This one tickles a very old itch of mine: a lot of natural processes can really be seen as computation
This one is just … I don’t know what to say. Trekking across the desert and finding an abandoned space shuttle is like some indie video game, not real life. And yet, and yet …
This one is a blast from the past (about twenty two years ago), when Java was launched. But what to make of the following little paragraph?
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?
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.
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.
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.
There are survivalists, and then there are survivalists who want to do it in style. I present to you the future of luxury underground living (no, seriously, click on it and scroll down; you have to see it to believe it).
Finally, if you care for this sort of thing: it turns out that Carl Jung wrote a critical essay on ”Ulysses” when he read it, and then sent a letter praising it, to James Joyce.
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.
Found this great series of insights on movies on Youtube (the one linked to, on The Prestige, was especially good)
One of the absolutely bestexamples of synthesizing things that seem so different from each other, in this caseSnow Crash and Infinite Jest
I’m not sure if I agree with the conclusion in this piece, but I do think what’s covered in it is good stuff. Sample snippet:
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.