Xah Lee's Blog Archive 2009-09
Now, http://xahlee.info/ is online. The xahlee.info is basically a mirror of xahlee.org, except it does not contain any pages that are of sexual content, political, offensive, or otherwise controversial. Basically, that means good old math, programing, english literature, contents.
I made this mirror because in order to put google AdSense, they don't allow such contents. There are about 40 pages that are of sexual nature, and about 40 are controversial. Out of the 3864 pages on xahlee.org.
The ErgoEmacs Keybinding, a ergonomic based keyboard shortcut package for emacs, has a new version, and is now based on minor mode. Download at:ErgoEmacs Keybinding (Thanks to David Capello.)
Idiocy of Keyboard Layouts: QWERTZ, AZERTY, Alt Graph. (computing; computer keyboard)
Watched Coraline (film) today. Pretty good. Better in first half. Not as good as i expected though, because i read the summary of the story on Wikipedia first and i think i'd love it. I didn't particular find the animation that spectacular, nor the story extraordinarily fascinating.
This movie reminds me of Pan's Labyrinth, also a fantastic film. I think i liked PL better.
The technology of this film, Stop-motion, is rather fascinating. Basically, you just take still photos and sequence them together. I couldn't imagine how such method could make a good, smooth, animation, but apparently it can.
Typically, stop-animation is done using clays for characters, because clay is easy to mold. This film is done by 3D printing to create models. Amazing technology. Imagine, in order to create this film, they have to build miniature sets, and take tens of thousands photos of it. Quite amazing. Consider what it takes to build the miniature sets, little houses, chairs, dolls… in a sense, they are high quality toys, custom made by dedicated professional artisans. The resulting product is a magnitude higher quality than mass produced miniature toys you could by in toy stores. Fascinating. I wonder if they sell those sets and artifacts after the film.
Essay: A Short Survey Of Keyboard Shortcut Notation (computing; emacs)
Idiocy Of Unix Copy Command (computing)
Bang Brothers, a popular porn website. Wikipedia comes to explain: Bangbros
See also: Xah's Porn Outspeak.
More on: Math Notations, Computer Languages Syntax, and the “Form” in Formalism. (math; computing)
Random notes on math: Theory Of Equations (math)
The juvenile sea squirt wanders through the sea searching for a suitable rock or hunk of coral to cling to and make its home for life. For this task, it has a rudimentary nervous system. When it finds its spot and takes root, it doesn't need its brain anymore, so it eats it! (It's rather like getting tenure.)*
* The analogy between the sea squirt and the associate professor was first pointed out, I think, by the neuroscientist Rodolfo Llinas.
-Daniel C. Dennett (from Consciousness Explained, 1991)
The academic Tenure issue has been on my mind. My un-informed impression is that it's a extreme inefficiency. After reading the Wikipedia article, i learned that the origin of tenure itself is supposed to be academic freedom, but of course, some criticism states that its effects is exactly the opposite. I don't know for sure, but i think something of a life-long award is certainly bad. It basically make people lazy, by human nature. When food is guaranteed for life (by some unnatural modern social structure), it is questionable that the person will be as productive as before.
The tenure issue can be checked by statistical survey. (which probably has been done) We can look at all highly respected academics, and do a social study on their productivity, comparing those having tenure, and not, and productivity from before and after tenure. More likely than not, general speaking, tenure gets productivity downhill.
Spent about 2 hours to update: Mac ＆ Windows File Conversion.
Essay: Problems of Emacs Supporting Obsolete Systems (computing)
I've known about induced lactation, mostly from Wikipedia reading few years ago, however, Wikipedia has taken it to a high ground! See Erotic lactation.
Essay: File Aliases Considered A Plague (computing)