Link Dump

Link Dump

I debated writing about something political today, which was a bad idea and now I’m depressed so here, fun links that might brighten up your day.

That’s all for now. Stay safe out there.

Link Dump

The usual links from the depths of ye olde internets:

  • How I’m Handling Online Teaching – Watch until the end; sheer perfection.
  • It’s Time to Build – Interesting view on where we are that is ultimately optimistic, if only we can overcome our inertia:

    The problem is desire. We need to *want* these things. The problem is inertia. We need to want these things more than we want to prevent these things. The problem is regulatory capture. We need to want new companies to build these things, even if incumbents don’t like it, even if only to force the incumbents to build these things. And the problem is will. We need to build these things.

    And we need to separate the imperative to build these things from ideology and politics. Both sides need to contribute to building.

    One of the books I’ve read during lockdown was The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, and this goes well with the article. One of Taleb’s main points is that our inability to predict a fabled “Black Swan” event means that our institutions need to be flexible and prepared… but that sort of robustness can appear to be inefficient or redundant during the longer periods of normalcy. A lot of the stuff in the linked article is talking about exactly this sort of thing. Weirdly enough, Taleb mentions in the book (multiple times) that our overly interconnected globalised supply chain makes us vulnerable to certain events… like a pandemic (i.e. he didn’t so much predict the pandemic as he did the poor response to the pandemic). I like the linked article above because it’s at least thinking about a path forward, while most people are stuck politicizing anything and everything for no benefit whatsoever. It’s frustrating, but again, there’s a way out, and maybe it’s worth thinking about that more than, I dunno, masks.

  • Inside Joe Manganiello’s Epic Dungeons & Dragons Campaign – Among many weird little tidbits in this is that Tom Morello invited Vince Vaughn to play in this campaign. I don’t know, I just find it funny that they’re friends.
  • The Architecture of Dread – So some prepper billionaire bought an old underground nuclear missile silo and turned it into an inverted skyscraper/self-contained bunker full of luxury accommodation and video screen windows and now he and 57 other people have gone inside and shut the doors…
  • ‘Expert Twitter’ Only Goes So Far. Bring Back Blogs – I had kinda hoped that this whole lockdown situation would result in a resurgence of blogs, but that’s probably just wishful thinking. Still, it’s heartening to see I’m not the only one who thinks Social Media is too slight to carry the burden we’ve place on it.
  • Quibi Sent These Podcasters A Cease-And-Desist, So Now They’re Out For Blood – Utterly bizarre response to fans of a service that was facing enough struggles as it was without shooting themselves in the foot on purpose.

And that’s all for now…

Link Dump

As per usual, just a list of fun stuff seen on the internets of late:

  • Choose Your Quarantine Character – Perfect little parody by filmmaker Alina Polichuk. Every detail of this is well observed and executed perfectly. And there’s a Part 2
  • What Day Is It? With Todd Meany – Cleveland news programs are having fun with people apparently not realizing what day it is anymore because they’re just sitting in their house all day.
  • put me in coach – I have no idea what is going on in this video, but the comedic timing is absolutely perfect
  • The Movies Behind Your Favourite GIFs – Interesting video exploring the concept. The guy’s voice is grating at first and ew could probably use more examples, but it’s a good exploration of the topic.
  • Pizza (2012) Movie Review by Dylab – This Indian movie about a pizza delivery guy getting stuck in a haunted house was a contender for Weird Movie of the Week, but it’s not quite weird enough… but this review of the film is really fantastic and you should read it. (The movie is far too long for what it is and some of the haunted house stuff is overbaked, but it’s got some kooky twists and is pretty fun otherwise.)
  • Getting In My Ex-Girlfriend’s Back Door – This locksmith video is a hilarious deadpan April fool’s joke.

So there you have it. Stay safe and sane in lockdown, folks.

Link Dump

Just the usual interesting links from the depths of ye olde internets.

  • Is My Pastor an Alligator? 7 Gospel-Centered Takeaways – A recent gem from the #idontknowwhatthefuckisgoingon tag, the entire Matthew Pierce Evangelical Thought Leader™ site is a doozy, but I loved this one in particular:

    Have you ever heard horrible snarling and grunting sounds coming from your pastor’s office and walked in, only to find your pastor’s wife quickly trying to button her Mandy Moore Walk to Remember good girl white shawl with her stubby little arms and your pastor holding a copy of Systematic Theology in his lap but it’s upside down and he clearly wasn’t reading it, he’s just trying to hide his man goodies and you’re like oh, my bad, and your pastor is like “oh, uh, Sherri and I were just praying” and Sherri is so nervous she knocks over the lamp with her green scaly tail.

    Brilliant.

