Tuesday, January 17, 2017

You Draw It: What Got Better or Worse During Obama’s Presidency

The New York Times had a really neat interactive graphic, You Draw It: What Got Better or Worse During Obama’s Presidency. They show seven stats, showing the graph for the Bush years with space for the Obama years for you to fill in and then compare with history. I was pretty good on three of them. Right on average on two and grossly wrong on two. Give it a try.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

How to Prevent Gun Deaths? Where Experts and the Public Agree

The NYT’s Upshot charted How to Prevent Gun Deaths? Where Experts and the Public Agree. “We conducted a survey on 29 gun control ideas, looking for the intersection of effectiveness and popularity.”

NewImage

Our expert survey asked dozens of social scientists, lawyers and public health officials how effective each of 29 policies would be in reducing firearm homicide deaths, regardless of their political feasibility or cost. Policies deemed both effective and popular appear in the upper-right corner of the matrix. Less popular, less effective measures fall lower down and to the left.

The two policies ranked most effective were those requiring all sellers to run background checks on anyone who buys a gun, and barring gun sales to people convicted of violent misdemeanors, including domestic assaults. The experts were more skeptical of other much-debated proposals, including a national gun registry and an assault weapons ban. The idea of requiring states to honor out-of-state concealed weapon permits was ranked low.

The academics in our panel — many of the country’s best empirical researchers on gun policy — were far more likely than the general public to support gun control. But nearly all of the policies that experts think could work have widespread support from the general public.

The article goes much deeper, showing the graph highlighting: - What Does Trump Support? - What About Mass Shootings? - Measures Supported by Academics Opposed to Gun Control - Things Law Enforcement Likes

This is really an issue where the public wants more done and the GOP is entirely captured by the NRA which is captured by the gun industry and not the gun consumers.

(Via Kottke)

Here's What Really Caused The Housing Crisis

Since Lawrence Kudlow and Stephen Moore are now advisors to Trump, Mark Thoma explains yet again Here’s what really caused the housing crisis.

“A lot of the narrative of the financial crisis has been that this [loan] origination process was broken, and therefore a lot of marginal and unsustainable borrowers got access to funding. In our opinion, the facts don’t line up with this narrative. … Calling this crisis a subprime crisis is a misnomer. In fact, it was a prime crisis.”

There are other reasons to doubt that subprime borrowers were responsible for the financial crisis. For one, a large number of subprime mortgages originated in non-CRA banks, and “none of the 300+ mortgage originators that imploded were depository banks covered by the CRA.”

As noted in a study by McClatchy from 2008, “Federal Reserve Board data show that more than 84 percent of the subprime mortgages in 2006 were issued by private lending institutions;” “private firms made nearly 83 percent of the subprime loans to low- and moderate-income borrowers that year;” and “only one of the top 25 subprime lenders in 2006 was directly subject to the housing law that’s being lambasted by conservative critics.”

A second question to ask is why, if the CRA and subprime borrowing were the problem, did a very similar housing bubble and financial crisis occur in scores of other countries that didn’t have legislation like this?

A third argument, the one Kudlow and Moore cite, is that declining lending standards by Fannie and Freddie brought about by the requirements of the CRA helped fuel subprime loans. But once again, this argument doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

As Barry Ritholtz pointed out in 2011, “The relative market share of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac dropped from a high of 57 percent of all new mortgage originations in 2003, down to 37 percent as the bubble was developing in 2005–06.”

The reason Fannie and Freddie were losing market share is that loan standards on mortgages issued by private lenders were falling. Fannie and Freddie eventually adjusted some of their conditions for obtaining a loan in an attempt to prevent a further loss in market share, but it’s very clear that they were followers, not leaders, in the erosion of lending standards.

The Elements of Life Mapped Across the Milky Way

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey have mapped the elements of life across the Milky Way

‘For the first time, we can now study the distribution of elements across our Galaxy,’ says Sten Hasselquist of New Mexico State University. ‘The elements we measure include the atoms that make up 97% of the mass of the human body.’

The new results come from a catalog of more than 150,000 stars; for each star, it includes the amount of each of almost two dozen chemical elements. The new catalog includes all of the so-called ‘CHNOPS elements’ – carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorous, and sulfur – known to be the building blocks of all life on Earth. This is the first time that measurements of all of the CHNOPS elements have been made for such a large number of stars.

While humans are 65% oxygen by mass, oxygen makes up less than 1% of the mass of all of elements in space. Stars are mostly hydrogen, but small amounts of heavier elements such as oxygen can be detected in the spectra of stars. With these new results, APOGEE has found more of these heavier elements in the inner Galaxy. Stars in the inner galaxy are also older, so this means more of the elements of life were synthesized earlier in the inner parts of the Galaxy than in the outer parts.

