Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for August 27th, 2015

“That’s how I finish it!” Ronnie O’Sullivan’s12th 147

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An absolutely amazing sequence. From Wikipedia:

The maximum break in snooker under normal circumstances is 147.[1]This is often known as a maximum, a 147, or verbally a one-four-seven. The 147 is amassed by potting all fifteen reds with fifteen blacks for 120 points, then all six colours for a further 27 points.[1]

The way the game is played, from a different Wikipedia article:

The game is played using a cue and 22 snooker balls: one white cue ball, 15 red balls worth one point each, and six balls of different colours: yellow (2 points), green (3), brown (4), blue (5), pink (6) and black (7).[4] The red balls are initially placed in a triangular formation, and the other coloured balls on marked positions on the table known as “spots”. Players execute shots by striking the cue ball with the cue, causing the cue ball to hit a red or coloured ball. Points are scored by sinking the red and coloured balls (knocking them into the pockets, called “potting”) in the correct sequence. A player receives additional points if the opponent commits a foul. A player (or team) wins a frame (individual game) of snooker by scoring more points than the opponent(s). A player wins a match when a predetermined number of frames have been won.

In this sequence, Ronnie O’Sullivan, perhaps the greatest snooker player alive—or ever—gets a maximum break in less than 8 minutes:

Written by Leisureguy

27 August 2015 at 12:58 pm

Posted in Games

Switzerland opens tunnel 35 miles long

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Backstory in comments at the YouTube video and in this Motherboard article.

In other news, the US cannot even build a tunnel from New Jersey to New York, a desperately needed tunnel, but Gov. Chris Christie canceled it.

Written by Leisureguy

27 August 2015 at 12:38 pm

Posted in Technology, Video

Judge Halts Unconstitutional Ban on Juror Rights Education

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Very good news indeed, in a press release from the Fully Informed Jury Association. It’s hard to understand why the government would take action to prevent informing people of their rights.

Helena, MT—A federal court today issued an Order Granting Motion for Preliminary Injunction, effectively gutting paragraph 1 of a recently issued administrative order against juror rights educators sharing information at the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse Plaza in Denver, Colorado. Paragraph 1 still applies to the landscaping and gravel area of the plaza, but juror rights educators should be able to share FIJA brochures and verbal jury nullification information for general educational purposes with people in other areas of the plaza without fear of arrest.

FIJA joined with co-plaintiffs Eric Verlo and Janet Matzen of Occupy Denver in filing a motion for preliminary injunction to prevent further arrests for general juror rights educational outreach after juror rights educators Mark Iannicelli and Eric Brandt were arrested and charged with seven felony counts each of jury tampering for sharing jury nullification information outside the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse in July.

Shortly thereafter, Judge Michael Martinez issued a heavy-handed order prohibiting a broad array of expressive activities in areas outside the Courthouse that constitute a traditional public forum for free speech, and the plaintiffs amended their motion to challenge this sweeping violation of the First Amendment as well.

“We are thrilled with this timely victory for both free speech and juror rights education,” says FIJA Executive Director Kirsten Tynan. “Jury Rights Day commemorates the notable jury nullification case of William Penn, who was arrested for just the sort of peaceful, expressive activity that Judge Michael Martinez attempted to ban outside of Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse. His acquittal by conscientious jurors—who would not obey even when a judge who ordered them to find Penn guilty proceeded to imprison them without food and water—was foundational to our legal ability to conduct juror rights outreach at this Courthouse still today. We look forward to celebrating Jury Rights Day at the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse in Denver next week.”

FIJA will join with Occupy Denver in celebrating Jury Rights Day on Friday, September 4 on the plaza outside the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse in Denver. Each year since 1991, FIJA has rallied juror rights educators nationwide for educational outreach at courthouses and other appropriate locations on and around September 5, known as Jury Rights Day. Jury Rights Day commemorates the famous jury nullification case of the trial of William Penn and William Mead in 1670, which anchored in English common law and U.S. jurisprudence the right of the jury to deliver verdicts from conscience without being punished, as well as our rights to freedom of speech, association, and religion.

On this day of celebration and commemoration, juror educators will create many fully informed jurors who understand and are prepared to act on the knowledge that:

  • Jurors cannot be punished for their verdicts.
  • Jurors have the right to deliver a general verdict and are not required to explain the reason for their verdict.
  • Jurors have the legal authority and the ethical duty to consult their consciences and to render a just verdict, even if it requires setting aside the law and voting Not Guilty when strictly enforcing the law would be unjust.

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

27 August 2015 at 10:37 am

Posted in Law

Animations Created with an Ultra-Precise Light-Painting Drone

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No sound is required for this video. (Sound track is just electronic techno music.)

Here’s the backstory in Motherboard.

Written by Leisureguy

27 August 2015 at 10:12 am

Posted in Technology, Video

Canada provides a good example of government authoritarianism in how it treats government scientists

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In Motherboard Stephen Buranyi describes the struggle to enable Canada’s government scientists to communicate with the public:

As a scientist employed by the Canadian government, every question Janet receives from a journalist or member of the public must be screened by a media officer. These officers decide what questions reach her, and have the final say on what answers come back.

“They have a list of ‘hot-button’ issues that can’t be mentioned, like climate change, or the oil sands. They say ‘Don’t use that phrase’ or ‘Don’t connect it to industry X,’” said Janet, an Environment Canada researcher who agreed to speak about her experience on the condition we use a pseudonym. She fears she may lose her job for speaking openly about policies that she feels have led to her scientific work being repeatedly censored and misrepresented.