  • The Two Generals’ Problem – Pretty good overview of a classic computer science problem. In case you can’t tell, I read a lot of science fiction (and, for the record, science fact), and one of the concepts that comes up is that we could, like, digitize ourselves and beam copies to other planets/systems/wherever. You’d need to travel there via conventional means first, but once you have a receiver… but then you’d have to contend with the Two Generals’ Problem, which is terrifying in this context.
  • Long Chile, Ohio2, and the Snack Rack – You may have seen the strange and brilliant alternative USA map drawn by a creative teenager; this is the story behind that, as well as some other antics from their family.
  • We Interviewed David Lynch and Now We’re Trapped in This Diner Forever – I mean, what did you expect man?
  • Gone Girl Commentary: Four Days – David Fincher calls Ben Affleck unprofessional in this short clip from the Gone Girl Commentary. I can’t tell if this is an actual, true story, or if Fincher just has a really dry sense of humor and is just messing with Affleck.
  • A family bought a 20,000-square-foot Freemason temple in Indiana for $89,000, and they’re now turning it into their home – Living the dream. I mean, I assume the place is a total Money Pit in the long run, but it seems like a no brainer otherwise. It’s also apparently haunted.
  • America Uses Fahrenheit. The Rest of the World Uses Celsius. America Is Right. The Rest of the World Is Wrong. – There are arguments to be made about the rest of the metric system, but Fahrenheit vs Celsius is a different story. The chart on this page is dead one.
  • Why are they called Triscuits? – Twitter is often a cesspool of political bickering, but stumbling upon stuff like this is just the best.
  • The Lord of the Rings with Lightsabers – Normally, I’d say that people have too much time on their hands, but then, you know, pandemic. Pretty sure someone would have done this anyway though.

That’s all for now. Stay safe and healthy, everyone.

Link Dump

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

  • And Now, An Intimate Conversation With Elijah Wood – Scott Wampler’s interview with Elijah Wood is, well, it’s something else:

    I’ve interacted with you often enough on Twitter to know you’re a regular social media user.

    Oh, yeah.

    So then you must be familiar with Daddy Culture.

    (long pause) …Not really.

    I don’t believe that.

    Do you…are we talking about, like, someone who’s looking for someone else to take care of them? Like a Sugar Daddy?

    Yes, it could be that. Anyone can be a Daddy.

    I don’t –

    People said Venom was Daddy.

    Okay.

    A lot of people said Venom was Daddy, in fact.

    Sure.

    So, was there ever any concern on your part that titling your film Come to Daddy might therefore be considered an intrusion, or co-opting of, Daddy Culture?

    I don’t think that was ever a concern.

    Mhm.

    The first thing that came to mind when I read the title was probably the Aphex Twin song, and there’s actually another Aphex Twin song in the movie, it’s beautiful. But no, I don’t think we thought about Daddy Culture, or how we might be appropriating it.

    Well, maybe that’s something for you to think about.

    You’re absolutely right.

    Do you consider yourself a Daddy?

    Well, I mean, I am a dad.

    Yes, you’re a recent father, but are you a Daddy?

    (long pause) I don’t think I quite know what that means.

    Alright, Elijah, if we’re gonna continue to play games I’m just gonna have to move on to the next line of questioning.

    Honestly, Scott, I want to help you, I just –

    Moving on.

    They talk about things other than Daddy Culture too.

  • It’s Time for a Best Stunts Oscar – The trials and tribulations of trying to get a Best Stunts Oscar off the ground. It’s more complicated than you might think, but it’s also stupid that it doesn’t exist.
  • Why Didn’t Ancient Rome have Dungeons and Dragons? – Ruminations on the nature of innovation and how infrequently it actually happens.
  • Predators And Danny Glover Dancing On The Set of Predator 2 – I mean, what is going on here?
  • Spiders On Drugs – Stick with this until the end, it’s not what you think. Or maybe it is. I don’t know what you’re thinking.
  • This Grasshopper Mouse Hunts Scorpions, Howls at Moon – This mouse is much more badass than the bigoted stereotypes surrounding mice.

That’s all for now…

Link Dump

Just the usual twirl through the depths of ye olde internets:

  • The Five Stages of Being Adapted by Martin Scorsese – Interesting article interviewing authors who’ve had movies adapted from their novels. I particularly liked Dennis Lehane’s thoughts on writing for the screen:

    I hate the term “cinematic” when it’s applied to anything besides cinema. I feel like saying, “What it is is perfectly detailed. What it is is giving you the impression of cinema before cinema existed.” Good writing is vivid. Good writing is visual. Good writing makes the brain turn into a film projector. What I would consider “cinematic writing,” and I would disparage it, is writing so it can be made into a film. Just write a script.