While it’s fun speculate what impact the inner Galaxy’s composition might have on where life pops up, we are much better at understanding the formation of stars in our Galaxy. Because the processes producing each element occur in specific types of stars and proceed at different rates, they leave specific signatures in the chemical abundance patterns measured by SDSS/APOGEE. This means that SDSS/APOGEE’s new elemental abundance catalog provides data to compare with the predictions made by models of galaxy formation.

Also they’ve updated Origin of the Elements in the Solar System.

NewImage

Friday, January 13, 2017

A Woman Was Killed By a Superbug Resistant to All 26 American Antibiotics

The Atlantic reports A Woman Was Killed By a Superbug Resistant to All 26 American Antibiotics

Funny—by which we all mean scary—because yesterday afternoon, the CDC also released a report about a Nevada woman who died after an infection resistant to 26 antibiotics, which is to say all available antibiotics in the U.S. The woman, who was in her 70s, had been previously hospitalized in India after fracturing her leg, which led to an infection of the bone. There was nothing to treat her infection—not colistin, not other last-line antibiotics. Scientists later tested the bacteria that killed her, and found it was somewhat susceptible to fosfomycin, but that antibiotic is not approved in the U.S. to treat her type of infection.

The most worrisome kind of colistin resistance is caused by a single gene called mcr–1. The bacteria that killed this woman did not have mcr–1; it’s still unclear how they became resistant. Other cases of colistin resistance have emerged before though. What makes mcr–1 special is that sits on a loop of free-floating DNA called a plasmid, which bacteria of different species can pass back and forth. And there are many plasmids out there with genes that confer resistance to this or that class of antibiotics.

Why patients blame the weather for aching joints

Turns out, the weather doesn’t make your joint ache any more or less. Why patients blame the weather for aching joints

In the new study on knee osteoarthritis, the researchers asked 345 patients to log onto a website every time their pain flared up for eight hours or more — and then the team linked those episodes to the temperature, relative humidity, barometric pressure, and precipitation recorded in that patient’s neighborhood around that time by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. The researchers also looked at the weather on days when the patients had no flare-ups. They found no significant relationship between pain and any kind of weather change. The same was true for the study on back pain.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Last Night's Political Comedies

I watched a fair amount of the Jeff Sessions hearings yesterday. Samantha Bee is the only one I’ve seen report on the scariest thing I heard him say. When Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) asked if secular federal attorney’s had anything to worry about he flustered.

Whitehouse: And secular person has just as good a claim to understanding the truth as a person who is religious Sessions: Well I’m not so sure.

That’s really not out of context.

Trevor Noah had Johnathan Chait on to talk about his new book, which sounds very good.

And Jimmy Fallon had a cute segment with Michelle Obama

Monday, January 09, 2017

Movie Review: Hidden Figures

I’ve seen a number of bio-pics from the 30s and 40s about people like Madame Curie, Lou Gehrig, Louis Pasteur, Thomas Edison and famous presidents and patriots and I wonder why they don’t make movies like this anymore? Yes they covered up character flaws and weren’t always the most historically accurate, but they were dramatizations and could make you feel good and want to research the people more. Isn’t that valuable? Didn’t Shakespear do that?

Well this year they made one like that again. Hidden Figures is the little known story of NASA’s “colored computers”, African-American women who did a lot of the number crunching for the space program. Yes there were white wome who did that too but as you might imagine, the black women faced even more difficulties. Hidden Figures Movie vs the True Story of Katherine Johnson, NASA explains some of the liberties the movie took. Nevertheless, these women were exceptional individuals and this movie is an exceptionally well told story.

10 Years Ago: iPhone Intro

Ten years ago Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone to the world and changed what the term “smart phone” meant. It was probably his greatest demo. If you have a an hour and a half watch it here. Warning, once I started I couldn’t stop.

I had forgotten some of the innovations:

  • Visual Voicemail
  • Separate ongoing sms conversations
  • a widescreen touch based iPod with coverflow
  • the accelerometer that could switch between portrait and landscape
  • multitouch - listen to the cheers at scrolling and pinch-to-zoom
  • I forgot about WAP, good riddance
  • I have no memory of Apple making an old-style one ear bluetooth headset
  • It was at this event that they changed their name from Apple Computer to Apple

Some things are now quaint:

  • The “giant” 3.5" 160ppi screen
  • Sync’ing everything with iTunes was a feature
  • How slowly web pages loaded, but how fast it seemed
  • Yahoo Mail was the biggest mail provider and it was a big deal that push iMAP was free
  • 4GB and 8GB models

Here’s my post about the keynote and shortly thereafter on some notable limitations.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Snow Prediction

I’m no meteorologist but I’ll hazard a snow prediction (it’s more like a hope). I noticed that this century we’re in a 5 year pattern of low snowfall. So I’m going to guess Boston will get less than 20" of snow this winter. Of course I’m saying that having gotten 5.9 inches in Dec, an inch today and about 3 more expected tomorrow. Still, fingers crossed.

