Media Summary: July 2017

Some interesting links from the last month:

Sci/Math/Prog summary: July 2017

Random list of interesting stuff this month:

Sun and Netscape are announcing a new version of Java that is intended to make programming more accessible to non-computer experts. The version is known as a scripting language, Javascript, and is based on a simple programming language already developed by Netscape. The idea is to make program development possible by people who are experienced computer users but not programmers.

… there is no business case anymore for a truly open platform based on custom-designed hardware, since people refuse to spend extra money for tweakability, freedom, and security.

  • I had always heard about the “hammer and feather” experiment on the moon; now, thanks to Youtube, I can see it.
  • Yep, Datomic is awesome and I wish I had more time or reason to play around with it. One day, one day.
  • Evan Miller seems to think Perl 6 is worth learning.
  • Herb Sutter put out a real teaser about upcoming metaprogramming abilities in C++
  • Finally, a short but important article reminds us that regardless of the machine underneath, we program in metaphors, and there’s no point trying to deny that.

You must master the art of metaphor selection, of meaning amplification. You must know when to add and when to subtract. You will learn to revise and rewrite code as a writer does. Once there’s nothing else to add or remove, you have finished your work. The problem you started with is now the solution. Is that the meaning you intended to convey in the first place?

Media Summary: June 2017

Tolstoy, taking a walk.

Random stuff from last month:

Media Summary: May 2017

Random stuff from last month:

Media Summary: April 2016

The giant armadillo, the largest living member of the family, weighs between 65 and 90 pounds and is found throughout much of South America. Its burrows are only about 16 inches in diameter and up to about 20 feet long.

“So if a 90-pound animal living today digs a 16-inch by 20-foot borrow, what would dig one five feet wide and 250 feet long?” asks Frank. “There’s no explanation – not predators, not climate, not humidity. I really don’t know.”

The idea of the lethal text is a fascinating one, which recurs in all kinds of narratives. In recent times it has become a motif in the genres of science fiction and supernatural horror, or any other type of story-telling which draws on the gothic. Aleph the Website of Aleph (Defunct) describes it like this: ‘Quite simply, the lethal text is a text that, when read, renders the reader incapable of reading. It destroys the reader’s mind, inducing a crippling insanity. Only those who have read a lethal text know what it says… but they are in no position to share their knowledge.’

See what I mean?! Yes? No? Alright, next time then.

Media Summary: March 2017

 The Upper Nepean (1889) by WC Piguenit

 

Random stuff read online last month:

  • The story of the guys who created Superman (Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster) is … dramatic (also, Superman as initially conceived, was actually a villain).
  • There’s a lot of crap on YouTube, but also a lot of gold — in this case, the first ever recording of Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold” (as in, he sits down, says “I’m gonna sing another new one now … I know these new songs, maybe that’s kind of weird”). Five minutes or so, and totally worth it.
  • Bonus: if you like that, here is the equivalent one for “Old Man”. Also, there are no background singers or dancers, or a music video to go along, or special effects of any sort; it’s just him, a guitar and mic. Just saying.
  • File this under the irony or stranger than fiction category; the headline says it all: “Man dies under his six-ton pile of porn magazines”
  • Someone has to remind us that this is the 100th year anniversary of something, so the New York Times does it.
  • The picture at the top is something that randomly popped up because I have a Chrome extension that shows stuff like this.
  • Someone followed an unusually large rabbit hole and found a Templar’s cave. Seriously.
  • I finished slowly re-reading Moby Dick and this piece (”The endless depths of Moby Dick symbolism”) perfectly captures my bewildered mix of feelings (what the **** did I just read?)

The book is nearly impossible to place, to categorize, to hold without feeling the vertiginous swell of its creation. More than any other book, it fills me with awe and dread.

Moby-Dick is about everything, a bible written in scrimshaw, an adventure spun in allegory, a taxonomy tripping on acid. It seems to exist outside its own time … It is so broad and so deep as to accept any interpretation while also staring back and mocking this man-made desire toward interpretation.

What does it mean? There are so many symbols as to render symbols meaningless.

Well, I just try to recommend my little essay to you, as an amusing attempt of a perfect stranger that went astray in the labyrinth of your Ulysses and happened to get out of it again by sheer good luck. At all events you may gather from my article what Ulysses has done to a supposedly balanced psychologist.

Media Summary: January/February 2017

Cahokia (artist’s rendition), across the Mississippi from what is now St. Louis

(I think I missed the entry for January, clubbing that here too …)

So, random stuff read, heard, seen:

And just as Smith’s friend says, this descent to righteousness is a habit—one of those habits of the heart, as Alexis de Tocqueville called them, that are essential to “the maintenance of a democratic republic in the United States.” In a nation founded on the suspicion of authority, in which the state church is no church at all, in which everyone may well be equally right (or just as disastrously wrong), ideologies inevitably wrestle each other to a standstill. But there is no arguing with the person suffering through no fault of his own; he’s been wronged, so he is right. The struggle for the moral high ground becomes, in remarkably short order, a race to the bottom.

  • Cautiously optimistic about a possible forthcoming movie adaption of Dune
  • AtlasObscura has a lot of interesting, weird stuff, like this bit about the “China girl” images that apparently used to be at the beginning of every movie reel.
  • I’ll admit I never knew about the man behind the “Hugo award”; and if you care about the Hugo award at all, you should read this piece, written by James Gleick (yes, that guy); would’ve used this image for the cover if I’d got to this item first.
  • Harry Houdini wasn’t just a great escape artist, he was also a great inventor. Also, secret footage(!)
  • Finally, 38000 year old art.