Link Dump

Link Dump

The usual link dump of interesting stuffs found in the depths of ye olde internets. Hard to believe it’s been almost 3 months since the last one of these, so strap in:

What would be Lydia Tár’s favorite movie of the year?

Oh, I think you know the answer to that.

“Tár”?

I think it would be “Tár.”

Do you have a favorite “Tár” meme?

People send me hysterical stuff. People have taken it so far beyond what any of us would have allowed ourselves to imagine. I think Lydia Tár, herself, would appreciate it, being a lover of anagrams and wordplay.

Did you ever expect the character to resonate so deeply?

Are you crazy? Of course not. But she’s very real to me. That’s a testament to Cate Blanchett.

  • Cheating Rumors – This happened less than two weeks ago and it was all over the place for like a day, but I doubt anyone remembers anything about Aaron Taylor-Johnson & Joey King anymore, but this video is funny and probably took longer to create than the whole news cycle covering it.
  • Fake trivia for Do the Right Thing on the IMDB Trivia Page – Dude made up a ridiculous bit of trivia about how the heatwave in Do the Right Thing was inspired by an early script for Predator 2. It’s still on the IMDB trivia page and has 35 likes.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned, for the Top 10 Movies of the year post is coming… soon?

Link Dump

We’ve finally come to the end of the Six Weeks of Halloween, and as I cope with the withdrawal symptoms, I leave you with this dump of interesting links from the depths of ye olde internets:

  • The Psychological Weirdness of “Prompt Engineering” – Apparently folks studying AI art prompts have discovered that the AIs have developed their own nonsense language. And I, for one, welcome our new artbot overlords. I’d like to remind them as a trusted blogging personality, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground sugar caves.

Scientists who’ve probed the inner workings of artbots have documented some truly odd inner states of these machines. Recently, two researchers at the University of Texas at Austin recently discovered that DALL-E 2 generates apparently gibberish phrases that, within the model itself, appear to have some sort of consistent meaning. They noticed the model generating the phrase “Apoploe vesrreaitais” — and when they fed that back to DALL-E 2 as a prompt, it drew birds. Similarly, “Contarra ccetnxniams luryca tanniounons” gets it DALL-E 2 to draw bugs or pests. “Wa ch zod ahaakes rea” produces pictures of seafood. Why? How did the model generate this weird, internal new language? The scientists have no idea, though it seems like some stray artifact of the adversarial nature of the DALL-E 2’s text encoder.

  • A Matter of Rights: A Talk with Lee Tsiantis – Short interview with a lawyer who does rights research for TCM and Warner Home Video. Rights issues are complicated and somewhat infuriating when you realize that, most of the time, studios can’t distribute the films due to nonexistent creators and the difficulty of tracing who owns what after the original creator died decades ago.
  • Chloe Grace Moretz on Martin Scorsese – Buried in this interview are a few fun anecdotes about Scorsese that really prompt additional questions: What were those 25-30 movies? And what did they sing for karaoke? 

AVC: What was it like to star in a Martin Scorsese movie when you were so young, especially one as grand and epic as this one?

CGM: It was all-encompassing, and I feel like [Scorsese is] very all-encompassing. He is such a cinephile, and he really imparted that knowledge to me, just in the time that I got to spend with him. One of the first things he did when I showed up to start preproduction is he had a big box dropped off, and it had probably 25, 30 movies in it. And he was like, “Before we start production, you have to watch all of these.” The movies that he gave me were different than movies he gave Asa [Butterfield]. So we had to do our homework, and then he would basically pop quiz us on it. He’d be like, “So, what do you think about this? What do you think about that?” He really got our muscles flexing.

AVC: I love that Scorsese just gave you a giant pile of movies to watch. That’s exactly what I would imagine him doing.

CGM: That’s exactly it. And we spent Christmas dinner together, basically, and we all just sang karaoke on the floor.

That’s all for now…

Link Dump

The usual dump of links from the depths of ye olde internets:

King’s appearance in an auditorium on the K-State campus had several hundred people in it, and it took place on a foggy night. When he took the stage, King noted that it was spooky weather, like one of his novels. Then he started speculating that it was the kind of night that a homicidal escapee from a mental asylum might be running around in. The crowd laughed. King continued that the maniac was probably out in the parking lot, checking cars to see if any were unlocked. The crowd loved it. Stephen King was telling us a creepy story on a foggy October night. How cool was that? King kept talking, adding details about the maniac and the knife he picked up somewhere. The crowd grew a bit uneasy but was still chuckling.

