Pigs and Trolls
Bruce Sterling has a brief laugh at the absurd ineffectualness displayed by the government in all of this Snowden business:
The pigs in Orwell’s “Animal Farm” have more suavity than the US government is demonstrating now. Their credibility is below zero.
[…] Even US Senators are decorative objects for the NSA. An American Senator knows as much about PRISM and XKeyScore as a troll-doll on the dashboard knows about internal combustion.
Nobody elected the NSA.
Digital Dead Drop is a Secure Web Notepad
Inspired by the Ender’s Game books, Tyler Spilker has written a dead-simple Python-based Web app called Digital Dead Drop; it’s designed to run on a local or remote server, and provides a quick and secure method with which to jot down a few thoughts and save them on the server side. Nothing is stored locally, so there’s no problem if your phone is lost. It’s a pretty cool idea.
Enough With The Unsimulated Sex in Movies Already
Nick Schager, The Village Voice:
Porn re-inserts itself into the arthouse with this week’s The Canyons, co-starring adult industry stud James Deen, and next week’s Lovelace, a biopic of the Deep Throat star–two highly publicized releases that reconfirm the hopelessness of going hardcore in mainstream movies. Whether it’s works that inject un-simulated sex into their fictionalized tales, those that cast actual porn stars in a misbegotten bid for extreme-sex credibility (The Canyons), or those that are specifically about adult entertainment (Lovelace), porn pretenses are the surest means of making a feature film un-sexy, if not downright desperate and more than a little laughable.
Nothing is less sexy than a lame gimmick designed to make people spend their limited Great Recession dollars on an unredeemably shitty movie.
Police Dash Terror Threat Posed By Woman’s Quinoa
Adam Gabbatt relates this ridiculous tale of institutional idiocy for The Guardian:
A New York woman says her family’s interest in the purchase of pressure cookers and backpacks led to a home visit by six police investigators demanding information about her job, her husband’s ancestry and the preparation of quinoa.
[…] “What the hell is quinoa?” police asked when Catalano’s husband told them what pressure cookers were used for in their household.
It’s good to know that our fascist storm troopers are complete morons, right?
Cognition and Willpower
Kathy Sierra on the limited pool of mental resources shared by deep thought and willpower:
Spend hours at work on a tricky design problem? You’re more likely to stop at Burger King on the drive home. Hold back from saying what you really think during one of those long-ass, painful meetings? You’ll struggle with the code you write later that day.
This concept will serve to support a common claim of mine: I had to eat all of that Taco Bell, because I was thinking really hard earlier.
Kidding aside, it’s a pretty illuminating idea. Sierra’s essay illuminates the practical implications for those in creative professions, and is well worth a read.
TSA Misconduct On the Rise
(CNN) – Let’s get this out of the way straight off: The Transportation Security Administration is probably not going to top anyone’s list of Favorite Federal Government Agencies.
And the stories of its failures spread faster than a speeding jetliner: TSA officers stealing money from luggage, taking bribes from drug dealers, sleeping on the job.
I find it generally to be a bad idea to give power and authority (but not a living wage) to people with GED’s and no skills, but hey, maybe that’s just me.
Obama Keeps Giving Republicans (Naked) Massages
The New York Times :
President Obama, in a bid to break a stalemate with the Republican-controlled House, will revive on Tuesday his proposal to cut corporate tax rates in return for a commitment from Republicans to invest more in programs spurring middle-class jobs.
Applause. If there’s one thing we need to do in order to repair this decomposing corpse of a country, it’s bending over even further for corporations.
Strap a Computer To Your Head, Why Not?
There’s a great piece by Gary Shteyngart on the novelty of Google Glass in The New Yorker:
The man with the glasses is lying on the couch at his psychoanalyst’s office. The pink rectangle floats before his eye. The man begins complaining about his glasses. In the first week, he’s supposed to wear them only one hour a day, but he can’t help himself. He’s been wearing them non-stop and now it feels like his right eye is bulging out, and also he feels nauseous and has a throbbing headache somewhere to the right of the bridge of his nose.
There’s the first commercial for Google Glass, right there. And at the end, his eyeball pops out through sheer strain, and it rolls along the floor, up to the camera. As it comes to rest, the Google Glass logo appears. Someone steps on the eyeball. Splat.
They’ll sell a hundred of these things!
Sending Markdown to Tumblr With Drafts
I noted a while back that the Tumblr app for iOS now supports
x-callback-url, and I’ve played around with various URL actions in Drafts which make use of the implementation. I find in most cases, however, it’s easier to post text-based items using Tumblr’s publish-via-email feature—it sends the text directly to a blog, without requiring a ton of fiddling in the Tumblr app along the way. This being the case, I’m sticking with a Drafts email action which sends my text posts to a blog directly, with just one tap.
Tumblr’s email mechanism is actually very well thought out, and allows for everything from tagging to categorization to titling—and you won’t have to remember any annoying syntax if you write with Drafts; you’ll just enter your template into an email action and never think about it again. One quick, indispensable tip: if you write in Markdown (and why wouldn’t you?), simply add
!m to the body section of your email action, and Tumblr will automatically convert your Markdown to HTML. Give it a try. As much as I like URL actions, sometimes you just want to fire off the text without tapping around in two different apps.
Bob Rafelson Q&A at Lincoln Center
Here’s Bob Rafelson introducing The King of Marvin Gardens, and then answering questions about the film and matters more general, at a recent screening at Lincoln Center in New York. There are a lot of really fascinating details and anecdotes here—lots of which were new to me. It’s well worth checking this out if you’re at all interested in that period between 1967 and 1975 when American films were actually pretty good.