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Inside the Growing Flat Earth Movement

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Alan Burdick, writing for The New Yorker:

The unsettling thing about spending two days at a convention of people who believe that Earth is flat isn’t the possibility that you, too, might come to accept their world view, although I did worry a little about that. Rather, it’s the very real likelihood that, after sitting through hours of presentations on “scientism,” lightning angels, and nasa’s many conspiracies — the moon-landing hoax, the International Fake Station, so-called satellites — and in chatting with I.T. specialists, cops, college students, and fashionably dressed families with young children, all of them unfailingly earnest and lovely, you will come to actually understand why a growing number of people are dead certain that Earth is flat. Because that truth is unnerving.

In recent years I’ve begun to feel conflicted about the internet. On the one hand, it’s been wonderful in so many ways. I’ve personally built my entire career on the fact that the internet enables me to publish as a one-person operation. But on the other hand, before the internet, kooks were forced to exist on the fringe. There’ve always been flat-earther-types denying science and John Birch Society political fringers, but they had no means to amplify their message or bond into large movements.

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mrnosuch
1570 days ago
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The internet is a force multiplier for intelligence and stupidity. The problem is stupidly does a lot more damage at scale than intelligence can mitigate. It is easier to destroy than to create.
Munich, Germany
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SXSW threatens to narc musicians out to immigration authorities if they play unauthorized gigs

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Evan Greer writes, "SXSW is one of the most popular music festivals in the US. It was just revealed that they are actively threatening bands from outside the US with "immediate deportation' and immigration investigations if they perform at 'unofficial' events during the festival. At a time when immigrants are under attack, this policy is all the more chilling. Sign the petition to tell them to drop this practice." SXSW has had this policy for years, apparently, but it still sucks.

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mrnosuch
2036 days ago
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That's the sound of SWSX jumping the shark.
Munich, Germany
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HandBrake 1.0.0 Released After 13 Years of Development

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Finally out of beta, just in time for the demise of the optical disc.

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mrnosuch
2102 days ago
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I've transcoded lots of videos with Handbrake, and less than 1% of them came from an optical disc.
Munich, Germany
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3 public comments
jheiss
2102 days ago
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Maybe the streaming video services will eventually have reasonable catalog depth, but they certainly aren't there now and show no sign of heading that way. Very few of the shows and movies my family wants to watch are available for subscription streaming. Usually the cost of a one time stream is similar to the cost of a used optical disk on Amazon, so I buy the disk and rip it and now I've got that content forever.
martinbaum
2102 days ago
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0% in my case. For a while it was the only easy way to make H.265 4K on a Mac.
peelman
2102 days ago
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Christ Gruber. Handbrake is for transcoding video. A task that transcends optical discs.
Seymour, Indiana

Flybbertigybbets

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“gyb” stands for “Generate Your Boilerplate”. Built in Python, it’s part of Swift’s utility suite. You can find its implemention here. It’s part of the open source Swift source.

Gybbing provides a preprocessor that automates inherently repetitive coding tasks. For example, it helps construct built in math types. With gybs, you don’t have to re-implement a common task for each type. That can get very old very fast. (Copying and pasting nearly-identical code is never fun.)

If you hop over to the standard library source, you’ll find a couple of dozen gyb sources to look at. These range from tuples to string interpolation to integers. They use a mix of GYB markup and injected Python code to generate related-type code.

Here’s the help info from running gyb -h:

usage: gyb [-h] [-D NAME=VALUE] [-o TARGET] [--test] [--verbose-test] [--dump]
           [--line-directive LINE_DIRECTIVE]
           [file]

Generate Your Boilerplate!

positional arguments:
  file                  Path to GYB template file (defaults to stdin)

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -D NAME=VALUE         Bindings to be set in the template's execution context
  -o TARGET             Output file (defaults to stdout)
  --test                Run a self-test
  --verbose-test        Run a verbose self-test
  --dump                Dump the parsed template to stdout
  --line-directive LINE_DIRECTIVE
                        Line directive prefix; empty => no line markers

    A GYB template consists of the following elements:

      - Literal text which is inserted directly into the output

      - %% or $$ in literal text, which insert literal '%' and '$'
        symbols respectively.

      - Substitutions of the form ${}.  The Python
        expression is converted to a string and the result is inserted
        into the output.

      - Python code delimited by %{...}%.  Typically used to inject
        definitions (functions, classes, variable bindings) into the
        evaluation context of the template.  Common indentation is
        stripped, so you can add as much indentation to the beginning
        of this code as you like

      - Lines beginning with optional whitespace followed by a single
        '%' and Python code.  %-lines allow you to nest other
        constructs inside them.  To close a level of nesting, use the
        "%end" construct.

      - Lines beginning with optional whitespace and followed by a
        single '%' and the token "end", which close open constructs in
        %-lines.

    Example template:

          - Hello -
        %{
             x = 42
             def succ(a):
                 return a+1
        }%

        I can assure you that ${x} < ${succ(x)} % if int(y) > 7:
        %    for i in range(3):
        y is greater than seven!
        %    end
        % else:
        y is less than or equal to seven
        % end

          - The End. -

    When run with "gyb -Dy=9", the output is

          - Hello -

        I can assure you that 42 < 43

        y is greater than seven!
        y is greater than seven!
        y is greater than seven!

          - The End. -
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mrnosuch
2142 days ago
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I don't think it speaks well for Swift that someone thought a utility like this is needed.
Munich, Germany
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A Wonderful Engine Note

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Can electric sports cars be sporty without any engine noise?

Not only does a noisy engine give a visceral thrill, knowing that there are thousands of tiny explosions happening to keep you going, but it just sounds awesome. It would be a shame to lose it, and carmakers know it. Bloomberg says Porsche has been looking at artificially inserting noise into the cabin, perhaps via the stereo like some other manufacturers have done, or amplifying the high-pitched hum of the electric motor.

One side of me is appalled by the idea of a car with fake engine noises. The other side of me sees this as a merging of video games and real life.

If the simulation is indistinguishable from reality, does it matter?

Another question: if simulated engine noises become the new normal, will car companies copyright engine sounds?

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mrnosuch
2142 days ago
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I foresee licensed DLC sound packs. "Hey, now my car sounds like a Star Wars™ Sandspeeder™!"
Munich, Germany
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The Value of Twitter

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Dave Winer:

When people say Twitter, the company, is a lost cause they are out of their minds or don’t understand systems. Twitter works. There’s a company behind it that makes it work. The service has a lot of value, not just as servers, but that it’s all together in one place. If that were to break it could never be replaced. Look at the void left after Napster’s demise for a clue. Set us back 20-30 years.

Exactly.

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mrnosuch
2182 days ago
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The signal to noise ratio of Twitter makes it worthless unless you invest far too much time curating your own feed. Having abandoned it long ago, I would not notice a void if it were to go dark, and think it would probably benefit the internet as a whole, seeing that it's predominantly a force multiplier for hate and harassment.
Munich, Germany
jhamill
2181 days ago
The same could be said of social any website on the internet if someone didn't find value in the website.
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gglockner
2182 days ago
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The Twitter service didn't always work. Anyone remember the Twitter Fail Whale?
Bellevue, WA
wmf
2182 days ago
I do remember the fail whale... from around 10 years ago.
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