July 8th, 2015

The other week I made a note to myself to watch out for a recent science fiction film called Advantageous, an expansion of a previous short of the same name.1 This morning I came across a copy of the original short film on YouTube, and it's really very good:

Now I'm definitely going to watch out for the feature length version.

  1. I found out about the film via a Mike D'Angelo review at The Dissolve. Sad news today that The Dissolve has ceased publishing. Dammit, not only did they have a host of excellent reviewers who produced readable, insightful reviews and a range of essays and news stories that catered for a wide range of interests, but they also put out a pretty decent podcast. At least as importantly, in the space of not quite two years they'd attracted the second-best community of commenters of any site I visit regularly, second only to the folks who make MetaFilter so good.

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Project Seen

June 27th, 2015

Project "Seen": a typeface that redacts your words as you type them.

Not a Secret


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June 24th, 2015


A lost soul stumbles drunken through the city. In a park, Death finds him and shows him many things.

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No. Just …. no.

June 22nd, 2015

Too soon. Way too soon.

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The Cloud in your home

June 20th, 2015

Free heating, if you have fibre Internet:

To be eligible for the eRadiator, your home has to have a "fibre-optic connection" and "an external wall." The fibre link is necessary to connect the eRadiator to Nerdalize's core network, and the external wall is needed for venting (if you "turn off" the eRadiator, the servers don't actually turn off; the heat is just pushed outside).

In exchange for free heating (after the €400-500 setup cost), Nerdalize uses the network of eRadiators to provide a cloud computing service. Because the company doesn't run a centralised data centre, operating costs are much lower, which means the "cost-per-job [to the customer] is up to 55% lower." The quality-of-service will be be lower than centralised cloud compute, too – Nerdalize won't have any control over the access network (what if the home owner decides to do some torrenting?) – but there are plenty of use cases where cost is more important than latency.

I wonder just how much of your home internet connection's bandwidth one of these would take up.1

[Via Interconnected]

  1. And how long it'd be after you started hosting this service before your ISP/cable company politely reminded you of that clause in their contract about the internet connectivity service they provide being for domestic use only. Or is that not a thing nowadays?

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Léa likes flying

June 16th, 2015

I urge you to watch this video of a young girl's first experience of aerobatic flight:

That laugh is adorable.


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How is a dirty mess of dust, ice, and rock possibly that damn shiny?!

June 11th, 2015

io9 have started a new series with A Scientist Responds… To Deep Impact:

Premise #3: The giant comet headed towards us was not picked up by any of the agencies or researchers deep-scanning the skies, but a teenager with his backyard telescope did spot it.

The American military can't even keep the orbits of their clandestine spy satellites secret from amateur astronomers for long; a massive comet coming to destroy the planet would absolutely be noticed by everyone else, and the construction of the Messiah spacecraft would've been photographed in detail long before the President's speech.

The deeper problem though seems to be that astronomers in this movie don't actually look at stars. This is remarkably clear when teen astronomer Leo Biederman spontaneously decides the field of view for his telescope is greater than 10 degrees, the distance covered by two fists held at arm's length, and manages to find Alpha Centauri, a star not visible in the northern hemisphere. It doesn't get any better when we switch off to his doomed mentor, Dr. Marcus Wolf. By the time Wolf performs the world's fastest, tidiest orbital determination on virtually no data while munching on pizza before bolting off to make an instantaneous report on a comet that wouldn't arrive for over two years, I've already written him off as an alien from another dimension utterly lacking in night-vision rods in his eyes, an understanding of orbital mechanics, and common sense.


Verdict: No. Just no, not likely at all, and it makes me weep soggy tears for hard-working astronomers everywhere.

The sad thing is, I always had a bit of a soft spot for Deep Impact.1

Now, let's see them inflict The Core on some poor, unsuspecting sap.

[Via Extenuating Circumstances]

  1. Though if I'm honest, this was in no small part because of the contrast with Armageddon, which showed up the same year and made Deep Impact look like 2001: A Space Odyssey scientific accurary-wise.

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June 10th, 2015

The story of The Last Museum:

I am not at my ranch, nor my Beijing office, nor the lesser office in Brooklyn, but here, back home, in the Old Valley. In a few minutes we'll pull off the highway and into what used to be Pruneridge Shopping Center. I can see the Jobs statue out the window of this car, rising up from the center of the Apple ring.

Pruneridge has gone the way of all physical stores. In its place stands a massive set of overlapping, complex, structurally-interlinked steel polyhedra that required sixty-thousand hours of continuous computer time to model. Ten billion microscopic mirrors catch the light and reflect it in various soothing patterns. There is one mirror per living human on this earth.

This is MoST, the Museum of Social Transformation. It is mine, but soon it will belong to the world.

I will tell you how I got here. […]

[Via Extenuating Circumstances]

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Good, honest muck

June 7th, 2015

Just think of all the immunities the kid is building up, one handful of dirt at a time.

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'Isn't it irresponsible filmmaking to teach young people in the audience that they can survive throwing electrical objects into the water the way Jay does?'

June 6th, 2015

Someone has been thinking about It Follows just a tad too much:

And for a horror film, there are surprisingly few deaths. Apart from the mystery girl's death that opens the film (we never find out how she related to the rest of the characters), the other main on-screen death is Greg, killed in his bedroom. Given that the creature walks toward the victim until it reaches them, how very convenient that it so seldom appears in the middle of the night while the victim is asleep! Where's the "don't fall asleep" warning à la invasion of the Body Snatchers and A Nightmare on Elm Street?

[Via Criticwire, via The Dissolve]

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