Chore wars

Chore Wars.

Desired outcome.

1000 Films to See Before You Die

The perfect way to pump up our lovefilm queue: The Guardian’s 1000 Films to See Before You Die.

(I do, however, really dislike all this “before you die” nonsense. See sketch in recent Mitchell & Webb radio series. Also, surely we’ll all live forever now thanks to genetic engineering / uploading ourselves into vast computers / our benevolent alien overlords – so the whole concept’s totally passé.)

Show me the way (to go home)

show me the way (to go home).

As part of an art project about spoken directions, we’re trying to collect as many recordings as possible of people giving directions.

To take part, use one of the buttons below to give us directions to wherever you think of as “home”, in any country, and speaking in any language. Don’t refer to any maps or guides, just give directions as if you’d been asked on the street.

Fanti for Bee Hop, 02007/07/21

Fanti djembe and dun-dun/bell patterns for Shiko gig @ Bee Hop, July 21st, 02007.

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Chad Vader – Day Shift Manager

Chad Vader – Day Shift Manager.

Djelidon for Bee Hop, 02007/07/21

Djelidon djembe patterns for Shiko gig @ Bee Hop, July 21st, 02007.

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It’s All Text!

Loving it: It’s All Text, a Firefox add-on to enable you to edit textarea contents in the editor of your choice. It works!

A lucid explanation of closures

Here’s a pretty clear explanation [reddit] of closures, which have hit the mindspace in a big way since Rails made Ruby the hot sauce of the day. When I say “clear”, I mean, perhaps, from a “traditionalist imperative” point of view — the discussion of stack frames and the funarg problems in particular. Of course, lambda-heads and category theorists probably have other criteria for “clear”. ;-)

Idempotence vs Referential Transparency

Idempotence vs Referential Transparency [reddit].

(Spoiler: idempotence wins.)

Loud and clear

I had a hearing test this morning. To my small amazement, my hearing is apparently just fine – completely within normal bounds. In particular, there are no signs of noise-induced hearing loss, which is frankly incredible given the punishment (mainly via headphones) I’ve given these babies over the years.

The bad news: this means that my apparent difficulty in following conversations (particularly ones I’m on the edge of) in loud-ish surroundings (eg parties, pubs, conferences, etc.) is either a result of deficient mental processing or (probably more likely) that I’m simply not paying enough attention. Still, good to know!

An interview with Ulli Haarbürste

Back in June 2003 I blogged about the truly wonderful Roy Orbison In Clingfilm stories – if you haven’t seen these yet I highly recommend a visit. Anyway, I’ve just noticed, returning for a long-overdue refresher, that there’s now also an interview with the author which is also not to be missed.

I am not aware of anyone seeing it as humour. I venture the occasional joke or puckish remark in my work as relief from the sensuality and romantic lyricism, and if people laugh that is nice, but I do not think my fans would class me as a humorist in the way that you would, say, Dan Brown.

I remember I read an interview with Gunter Grass just before my tome was delivered to the printers, and he talked of his forthcoming book and said that it was the best thing he had ever written, and I thought Oh no! Gunter Grass has had the idea to write a book on Roy in Clingfilm too! I will only be the Buzz Aldrin of this genre. And I can laugh with relief now as his book turned out to be some boring thing about the Nazis, but at the time this obsessed me, and I considered examining his dustbins and so forth to find out. Perhaps I should not admit this but I actually rang his agent of literature and pretended to be a reporter and asked ‘May I enquire, who are Herr Grass’s favourite musicians?’ but he only mentioned people like Rush and Hawkwind so I knew it was OK.

3 magnets + 40,000 pendula + 2 hits of acid = wow

Movie here. Psychedelic!

visualising the motion of 40,000 pendula under the influence of 3 magnets using Haskell. Shiny.

What’s going on here? OK, so it’s not 40,000 pendulums “all going at once”, because obviously they’d bounce off each other. ;-) What we have is a 200×200 grid (ie 40,000 pixels), and for each pixel we define a pendulum. At a given time, a given pixel’s colour represents the corresponding pendulum’s distance, at that time, from each of the 3 magnets (the pixel’s RBG components represent the three distances). Each pendulum’s movement is affected only by the magnets, ie the pendula are independent of each other. Hey presto, psychadelica-a-go-go.

Who’s a pretty boy, then?

Who's a pretty boy, then?

Hundreds of hatboxes, each containing a single brown wig

I’m William John Cavendish-Bentinck-Scott, the Fifth Duke of Portland. Which Historical Lunatic Are You?