predicament of “Don’t Breathe” the more clearly we can define what’s going on. As Lang and Levy play a game of cat and mouse through this maze, it’s best to know where the walls are. And, of course, it’s more effective when Alvarez and company pull those walls away in a basement that feels like a neverending series of shelves, replicating the protagonist’s confusion and fear.

There’s a significant twist in “Don’t Breathe” (again, don’t watch the previews) that produces shock value (and allows for even more disturbing material later on) but it almost feels like a misstep in that it pushes Lang’s character towards a definitive villain role. I like the idea of a battle of wills—in a home within an abandoned neighborhood—between characters that occupy grayer areas in terms of morality. There are also a few plot turns in the final act that require more suspension of disbelief. 

At the heart of the film, as young people who made a very bad decision try to survive long enough to get out of a house that has turned into a fortress, “Don’t Breathe” is tense and even relatable. There are millions of young people, especially in Detroit, trying to escape their bad decisions. “Don’t Breathe” becomes a battle of wills between two people who have done very bad things but justified their actions to themselves. The talented Levy and Lang allow us to understand their characters' polarizing choices, and place us right there in the house—with the petty criminal and the man with the dark secret, holding our breath. 

All Content: The Hollars


"The Hollars" is just good enough to make you wish that it were better. John Krasinski, longtime costar of "The Office," directed this modestly budgeted family drama; the writer is James C. Strouse ("Lonesome Jim," "The Winning Season"), who specializes in small-scaled, domestically focused stories of a sort that exhibitors don't seem too interested in showing anymore. "The Hollars" is an agreeable enough example of the form. It's too cute early on, it introduces seemingly major characters with much fanfare and then seems to forget about them, and it leans too hard on music montages from the start and then keeps giving you more of them, long after you've dug deep into the story and would prefer to hear the characters talk instead of silently frolic or mope while a pop song plays. But there are compensations, the cast in particular. And there are a couple of long stretches that are so well-judged that they suggest the greater film that might've been.

Krasinski plays John Hollar, a struggling graphic novelist who lives in New York City. He returns to his rural hometown (the movie was shot in various Mississippi counties) after learning that his mother Sally (Margo Martindale) has been diagnosed with a brain tumor and re-enters his old world with regret and resistance and makes bad choices because he's secretly an unhappy person. While his pregnant girlfriend Rebecca (Anna Kendrick) waits for him back in the big city, he's drawn to his high school girlfriend Gwen (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Gwen is married to another high school classmate, Jason (Charlie Day), who just happens to be John's mom's nurse (it's a small town, see). Jason is depressed, or maybe just irritable, because he thought he was doing a chivalrous thing by marrying Gwen after she got pregnant but now senses (correctly) that she's just not that into him. The hero's dad Don (Richard Jenkins) is doubly depressed because of his wife's illness and his failing business. John's brother Ron (Sharlton Copley, subtler and better than usual) is depressed because his wife (Ashley Dyke) divorced him for being a deadbeat screw-up and is now trying to keep him away from their kids. And, as if poor Sally didn't already have enough to contend with, here comes a horrible realization: she never should've married Don.

That sounds like a whole lot of disillusioned, bummed-out people for one film, and maybe it is. But "The Hollars" approaches all of them with a mostly light touch, and folds their stories beneath the umbrella of diminished expectations, so that the whole thing goes down easily. Maybe too easily.

"It's terrifying to find out this late in life what you should have done," Don tells John—how cute is it that all the men's names rhyme? Not very? Okay—but the film never musters up the wisdom required to delve into what, exactly, that means for these characters. The movie purports to be about disappointment and how we all have to come to terms with it sooner or later, but it doesn't do enough narrative labor to make that theme come through. You get a scene here or there where a character restates some version of Don's confession, but despite smart performances that split the difference between kookiness and poignancy, these moments don't land as gracefully as they should because the main characters feel sketched instead of filled in. When John admits that he's terrified of bringing kids into the world because he's afraid of being a failure to yet more people, the moment is appropriately uncomfortable, mostly because of Krasinski's smirking-through-the-tears charisma (the actor's hint of melancholy is always his most striking quality). But most of the scenes up to that point have made John seem like a country-boy version of Jim from NBC's "The Office": funny and sweet but a touch smug and judgmental, and not too much more than that. So we can't ascertain whether John's impression of his deeper potential is accurate or not—not even in context of an early scene where he confesses to his mom that he's not a good enough artist to make it in the comics world, because at that point we don't know enough about his art to guess if he's right or just beating himself up.

The film is unobtrusively but too-conservatively directed, with lots of medium-wide shots showing the characters interacting with each other, plus occasional breaks for music montages that show, say, John swinging on a tire over a lake on his family's farm, or Ron and John playing Rock Band with Ron's kids. There's no part of the movie's aesthetic that could be called remarkable, and in time you might miss the excitement that comes from a beautifully timed reaction shot or a camera move that adds surprise and delight to exposition. Like too many actor-directors schooled in television, Krasinski treats the camera mainly as a recording device for capturing performances rather than an expressive tool in its own right. 

Absent that sort of visual and aural pleasure, you tend to fixate on what's missing, and there's a lot missing. Who knows if it's the fault of Strouse's script or decisions made in the editing room? Either way, "The Hollars" feels short in a bad way. Mary Kay Place has one strong scene as Ron's sister, who holds down the fort at work when all the other employees have gone on strike, but after that, she all but drops out of the picture. Winstead is likewise almost a non-presence; Gwen plants an unasked-for kiss on John early in the film and then pfffft, that's it for her character. Jason, meanwhile, gets a lot more scenes than you might expect, given his tangential relationship to the Hollars, probably because Charlie Day is so funny that you can't have too much of him. Throughout, there's too much standard indie-film stuff, such as a scene of John pushing Sally through hospital hallways in a wheelchair while pop music blasts on the soundtrack, the better to express The Joy of Being Alive. ("Harold and Maude" is a great film, but it has a lot to answer for.)