BOS Snowfall Chart

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Movies Seen in 2016

Previous Years: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011

In 2016 I saw 259 feature length movies and 49 short films (those under 40 mins). That’s the most I’ve seen in a year other than 2011 where I went crazy and saw 366 features and 30 short films.

84% Features and 16% Shorts

80% first run features is basically average for me.

Features were 80% first run, Shorts 98%

I rate on the Netflix 5 point scale where 1 is hated, 2 is didn’t like, 3 is I liked it, 4 is really liked and 5 is loved.

Features: 1:8, 2:47, 3:102, 4:83, 5:19

I had a pretty average curve for me.

Feature ratings by year back to 2009

I saw 83 features in the theater and most of the rest on cable. I only watched 3 films on Netlix this year, none on DVD or Blu-ray and only 1 online.

Screen Shot 2017 01 05 at 12 29 56 PM

I’ve got a few theaters I go to regularly, though the Somerville gets so much because of IFFBoston. The shorts I see in the theater are the Oscar nominees, this year I saw them at the Kendall, the others at the Somerville are some shorts packages at IFFBoston. Assembly Row opened in 2015, it’s nice but I only made it 4 times.

Screen Shot 2017 01 05 at 12 36 49 PM

My monthly viewing was a little odd with big months in January, July and December. Maybe I just binged in weather that was too cold or too hot. This year IFFBoston was split over the end of April and beginning of May so neither month peaked too high. But I caught 40 of the 2016 films, 18 features, and 22 shorts.

Screen Shot 2017 01 05 at 12 37 41 PM

Yet again, my viewing was really skewed towards recent films this year. I saw 79 features from 2016 and 67 from 2015. All the shorts I saw were from 2014 or later.

Screen Shot 2017 01 05 at 12 45 57 PM

Last year April was the only barren month for Oscar nominated films, this year it’s just February which seems odd, I guess I caught all the nominees in Jan or during the year. These are films from any year that got a nomination or won, not just from last year’s Oscars. They also (obviously) don’t include any films that came out this year that will get nominated later this month.

Screen Shot 2017 01 05 at 12 47 40 PM

Yet again I feel like I need to see more foreign films:

5 foreign features and 214 US features, 11 foreign shorts and 38 US shorts

I break down films into five genres that I’m pretty happy with. I then use some sub-genres and I still have a hard time putting every film in one. There are lots of Dramas and Comedies that have no sub-genre. But here’s how it looks for this year:

Screen Shot 2017 01 05 at 12 58 56 PM

Below are all the films I saw in 2016:

