Media Summary: October 2017

Some interesting links for the month:

Aerial view of Ur, 1927.
Aerial view of Ur, 1927
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Monthly recap (October 2017)

Some ups and downs this month … leaving out some things.

One surprisingly good movie I saw this month was “Never let me go”, based on a book by the recent Nobel-prize winner, Kazuo Ishiguro. It’s already seven years old, and I’m surprised I never heard of it before. What’s more, it turns out another similar (in some ways) movie I saw a long time ago, “The Remains of the Day” was also based on a book written by the same guy (movie: 1993, novel: 1989) !!

Minor updates:

  • For various reasons, decided to make a will with my wife (not done yet, but got started on it)
  • Got another tooth extracted in preparation for an implant (long story, I have bad gums, need a bone graft and sinus lift, blah blah blah, painful and pointless)
  • Participated in a “Girls who code” event at work, which was extremely gratifying
  • Took a “mini train trip” with Tara (a few stops on the Caltrain)

Watched/read:

  • Logan (finally! it was good!)
  • Ghost in the shell (finally! it was good too!)
  • Bought Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco (finally! but won’t get to read it for a while …)
  • Our souls at night (Netflix)

Sci/Math/Prog Summary: October 2017

Interesting stuff from the past month:

  • I feel the old “static typing vs dynamic typing” debate has gotten more nuanced recently with ‘spec’ and ‘schema’ in Clojure (i.e. better, fine-grained, runtime constraints). Also, as this article shows, there is a different “sweet spot” for different companies/people, which colors their perceptions of usefulness.
  • Cool antique stuff: check out this machine that debuted at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York.
  • A fake interview with Linus Torvalds on Linux and Git, which made me smile 🙂
  • A balanced look at Urbit (not fawning, and not hating). If you’re curious, read this next.
  • You knew the moon affected the earth by its gravity, causing tides; but did you know it’s light was also influential?
  • Presented as idle curiosity: “Git bombs
  • Squids are marvellous creatures
  • Allen Wirfs-Brock gives a fascinating account of Smalltalk, and what it’s really about.
  • LIGO wasn’t just about discovering Gravitational Waves (and winning a nobel!) … it has also explained Gamma Rays, and the origin of heavy elements.
  • Inertia.
  • Someone’s journey developing a new Forth (ignore if you don’t know what that is).
  • As the subtitle of this text points out: “Once, robots assisted human workers. Now it’s the other way around.”
  • Cool weird trains of the past: duplex railway!
  • Been using Tinderbox for less than a year, but I share this person’s opinion.

Media Summary: September 2017

foucault-and-stoneman-n-death-valley
Foucault and Michael Stoneman in Death Valley.

Some interesting links for the month:

  • This right here is just … one of those things I can’t believe I hadn’t seen yet: a “breaking the fourth wall” sketch on Saturday Night Live about “The last voyage of the Starship Enterprise” (filmed in May 1976).
  • This long article was less about millennials and perhaps more about pop culture, but certainly caused the phrase “premium mediocre” to stick in my head.
  • If I had the time, I would be playing Uncharted. The latest one, ”The Lost Legacy” is out, and is apparently both eye-catching and a well-told story.
  • Speaking of things I haven’t watched for lack of time, the new ”Twin Peaks” has got good reviews.
  • In City Journal, someone muses about “Silicon Valley vs Gotham” (missing the latter).
  • A biography of Alex Honnold, the chap who climbed El Capitan with no tools (seems surprisingly normal).
  • An interview with someone who accompanied Michel Foucault on his trip through California and Death Valley.
  • I’m going to leave this title here without comment: ”Why is linguistics such a magnet for dilettantes and crackpots?”
  • Andrew Sullivan asks: Can our democracy survive tribalism?
  • You either get very excited about stuff like this, or you don’t: a bunch of papyrus was discovered from during the time the great pyramids were being constructed! (so, mundane “normal life” stuff, along with mundane details of the build, but … isn’t that cool?)

Monthly recap (September 2017)

(nothing much happened this month)

Minor updates:

  • Went to Barnes and Noble with Tara for the first time (fun!)
  • Zume pizza party with our ex-neighbors
  • Meeting some friends
  • Kick-started journalling habit

Watched/Read:

  • Some old Star Trek episodes
  • Part of a documentary on H. R. Tiger
  • ”Kill Command”

Sci/Math/Prog Summary: September 2017

Fun stuff from the past month …

The 59 digits of the Babylonian number system used in ancient Mesopotamia.
The 59 digits of the Babylonian number system used in ancient Mesopotamia.
  • Blast from the past: a “Unix logo contest”, twenty years ago, that was in turn celebration thirty years of Unix.
  • A “less massive” black hole right next to the supermassive one at the Milky Way’s center.
  • An excellent talk by Bryan Cantrill: the Oral Tradition in Software Engineering
  • This, from almost twenty years ago, is the result of an internal Microsoft satire competition. I feel like copy-pasting the whole damn thing here, but maybe I’ll make a separate post for it, it’s that good.
  • “How does a database work?”: an excellent series of posts re-inventing a simple SQLite clone
  • Might have posted this before, but so what, it’s a classic: Gerald Sussman (the talk is six years ago now) on We really don’t know how to compute
  • 2048 ruined many hours of many people’s time, so someone went and did a detailed combinatoric analysis.
  • I wish I understood this better, for now I’ve just shelved it on my “to-read” list: one of those “how is everything really connected” pieces. I’ve stalked blog posts by John Shutt for a long time now, love all the insights in the past.
  • I’ve started and stopped reading The Elements of Programming a few times, but here’s someone who’s demonstrating the concepts (pun intended) in there.
  • Connecting programming language design to architecture.
  • I just don’t have time these days, but I do want to watch “The Orville”; here’s Seth McFarlane discussing it, and the possibilities for science fiction today.
  • I don’t always read Hacker News, but when I do, it’s for Alan Kay’s comments.
  • Urbit has been (IMHO) a strange thing, either crap or the holy grail, nothing in between, and it seems to have shifted over to Ethereum, so we’ll see how that goes.
  • Finally, (weekend casual reading!) a Scientific American article on The joy of sexagesimal floating-point arithmetic (related image on top).

Media Summary: August 2017

 

Image 9-14-17
Freaky cloud, over a town in Brazil.

Some interesting links for this month:

I’m not saying that many of these tools, apps, and other technologies are not hugely convenient. But in a sense, they run counter to who we are as human beings.