The star rating on this review would have been lower if not for the core cast—especially Jenkins, who turns out to be one of the greatest of screen criers, and Martindale, whose honeyed bourbon drawl is pure magic—and three scenes that are so perfectly judged that they nearly redeem the film's missteps. The last of them is so intimate and truthful, and written and acted and directed with such relaxed confidence, that you might wish that someone had forced Krasinski and Strouse to watch it over and over while whispering to them, "This, right here. This is your movie." You'll know it when you see it.

Open Culture: Rome Comes to Life in Photochrom Color Photos Taken in 1890: The Colosseum, Trevi Fountain & More

1890 Colosseum

For almost two hundred years, English gentlemen could not consider their education complete until they had taken the “Grand Tour” of Europe, usually culminating in Naples, “ragamuffin capital of the Italian south,” writes Ian Thomson at The Spectator. Italy was usually the primary focus, such that Samuel Johnson remarked in 1776, perhaps with some irony, “a man who has not been to Italy is always conscious of an inferiority.” The Romantic poets famously wrote of their European sojourns: Shelley, Byron, Wordsworth… each has his own “Grand Tour” story.

1890 Trevi Fountain

Shelley, who traveled with his wife Mary Godwin and her stepsister Claire Clairmont, did not go to Italy, however. And Byron sailed the Mediterranean on his Grand Tour, forced away from most of Europe by the Napoleonic wars. But in 1817, he journeyed to Rome, where he wrote the Fourth Canto of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage:

Oh Rome! my country! city of the soul!
The orphans of the heart must turn to thee,
Lone mother of dead empires! And control
In their shut breasts their petty misery.

For the traveling artist and philosopher, “Italy,” Thomson writes, “presented a civilization in ruins,” and we can see in all Romantic writing the tremendous influence visions of Rome and Pompeii had on gentlemen poets like Byron. The Grand Tour, and journeys like it, persisted until the 1840s, when railroads “spelled the end of solitary aristocratic travel.” But even decades afterward, we can see Rome (and Venice) the way Byron might have seen it—and almost, even, in full color. As we step into the vistas of these postcards from 1890, we are far closer to Byron than we are to the Rome of our day, before Mussolini’s monuments, notorious snarls of Roman traffic, and throngs of tourists.

1890 Trumphal Arch

“These postcards of the ancient landmarks of Rome,” writes Mashable, “were produced… using the Photochrom process, which adds precise gradations of artificial color to black and white photos.” Invented by Swiss printer Orell Gessner Fussli, the process involved creating lithographic stone from the negatives—“Up to 15 different tinted stones could be involved in the production of a single picture, but the result was remarkably lifelike color at a time when true color photography was still in its infancy.”

temple rome

The Library of Congress hosts forty two of these images in their online catalog, all downloadable as high quality jpegs or tiffs, and many, like the stunning image of the Colosseum at the top (see the interior here), featuring a pre-Photocrom black and white print as well.

1890 San Lorenzo

Aside from a rare street scene, with an urban milieu looking very much from the 1890s, the photographs are void of crowds. In the foreground of the Triumphal Arch further up we see a solitary woman with a basket of produce on her head. In the image of San Lorenzo, above, a tiny figure walks away from the camera.

forum rome 1890

In most of these images—with their dreamlike coloration—we can imagine Rome the way it looked not only in 1890, but also how it might have looked to bored aristocrats in the 17th and 18th centuries—and to passionate Romantic poets in the early 19th, a place of raw natural grandeur and sublime man-made decay. See the Library of Congress online catalog to view and download all forty-two of these postcards. Also find a gallery at Mashable.

1890 Great Cascade

Related Content:

Venice in Beautiful Color Images 125 Years Ago: The Rialto Bridge, St. Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace & More

Beautiful, Color Photographs of Paris Taken 100 Years Ago—at the Beginning of World War I & the End of La Belle Époque

Behold the Very First Color Photograph (1861): Taken by Scottish Physicist (and Poet!) James Clerk Maxwell

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

Rome Comes to Life in Photochrom Color Photos Taken in 1890: The Colosseum, Trevi Fountain & More 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.

BOOOOOOOM!: Artist Spotlight: Ryan Travis Christian


Drawings by artist Ryan Travis Christian. More images below.

Electronics-Lab: DIY USB to TTL Converter


ams31 @ show us how to build a DIY USB to TTL Converter using CH340G IC.

Lots of USB to TTL modules are available in the market based on various chips like PL2303, FT232, CP2102 and CH340g. I have decided to use CH340g IC. Low costing clones of Arduino UNO & Arduino Nano also uses CH340g IC. And this IC is now easily available in India. Reasons for not using other converter IC’s.

DIY USB to TTL Converter – [Link]

The post DIY USB to TTL Converter appeared first on Electronics-Lab.

Electronics-Lab: 25V, 600 mA buck-boost DC/DC with 1.6 µA Iq


LTC3130 and LTC3130-1 are synchronous current mode buck-boost converters that deliver up to 600 mA of continuous output current from a wide variety of input sources, including single- or multiple-cell batteries as well as solar panels and supercapacitors. By Graham Prophet @

Their 2.4V to 25V input voltage range and 1V to 25V output range (LTC3130 is adjustable) provide a regulated output with inputs above, below or equal to the output. User selectable Burst Mode operation lowers quiescent current to 1.6 µA (1.2 µA at no load) improving light load efficiency and extending battery run time. The proprietary buck-boost topology incorporated in the LTC3130/-1 provides low noise, jitter-free switching through all operating modes, for RF and precision analogue applications that are sensitive to power supply noise.

The post 25V, 600 mA buck-boost DC/DC with 1.6 µA Iq appeared first on Electronics-Lab.

Perlsphere: DamianWare

Yesterday at YAPC Europe I gave a talk called “Error(s) Free Programming”. The slides are below, but it might make more sense once the video is online.

The talk is about Damian Conway’s module Lingua::EN::Inflexion and how it makes programmers’ lives easier. As part of the talk, I invented a logo for the fictional DamianWare brand. DamianWare is, of course, a brand that specialises in using deep Perl magic in order to produce tools that help Perl programmers be lazier.