SeenTitleYearLengthCountryRating
Jan 3Top Five2014FeatureUS4
Jan 3Shadow of the Thin Man1941FeatureUS3
Jan 3The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel2015FeatureBritain3
Jan 3The Billion Dollar Brain1967FeatureBritain2
Jan 3What We Do In the Shadows2014FeatureNew Zealand2
Jan 5The Hateful Eight2015FeatureUS4
Jan 9Mad Max: Fury Road2015FeatureAustralia5
Jan 9The Hundred-Foot Journey2014FeatureUS3
Jan 9Dear Albania2015FeatureUS3
Jan 10Joy2015FeatureUS2
Jan 14Cinderella2015FeatureBritain3
Jan 16Dead End1937FeatureUS4
Jan 16St. Vincent2014FeatureUS4
Jan 16Jackie Brown1997FeatureUS3
Jan 16Listen to Me Marlon2015FeatureBritain3
Jan 1652 Pick-Up1986FeatureUS2
Jan 17What Happened Miss Simone?2015FeatureUS3
Jan 17The Revenant2015FeatureUS3
Jan 18The Blue Bird1918FeatureUS2
Jan 19The Danish Girl2015FeatureBritain3
Jan 21The Spymasters: CIA in the Crosshairs2015FeatureUS4
Jan 22Carol2015FeatureUS2
Jan 23Avengers: Age of Ultron2015FeatureUS4
Jan 2445 Years2015FeatureBritain3
Jan 24Entourage2015FeatureUS2
Jan 25The Best Years of Our Lives1946FeatureUS4
Jan 25The Helen Morgan Story1957FeatureUS2
Jan 27The Imitation Game2014FeatureBritain4
Jan 28Winter on Fire2015FeatureUkraine4
Jan 30Sounder1972FeatureUS4
Jan 30Superbad2007FeatureUS4
Jan 31Bear Story2015ShortChile4
Jan 31Sanjay's Super Team2015ShortUS4
Jan 31We Can't Live Without Cosmos2015ShortRussia4
Jan 31Prologue2015ShortBritain4
Jan 31Catch It2015ShortFrance4
Jan 31World of Tomorrow2015ShortUS3
Jan 31If I Were God2015ShortCanada3
Jan 31The Loneliest Spotlight2015ShortUS3
Jan 31The Short Story of a Fox and a Mouse2015ShortFrance3
Feb 6Tomorrowland2015FeatureUS2
Feb 7Hail, Caesar!2016FeatureUS2
Feb 13Kingsman: The Secret Service2015FeatureBritain4
Feb 13The Leisure Class2015FeatureUS1
Feb 14Day One2015ShortUS5
Feb 14Shok2015ShortBritain4
Feb 14Stutterer2015ShortBritain4
Feb 14Ave Maria2015ShortFrance3
Feb 14Everything Will Be Okay2015ShortGermany3
Feb 21Magic Mike XXL2015FeatureUS3
Feb 21Deadpool2016FeatureUS3
Feb 28Rejected2000ShortUS2
Feb 29San Andreas2015FeatureUS1
Mar 1Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens2015FeatureUS4
Mar 2Knight of Cups2016FeatureUS1
Mar 6The Witch2016FeatureUS2
Mar 10Spy2015FeatureUS3
Mar 10Eye in the Sky2015FeatureBritain3
Mar 12Love & Mercy2015FeatureUS3
Mar 1310 Cloverfield Lane2016FeatureUS4
Mar 16Body Team 122015ShortLiberia4
Mar 19Avengers: Age of Ultron2015FeatureUS4
Mar 19Still Alice2014FeatureUS4
Mar 19Big Eyes2014FeatureUS3
Mar 20Tangerines2014FeatureEstonia4
Mar 20Hello, My Name is Doris2016FeatureUS3
Mar 30The Dark Horse2016FeatureNew Zealand3
Apr 3Midnight Special2016FeatureUS3
Apr 5Ori & Addison2014ShortUS4
Apr 5Hunter's Moon2015ShortUS3
Apr 5Knockturnal2016ShortUS2
Apr 13Ant-Man2015FeatureUS4
Apr 16Ricki and the Flash2015FeatureUS2
Apr 17We the People: The Market Basket Effect2016FeatureUS3
Apr 17Chappie2015FeatureUS2
Apr 18Everything is Copy2015FeatureUS4
Apr 18Shattered2007FeatureBritain3
Apr 20Never Weaken1921ShortUS4
Apr 20From Hand to Mouth1919ShortUS3
Apr 21The Cardinal1963FeatureUS4
Apr 22Vertigo1958FeatureUS3
Apr 24Sound of Redemption2016FeatureUS4
Apr 24Miles Ahead2016FeatureUS4
Apr 27The Hollars2016FeatureUS4
Apr 28Five Nights in Maine2016FeatureUS4
Apr 28Embers2016FeatureUS3
Apr 29Presenting Princess Shaw2016FeatureUS4
Apr 29Always Shine2016FeatureUS3
Apr 30Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World2016FeatureUS5
Apr 30Transpecos2016FeatureUS5
Apr 30Class of '272016ShortUS4
Apr 30Neige2016ShortUS4
Apr 30A Living Wage2016ShortUS3
Apr 30Lockdown2016ShortUS3
Apr 30The Champion2016ShortUS3
Apr 30The Dwarvenaut2016FeatureUS3
Apr 30Bluespace2016FeatureUS2
May 1Balcony Scene2016ShortUS5
May 1Hunt for the Wilderpeople2016FeatureNew Zealand5
May 1Disorder2016FeatureFrance4
May 1Ori & Addison2016ShortUS4
May 1Bonding2016ShortUS4
May 1Twinsburg2016ShortUS3
