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Greg Lloyd

Greg Lloyd's Public Library

7 minutes ago

20 Apr 2016: The development of technologies tends to follow an S-Curve: they improve slowly, then quickly, and then slowly again. And at that last stage, they're really, really good. Everything has been optimised and worked out and understood, and they're fast, cheap and reliable. That's also often the point that a new architecture comes to replace them. You can see this very clearly today in devices such as Apple's new Macbook or Windows 'ultrabooks' - they've taken Intel's x86 and the mouse and window-based GUI model as far as they can go, and reached the point that everything possible has been optimised. Smartphones are probably at the point that the curve is starting to flatten - a lot has been optimised but there's still work to do, especially around cameras and battery life, and of course GPUs for VR. That curve will probably flatten out just at the point that AR starts to start shipping.

  • The Lockheed Constellation was a lovely thing. TWA got the first one in late 1945, and started transatlantic service in 1946. It was the first pressurised airliner in widespread use, and Lockheed sold over 800 of them. 
  • It was also pretty much the last great piston-powered airliner, because the future was jets. 
about 8 hours ago

In the fall of 1991—as the U.S. welcomed the release of the Super Nintendo gaming system, a Cincinnati-based team of Talmudic scholars digitally reconstructed a set of scrolls recovered from the Dead Sea, and a computer scientist working in Geneva launched the world’s very first Web page—Robert Coover and the students of America’s first electronic writing workshop were busy building a hotel.

about 20 hours ago

29 Apr 2016: Fujifilm’s new X-Pro2 is a tough camera to review by any ordinary metric — it’s an exotic tool that defies rational purchasing decisions. There are cameras in its price range that will give you better image quality, and there are cheaper cameras — even from Fujifilm — that offer more features.

  • But I love the X-Pro2, and I can’t really say why without spilling my subjective opinion. That’s because the X-Pro2 itself is an opinionated camera — and I happen to agree with it about a great many things.
  • The $1699.95 X-Pro2 is, as you might expect, a follow-up to the X-Pro1. That camera came out four years ago, and was Fujifilm’s first mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses. The X-Pro2 doesn’t change the outer body too much, although there are a few tweaks we’ll get into later that do make a meaningful difference to the shooting experience. It’s still a convincing, chunky facsimile of a rangefinder camera, with shutter speed and exposure compensation dials designed to be used with lenses with aperture rings. It’s also now weather-resistant and feels more solidly built in general.
  • Every Fujifilm X-Series mirrorless camera since the X-Pro1 used essentially the same sensor and had near-identical image quality; the X-Trans II sensor simply added phase-detection autofocus points. But with the X-Pro2, Fujifilm’s third-generation sensor has finally seen daylight, bumping resolution from 16 to 24 megapixels and maximum native ISO from 6400 to 12800. There’s a new chip to match, too, the X-Processor Pro, and the autofocus system has been upgraded to 273 points, of which 77 are phase-detect. The camera can shoot at eight frames per second with continuous phase AF, and is the first X-series camera to have dual SD card slots. It also has slightly better video quality than its forebears, though I don't think anyone will buy it for that.

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about 21 hours ago

SpamCop's blocking list works on a mail-server level. If your mail was blocked incorrectly it may be due to the actions of other users or technical flaws with the mail system you use. If you are not the administrator of your email system, please forward this information to them. Information about the reasons for listing (blocking) your mail server (<br /><br />

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  • . You can see the world in your language.
     Word Lens is your friend when reading menus, street signs and more. This feature in the Google Translate App lets you instantly see translations in 28 languages.
  • 8. You can have a conversation no matter what language you speak.
     In 2011, we first introduced the ability to have a bilingual conversation on Google Translate. The app will recognize which language is being spoken when you’re talking with someone, allowing you to have a natural conversation in 32 languages.
  • 9. You don't need an Internet connection to connect.
     Many countries don’t have reliable Internet, so it’s important to be able to translate on the go. You can instantly translate signs and menus offline with Word Lens on both Android and iOS, and translate typed text offline with Android.
Apr 26, 16