It was just a joke. A throwaway visual to make a point in the presentation. But after the talk Mallory approached me and suggested that the logo would look great on a t-shirt which was sold to benefit The Perl Foundation. I couldn’t really argue with that.

And, having emailed him overnight, it turns out that Damian agrees it’s a good idea too.

So the shirts (and a couple of other things) are now available on Spreadshirt (currently the UK version, I’ll try to make them more widely available as soon as possible).

There’s an easier to remember URL at

Any profit that I make (and I think it’s about 20% of the sale price) will be donated to TPF as soon as I receive it.

The post DamianWare appeared first on Perl Hacks.

Open Culture: A Big Super Cut of Saturday Night Live Cast Members Breaking Character and Cracking Up

Corpsingaka laughing inappropriately onstage—requires far less skill than soldiering on when the actor playing opposite loses control, an occurrence that almost always wins audience favor.

The recently released super cuts of Saturday Night Live cast members’ composure deserting them, above and below, suggest that the worst offenders are aware that viewers will lap up these lapses. Why strive to stay in character when blooper reel stardom awaits?

It’s a fact that these crack ups have the ability to loosen things up, recalling that freewheeling period before the show became the institution its cast members dreamed of auditioning for since childhood.

It’s unclear what—if any—meaning we should ascribe to the evidence that the most indulgent gigglers are all male.

Could it be that women are funny after all… enough to win the sort of punchlines that’ll make the boys lose it on camera?

If so, perhaps we can arrange for aliens to abduct the next commentator who suggests otherwise, probe him, then seat him opposite a bewigged Kate McKinnon. No offense to guest host Ryan Gosling, the embodiment of a good sport. His inability to stay in character was both understated and heartwarming, and he wasn’t pandering. SNL regulars Aidy Bryant and Bobby Moynihan struggled too. I still wager a lot of funny ladies watched that Close Encounters skit, and rooted for McKinnon to be given the opportunity to take down an old school chauvinist pig.

But not everyone delights in watching these guys run off the rails, as Slate’s Jessica Winter notes in a piece about SNL’s corpsing phenomenon:

Tracy Morgan excoriated his fellow cast member (Jimmy Fallon) for “laughing and all that dumb shit he used to do,” explaining, “That’s taking all the attention off of everybody else and putting it on you, like, ‘Oh, look at me, I’m the cute one.’

It’s true that the camera never could resist cast member Bill Hader’s elaborate, utterly unsuccessful attempts to bring his face to heel. Witness the dress rehearsal for the West Coast-flavored soap opera spoof, The Californians, below. Amazing how little it changed en route to performance.

The writers outdid themselves when they bestowed a signature gesture on another of Hader’s recurrent characters, New York City cultural commentator, Stefon. His newfound proclivity for hiding his face behind his hands could’ve helped the actor pull it together, but instead it turned into a bit. Wonder what Tracy Morgan thought when Hader attributed his inability to keep a straight face to his straight man / Weekend Update foil Seth Myers:

A person being patient with an insane person is my favorite thing in the world…. You were being so patient with this maniac who had the simplest job in the world.

Related Content:

Don Pardo (1918-2014), Voice of Saturday Night Live, Suggests Using Short Words

John Belushi’s Improvised Screen Test for Saturday Night Live (1975)

Father Guido Sarducci Pitches “The Five Minute University”

Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, theater maker and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine.  Her latest script, Fawnbook, is available in a digital edition from Indie Theater Now.  Follow her @AyunHalliday.

A Big Super Cut of Saturday Night Live Cast Members Breaking Character and Cracking Up 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.

Penny Arcade: News Post: Rocket League Got Some PA Goodies!

Gabe: PAX is just around the corner and the folks over at Rocket League have added some cool Penny Arcade/PAX items to their game! Hopefully you’ve been watching the Acquisitions Inc. series on YouTube. If not you should catch up on it now because the live game we play at PAX will pick up right where this series leaves off. If you can’t make it to PAX, the Live game will be presented as a Fathom event this year which means you can watch it live at a movie theater near you. The Twitch stream isn’t going anywhere but there’s something about watching it with a big group… Comic for 2016.08.26

New Cyanide and Happiness Comic

Ideas from CBC Radio (Highlights): Line Drawing (Encore December 9, 2015)

Political cartoonists at Moses Znaimer's ideacity Conference ponder the role and limits of satirical cartooning. Where do they, and society, draw the line?

Disquiet: Listening to Yesterday: Avoiding Claustrophonia


There was a hum in the air, a fast-cycling white noise that filled the room. The room’s one door was closed, and its windows, in order for the machine making the noise to have its full effect. The machine was a powerful air purifier, an allergy-related device designed to pull dust from the room and adhere it to an easily removable filter, a robust one that could last months before disposal. The hum wasn’t merely a presence in the room. When turned on, the device’s fuzzy droning consumed the room. Like a quiet talker who draws in listeners, the machine seemd to pull the walls closer, an impression furthered by the closed door and windows. The outside world lost any presence. Not a siren or a bird or a passing bus was heard for the duration. The use of the machine was never a claustrophobic experience — never a claustrophonic experience. There was an intimacy to it, womb-like, comforting. The therapeutic purpose of the machine provided a positive association with the hum. I wondered if the company that manufactured the machine had worked to tune it, to give it a hum that was pleasant despite being so present, one that felt ameliorative rather than threatening. I wondered if, over time, the hum might alter — erode, degrade — and someone, the equivalent of a piano tuner, would have to come to my home and adjust it.

(Photo by Kent, used via Flickr and a Creative Commons license.)

Computer Science: Theory and Application: CompSci Weekend SuperThread (August 26, 2016)

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explodingdog: Photo

Daniel Lemire's blog: Faster dictionary decoding with SIMD instructions

A particularly fast and effective compression technique is dictionary coding. Intuitively, it works as follow. Suppose you are given a long document made of millions of words, but containing only 65536 distinct words. You can create a map from words to short integers or indexes (in [0,65536)). So the word “the” might be replaced by 0, the word “friend” by 1, and so forth. You then replace your document with an array of 16-bit integers. So you use only 16 bits per word.