May 1My Dark Side and My Light Side Meet in a Bar to Discuss the New Star Wars Movie2016ShortUS3
May 1Teenage Cocktail2016FeatureUS3
May 1Forever, Your Fireplace2016ShortUS2
May 1Blast Beat2016ShortUS2
May 2Weiner2016FeatureUS4
May 2The Lost Arcade2016FeatureUS3
May 3Don't Think Twice2016FeatureUS4
May 3Little Men2016FeatureUS3
May 4The Intervention2016FeatureUS3
May 5Going the Distance2016ShortUS4
May 5Killer2016ShortUS4
May 5Pickle2015ShortUS3
May 5Affections2015ShortUS2
May 6My Brother is a Zombie2015ShortUS4
May 6Tilly2015ShortUS3
May 6The Itching2016ShortUS2
May 7Captain America: The Winter Soldier2014FeatureUS5
May 7Fantastic Four2015FeatureUS2
May 8Captain America: Civil War2016FeatureUS4
May 15Money Monster2016FeatureUS3
May 17Wet Hot American Summer2001FeatureUS3
May 19Z for Zacharia2015FeatureUS3
May 19Mr. Holmes2015FeatureUS3
May 21All the Way2016FeatureUS5
May 22The Nice Guys2016FeatureUS3
May 23Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation2015FeatureUS4
May 27Love & Friendship2016FeatureIreland3
May 28The Intern2015FeatureUS3
May 29Under the Gun2016FeatureUS4
May 29The Lobster2016FeatureGreece2
Jun 2The Scarecrow1920ShortUS3
Jun 2The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean1972FeatureUS2
Jun 3Tale of Tales2016FeatureItaly3
Jun 5Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping2016FeatureUS2
Jun 7The Martian2015FeatureUS5
Jun 8Good Kill2015FeatureUS3
Jun 9Room 2372012FeatureUS2
Jun 11Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight2013FeatureUS4
Jun 11Pal Joey1957FeatureUS3
Jun 11Meet the Hitlers2016FeatureUS3
Jun 12The Fallen Idol1948FeatureBritain4
Jun 12The Searchers1956FeatureUS3
Jun 12Alexander Hamilton1931FeatureUS3
Jun 13Lawrence of Arabia1962FeatureBritain5
Jun 18Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 12012FeatureUS4
Jun 18Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 22012FeatureUS4
Jun 18The Alamo1960FeatureUS4
Jun 19Everest2015FeatureUS4
Jun 19De Palma2016FeatureUS4
Jun 19The Walk2015FeatureUS3
Jun 22Tickled2016FeatureUS4
Jun 24Batman: Under the Red Hood2010FeatureUS3
Jun 24The Good Dinosaur2015FeatureUS3
Jun 24Shutter2008FeatureUS2
Jun 26The Man Who Knew Infinity2016FeatureBritain3
Jun 28Swiss Army Man2016FeatureUS5
Jul 2Go West1925FeatureUS4
Jul 2Shaun the Sheep Movie2015FeatureBritain4
Jul 2Captive2015FeatureUS3
Jul 2O.C. and Stiggs1985FeatureUS2
Jul 2Laurel Canyon2002FeatureUS2
Jul 3Path to War2002FeatureUS4
Jul 3Gangster Squad2013FeatureUS3
Jul 3Ted 22015FeatureUS3
Jul 3Batman: Year One2011FeatureUS3
Jul 4Misery1990FeatureUS4
Jul 4Get Shorty1995FeatureUS4
Jul 4MI-52015FeatureBritain3
Jul 5Heist2015FeatureUS2
Jul 6Heartburn1986FeatureUS2
Jul 7A Walk Among the Tombstones2014FeatureUS3
Jul 7Project Almanac2015FeatureUS2
Jul 8The Normal Heart2014FeatureUS4
Jul 9Black Sunday1977FeatureUS3
Jul 10Broken Blossoms1919FeatureUS4
Jul 10Swiss Army Man2016FeatureUS5
Jul 11Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars1973FeatureBritain2
Jul 11The Game1997FeatureUS3
Jul 17Stonewall2015FeatureUS2
Jul 17Concussion2015FeatureUS3
Jul 17Straight Outta Compton2015FeatureUS4
Jul 17Ghostbusters2016FeatureUS2
Jul 24Star Trek Beyond2016FeatureUS2
Jul 29Thunder Road2016ShortUS3
Jul 30That Cold Day in the Park1969FeatureUS2
Jul 30Cesar Chavez2014FeatureUS3
Jul 30High Anxiety1977FeatureUS4
Jul 30Atari: Game Over2014FeatureUS3
Jul 31Spectre2015FeatureBritain2
Jul 31The 332015FeatureUS3
Jul 31Jason Bourne2016FeatureUS3
Aug 2Munich2005FeatureUS4
Aug 4Deception2008FeatureUS2
Aug 4The Rocketeer1991FeatureUS4
Aug 5My Left Foot1989FeatureIreland4
Aug 6Boyz n the Hood1991FeatureUS5
Aug 7Shalll We Dance2004FeatureUS3
Aug 7Captain Fantastic2016FeatureUS4
Aug 14Grandma2015FeatureUS4
Aug 14Black Girl1966FeatureFrance3
Aug 16Complete Unknown2016FeatureUS2
Aug 19Things to Come1936FeatureBritain3
