General interesting links: July 2018

Last month’s bunch of random stuff:

Though Predatorenjoys a warm reception from science fiction and horror fans, many don’t give it due credit for its tact and intelligence. What begins as an action film slowly morphs into one of the most effective and unsettling horror movies ever made. Predator meticulously picks apart genre expectations, destroying the ’80s action hero archetype and creating a villain that to this day outshines the film’s leading man.

Some of the more pessimistic commentators at the time of the credit crunch, myself included, said that the aftermath of the crash would dominate our economic and political lives for at least ten years. What I wasn’t expecting – what I don’t think anyone was expecting – was that ten years would go by quite so fast. At the start of 2008, Gordon Brown was prime minister of the United Kingdom, George W. Bush was president of the United States, and only politics wonks had ever heard of the junior senator from Illinois; Nicolas Sarkozy was president of France, Hu Jintao was general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, Ken Livingstone was mayor of London, MySpace was the biggest social network, and the central bank interest rate in the UK was 5.5 per cent.

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Monthly recap (July 2018)

A seal on a rock near the shore at Monterey

Major updates:

  • My parents were here for a couple of weeks, we had a mid-week trip to Monterey around 4th July, where we stayed near the beach. Good walks, good food, good fun.
  • Visited the Legion of Honor museum, hadn’t been there before
  • Bunch of eating nearby, but my mom got sick at the end and had to get operated when she went back home ☹️

Minor updates:

  • Swapped my Bowflex set for Powerblocks, liking it
  • Discovered Zazzle, made a T-shirt for myself and one for Tara
  • Bunch of cleanup/repairs need at home

Watched/read:

  • Re-watched The Death of Stalin with my parents (because it’s that good)
  • Watched about half of Moana with Tara and my parents (until she got scared and didn’t want to watch any more)
  • Watched Sacred Games and Thor:Ragnarok on Netflix
  • Read The Tinderbox Way (use the software on and off, incredibly powerful but a high learning curve)

Revisiting blog post categories

I’ve been writing three monthly posts for a while now (a couple of years, maybe?): a monthly summary of what I’ve been up to, and then two sets of “interesting links”.

These have been (arbitrarily, the first time, and then carried on ever after) separated out roughly into Programming/Math/Science, and everything else.

This dichotomy bothers me — just have one bucket for “stuff I found interesting this month” so I’m just going to have one monthly round-up of links.

I do have a static weblog as an outlet for sharing links/extracts/snippets, so that can still count as a “programming-only channel”.

Zazzle

I can’t believe I never discovered this before. I am never going to pay for quirky T-shirts or coffee mugs again, I’m just going to make my own!

Zazzle.com allows you to upload an image and slap it on to pretty much anything. I made a black T-shirt for myself a few days ago; it arrived today and fitted me well, (now just have to see how it performs after a round of laundry …).

For future reference, this is where I’m going to be adding stuff I make: https://www.zazzle.com/abacusnoirform

General interesting links: June 2018

Last month’s bunch of random stuff:

  • Musical selection for the month #1: an old song with many versions: “The Windmills of Your Mind”
  • Picked up an interesting graphic novel, a fictionalized account of Lovelace and Babbage
  • A playlist of classic Sci Fi audiobooks.
  • Humorous blast from the past: apparently in 1999, Trump suggested a one-time tax on the 1%:

“No one has put forward a plan to make this country entirely debt free as we enter the next millenium,” Trump said in a written statement.

“The plan I am proposing today does not involve smoke and mirrors, phony numbers, financial gimmicks, or the usual economic chicanery you usually find in Disneyland-on-the-Potomac,” Trump said.

Trump would exempt the value of an individual’s principal home from the net worth total.

“By my calculations, 1 percent of Americans, who control 90 percent of the wealth in this country, would be affected by my plan,” Trump said.

“The other 99 percent of the people would get deep reductions in their federal income taxes,” he said.

A life spent buried in video games, scraping by on meagre pay from irregular work or dependent on others, might seem empty and sad. Whether it is emptier and sadder than one spent buried in finance, accumulating points during long hours at the office while neglecting other aspects of life, is a matter of perspective.

Monthly recap (June 2018)

 

A new set of thousand pieces for a puzzle …

 

Major updates:

  • Re-started my “run every Sunday morning” habit, for the first time since Oct 2016
  • Successfully gave up regular coffee drinking after many, many years

Minor updates:

  • Better sleeping policy
  • Went to my first NBA game (Warriors vs Cavaliers, at Oakland)
  • A lot of meeting up with old friends
  • Fun work picnic
  • Watched Incredibles 2 with Tara!
  • Started a new 1000-piece puzzle

Watched/read

  • (Netflix) The little prince (different from the original, but in a great way)
  • (Netflix) The Trip to Spain (excellent piece in the trilogy, can’t believe I missed it after watching the first two (The Trip, The Trip to Italy) immediately when they were released)

Programming/Math/Science roundup: June 2018

 

Taken by Lunar Orbiter 1, in Aug 1966. That’s 1966 !

 

Somehow, a lot of interesting stuff this month:

Anyway, I know what it is to look at functionality and duplicate it elsewhere.  It CAN be done.  I am not saying it can’t.  What I’m saying is that it has not been done, and it’s a crying shame.  Few people even know there ever WAS a lisp machine, and those who do are mostly not rich enough personally to invest the time to duplicate what was there. Many people spent a big chunk of their lives investing in this dream and it didn’t pan out quite as we wish.  Ok.  Sometimes other events win out–not always  even for the right reasons. Or at least for the reasons you wish.  But don’t add insult to injury to say that the losers in battles such as these had nothing to offer.

Common Lisp beat out Interlisp, and maybe for good reasons but it doesn’t mean Interlisp had nothing to offer–some very good ideas got lost in the shuffle and I don’t pretend that Common Lisp just obviously had a better way.  Java is going to beat out Smalltalk perhaps, but that doesn’t mean Java is better than Smalltalk.  We owe it to the losers in these little
skirmishes to make sure that, if nothing else, the good ideas are not lost along with the framework.  And we do not accomplish that by defining that there was nothing lost. That’s both callous to those who worked hard on these other things and short-sighted to the future, which might one
day care about the things that got lost.