In general, given a dictionary of size N, you only need ceil(log2(N+1)) bits to represent each word. Your dictionary can be implemented, simply, as an array pointers (using 64 bits per pointer).

It may help reduce memory usage if words are often repeated. But it can also speed up processing. It much faster for a processor to seek out a given integer in a flat array than it is to seek a given word.

You can also use nice tricks to pack and unpack integers very fast. That is, given arrays of 32-bit integers that fit in b bits, you can quickly pack and unpack them. You can easily process billions of such integers per second on a commodity processor.

In my example, I have used the notions of document and word, but dictionary coding is more often found in database systems to code columns or tuples. Systems like Oracle, Apache Kylin, and Apache Parquet use dictionary coding.

What if you want to reconstruct the data by looking it up in the dictionary?

Even if you can unpack the integers so that the processor can get the address in the dictionary, the look-up risks becoming a bottleneck. And there is a lot of data in motion… you have to unpack the indexes, then read them back, then access the dictionary. The code might look something like this…

unpack(compressed_data, tmpbuffer, array_length, b);
for(size_t i = 0; i < array_length; ++i) {
    out[i] = dictionary[tmpbuffer[i]];

Surely, there is no way around looking up the data in the dictionary, so you are stuck?

Except that recent Intel processors, and the upcoming AMD Zen processors have gather instructions that can quickly look-up several values at once. In C and C++, you can use the _mm_i32gather_epi64 intrinsic. It allows you to drastically reduce the number of instructions. You no longer need to write out the unpacked indexes, and read them back.

So how effective is it? The answer, unsurprisingly, depends on the size of the dictionary and your access pattern. In my example, I assumed that you had a dictionary made of 65536 words. Such a large dictionary requires half a megabyte. It won’t fit in fast CPU cache. Because dictionary coding only makes sense for when the dictionary size is less than the main data, it would only make sense for very large data. If you have lots of data, a more practical approach might be to partition the problem so have many small dictionaries. A large dictionary might still make sense, but only if most of it is never used.

I have implemented dictionary decoding and run it on a recent Intel processor (Skylake). The speed-up from the SIMD/gather approach is comfortably a factor of two.

Number of CPU cycles per value decoded
dictionary size (# keys) scalar SIMD (gather)
512 3.1 1.2
1024 3.1 1.2
2048 3.1 1.2
4096 3.3 1.3
8192 3.7 1.7

2x is a nice gain. But we are only getting started. My Skylake processor only supports 256-bit SIMD vectors. This means that I can only gather four 64-bit values from my dictionary at once. Soon, our processors will benefit from AVX-512 and be able to gather eight 64-bit values at once. I don’t yet live in this future, so I put AVX-512 to the test on high-throughput Intel hardware (Knights Landing). Short story: you gain another factor of two… achieving a total speed-up of almost 4x over the basic code.

While the benefits are going to be even larger in the future, I should stress that benefits are likely much smaller on older processors (Haswell or before). For this work, technology is still fast evolving and there are large differences between slightly recent and bleeding-edge processors.

What is optimally fast on today’s hardware might be slow on tomorrow’s hardware.

Some relevant software:

Further reading:

Credit: Work done with Eric Daniel from the parquet-cpp project.

Quiet Earth: First Look at Bill Paxton in Small Town Thriller MEAN DREAMS [Clip]

Director Nathan Morlando made a bit of a splash a couple of years ago with his feature film debut Edwin Boyd, a period heist movie I wasn't particularly impressed with but which suggested Morlando showed potential given the right material and with his sophomore feature, it seems he may have found his stride.

Mean Dreams, which premiered at Cannes earlier this year, stars Sophie Nélisse (a complete revelation in 2013's otherwise forgettable The Book Thief) as Casey and relative newcomer Josh Wiggins as Jonas, a pair of teenagers desperate to escape their abusive homes. They devise a plan to steal some money and try to escape their rural living only to find [Continued ...]

Open Culture: Hear the One Night Sun Ra & John Cage Played Together in Concert (1986)

It’s hard to imagine two figures more representative of two disparate directions experimental music took in the 20th century than John Cage and Sun Ra. Cage’s aleatory arrangements and instruments improvised from radios and TV sets left much to the discretion of the performer. And yet, oddly, he didn’t think much of improvisatory music, writing in his 1961 book Silence that he considered jazz “rather silly” and “unsuited,” notes Seth Colter Walls at Pitchfork, “for ‘serious’ contexts.”

Sun Ra, on the other hand, while a master improviser, left little to chance. He embraced the role of bandleader of his Arkestra with unique vigor, “completely obsessed with precision and discipline.” Cage preferred the plain-spoken, unspoken, and wordless. Ra delivered rococo treatises onstage, dressed in glittering capes and headdresses. How the two would, or could, come together may seem a mystery, but come together they did, for a one-time concert event at a Coney Island freak show.

The resulting album is “one of the most sought after records in either discography,” writes The Vinyl Factory in an announcement of the full performance’s recent release by label Modern Harmonic. Fans can finally purchase that double LP, or listen to the live recording for free above. (If you need Spotify’s software, download it here.) Though it may seem like a bit of a novelty, “the album gradually emerges as something greater than a footnote,” Walls writes, “despite the arms-length embrace, the overall concert has a surprisingly seamless quality.”

Cage’s contributions consist mainly of wordless vocalizations and poignant silences. Ra recites poetry and unleashes solo after solo on his Yamaha DX7 synthesizer, blending “sci-fi movie tones” with “sprightly figures” and “dense chords and drones.” The album’s trailer at the top of the post offers some rare black and white footage of the occasion, which briefly included a couple of additional artists–Arkestra saxophonist Marshall Allen and singer June Tyson. (Tyson’s intentionally strained performance “is beset by amplification problems,” Walls warns, “though the noise-damaged result works, in context.”