Aug 20Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country1991FeatureUS4
Aug 20There Will Be Blood2007FeatureUS4
Aug 21Office Space1999FeatureUS4
Aug 28Movie Crazy1932FeatureUS3
Aug 28Hell or High Water2016FeatureUS4
Aug 29Truth2015FeatureUS3
Aug 29The Lady in the Van2015FeatureBritain3
Sep 3The Silencers1966FeatureUS3
Sep 3In the Heart of the Sea2015FeatureUS2
Sep 3Pride2014FeatureBritain4
Sep 4Jane Wants a Boyfriend2016FeatureUS3
Sep 4It Follows2015FeatureUS3
Sep 4The Stanford Prison Experiment2015FeatureUS2
Sep 4Sicario2015FeatureUS4
Sep 5The Rat Race1960FeatureUS3
Sep 5Hysteria2011FeatureBritain3
Sep 5The Quiet American2002FeatureBritain4
Sep 5Carrie1976FeatureUS3
Sep 6Black Sea2015FeatureBritain2
Sep 6The Jerk1979FeatureUS4
Sep 6Leon: The Professional1994FeatureUS4
Sep 7Very Semi-Serious2015FeatureUS3
Sep 7Coney Island1917ShortUS3
Sep 11Star Trek III: The Search For Spock1984FeatureUS3
Sep 11Sully2016FeatureUS3
Sep 18Tron1982FeatureUS2
Sep 19Star Trek V: The Final Frontier1989FeatureUS1
Sep 22Shakes the Clown1991FeatureUS3
Sep 24Spartacus1960FeatureUS5
Sep 25Ben-Hur1959FeatureUS3
Oct 1Whiskey Tango Foxtrot2016FeatureUS2
Oct 2Command and Control2016FeatureUS3
Oct 813 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi2016FeatureUS3
Oct 9The Birth of a Nation2016FeatureUS4
Oct 16Denial2016FeatureBritain3
Oct 17Borrowed Time2016ShortUS3
Oct 19Never Happened2016ShortUS4
Oct 22Blazing Saddles1974FeatureUS5
Oct 23Moonlight2016FeatureUS4
Oct 25The Handmaiden2016FeatureKorea5
Oct 26I Am Not Your Negro2017FeatureUS5
Oct 27After the Storm2016FeatureJapan3
Oct 27The Autopsy of Jane Doe2016FeatureBritain4
Oct 28Loving2016FeatureUS4
Nov 2Manchester by the Sea2016FeatureUS4
Nov 3Piper2016ShortUS4
Nov 6Doctor Strange2016FeatureUS3
Nov 13Arrival2016FeatureUS4
Nov 15Noctural Animals2016FeatureUS3
Nov 19By the Sea2015FeatureUS1
Nov 20The Edge of Seventeen2016FeatureUS4
Nov 22The Martian2015FeatureUS5
Nov 24Funeral in Berlin1966FeatureUS4
Nov 24Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House1948FeatureUS5
Nov 25Jobs2013FeatureUS3
Nov 26Nanook of the North1922FeatureUS4
Nov 26Zero Days2016FeatureUS4
Nov 26Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice2016FeatureUS1
Nov 27Harlan County U.S.A.1976FeatureUS4
Nov 27The Peanuts Movie2015FeatureUS3
Nov 30Ace Ventura: Pet Detective1994FeatureUS2
Nov 302 Guns2013FeatureUS3
Dec 3Race2016FeatureUS3
Dec 3Keanu2016FeatureUS4
Dec 4Evolution2016FeatureFrance1
Dec 5Altman2014FeatureUS3
Dec 6Countdown1968FeatureUS2
Dec 6Much Ado About Nothing2013FeatureUS3
Dec 8Casino Royale1967FeatureUS2
Dec 8Mad Hot Ballroom2005FeatureUS3
Dec 9My Blueberry Nights2007FeatureHong Kong3
Dec 10Paris Blues1961FeatureUS3
Dec 10Harper1966FeatureUS3
Dec 10The Drowning Pool1975FeatureUS3
Dec 10The Brothers Grimsby2016FeatureBritain2
Dec 11Misconduct2016FeatureUS1
Dec 11Jackie2016FeatureUS3
Dec 15Rogue One: A Star Wars Story2016FeatureUS4
Dec 16Star Wars IV: A New Hope1977FeatureUS5
Dec 17Marathon: The Patriots Day Bombing2016FeatureUS4
Dec 17Eddie the Eagle2016FeatureBritain3
Dec 17War2007FeatureUS2
Dec 18La La Land2016FeatureUS2
Dec 21Rogue One: A Star Wars Story2016FeatureUS4
Dec 22Forsaken2015FeatureCanada3
Dec 24Legend2015FeatureBritain2
Dec 24The Invisible Man1933FeatureUS2
Dec 24Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens2015FeatureUS4
Dec 25Keeper of the Flame1942FeatureUS3
Dec 25Argo2012FeatureUS4
Dec 26Bubba Ho-Tep2002FeatureUS2
Dec 26City by the Sea2002FeatureUS3
Dec 27Mr. Smith Goes to Washington1939FeatureUS4
Dec 27The Life of an American Fireman1903ShortUS2
Dec 27The Musketeers of Pig Alley1912ShortUS3
Dec 27The Beau Brummels1928ShortUS3
Dec 27Ball of Fire1941FeatureUS3
Dec 27Punch-Drunk Love2002FeatureUS4
Dec 28Ratatouille2007FeatureUS4
Dec 29Meet John Doe1941FeatureUS4
Dec 29Jeff, Who Lives at Home2012FeatureUS3
Dec 30Sushi Girl2012FeatureUS3
Dec 31Spotlight2015FeatureUS5

