It Begins...

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Paging Dr. David Icke...

Prosopometamorphopsia and facial hallucinations:

In July, 2011, a 52-year-old woman presented to our psychiatric outpatient clinic in The Hague with a life-long history of seeing people's faces change into dragon-like faces and hallucinating similar faces many times a day. She could perceive and recognise actual faces, but after several minutes they turned black, grew long, pointy ears and a protruding snout, and displayed a reptiloid skin and huge eyes in bright yellow, green, blue, or red.

She saw similar dragon-like faces drifting towards her many times a day from the walls, electrical sockets, or the computer screen, in both the presence and absence of face-like patterns, and at night she saw many dragon-like faces in the dark.

The woman suffered from prosopometamorphopsia, a psychiatric disorder that causes faces to appear distorted. Even within the context of the condition, the woman's case was rare in the specificity of her hallucinations.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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Eeet's naaaht a teratohhhhma

Baby's Rare Brain Tumor Had Teeth:

After an analysis of tumor tissue, doctors determined the child had a craniopharyngioma, a rare brain tumor that can grow to be larger than a golf ball, but does not spread.

Researchers had always suspected that these tumors form from the same cells involved in making teeth, but until now, doctors had never seen actual teeth in these tumors. [...] "It's not every day you see teeth in any type of tumor in the brain. In a craniopharyngioma, it's unheard of," Beaty said.

Craniopharyngiomas commonly contain calcium deposits, "but when we pulled out a full tooth... I think that's something slightly different," Beaty told Live Science.

Teeth have been found in people's brains before, but only in tumors known as teratomas, which are unique among tumors because they contain all three of the tissue types found in an early-stage human embryo, Beaty said. In contrast, craniopharyngiomas have only one layer of tissue.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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DNA Lounge update

DNA Lounge update, wherein hammers are immanent.

Flickr download counter-countermeasures applied

galdown works on Flickr again. They recently changed their web site to obfuscate their URLs and Javascript even more, making it harder to find the URL of the large-sized "_o" image.

Oh, what's this? Is dc4728449ac9905195f4bd612e1c215a the unnamed account in the Bahamas where the money was to be stashed, I mean, the "secret" API key embedded within Flickr's minimized Javascript? I think so!

"Wait", you're thinking, "People still use Flickr?" Yeah, I was surprised too.

Previously, previously, previously.

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Linty linty

I have spent the last few days down in the PHP Mines. Those fumes are really toxic. I'm pretty sure I've contracted pleurisy from inhaling Cheetos dust.

So DNA Lounge has an online store, which is an enormous, and ancient, and shitty, pile of PHP code. I have often characterized it as "it's a pile of shit, but it's our pile of shit."

Well, now that I'm opening a new nightclub, I need to make that code be able to function when installed on a domain whose name is not "". As you can expect, this has been a process of discovering all kinds of hardcoded assumptions lurking in the bowels. It's like moving to a new house after you've been dug in for a decade: look at all this crap stuffed in the back of the closet that you didn't remember was there!

So there has been a lot of global search and replace, and a lot of variables being added and moved around, and that means destabilization, and that's bad, mmkay?

So I wrote a Perl program to do static analysis of PHP. And it parses PHP using regular expressions because fuck you that's why.

For your entertainment -- because I sincerely doubt that anyone who is not me will ever use this without lulz in their heart -- I give you

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GIF Keyboard

This app is going to make me intolerable:

It's an iOS keyboard that lets you communicate solely in animGIFs.

You have to agree to let it completely sodomize your input stack to install it, though, so I eagerly await the report about how it's phoning home every character you've ever typed.

"Uzani_his_army.gif! Shaka, when the lulz fell!"

Play him off, keyboard made of cats.


The Unicode Blog: Unicode 9.0 Candidate Emoji:

The Unicode Consortium has accepted 38 emoji characters as candidates for Unicode 9.0, scheduled for release in mid-2016. [...] These emoji have been accepted as candidates for Unicode 9.0 for a variety of reasons. They may be needed for compatibility with emoji characters in existing systems. For example, the FACE WITH COWBOY HAT was accepted for compatibility with the emoji used in Yahoo Messenger.


That all seems just so quaint now, doesn't it?

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"It's how people meat."

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Fury Road

I was skeptical about Fury Road, despite all the glowing reviews. This is because I am surrounded by people who cannot be trusted on this issue: people who are so invested in their 25-years-old fashion choices that had the movie contained at minimum one mohawk and one motorcycle, they'd be telling me it was the greatest thing ever.