Throughout the one-off meeting, Ra and Cage trade solos, each respectfully yielding the stage to the other in turn. While this setup highlights the two giants’ profoundly different approaches to making–and conceiving of–music, Sun Ra’s “ability to meet Cage more than halfway… helps hold the entire gig together,” writes Walls. One of the few tracks on which the two collaborate directly, “Silent Duet,” is, well, exactly that. Since we cannot see the performance, we have to imagine the two of them, sitting side-by-side in silence, as the audience seems to all but hold its breath.

The odd thump of a foot against the mic stand aside, the recording documents almost total dead air. Then this gives way to Cage’s cryptic mumbling and Ra’s restrained keyboard taps in “Empty Words and Keyboard.” The effect is electric, the moment sacred, and the collaboration, though fleeting, reveals itself as genuinely inspired, not only for its careful play of contrasting avant-gardism’s against each other but for the extraordinary instances in which Afrofuturist free jazz and Fluxus minimalism find accord.

Related Content:

A Sun Ra Christmas: Hear His 1976 Radio Broadcast of Poetry and Music

Sun Ra Plays a Music Therapy Gig at a Mental Hospital; Inspires Patient to Talk for the First Time in Years

The Music of Avant-Garde Composer John Cage Now Available in a Free Online Archive

The Curious Score for John Cage’s “Silent” Zen Composition 4’33”

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

Hear the One Night Sun Ra & John Cage Played Together in Concert (1986) is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

Perlsphere: Perl Magazine: Cultured Perl

A news from CulturedPerl community collaborative blog has been launched!
The idea is really interesting: have a nice online magazine about Perl.
I'm not a Perl expert, at least not enough to be a writer/author for such pubblication, but I will surely read on it.

Open Culture: Hear the Music of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks Played by the Danish National Symphony Orchestra

With Twin Peaks coming back to our TV screens next year, fans want to know who’s coming back from the original cast and crew. The same could be said for composer Angelo Badalamenti, whose theme music for the series still evokes shots of sawmills, high waterfalls, rustling pines, and a deep, dark sense of mystery combined with the pangs of doomed romance.

In this selection from an August 19, 2016 concert from the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Anthony Weeden, Badalamenti’s score is given a chance to stand alone as a composition without the visuals. Bathed in red light, the orchestra looks appropriately Lynchian, and all that’s missing is a large red curtain and zigzag flooring. The arrangement hews close to Badalamenti’s, though his small combo from the original soundtrack gets expanded to a full orchestra, with kettledrums, glockenspiel, harp, and concert bells. However, when “Laura Palmer’s Theme” segues into the title theme, the two-note twang is still played on electric guitar. (You can’t mess with that!)

In this context, Badalamenti’s nods to Bernard Hermann’s Vertigo score are even more apparent, especially in the delicate, swelling love melody that is always in danger of sad collapse. The concert also featured selections from other great television soundtracks, including Game of Thrones, Homeland, Breaking Bad, Six Feet Under, and more. The whole concert can be watched here.

“We had a fabulous time performing it —a very special part of the evening,” Anthony Weeden is quoted as saying on the go-to Welcome to Twin Peaks site. And he added, “I can’t wait for the new series!”

Neither can we, Mr. Weeden.

via Welcome to Twin Peaks

Related Content:

Play the Twin Peaks Video Game: Retro Fun for David Lynch Fans

David Lynch Draws a Map of Twin Peaks (to Help Pitch the Show to ABC)

Hear the Music of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks Played by the Experimental Band, Xiu Xiu: A Free Stream of Their New Album

Ted Mills is a freelance writer on the arts who currently hosts the artist interview-based FunkZone Podcast. You can also follow him on Twitter at @tedmills, read his other arts writing at and/or watch his films here.

Hear the Music of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks Played by the Danish National Symphony Orchestra 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.

Quiet Earth: First Look at Dystopic Retro Scifi DARWIN [Trailer]

Here's something that plays into the current obsession with technology: Darwin.

Directed by Benjamin Duffield, a long-time TV and movie editor who occasionally dabbles as a director, Darwin is Duffield's first feature in a number of years and it looks rather fantastic.

The movie stars Nick Krause as Darwin, a young man living in a dystopian society where the outside world has been destroyed. Darwin spends his days in front of a computer screen playing games and dreaming about girls but when his living space encounters a malfunction that leaves him without food or water, he ventures outside where he discovers a perfectly healthy world. He's obviously being lied to but to what end?

What I love most of the trailer is just how retro it feels. From the [Continued ...]

Colossal: A Behind-the-Scenes Timelapse Captures the Extraordinary Physical Labor for the New Stop Motion Film ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’


This fantastic timelapse gives a stunning behind-the-scenes glimpse of animators working on the set of the new stop-motion film Kubo and the Two Strings. The film is the latest movie from animation studio Laika, who previously made Coraline, The Boxtrolls, and ParaNorman, and is the directorial debut of Travis Knight who worked as an animator on all of their previous films. You can watch an even longer version here, and the studio made a similar timelapse for the Boxtrolls.



Quiet Earth: Kate Beckinsale is Scared to Death of THE DISAPPOINTMENTS ROOM [Trailer]

The complaint that trailers generally reveal too much about a movie is a valid one and it seems with horror movies, that complaint is true more often than not. The first trailer for The Disappointments Room is a great example of a well cut trailer, offering up a great premise, a couple of different character motivations as to why what's happening is happening and then ending just before anything important is revealed.

Fingers crossed the movie is half this interesting.

Written by Wentworth Miller whose screenplay debut was none other than the extraordinary Stoker (review), The Disappointments Room stars Kate Beckinsale as Dana, a woman who moves into a new home with her husband and [Continued ...]

Professor Fish: Scoped global variables in Prolog

It just so happens that I needed global variables in some Prolog code.

In fact, I needed more carefully scoped global variables. SWI-Prolog's global variables are really global. (Well, they are thread-scoped, for what it matters.) This is not good, if you need a lot of global variables and maybe even in different parts of an application.

An uninspiring approach would be to fabricate global variable names in a manner that they are scoped internally by some name prefix. It was more fun to achieve scope by means of actually using one truly global variable to provide many scoped variables. Here is a demo:

?- logvars:get(myscope, a, X).                            