24 Apr 2016: Andy van Dam Fress NEH Poetry Course movie event. Raw stream recording

Apr 26, 16

6 Apr 2016: Collaborative super-couple Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone — whose movie The Boss gets released on Friday — stopped by Colbert last night not so much to participate on The Late Show, but rather on a new television…experience. Their interview was very quickly interrupted by the promise of another activity: a very condensed, very cheap version of Chopped. Yes, only one night after McCarthy stole the Tonight Show with her stuffed-bird-barraging rendition of “Colors of the Wind,” she stole The Late Show by making a very strange concoction with bologna, marshmallow puffs and peanut butter.

  • And so the two embark on a frenetic competition, with McCarthy getting so frantic as to forget the bacon bits in her bologna/condiment slop (or masterfully ordered chaos?), and Falcone making minimalist towers, which, when their time is up, he presents to Colbert as “A bacon bit marshmallow saltine with just a little bit of pickle for taste.”


  • Colbert samples the repulsive comedy food, saying, “I’m getting a very smokey bacon bit a crunch, it’s both tart and dry at the same time.”
  • Though McCarthy may not have been as graceful in her process as Falcone, she far outdoes him in her verbal presentation. She explains that she’s made a “Tuscan influenced rustic hash,” saying she “tried to play with crunchy, sweet savory and meaty,” and that it’s meant to be “consumed with a large soup ladle.” It seems to instill in Colbert a rainbow of emotions, though the quality he notes most is its “testicularity.”


Apr 26, 16

24 Apr 2016: Summary We've finally gotten to a place where self-sovereign identities are technically possible. This is a huge milestone. The next hurdle is getting organizations, including governments to allow the use of self-sovereign identities as the basis for their administrative identities. In the case of legal identity, this would provide 1.8 billion people who have no legal identity with a way to establish one.

  • Birth certificates are both the source of identity and proof of citizenship. People present proof of civil registration for many purposes. The birth certificate is thus the basis for individual identity in most countries. We use our physical control of a piece of paper to prove who we are and, springing from that, our citizenship. Civil registration has become the foundation for how states relate to the citizens. As modern nation states have become more and more powerful in the lives of their citizens, civil registration and its attendant legal identity have come to play a larger and larger role in our lives.
  • We are at a point in the development of identity that it is possible to develop and deploy technologies that allow individuals to create a self-sovereign basis for their identity independent from civil registration.
  • Such systems allow us to tease apart the purposes of the birth certificate by recognizing a self-sovereign identity independent of the proof of citizenship. This doesn't, by itself, solve the problem of providing legal identity since the self-sovereign identity is self-asserted. But it does provide a foundation upon which a legal identity could be built: specifically it is an identifier that a person can prove they control. Constructing a legal identity on this self-sovereign identity is possible, but would require changes to existing statutes, rules, policy, and processes.

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Apr 26, 16

Silicon Valley's top public tech companies ranked, in everything from sales to taxes paid. (Dollar figures in millions.)

Apr 25, 16

12 Oct 20-5: Black garlic is what you get when you heat whole garlic cloves at about 60ºC for around forty days in a relatively humid environment. The garlic turns black (or very dark brown) and becomes sweeter and more acidic, pliable, and sticky. It also loses the pungency of fresh garlic, allowing you to use those fruity, roasty, caramelized flavors in places where popping in a whole clove of garlic would be not so nic