Thursday, December 29, 2016

As glaciers literally crumble around him, a pianist plays an elegy for the Arctic

Vox wrote As glaciers literally crumble around him, a pianist plays an elegy for the Arctic

They claim it’s not CGI, as if pianos float…

“Back in June, as part of an advocacy campaign aimed at protecting the Arctic Ocean from oil and gas extraction, Greenpeace sent its ship Arctic Sunrise northward with some unusual cargo. The ship carried renowned pianist Ludovico Einaudi, a grand piano, and a floating wooden platform made up to look like a glacier. They put the platform in the water next to the Wahlenbergbreen glacier in Svalbard, Norway. They put the piano on the platform. And there, Einaudi played a short original composition: ‘Elegy for the Arctic.’”

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

2016 National Film Registry Inductees

The National Film Registry announced their 2016 inductee, With “20,000 Leagues,” the National Film Registry Reaches 700

Films Selected for the 2016 National Film Registry:

  • Atomic Cafe (1982)
  • Ball of Fire (1941)
  • The Beau Brummels (1928)
  • The Birds (1963)
  • Blackboard Jungle (1955)
  • The Breakfast Club (1985)
  • The Decline of Western Civilization (1981)
  • East of Eden (1955)
  • Funny Girl (1968)
  • Life of an American Fireman (1903)
  • The Lion King (1994)
  • Lost Horizon (1937)
  • The Musketeers of Pig Alley (1912)
  • Paris Is Burning (1990)
  • Point Blank (1967)
  • The Princess Bride (1987)
  • Putney Swope (1969)
  • Rushmore (1998)
  • Solomon Sir Jones films (1924–28)
  • Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928)
  • Suzanne, Suzanne (1982)
  • Thelma & Louise (1991)
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1916)
  • A Walk in the Sun (1945)
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

I’ve seen the bold ones, links are to the films on YouTube.. I’m thrilled to see The Princess Bride and The Breakfast Club included and it’s always nice to see Hitchcock even if The Birds isn’t my favorite. Film descriptions here.

Friday, December 23, 2016

A Quarter of Florida’s Black Citizens Can’t Vote. A New Referendum Could Change That.

A Quarter of Florida’s Black Citizens Can’t Vote. A New Referendum Could Change That.

For more than a century, the state of Florida has presided over one of American history’s single most effective and enduring efforts to disenfranchise voters. By far the most populous of the three states that strip lifelong voting rights from people with felony convictions, Florida is home to some 1.5 million residents who can never again cast a ballot unless pardoned by the state’s governor, according to a calculation by The Sentencing Project.

Yet in recent weeks, even without any significant organizational backing, a coalition composed largely of disenfranchised Floridians quietly reached a new landmark in a long and laborious fight to overturn the state’s law. On Monday, after organizers had spent years gathering the requisite 68,314 petition signatures, Florida’s high court announced it had set a March date to consider the proposal to allow a referendum on the 2018 ballot asking voters to roll back the state’s felony voting restriction.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

UI design for Rogue One

Blind did the UI design for Rogue One. It seemed inscrutable to me but did match the Star Wars universe well. I wonder why it took so long to upload the Death Star plans because they’re all just 8-bit graphics.

(via Kottke)

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

100 Photographs | The Most Influential Images of All Time

A few weeks ago Time Magazine listed 100 Photographs | The Most Influential Images of All Time. I know many of them, many of them I don’t.

Human Population Through Time

“It took 200,000 years for our human population to reach 1 billion—and only 200 years to reach 7 billion. But growth has begun slowing, as women have fewer babies on average. When will our global population peak? And how can we minimize our impact on Earth’s resources, even as we approach 11 billion?”

The 12 key science moments of 2016

The Guardian lists The 12 key science moments of 2016.

  1. World Health Organisation declares a public emergency of international concern over Zika
  2. SpaceX demonstrates a big step towards fully reusable space craft
  3. Portugal is entirely powered by renewable energy for four days
  4. New reserves of helium discovered
  5. Confirmation of the discovery of a nearby habitable planet
  6. Our last universal common ancestor gets a makeover
  7. The legacy of a celebrated neuroscientist is contested
  8. Greenland sharks live for a very long time
  9. CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere passes 400 parts per million
  10. A bad marriage can lead to an early death
  11. Arctic and Antarctic sea ice volumes both fall to an all-time low
  12. Scientists modify photosynthesis to boost crop yield

Then again, Michael Mann wrote in the Washington Post, I’m a scientist who has gotten death threats. I fear what may happen under Trump.

Also, The Arctic could end a year of record-breaking temperatures with a heat wave. “In a year of record-high temperatures and record-low sea ice, the Arctic appears poised to witness another frightening scenario: temperatures at the North Pole so high that they might even swing above freezing, something not typically seen until May.”

Cassini: Mission to Saturn: Saturn's Hexagon in Motion

Cassini: Mission to Saturn: Saturn’s Hexagon in Motion

The differences in this version of the movie, in which different wavelengths of light from ultraviolet to visible to infrared have been assigned colors, show a distinct contrast between the types of atmospheric particles inside and outside the hexagon. Inside the hexagon there are fewer large haze particles and a concentration of small haze particles, while outside the hexagon, the opposite is true. The jet stream that makes up the hexagon seems to act like a barrier, which results in something like the ‘ozone hole’ in the Antarctic.