?- logvars:get(myscope, a, Y).

?- logvars:get(myscope, a, X), logvars:get(myscope, a, Y).
X = Y .

?- logvars:get(myscope, a, X), logvars:get(myscope, b, Y).
true .

Here is the code:

Inlined below:

% (C) 2016 Ralf Laemmel
:- module(logvars, []).

get(+S, +N, -V): Retrieve the value V of the global variable named N
and "scoped" by the global variable S. The variable N is
"automatically" created with a fresh logical variable V as initial

get(S, N, V) :-
( nb_current(S, _) ->
nb_setval(S, _) ),
nb_getval(S, (Ns, Vs)),
varnth0(Pos, Ns, N),
nth0(Pos, Vs, V).

varnth0(-Pos, ?Ns, +N): given a list Ns of atoms with a variable tail,
find the name N in Ns or, if not present, unify the first variable
position of Ns with N, and return the position as Pos. This is a
helper for get/3.

varnth0(Pos1, [N1|Ns], N2) :-
( N1 == N2 ->
Pos1 = 0;
varnth0(Pos2, Ns, N2),
Pos1 is Pos2 + 1 ).
varnth0(0, [N1|_], N2) :-
N1 = N2.

Quiet Earth: New Look at Bigfoot Horror Comedy THE FIANCE [Trailer]

There's always a fine balance to be achieved when mixing genres successfully and horror comedy is one of those pairings that more often than not ends in failure but sometimes, when the balance is right, you get something that looks kind of like The Fiancé: a ridiculous premise that perfectly lends itself to a bit of schlock and man, it looks like a ton of fun.

Written and directed by Mark Allen Michaels, The Fiancé stars TV personality Carrie Keagan (she of Sharknado 4 and Syfy's DEAD 7) as a vacationing bride to be who is bitten by Bigfott, turning her into a monster who wants to kill everyone including her fiancé, played here by newcomer Dallas Valdez who falls somewhere between a bit player from Tommy Wiseau's The Room and Di [Continued ...]

s mazuk: Photo

Colossal: Sponsor // Learn and save with Craftsy! One class for $19.99


Some days are meant for creativity — and today is one of them! For the next 24 hours, you can pick up any one Craftsy class for $19.99 or less. Click here to unlock your special pricing. And don’t delay — this deal ends soon.

This offer is only available August 25 and 26, 2016. This offer is exclusive for Colossal readers, from our friends at Craftsy. One class per member. Prices are in U.S. dollars. This sale excludes classes from The Great Courses.

Colossal: Vibrant Tattoos by Peter Aurisch Incorporate Elements of Cubism and the Natural World


Here’s a quick roundup of tattoos from the last year or so by German artist Peter Aurisch (previously) who continues to captivate with his bold application of color and thick lines that incorporate aspects of cubism. Aurisch works out of a private studio in Berlin where he also occasionally paints canvases and paints murals in the city. You can see much of his latest work on Instagram.









Disquiet: Disquiet Junto Project 0243: Synth Trial


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

Tracks will be added to this playlist for the duration of the project:

This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, August 25, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, August 29, 2016.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0243: Synth Trial
The Assignment: Share the best track from your audition tape for Blade Runner 2.

Please pay particular attention to all the instructions below, in light of SoundCloud having closed down its Groups functionality.

Big picture: One thing arising from the end of the Groups functionality is a broad goal, in which an account on SoundCloud is not necessary for Disquiet Junto project participation. We’ll continue to use SoundCloud, but it isn’t required to use SoundCloud. The aspiration is for the Junto to become “platform-agnostic,” which is why using a message forum, such as, as a central place for each project may work well.

And now, on to this week’s project.

Project Steps:

Step 1: As you now know, Jóhann Jóhannsson was selected to score Blade Runner 2. The news means, among other things, that you didn’t get the gig. Please reconcile yourself with this.

Step 2: Please share your favorite track from the audition tape you sent to Ridley Scott.

Five More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Per the instructions below, be sure to include the project tag “disquiet0243” (no spaces) in the name of your track. If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to my locating the tracks and creating a playlist of them.

Step 2: Upload your track. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your track.

Step 3: This is a fairly new step, if you’ve done a Junto project previously. In the following discussion thread at post your track:

Step 4: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

Step 5: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, August 25, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, August 29, 2016.

Length: The length is up to you. Three minutes seems like a good maximum.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0243” in the title of the track, and where applicable (on SoundCloud, for example) as a tag.

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

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

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

More on this 243rd weekly Disquiet Junto project — “Share the best track from your audition tape for Blade Runner 2” — at:

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

Subscribe to project announcements here:

Project discussion takes place on

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

: Yixing inventory #8: Tiehuaxuan Jiangji

This pot is one of the ones I use most heavily. I got this for a song because its handle was glued back on, but the gluing job was obviously very well done and there’s been no problem. The lion is quite detailed. The pot is stamped “tiehuaxuan zhi”. Tiehuaxuan is the name of a company during the Republican period making yixing pots, specializing especially in smaller pots (lion or shuiping) that have calligraphy and carving on them, like this one. They also make whole sets including pitchers and cups, but those get expensive. The seal under the lid is “Jiangji” referring, probably, to the maker Jiang Anqing who is known for making lion pots. 115ml.

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OUR VALUED CUSTOMERS: What goes around comes around...

Perlsphere: Maintaining the Perl 5 Core: Report for Month 34

Dave Mitchell writes:

I spent last month mainly working on "fuzzer" bug reports, and trying to process some of the backlog in my p5p mailbox.


1:45 "Confused by eval behavior" thread
1:21 [perl #127834] @INC issues
1:26 [perl #128241] Deprecate /$empty_string/
2:03 [perl #128253] Assert fail in S_find_uninit_var
1:19 [perl #128255] Assert fail in S_sublex_done
0:26 [perl #128257] Segfault in Perl_gv_setref
0:14 [perl #128258] Segfault due to stack overflow
3:16 fix build warnings and smoke failures
8:46 process p5p mailbox

20:36 Total (HH::MM)

As of 2016/07/31: since the beginning of the grant:

146.0 weeks
1988.7 total hours
13.6 average hours per week

There are 411 hours left on the grant (it having just been extended by 400 hours).