Then Uncle Steve started in on asking us if we were sure, REALLY sure, that we had locked our cars. You thought you did, but do you actually remember doing it? By then, the crowd had fallen silent. By the time King described the maniac finding an unlocked car, everyone was on the edge of their seat. Say what you will about the man, he took a brightly lit auditorium full of laughing cheering people and creeped the living shit out of everyone in it in about two minutes. And when I left, I checked my backseat before getting it, and I wasn’t the only one in the parking lot who did.

That’s all for now…

Link Dump

Just the usual interesting dump of links from the depths of ye olde internets:

  • AI Movie Posters – Yeah, yeah, I know, Dall-E has the momentum right now (and it’s great), but these AI generated, avant-garde movie posters are fun too.
  • List of Stories set in a future now past – Wikipedia has fun stuff if you know where to look.
  • The Market Basket on Boston Road – This is phenomenal. Not even sure if it’s real or not, but does that really matter?
  • Old Japanese Commercial – I don’t even know what it’s advertising, but it’s absolutely terrifying nightmare fuel.
  • Sam Raimi Defends Horror Films on UK’s Central Weekend in 1987 – TV is not as adversarial these days, this is a hell of a show (and boy do a lot of folks not come off well in their dismissive criticism of films they haven’t seen).
  • Who Ate the Pizza? – Feels staged, but it’s still funny
  • In defense of crypto(currency) – I’ve linked to some stuff that’s been (highly) critical of crypto in the past, but the underlying data structures and technology are interesting. I’ve always thought of crypto as a solution in search of a problem, and while it has solved some problems (i.e. thwarting man-in-the-middle attacks, enabling criminal enterprises, etc…), they’re, um, not all favorable. As currently constructed, these systems aren’t especially useful, but the engineering problems aren’t entirely insurmountable and the amount of money tied up in these schemes (even with recent tumbles) means there’s a big incentive to fix them. Healthy skepticism still warranted though.

And I’ll leave you with the tweet of the week (those poor librarians, but I can’t stop laughing):

Link Dump

The usual spin through the depths of ye olde internets:

  • The Silurian Hypothesis: Would it be possible to detect an industrial civilization in the geological record? – (Wikipedia has a much shorter summary.) Named after the fictional species from Doctor Who, the reality of this situation is much more mundane and boring than you might think. It turns out that not much would actually survive very long (certain plastics or nuclear waste, for example). Ironically, if this theoretical civilization made it to the Moon or Mars and left something there, it’d be much more likely to be intact…
  • Jason lives? The court battle that’s killing ‘Friday the 13th’ – Since another Friday the 13th has passed, it’s time to check in on the legal battles that have kept Jason from the screen since 2009. It turns out that copyright law is complicated and while the original screenwriter technically has rights to the characters and sequels, he doesn’t have rights to the title Friday the 13th or to international distribution. Arguably, he doesn’t even have rights to do a movie with an adult Jason. Ultimately, this thing won’t end until Victor Miller and Sean Cunningham come to some sort of agreement.
  • The Thing That Makes It Work Means It Doesn’t – Ryan Broderick on the paradox at the heart of social media:

…platforms are still stuck in a perpetual state of being terrible and, thus, good. Twitter and Tumblr are both fantastic examples of this bizarre tension, with user bases that are valuable in vastly different ways, but drawn to the apps because of features that make them unmonetizeable. Tumblr is essentially the greatest archive of possible copyright infringement ever created, which has led to an inscrutable and dense remix culture that conversely also drives a lot of what’s cool online. Meanwhile, Twitter is a poorly-incentivized battle royal for rich people, artists, and furries that only works because the barrier of entry for logging on and threatening to kill a columnist you don’t like is low enough that you can do it while still enraged from something you read while on the toilet.

That’s all for now!

Link Dump

The usual collection of interesting links from the depths of ye olde internets:

That’s all for now…

Link Dump

The usual spin through the depths of ye olde internets:

That’s all for now. Still working on the Top 10 movies of 2021 post, coming soon!

Link Dump

The usual spin through the depths of ye olde internets:

  • SR-71 Pilot tells an LA Speed Story – It’s really cool being an SR-71 pilot, great story
  • Juice That Makes Your Head Explode – I’ve explained this before, but back when bookmarking services like del.icio.us were still a thing, I had a tag called “idontknowwhatthefuckisgoingoninthisvideo” and this video would have been tagged as such.
  • Kids more inspired to work harder while dressed as Batman, study finds – One presumes the study breaks down when kids dress as batfleck
  • Loving Lies – Stephen Glass’ biggest lie. I don’t know what I expected, but it was not this level of cosmic irony.
  • The Quorum – One of the fun things about the movies used to be weird horse race analysis of box office stats. This activity has taken two hard hits in the past few years. The obvious one is the pandemic, which makes comparisons and analysis more difficult. The other is that Box Office Mojo was redesigned and isn’t anywhere near as useful as it used to be. The Quorum is a new data site that is based more on pre-release awareness, which is something that is especially volatile now in the pandemic and thus quite interesting.
  • Here’s Why Movie Dialogue Has Gotten More Difficult to Understand (and How to Fix It) – Ironically, improvements in sound technology make it harder to do sound better because filmmakers are so used to being able to fix sound in post (and other similar stuff)