    And this bit about the reception of Shutter Island is good too:

    Critically, the response to [Shutter Island] was pretty tepid. I remember A.O. Scott at The New York Times practically had an embolism over it. He hated it so much. I thought it was hilarious. I had a blast reading that review and I would read that out loud to my friends. I know that the general critical response was, “It’s OK, but in the Scorsese lexicon we throw it around the Cape Fear general area.” But the popular response is bigger than anything else I’ve been associated with.

    “Oh, you’re a writer, what do you write?” Like, people expect you to say you’re a copywriter or something like that. I’ll say, “I wrote Mystic River,” and sometimes I get a kind of, “Oh, I think that was a movie.” But I say Shutter Island, everybody goes, “Oh, DiCaprio?” Everybody knows it, so …

    I guess there still are movie stars these days…

  • ‘Parasite’: How This Year’s Wildest, Buzziest, Most Unexpected Breakout Hit Came to Life – This interview with Bong Joon Ho features this insane exchange:

    Would you direct a Marvel movie?

    Bong: I have a personal problem. I respect the creativity that goes into superhero films, but in real life and in movies, I can’t stand people wearing tight-fitting clothes. I’ll never wear something like that, and just seeing someone in tight clothes is mentally difficult. I don’t know where to look, and I feel suffocated. Most superheroes wear tight suits, so I can never direct one. I don’t think anyone will offer the project to me either. If there is a superhero who has a very boxy costume, maybe I can try.

    Now I do kinda want to see him take that on.

  • Sporty – From the #idontknowwhatthefuckisgoingoninthisvideo file. As speculated by the commenters, I’m pretty sure they found the jacket and just had to make something to capitalize on it.
  • Hermit Crabs have an interesting form of cooperative competition:

    As the hermit crab grows in size, it must find a larger shell and abandon the previous one. Several hermit crab species, both terrestrial and marine, have been observed forming a vacancy chain to exchange shells.[8] When an individual crab finds a new empty shell it will leave its own shell and inspect the vacant shell for size. If the shell is found to be too large, the crab goes back to its own shell and then waits by the vacant shell for up to 8 hours. As new crabs arrive they also inspect the shell and, if it is too big, wait with the others, forming a group of up to 20 individuals, holding onto each other in a line from the largest to the smallest crab. As soon as a crab arrives that is the right size for the vacant shell and claims it, leaving its old shell vacant, then all the crabs in the queue swiftly exchange shells in sequence, each one moving up to the next size.

    It’s not all rainbows and sunshine (“Hermit crabs often “gang up” on one of their species with what they perceive to be a better shell”), but it’s neat when it works out.

  • Captain Picard sings “Let it Snow!” – Some people have a lot of time on their hands.
  • The greatest talk-show entrance of all time – Nicolas Cage on Wogan, 1992.

That’s all for now…

Link Dump

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

  • The Restrained Genius of a Joe Pesci Performance – Nice profile of Pesci; includes this offhand anecdote that is hysterical:

    After frequently lamenting the typecasting and grind of set life in interviews, he went into semiretirement to focus on jazz (under the pseudonym Joe Doggs), his family and golf. Even Louis C.K. at the height of his pre-scandal fame couldn’t coax Pesci to work with him; instead, Pesci told him that he should quit doing stand-up because he wasn’t funny.

    (emphasis mine) Heh.

  • Being prepared is overrated: start before you feel ready – Just getting started is often the most difficult part.

    Being successful is not about your ability to plan, but your ability to act. There will always be more planning to do, more scenarios to consider. Of course, it would be amazing to feel utterly ready. But the reality is that waiting until you feel ready may mean the opportunity to act has already passed.

    You may make more mistakes at first if you decide to start acting before you feel ready, but the long-term compound effect of learning from these mistakes will get you closer to your goals than any amount of preparation. The illusion of a perfect time to start is holding you back. Anyone who has managed to put their work into the world most likely started before they were ready.

  • History and Guardians of the Galaxy Mashup – It’s easy to look at social media and stuff like TikTok and think we’re doomed, but then you see stuff like this. Which is silly, to be sure, but still great.
  • Martin Scorsese on Late Night with Conan O’Brien (1996) – Forget about Scorsese on Marvel, check out Scorsese on Cats! Also, I forgot about how weird Conan’s show used to be.
  • How They Expect You to React When You get an Amber Alert – Heh.
  • I Built a COMPUTER in Magic: The Gathering – Magic is Turing complete.