Planet Haskell: Brandon Simmons: Announcing: unagi-bloomfilter

I just released a new Haskell library called unagi-bloomfilter that is up now on hackage. You can install it with:

$ cabal install unagi-bloomfilter

The library uses the bloom-1 variant from “Fast Bloom Filters and Their Generalization” by Yan Qiao, et al. I’ll try to write more about it when I have the time. Also I just gave a talk on things I learned working on the project last night at the New York Haskell User Group:

It was quite rough, but I was happy to hear from folks that found some interesting things to take away from it.

Thanks to Gershom for inviting me to speak, for my company Signal Vine for sponsoring my trip out, and to Yan Qiao for generously answering my silly questions and helping me understand the paper.

P.S. We’re hiring haskell developers

Signal Vine is an awesome group of people, with interesting technology and problems to solve, and we’re looking to grow the small development team. If you have some experience with haskell (you don’t have to be a guru) and are interested, please reach out to Jason or me at:

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal: Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Life as a Berserker

On the plus side, the afterlife plan is pretty solid.

New comic!
Today's News:

Planet Lisp: Zach Beane: Dinosaur and Lisp

Dinosaur and Lisp has a nice hack for automating the Chrome dinosaur game with Common Lisp and CLX.

Better Embedded System SW: Boehm's Top 10 Software Defect Reduction list

A while back, Barry Boehm & Vic Basili wrote a nice summary of best ways to get better quality software. Their advice still applies to embedded systems today. Below is their list (in bold) with my commentary (the parts not in bold).

1. Finding and fixing a software problem after delivery is often 100 times more expensive than finding and fixing it during the requirements and design phase

Bug fix cost gets worse as your software gets closer to deployment, because you have to not only spend a lot of time tracking down the source of the bug, but also retest the system after the fix.  It is common to find situations in which a bug "escape" into field units costs dramatically more than 100x.  Consider having to recall a fleet of cars to install a bug fix, or do maintenance visits to thousands of sites to manually install a fix.  (Over-the-air fixes have their own problems, but that's a topic for another time.)

2. Current software projects spend about 40 to 50 percent of their effort on avoidable rework.

As the joke goes, the first 90% of the project is spent on design, and the second 90% on debugging.  The cheapest way to debug is to avoid putting the bugs into the software in the first place.  The next best way is to find them at the point of introduction (e.g., peer review of design before code is written) rather than at system test.

3. About 80 percent of avoidable rework comes from 20 percent of the defects

If you have a "bug farm" that's often not because the code is bad, but rather because the underlying requirements and design are bad.  If one module has a lot of bugs you should rewrite the module rather than keep patching it.  However, if during the rewrite you might well discover that the problem isn't really the code, but rather a bad design or unclear requirements. Writing new code for a bad design ultimately won't solve the problem.

4. About 80 percent of the defects come from 20 percent of the modules, and about half the modules are defect free. 

In addition to comments for #3 above, modules with high cyclomatic complexity tend to be difficult to test and tend to be more bug-prone.  Keeping a limit on complexity can help with this problem.

5. About 90 percent of the downtime comes from, at most, 10 percent of the defects.

It makes sense to weight testing on the areas that are the highest risk.  For desktop software this often corresponds to the common use cases.  For embedded systems and other mission-critical systems this also means testing failure detection and recovery for high-cost failures.

6. Peer reviews catch 60 percent of the defects.

Yes, really.  Peer reviews catch the majority of defects.  Why aren't you doing them?  (If you are doing them, are they catching at least half the defects?)

7. Perspective-based reviews catch 35 percent more defects than nondirected reviews.

When you do reviews, give each reviewer a checklist with a different set of areas to think about or different role to play.  For example, control flow, data flow, exception handling, testability, coding style.

8. Disciplined personal practices can reduce defect introduction rates by up to 75 percent.

As much fun as it is to be a coding cowboy, on average even the best programmer will introduce fewer bugs by following a methodical engineering practice rather than slinging code. As mentioned above, the cheapest bugs to fix are the ones that never made it into the code.  Beyond this, there are practices such as PSP and TSP that are shown to dramatically improve quality without really changing productivity.

9. All other things being equal, it costs 50 percent more per source instruction to develop high-dependability software products than to develop low-dependability software products. However, the investment is more than worth it if the project involves significant operations and maintenance costs.

In other words, if a product recall puts your company out of business, it's worth investing in good software quality up front.  In my experience if you are already shipping a mission-critical product you're already spending that 50 percent more (and then some), but still shipping defects.  This isn't saying spend even more.  Rather, doing peer reviews and some other basic software quality practices you can improve quality at the same cost you're already spending.  Testing software into submission is simply not the way to go.

10. About 40 to 50 percent of user programs contain nontrivial defects.

If you have programmable features, your customers will have bugs in what they do.  And don't forget that your financial management spreadsheets are user programs (i.e., can, and often do have bugs).

Items #1 - #10 from:
  Boehm & Basili, Software Defect Reduction Top 10 List, IEEE Computer, Jan. 2001, pp. 135-137.

You can read the original three-page article here:

Tudor Girba's blog: Lam Research evaluates Pharo

We are very happy to make the following announcement:

Lam Research, a leading supplier of wafer fabrication equipment and services to the global semiconductor industry, is an experienced user of the Smalltalk programming language. Smalltalk is a key component in Lam’s software control system for a broad range of the equipment it manufactures. Tudor Girba is a leading member of the tools and environment development effort in Pharo, having architected the Glamorous Toolkit for live programming. Eliot Miranda is author of the Cog virtual machine that underlies Pharo and other Smalltalk dialects.

Lam has engaged Tudor and Eliot to explore potential enhancements in Lam’s use of Smalltalk. These enhancements range from running highly optimized Smalltalk on low cost, single board computers, to enhancing Lam’s Smalltalk development practices with state-of-the-art live programming. During the engagement, Tudor and Eliot successfully moved a key communication component of the control system to Pharo. It was a challenging task aimed at extending the reach of Lam’s system to the Pharo world including the option of executing on ARM processors.