  • The punchy “HEY IT’S GARLIC” smell you get from fresh garlic comes from a molecule called allicin, which is created by the garlic plant for the sole purpose of making you cry. It’s part of the plant’s defense system against herbivorous predators; when you cut (or bite) into a garlic clove, tiny bags of molecules inside the garlic cells are ruptured, and an enzyme called alliinase meets the molecules of alliin (which has no smell) and converts them into volatile, tear-inducing (“lachrymatory”) molecules of allicin. This doesn’t really happen in black garlic, which suggests that the alliinase enzyme is denatured—or in other words, thermally inactivated—by sitting around at 60ºC for so long.
  • But a lot of other molecules form during this heated period: that famous cascade of non-enzymatic browning reactions called the Maillard reaction—you’ll know it from baked bread, roasted or seared meat, and coffee, among many other things—creates black garlic’s toasty, caramelized, roasty aromas. I know what you’re thinking: But it usually takes much higher heat to get these Maillard flavorshigher than the boiling point of water, which is one of the reasons that boiled things dont brown! Well, the chemical reactions that make these flavors can actually happen at lower temperatures, just very slowly. What takes an hour at 200ºC takes more than a month at 60ºC.
  • I still haven’t answered your question. Is black garlic fermented? Well, while you’ll often see it referred to as “fermented black garlic,” and while I can’t actually find any studies on its microbiology, I feel confident saying that black garlic is the result of non-microbial chemical and biochemical transformations rather than a true fermentation.

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Apr 25, 16

25 Apr 2016: Between 1938 and 1950, one company purchased and took over the transit systems of more than 25 American cities. Their name, National City Lines, sounded innocuous enough, but the list of their investors included General Motors, the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, Standard Oil of California, Phillips Petroleum, Mack Trucks, and other companies who stood to benefit much more from a future running on gasoline and rubber than on electricity and rails. National City Lines acquired the Los Angeles Railway in 1945, and within 20 years diesel buses – or indeed private automobiles – would carry all the yellow cars’ former passengers. Does that strike you as a coincidence?

  • It didn’t look that way to the Federal District Court of Southern California, which in 1947 indicted nine corporations and seven individuals on counts of “conspiring to acquire control of a number of transit companies, forming a transportation monopoly” and “conspiring to monopolise sales of buses and supplies to companies owned by National City Lines” in violation of the 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act. The conviction came in 1949, with GM, Firestone, Standard Oil of California, Phillips Petroleum, and Mack Trucks found guilty and subsequently slapped on the wrists. (GM paid a fine of $5,000.)
  • The 1988 film Who Framed Roger Rabbit? set its story in the year 1947, pitting workaday Los Angeles private detective Eddie Valiant against the villain Judge Doom, a cadaverous, black-clad personification of all these backroom-dealing companies. In the film’s final act, Judge Doom reveals to Valiant his plot to build “eight lanes of shimmering cement running from here to Pasadena”.
  • And who, asks Valiant, would drive on such a monstrosity when they could ride the Pacific Electric – “the best public transportation system in the world” – for five cents? “Oh, they’ll drive,” replies Judge Doom. “They’ll have to. You see, I bought the Red Car so I could dismantle it.”

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Apr 25, 16

24 Apr 2016: He’s obsessed with ‘spectacular rear ends’ and he calls his fans scum. Yet comic artist Robert Crumb is at risk of becoming respectable. As his new show opens, he talks about filth, fetishes and his idea of fun

  • Art & Beauty showcases a less well-known side of him: the lifelong junk shop rummager and connoisseur of vintage media, which he values for the craftsmanship of “the golden age of graphic art”. Published in 1996 and 2002, with the third volume yet to hit the streets, the project was inspired by a soft porn magazine of the 1920s that smuggled risque photographs past the censor under the titular fig leaf Art & Beauty Magazine for Art Lovers and Art Students.
  • Some of its pictures are copied directly from vintage magazines – not least two ethnographic images, Handsome Women of the Formidable Zulu Race, in the second volume, and Three African Women from Brazzaville, Congo, in the third. These decorously posed tableaux speak to Crumb’s less decorous fascination with the bodies of black women.
  • Which brings us to that picture of Serena Williams, caught mid-smash at Flushing Meadow in 2002, with her breasts and backside jutting from a black Lycra catsuit. The inscription below the picture reads: “A HIGHLY SATISFYING CHALLENGE FOR THE ARTIST’S SKILLS ARE THE GLEAMING HIGHLIGHTS ON THE RESPLENDENT CONTOURS OF TENNIS CHAMPION SERENA WILLIAM AS SHE APPEARED ON THE FIRST NIGHT OF THE US OPEN …”

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Apr 25, 16

27 May 2015: A growing customer base spells good news for Filipino cuisine, which is looking to shed its fledgeling status and join in on the billion-dollar American restaurant market in a big way; there are even non-profits dedicated to the cause. Give it a few years of combined momentum, and you might just start to see takeout pancit and lumpia spots popping up in small towns all across America. And maybe someday sooner than expected, you'll be able to walk into a Pinoy restaurant in Bend, Oregon, or Ogunquit, Maine, and think, for just a moment, that you really had been transported to the Philippines after all.