This movie shows a view from directly over the north pole, keeping up with the rotation of the planet so that all the motion seen on the screen is the motion of the hexagonal jet stream or the storms inside of it, without any added motion from the spinning of the planet itself. The original images were re-projected to show this polar view.

The eight frames of the movie were captured over 10 hours on Dec.10, 2012. Each of the eight frames consists of 16 map-projected images (four per color filter, and four filters per frame) so the movie combines data from 128 images total."

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Friday, December 16, 2016

Movie Review: Rogue One

It’s very good. It’s like a Star Wars version of the Guns of Navarone. I went into it knowing virtually nothing about it, having seen only one trailer a few months ago. I left very happy. It’s not without flaws, but I enjoyed it and the third act worked very well. I can quibble about some things, but that makes for fun post movie discussion.

I saw it in IMAX 3D in the second row. I even saw it in the only laser 4K projector theater in New England but I still want to see it again in 2D. I don’t think it will make much of a difference. I didn’t like wearing the glasses, I felt like I was watching through a porthole. Also lots of shots were composed for 3D, so when people are standing around talking, there’s someone’s back in the foreground covering half the frame and it’s very blurry and then there’s someone facing the camera in focus and then there’s background out of focus. The depth of field in a lot of shots seemed unnecessarily shallow. It got much better in the climax. If there’s a 2D IMAX version (I’m not sure there is) I’d go for that.

I left with a question that I can state here without spoilers. The Star Wars universe has some interesting future tech and seems short changed in some other ways. They don’t seem to have decent encryption for secret transmissions, so they have to messenger things around. There’s a bit of computer tech in Rogue One that just had me scratching my head of why someone would invent something like that. So here’s the question. How long until Star Wars becomes the old Flash Gordon serials, where the tech is no longer futuristic?

Monday, December 05, 2016

Top 25 News Photos of 2016

Some really stunning photos in The Atlantic’s Top 25 News Photos of 2016 “The past twelve months have been an eventful time for news stories, from the unpredictable and tumultuous U.S. presidential election, to continued war and terror in the Middle East and refugees fleeing to Europe, to a historic World Series win for the Chicago Cubs, ongoing protests demanding racial justice in the U.S., the Summer Olympics and Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, and so much more. Today, we present the Top 25 News Photos of 2016—and starting tomorrow will be presenting part one of a more comprehensive three-part series, 2016: The Year in Photos. Warning, some of the photos may contain graphic or objectionable content.”

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Saturday, December 03, 2016

Your Periodic Table Is Officially Out of Date

Gizmodo reports Your Periodic Table Is Officially Out of Date

Scientists with the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) have officially approved the names of four new elements, completing the seventh row of the periodic table.

The four elements, discovered between 2002 and 2010, aren’t new per se, but the names are. IUPAC officially recognized the discovery of the super-heavy, highly reactive elements in December of 2015, and announced the suggested names back in June of this year. After a five-month chill-out period for the world to digest the new monikers, the bureau made the names official this week.

  • Nihonium and symbol Nh, for the element 113
  • Moscovium and symbol Mc, for the element 115
  • Tennessine and symbol Ts, for the element 117
  • Oganesson and symbol Og, for the element 118

Japanese researchers proposed Nihonium, which means Japan, and a team of scientists from Russia and the US named Moscovium for Moscow and Tennessine for Tennessee. Oganesson was named in honor of Yuri Oganessian, a Russian chemist. The additions replace the current seventh row placeholders, ununtrium, ununpentium, ununseptium, ununoctium (and good riddance)."

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Huge Cracks In the West Antarctic Ice Sheet May Signal Its Collapse

Huge Cracks In the West Antarctic Ice Sheet May Signal Its Collapse

Antarctica Rift 500

Last year, a 225 square-mile chunk of West Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier broke off and tumbled into the sea. Now, Earth scientists at Ohio State University have pinpointed the root cause of the iceberg calving event: a crack that started deep below ground and 20 miles inland. It’s like nothing scientists have witnessed in West Antarctica before, and it doesn’t bode well for the ice sheet’s future.

One can’t help but note that NASA’s Earth science program, which makes such data available to scientists and the public, faces the possibility of major cuts under a Trump administration. These cuts would come at the precise moment when our planet is changing in rapid and hard-to-predict ways, which is when Earth science research is needed the most. Like cracks in an ice sheet, the irony runs deep.

It will soon be illegal to punish customers who criticize businesses online

Ars Technica reports It will soon be illegal to punish customers who criticize businesses online “Congress has passed a law protecting the right of US consumers to post negative online reviews without fear of retaliation from companies.”

The Consumer Review Fairness Act voids any provision in a form contract that prohibits or restricts customers from posting reviews about the goods, services, or conduct of the company providing the product or service. It also voids provisions that impose penalties or fees on customers for posting online reviews as well as those that require customers to give up the intellectual property rights related to such reviews. The legislation empowers the Federal Trade Commission to enforce the new law and impose penalties when necessary. The bill also protects reviews that aren’t available via the Internet.