That’s all for now…

Link Dump

The great comedown from the Six Weeks of Halloween has begun, so let’s just enjoy some links from the depths of ye olde internets:

That’s all for now…

Link Dump

The usual spin through interesting links from the depths of ye olde internets:

… uncritical acceptance of the lone genius myth is one more cultural force among many that is making it more and more difficult for individuals to do innovative work (and last time I checked, humanity is made up of individuals). In a fast-paced world full of intense economic/scientific/intellectual competition and decreasing opportunities for solitude, it is harder than ever before to justify spending significant time on intangible work that may or may not pay off. You can’t put on your resume – “I spend a lot of time thinking about ideas and scribbling notes that I don’t share with anyone.”

I guess what I want to counteract is the same thing that Stephen Malina, Alexey Guzey, Leopold Aschenbrenner argue against in “Ideas not mattering is a Psyop”. I don’t know how we could ever forget that ideas matter – of course they matter – but somewhere along the way I think we got a little confused. How this happened, I don’t know – you can probably broadly gesture at computers, the internet, big data, etc. and talk about how these have led to a greater societal emphasis on predictability, quantifiability, and efficiency. Ideas (and the creative process that produces them) are inherently none of these things; as Malina et al. remind us – Ideas are often built on top of each other, meaning that credit assignment is genuinely hard” and “Ideas have long feedback loops so it’s hard to validate who is good at having ideas that turn out to be good”. I would also mention increased levels of competition (as a result of globalism, increased population sizes, and the multitude of technologies that enable these things) as a major culprit. For any position at a college/graduate school/job you are likely competing with many people who have done all kinds of impressive sounding things (although it is probably 90% bullshit) so you better stop thinking about crazy ideas (remember, there are no such things as lone geniuses) and starting doing things, even if the things you are doing are boring and trivial. As long as they look good on the resume…

The confounding nature of the film’s inaccessibility has to do with who currently owns its rights. Though the film was distributed by 20th Century Fox, the distribution rights fell into the ownership of pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb. At one point, the company had their hand in buying entertainment properties, acquiring Palomar Pictures International. The production company was originally a subsidiary of ABC but it severed ties in 1969, which allowed Bristol-Myers Squibb to swoop in and take up a majority stake in 1972. Along with May’s The Heartbreak Kid, some of the films produced while owned by the pharmaceutical company included SleuthThe Taking of Pelham One Two Three and The Stepford Wives. But only two years after creating this entertainment arm, Bristol Myers-Squibb dissolved it.

  • Ricky Jay Does a Card Trick – Always worthwhile.
  • Scottish distillery tour guide – I’ve never been to Scotland, but this feels pitch perfect to me and if I ever do go, I’ll be supremely disappointed if my tour guide isn’t equally disaffected.
  • Greatest Ping Pong Volley – It’s amazing and unfortunately not from the Olympics, but then someone in the comments unearthed this absolute gem about an, er, adjacent sport? (Make sure you turn on the sound on that second one, the announcer is doing some heavy lifting here.)
  • In Praise of the Info Dump: A Literary Case for Hard Science Fiction – I don’t think there’s a real rule here – like a lot of things, info-dumps are really difficult to do well, so the general rule seems to be against them. But then, folks like Greg Egan are masters at this sort of thing and his novels wouldn’t work at all if it weren’t for the info-dumps. SF readers are probably much more tolerant of this sort of thing, and there’s almost a different way of reading that encourages it.

What distinguishes this genre isn’t so much plotting, characters, or concepts, but its special relationship to information. In a certain sense, an effective piece of hard science fiction comprises one world-sized info dump. Expert discourse is simply the most efficient delivery mechanism for this volume of information.

Maligned almost universally in fiction workshops, the info dump is a device that supplies a sizable amount of background information or other narrative material in order to make a story intelligible to the reader. Egan is a master of the trick. Yatima’s birth, an enormously complicated process that takes place in the first three pages of Diaspora, may be the most magnificent info dump I’ve ever read.

  • The Coen Brother – Ethan Coen recently announced that he’s done making movies. His brother Joel will probably continue, but what does this mean for the output of some of the most original and interesting filmmakers of the last few decades? Well, I guess we’re about to find out.

That’s all for now…