But, holy crap, it really is great!

In stark (see what I did there?) contrast to Age of Ultron, where after the movie I kept remembering bits and pieces of it and getting angrier about it, with this one I kept remembering bits and pieces and thinking, "Wow, that was insane."

Every time Toecutter Immortan Joe glowered into the camera, I was imagining the director turning to the editor and saying, fuck yeah! This was not a movie composed of compromises.

Everything about Matt Colville's review is right on, and it contains some entertaining production details:

There is so much CG work in this movie, it's hard to fathom. Miller succeeds at what I would have considered an impossible task. He made a movie FOR people who worship practical effects... and he did it all with CGI. And the audience is going INSANE for the results. They believe. He told them "It's all real," he lied to them, and they believed it.

He knew he could lie to them, because he knew what his audience wants. They want to know; when that truck goes flying up in the air, it's real. When that truck smashed into that rock, it's real.

Well, that part is. They really built all those trucks, and they really launched them into the air and they really smashed them into each other. But that's only about 30%-40% of the film. The launching and smashing. The rest is driving. And almost none of that is real.

The vehicles you see in the movie are almost never moving. They're sitting still, propped up on what are essentially airbags. The airbags allow the crew to bounce the trucks around, they are so severely agitated, they can literally throw people off the truck with the force. But the truck is always sitting in one place.

You never notice it because they matted moving backgrounds in and they used CGI to make the wheels move. They used CGI to make the wheels move. 60% of the movie, those wheels weren't moving on the set, that's CGI. [...]

There are scenes where Charlize Theron is talking, and those are her lips moving, but they're her lips from a different shot, a pickup months later, from a different angle and a different distance, matted together seamlessly using CGI.

There are angles, crazy angles you wonder "How did they get the camera there?" They didn't. They filmed it at one angle and used the CGI to pan the camera around into a location it couldn't be in. [...]

They shot all day. They could shoot in any order. They never worried about the light. Well, the DP worried about the light constantly, but Miller kept telling him "Doesn't matter, doesn't matter. We'll fix it in post." And they did. Shots filmed in the early morning desert, the sky white, the ground choked with fog, match the shots from the heat-blasted midday desert. You can't tell.

When the DP worried they were racking up a huge computer graphics bill (which they were) Miller responded sagely "If they want a finished movie, they'll pay for it." He knew the worse it looked in-camera, the more certain it was Warner Bros. would pay for the CG.

He knew exactly how to push the limits of what could be done on-set, and what the computers could do after. And the result is a movie that feels like you're watching movies for the first time. No movie looks like Fury Road. No movie moves like it, is cut like it.

Oh, and his smackdown of Interstellar is good, too:

The movie sort of assumes everyone in the movie saw Contact and so when ALIENS contact Earth with a plan (sort of) to save humanity if only they'll jump through this wormhole they planted, our hero just fucking goes along with it.

He goes along with it because he was created by the script. He was engineered, by the writers, to be someone who just happened to live 10 minutes away from an ultra-secret project that just happened to need an ace pilot of which he is literally the only one left, which is lucky, because he also happened to be the best there ever was. Chris Nolan, fuck you.

Hang on, let me calm down a little. That's not the most insulting part of the film.

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Stop Drinking Bottled Water

The reason you should boycott bottled water is because it enables a bullshit, backwards vision for society.

Boycotting bottled water means you support the idea that public access to clean, safe water is not only a basic human right, but that it's a goddamn technological triumph worth protecting. It means you believe that ensuring public access to this resource is the only way to guarantee it will be around in a few more years.

Clean, safe drinking water that flows freely out of our faucets is a feat of engineering that humans have been been perfecting for two millennia. It is a cornerstone of civilization. It is what our cities are built upon. And over the years the scientists and hydrologists and technicians who help get water to our houses have also become our environmental stewards, our infrastructural watchdogs, our urban visionaries. Drinking the water these people supply to our homes is the best possible way to protect future access to water worldwide.

Companies that package water in a single-use bottle are not concerned with the future. They are not invested in the long-term effects of climate change on an endangered watershed, nor are they working to prepare a megacity for an inevitable natural disaster. What they are interested in is their bottom line: Marketing a "healthy" product to compensate for the fact that people are buying less of their other products that are known to case obesity and diabetes -- and selling it for at prices that are 240 to 10,000 times higher than what you pay for tap water.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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