  • American restaurants are huge in the Philippines. Why not the other way around?


  • Sitting inside Walter and Margarita Manzke's popular French-leaning Los Angeles restaurant République, with its Instagram-worthy tiling, hefty wooden tables, and open kitchen, you might be surprised to learn that you're actually enjoying a little piece of the Philippines. That's because there is a République of sorts in Manila, complete with its long pastry counter and winding queue of eager diners. Even the Courier-font menu in Manila is a near-mirror image to the one you might be holding in Los Angeles, filled with dishes like shakshouka and a decadent croque madame. It's the sort of hearty late-morning weekend fare that's well-known within L.A.'s prodigious brunch community, but might otherwise seem out of place in Southeast Asia.
  • A bit of cultural appropriation or outright brand thievery? Not exactly. The restaurant, called Wildflour, is the happy work of the Manzkes themselves, and it's as busy — and as comfortable — as any of the best places you'll find on the West Coast. Except this is Manila, one of the most densely populated cities in the world, filled with economic disparities and infrastructure issues and an absolutely booming urban population, eager to stand side-by-side with the biggest cities in the world.
Apr 24, 16

Apr 2016: To state this idea in another way, we do not read the Sunzi Art of War or Clausewitz's On War (or Plato and Aristotle's works, for that matter) because their authors were infallible, or because they provide theories of politics that have the same sort of scientific validity that the economic theories of folks like Kenneth Arrow or Ronald Coase do, or even because they offer insights into the nature of war and man that cannot be found anywhere else. They were not infallible, their theories have no relation to modern scientific methods, and in a world that has seen wars uncountable fought and talked about by men innumerable, no insight they provide is unique to them alone. However, each offers a coherent conceptual framework that has withstood the test of time. The works produced by this framework can be used as a lens through which any issue can be analyzed. Asking "what would Clausewitz make of this quandary?" is a powerful analytic frame that forces the questioner to consider hard questions about the political context, strategic aims, available means, and enemy intent of the conflict in question. Even if not all of the solutions Clausewitz would submit to his interlocutor are the best ones, the process of thinking through his worldview and adapting it meet the demands of a current crisis will uncover hidden assumptions and point to new possibilities the modern day strategist may not have considered.

  • Last week Strategy Bridge published an interesting piece by Sebastian Bae. In it Bae analyzes the United States' strategy to defeat ISIS through the lens of the Sunzi and its precepts. I have a few comments on its prescriptions, so I recommend you read the full thing before reading any more of this post. [1]
  • In a general sense, I am a fan of Bae's approach towards the Sunzi. Recently I read a creative take by Xavier Marquez on the different reasons today's political theorists might study and read the works of 'old' political philosophers like Aristotle, Plato, Hobbes, Locke, et al. As I am quite certain that most of you will find that post more entertaining and intellectually stimulating than this one, I recommend you read that post in full as well. [2] However, I think Marquez missed a major strain when detailing his 'map' of the modern uses ancient political thought, and it is this approach that Bae practices here. It is also one that I favor
  • Here is journalist Joseph Sobran explaining why he is so fond of quoting Shakespeare in his columns

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Apr 24, 16

By Roxanne Fisher BBC: If you've ever considered following a weight loss diet make sure you have all the facts first. Our health editor and nutritional therapist take a look at the 5:2 diet...

Apr 24, 16

20 Apr 2016: Despite not being a big problem for Mac users yet, Patrick Wardle, lead researcher at Synack, has created a nifty little app that can identify ransomware-like behavior by detecting the quick creation of encrypted files, stop the suspicious process, and then alert the user.

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