And that’s all for now…

Link Dump

As per usual, interesting links from the depths of ye olde internets:

  • The Problem Solving of Filmmaking – Great video made by David F. Sandberg, the director of Shazam!, explaining the multitude of problems to be solved in even the most trivial of scenes. It reminded me of a great anecdote about Kurosawa that I cannot find anymore, but went something like this: An interviewer praised the composition of a shot in one of Kurosawa’s period movies, and asked him what inspired the shot. Kurosawa answered that if the camera was pointed just a little more to one side, then you would have seen a busy highway with lots of cars. If it was just a little more to the other side, then you would have seen a big factory. He pointed the camera where he did not just because it looked good, but because he couldn’t really point it anywhere else…
  • My many years of reading dangerously – whether Twitter likes it or not – Andy Miller reads a ton of books and thus made the reasonable decision to talk about it on social media. This, of course, is a disaster:

    I really love reading. The thing that drives me crazy about social media – about life, in fact – is the presumption of bad faith where none exists. Motives attributed to me for regularly posting, and it’s hard to emphasise this enough, A PHOTO OF A PILE OF BOOKS ON A KITCHEN DRESSER include: lying; boasting; publicity-seeking; ego-boosting; product-shilling; cultural-gatekeeping; trying to make individual correspondents feel guilty about the quantity and/or quality of their reading; and, of course, reminding hard-working, family-loving men of the pleasures they have sacrificed by working hard and loving their damn families, one of which is the reading of books. When they discover I have a job and a family too, that only makes it worse.

    It’s important to recognize that Twitter is not the real world.

  • Kim Stanley Robinson on Infodumps – He’s not a fan of the term:

    Someone once described your Mars books as an infodump tunneled by narrative moles. I think it was a compliment. What do you think?

    No, not a compliment. I reject the word “infodump” categorically — that’s a smartass word out of the cyberpunks’ workshop culture, them thinking that they knew how fiction works, as if it were a tinker toy they could disassemble and label superciliously, as if they knew what they were doing. Not true in any way. I reject “expository lump” also, which is another way of saying it. All these are attacks on the idea that fiction can have any kind of writing included in it. It’s an attempt to say “fiction can only be stage business” which is a stupid position I abhor and find all too common in responses on amazon.com and the like. All these people who think they know what fiction is, where do they come from? I’ve been writing it for thirty years and I don’t know what it is, but what I do know is that the novel in particular is a very big and flexible form, and I say, or sing: Don’t fence me in!

    To me, infodumps are just a part of SF and thus not inherently a bad thing. As Robinson goes on to say (there’s more to the quote at the link), SF needs science, and science is expository. So he certainly has a point here, but on the other hand, exposition and infodumps can be done poorly. It’s all subjective and I’d argue that SF needs to make room for this sort of thing, but it’s possible to go too far.

  • Quantum Physics, the Mandela Effect and perceived changes to your NECS entrée data – So this company that creates food distribution software made this video talking about how the names of foods are changing (i.e. Haas vs Hass Avocado) and how it’s all due to Quantum Physics, the Mandela effect, and alternate universes and what the hell am I watching? Is this some sort of elaborate hoax? YouTube is filled with videos like this, to be sure, but not from the CEO of a software company. Maybe it’s just because I’m reading Neal Stephenson’s Fall, or Dodge in Hell (which has a lot to say about false information on the internet), but this feels like the truth is slipping away from the internet.
  • Iguana Chased by Snakes – I mean, yeah, pretty great chase scene, better than most Hollywood versions…

That’s all for now…

Link Dump

As per usual, interesting stuffs from the depths of the internets:

  • Terminator: Dark Fate trailer turned AMA with Arnold – So Arnold Schwarzenegger posts the Terminator: Dark Fate trailer on Reddit and it turns into an impromptu AMA. Someone asked: “Did y’all know how hilarious COMMANDO was (in a great way!) while filming it?” Arnold’s response is amazing:

    As soon as I carried a thousand pound log with one arm I knew it was funny. But let me share the scenes you didn’t see that I tried to get in.

    I wanted to cut off a guy’s arm and kill him with it. This wasn’t in the script. He would throw a knife at me and after he missed, while his arm was still extended, I chop it off at the shoulder with a machete and beat him to death with it. Needless to say, I was asked by the head of the studio, Larry Gordon to come to his office. And he said “what the fuck is the matter with you? Do you want to make money with this movie or an x-rated movie?”

    I said “you’re right” and he said “get the fuck out of my office.”

    That’s awesome. I need to watch Commando again (and it’s not like it’s been so long since the last time…)

  • You’re No Longer the Man Now, Dog! – It’s hard to believe it’s been around 15 damn years since YTMND became a thing, but in internet time, that’s an eternity. The surprisingly influential (but at this point, pretty staid) site has shut down, but it’s still there on the Internet Archive
  • Amazon Stolen Package Tracking – Heh.
  • Hell of a Week – Well, that escalated quickly.
  • You Do Not Fit In Here – This comic perfectly encapsulates are frustrating phenomenon.
  • Pee Wee’s Jurassic Adventure – Who did this?

That’s all for now…

Link Dump

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

That’s all for now…