“They’ve told me: ‘Say you don’t know the answer to that question,’ even if I do,” she said. “They make me look like an idiot.”

While it is certainly not unusual for government departments to have a media office, the way the Canadian government has systematically used them to restrict the public’s access to researchers and their data has sparked outrage from scientists around the world.

The media officers usually request that questions be sent to scientists by email. Phone and in-person interviews are rarely granted, and it’s not always clear to journalists which questions will be answered, or even who is doing the answering. Instead, the media office may remove the original scientist’s name and return answers attributed to an unnamed group.

From the inside, the system is equally faceless. Janet said that correspondence is carried out through a single departmental email address. She said there are clearly multiple people using the account, but they never identify themselves. They just filter and edit and tinker with the information, in total anonymity.

Canadian journalists were the first to raise the alarm about the practice, what is now known as “muzzling,” around 2008. It was then they realized that the rules had changed, and media officers were preventing them from talking to scientists they previously had no trouble contacting. Since 2012 there have also been significant cuts to scientific programs, with thousands of jobs lost at government research departments. The cuts are projected to continue, and research centered on the hot buttons—climate, energy, and environment—will be taking the biggest hits.

Despite regular media coverage, none of it kind, little about the situation has changed. Like many Canadian scientists, Janet feels that her work is being disrespected and devalued by a government that cares more about message control than the research she was hired to do.

“From here, it really does seem like they hate science,” Janet said.

This has put Canadian scientists in a very uncomfortable place. . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

27 August 2015 at 8:57 am

Posted in Government, Media, Science

The importance of sound (not dialogue) in movies

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Jordan Kisner has a very interesting article in the Guardian (from last month) about Skip Lievsay, a noted sound designer—from the article:

Lievsay is one of the best. He won an Academy award in 2014 for his work on Gravity. He was awarded the 2015 Career Achievement award from the Motion Picture Sound Editors society. Goodfellas, Silence of the Lambs, Do The Right Thing – his work. He is also the only sound editor the Coen Brothers work with, which means that he is the person responsible for that gnarly wood chipper noise in Fargo, the peel of wallpaper in Barton Fink, the resonance of The Dude’s bowling ball in The Big Lebowski and the absolutely chilling crinkle of Javier Bardem’s gum wrapper in No Country for Old Men.

From the (somewhat lengthy) article—which is well worth reading in its entirety:

The impact a tiny aural cue can have on the brain’s understanding of narrative is astonishing. On the third day of the mix, Lievsay and Larry were breezing through a scene of Miles dropping in on one of his wife’s dance rehearsals when Cheadle, who had been doing t’ai-chi in one corner to pass the time, paused them. The scene sounded a little too dreamy. Cheadle wanted a more matter-of-fact sound. “The point is that [Miles and his wife Frances] are carving a special moment out of something that’s not special,” he said.

Lievsay nodded and fiddled for a moment. When he replayed the scene, something small but extraordinary happened. I had watched this scene somewhere between one and two dozen times but this time I noticed something I’d never seen before: a young woman passing behind Frances with a stack of papers in her hand. Lievsay had given her footsteps. Without the footsteps, I’d somehow never seen her; now, I saw her, and her presence – along with a few other tweaks by Lievsay – suggested bustling in the room, people at work, things happening outside the eye contact forged between Miles and Frances. I didn’t exactly hear the difference: I just saw the scene differently.

“Is it busy enough now?” Lievsay asked.

In order for that edit to be possible, Lievsay needed the footsteps of that young woman close at hand. He needed not just any footsteps, but ones that sounded like they were made by a low high heel of roughly the sort that women would wear in the mid-1970s crossing a wooden stage. This kind of noise – one that requires precision, but that is intended to blend in to the background – is called Foley. (The work is named after Jack Foley, who first came up with a process for adding quotidian noises, such as footsteps, to films in the 1920s.)

When Lievsay reached for that girl’s footsteps, he wasn’t going back into some old library – he was reaching into the library of Foley designed and created specifically for Cheadle’s film. The Foley house, also known informally at his studio as “the sound castle”, where these sounds are made, is in New Jersey, just 15 minutes past the place where the George Washington Bridge connects Manhattan with Fort Lee. It is not so much a castle as a warehouse crammed with more stuff than can be adequately described here. Marko Costanzo, the antic “Foley artist” who works there, takes evident joy in giving tours of the sound stage and the treasures he stores there: a bin full of Zippo lighters from different eras; a bunch of swords (“from when we did Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon”); barrels; bicycles; baby carriages; one area devoted to different kinds of indoor flooring and another devoted to outdoor ground cover; a pool (“we built it to do the sounds for the raft in Life of Pi”); a child’s Easy-Bake oven. “I beg people not to take things to the dump, but to bring them to me instead,” said Costanzo, grinning and spreading his arms wide.

Written by Leisureguy

27 August 2015 at 8:47 am

Posted in Movies & TV

Excellent shave with Wilkinson “Sticky”

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SOTD 27 Aug 2015

Extremely nice shave today. My R&B commemorative brush made a fine lather from the shaving soap sample, the third shave from this sample. The lather was somewhat sparse by the third pass, which I attribute to insufficient loading. (I’m trying to stretch the sample as much as possible.)

The Wilkinson “Sticky” won a number of design awards when it first came out, and it shaves quite well with a sharp blade. I used a Feather, and with that blade this razor is for me very comfortable and very efficient, and I had no trouble getting a BBS result with no nicks.

A good splash of Alt-Innsbruck, and I’m ready for the day.

Written by Leisureguy

27 August 2015 at 8:34 am

Posted in Shaving

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