Tudor Girba, Eliot Miranda and Chris Thorgrimsson

BOOOOOOOM!: Animation of the Day: “I’m Dead Inside”


One of my favourite animators Dan Britt returns with another brilliant short, “I’m Dead Inside”, handling the visuals and the music! He previously contributed to Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared and made the brilliant animation “I Decided to Leave”. I can’t really tell if things like this are considered dark humour or just regular humour anymore. Maybe you can let me know one way or the other.

I highly recommend you watch “I’m Dead Inside” over on Booooooom TV.

things magazine: Raise the roof higher

A tranche of new music curated at Bandcamp Daily / women in publishing, at Motherland, ‘an online destination for women who happen to be mums’ / Peter Garritano’s series Hajwalah looks at drifting culture in the Middle East. See also … Continue reading

BOOOOOOOM!: Artist Spotlight: Kajahl Benes


A selection of paintings by Brooklyn-based artist Kajahl Benes. More images below.

Perlsphere: Cultured Perl

Back in about 2008, I set up a group blog called “Cultured Perl”. The idea was to have a blog that concentrated on the Perl community rather than the technical aspects that most Perl bloggers write about most of the time. It didn’t last very long though and after a few posts it quietly died. But the name “Cultured Perl” still appeals to my love of bad puns and I knew I would reuse it at some point.

At YAPC Europe 2010 in Pisa, I gave a lightning talk called Perl Vogue. It talked about the way the Perl modules come into fashion and often go out of fashion again very quickly. I suggested an online Perl magazine which would tell people which modules were fashionable each month. It was a joke, of course (not least because Vogue are famously defensive of their brand.

Over the last many years people have suggested that the Perl community needs to get “out of the echo chamber” and talk to people who aren’t part of the community. For example, instead of posting and answering Perl questions on a Perl-specific web site like Perl Monks, it’s better to do it on a general programming site like Stack Overflow.

Hold those three thoughts. “Cultured Perl”, online Perl magazine, getting out of the echo chamber.

Medium is a very popular blogging site. Many people have moved their blogging there and it’s a great community for writing, sharing and recommending long-form writing. I get a “recommended reading” email from Medium every day and it always contains links to several interesting articles.

Medium has two other features that interest me. Firstly, you can tag posts. So if you write a post about web development using Perl and tag it with “web dev” then it will be seen by anyone who is following the web dev tag. That’s breaking out of the echo chamber.

Secondly, Medium has “publications”. That is, you can bring a set of articles together under your own banner. Publication owners can style their front page in various ways to differentiate it from Medium’s default styling. Readers can subscribe to publications and they will then be notified of every article published in that publication. That’s an online magazine.

So I’ve set up a publication on Medium (called “Cultured Perl” – to complete the set of three ideas). My plan is to publish (or republish) top quality Perl articles so we slowly build a brand outside of the echo chamber where people know they can find all that is best in Perl writing.

If you write about Perl, please consider signing up to Medium, becoming a contributor to Cultured Perl and submitting your articles for publication. I’ll publish the best ones (and, hopefully, work with authors to improve the others so they are good enough to publish).

I’m happy to republish stuff from your other blogs. I’m not suggesting that we suddenly move all Perl blogging to Medium. For example, whenever I publish something on Perl Hacks, the post gets mirrored to a Perl Hacks publication that I set up on Medium earlier this year. There’s a WordPress to Medium plugin that does that automatically for me. There may well be similar tools for other blogging platforms (if you can’t find one for your blog – then Medium has an API so you could  write one).

If you are a reader, then please consider subscribing to Cultured Perl. And please recommend (by clicking on the heart symbol) any articles that you enjoy. The more recommendations that an article gets, the more likely it becomes that Medium will recommend it to other readers.

I have no idea how this will go, but over the next few months I hope to start by publishing four or five articles every week. Perhaps you could start by submitting articles about what a great time you had at YAPC Europe.

Oh, and here are the slides from the lightning talk I used to announce this project at YAPC Europe in Cluj-Napoca, Romania yesterday.


The post Cultured Perl appeared first on Perl Hacks.

BOOOOOOOM!: Pattern — The Simple Drawing App Every Designer Has Been Waiting For


Pattern is a fantastic little iPad app (available in the App Store as of today) created by former Facebook product designer Andy Chung, specifically for the purpose of ideation and early stage design. Its simple tools and charming interface feel equal parts whiteboard and grid paper.

I love this app! You can see in the video clip below just how beautifully considered it is. Everything feels natural and intuitive, and it makes creating with the Apple Pencil and gestures fast and fun. A web layout with notes scrawled over it, literally takes seconds.



Andy has given us 5 promo codes to download Pattern for free! We’ll hook up the first 3 people who leave a comment here telling us what crazy thing you hope it will help you design.

At the end of the day we’ll also pick 2 more people from all the comments to also receive the promo codes (I may pick the funniest two answers, just saying).

Hit the button below and scroll to the bottom of this post to leave a comment! There’s a few more images of the app down there as well.


s mazuk: redactron: Opening of current affairs/entertainment...


Opening of current affairs/entertainment program “Fantástico,” Brazil, 1983

Ideas from CBC Radio (Highlights): Reimagining Ecology

Three experts in urban and environmental conservation discuss an ecological approach to the restoration and preservation of both wilderness and cityscapes.

Colossal: Unwieldy LEGO Sculptures Reveal a Multitude of Hidden Shadow Designs


GIF via Sploid

Artist John V. Muntean (previously) constructs bulky objects that spin on a single axis that when paired with a light source reveal a multitude of projected shadow images. Two of his latest creations were built with tens of thousands of LEGOs, each with three separate images contained within a single sculpture. Watch the videos below to see how the work. (via Sploid)



Paper Bits: Seymour Papert dreamed of a learning revolution — why hasn’t it happened?

Seymour Papert dreamed of a learning revolution — why hasn’t it happened? / 2016-08-28T10:09:43