Dr. Drang explains engineering language to the masses →

September 24, 2014 |

This hybrid heritage carries through into the language of engineering, where we use everyday words (tradesman) to express precisely defined concepts (scientist). This makes it difficult to communicate engineering principles to nonengineers because we use many words in ways that don’t match up with their colloquial meaning. I’m sure you can come up with examples of this in other professions—even science does it to some extent—but in engineering, many of our most fundamental ideas and properties use common words.

Excellent article. My favorite example of this dual-meaning conflict is the word “theory”, as in, scientific theory:

When used in non-scientific context, the word “theory” implies that something is unproven or speculative. As used in science, however, a theory is an explanation or model based on observation, experimentation, and reasoning, especially one that has been tested and confirmed as a general principle helping to explain and predict natural phenomena.

A scientific theory is far from speculative: it has been repeatedly confirmed by anecdotal and experimental evidence, and it has been thoroughly reviewed and tested by the rest of the scientific community. That’s why I find it so laughable when creationists attempt to deride Darwin’s theory of evolution by saying “it’s just a theory”.

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Steven Soderbergh releases black and white version of Raiders of the Lost Ark →

September 24, 2014 |

So I want you to watch this movie and think only about staging, how the shots are built and laid out, what the rules of movement are, what the cutting patterns are. See if you can reproduce the thought process that resulted in these choices by asking yourself: why was each shot—whether short or long—held for that exact length of time and placed in that order? Sounds like fun, right? It actually is. To me. Oh, and I’ve removed all sound and color from the film, apart from a score designed to aid you in your quest to just study the visual staging aspect. Wait, WHAT? HOW COULD YOU DO THIS? Well, I’m not saying I’m like, ALLOWED to do this, I’m just saying this is what I do when I try to learn about staging, and this filmmaker forgot more about staging by the time he made his first feature than I know to this day (for example, no matter how fast the cuts come, you always know exactly where you are—that’s high level visual math shit).

What a fascinating experiment. Though I have a lot of conflicting emotions about this, to be honest. Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of my all-time favorite films, and I usually don’t quite like it when people “reimagine” these classics.

That being said, Mr. Soderbergh is an amazing artist, and I’m terribly curious to see the result.

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Manual for iPhone →

September 24, 2014 |

What an awesome way to introduce an app:

Kidding aside, Manual is a very interesting app that lets you control all parameters of exposure when shooting with the iPhone’s camera.1 If you want to have more control over the pictures you take, this is a great way to do it.

  1. Well, all except aperture, because the iPhone’s camera lens is a fixed aperture design.

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iPhone 6 Plus prone to bending under high pressure →

September 24, 2014 |

In other shocking —and similarly outrageous— news, if the battery runs out, the device won’t even turn on. Also, being submerged in water for an extended period of time without air has been known to kill people. Who would have thought, right?

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How to be a good stranger →

September 23, 2014 |

David Cain:

If you live among strangers, chances are you are constantly becoming a private adversary to other people in ways you could never comprehend. Maybe somebody at the grocery store secretly hates you because of where you lock your bike up, or because you ride a bike at all. Or maybe you stand too close in the ATM line, or you use too many buzzwords, or you’re breaking some unwritten rule in a restaurant, or you’re in the way and have no idea. When you think of all of the petty things for which you’ve privately condemned someone at one time or another, it’s no stretch at all to imagine how often you are, in someone else’s eyes, clearly a bad person.

Excellent, thought-provoking piece.

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WTF happened to PG-13? →

September 22, 2014 |

Good Bad Flicks, on how the movie industry’s push for PG-13 ratings is hurting cinema as an art form. Many movies that are clearly meant to be rated R get watered down in order to achieve the less restrictive rating of PG-13. This is done to maximize their potential audience, but often results in a poor movie that ends up doing badly at the box office, because the original vision was destroyed in pursuit of a meaningless rating.

I couldn’t agree more, and I think it’s ridiculous that ratings can have such a big influence on a movie’s potential success. Our ratings system in Spain is merely informative and as far as I know, access to a movie theater is never restricted, no matter the rating of the movie.1 You could take your kid to watch The Wolf of Wall Street, and no one would stop you.

Of course, the fact that you can doesn’t mean that you should. After all, it is a parent’s responsibility to keep an eye on what her kid watches. But these decisions are the parents’ to make, not some random movie executive’s, and certainly not for the sole purpose of making a killing.

Via Connor McClure.

  1. Except for the X rating, which requires a movie to be shown exclusively at special, adults-only theaters.

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iPhone 6 and 6 Plus benchmarks →

September 22, 2014 |

Speaking of Rene Ritchie, he asked the makers of Geekbench to run the new iPhones through Geekbench 3, and compared their score with all previous iPhones (except for the original iPhone and the iPhone 3G). He also compared them with their main Android competitors.

An interesting tidbit:

The iPhone 6 Plus has a slight edge over the iPhone 6, but not by much. Perhaps the biggest surprise is how well the iPhone 5s still holds up. Perhaps that’s because Apple’s second-generation 64-bit core is just that, 2nd generation, and it’s focused on things beyond raw power, like power efficiency.

If you have an iPhone 5S and are not very keen on the bigger displays of the new iPhones, this is good news for you.

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How the new battery usage monitor works in iOS 8 →

September 22, 2014 |

Rene Ritchie:

Battery usage is best thought of as a sanity check. It lists each app (or service) you’ve used in the last 24 hours or 7 days, not including apps used while charging, along with the percentage of power drain they’ve been responsible for.

Since about a week ago —before I upgraded to iOS 8—, I’ve noticed a sharp reduction in battery life on my iPhone 5S. It doesn’t last into the evening, while previously it lasted a whole day with power to spare. It’s weird, particularly because I’m not using it significantly more than I always have, and I’m yet to find a concrete cause for this. Maybe my iPhone’s battery is damaged, or maybe there’s an app that’s misbehaving and draining it a lot quicker than it should. I don’t know.

The battery usage monitor, which is a new iOS 8 feature, is helping me find the culprit. For example, I thought Overcast would probably be using a lot of power, but it turns out it isn’t. That’s a relief, because I really enjoy using it. Similarly, Maps and the Phone app are the two most power-hungry apps in my phone, both due to “Low Signal”. Now we’re getting somewhere.

I think it’s worth it to spend a while getting used to this feature. There are some important things to learn about how we use our phones, and what we can do to make them last longer.

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Dear parents, you are being lied to →

September 22, 2014 |

Jennifer Raff thoroughly debunks the myth that vaccination is bad for our childen:

They say that if other people’s children are vaccinated, there’s no need for their children to get vaccinated.

This is one of the most despicable arguments I’ve ever heard. First of all, vaccines aren’t always 100% effective, so it is possible for a vaccinated child to still become infected if exposed to a disease. Worse, there are some people who can’t receive vaccinations, because they are immune deficient, or because they are allergic to some component. Those people depend upon herd immunity to protect them. People who choose not to vaccinate their children against infectious diseases are putting not only their own children at risk, but also other people’s children.

This is an extremely important issue, and if you’re a parent, it’s your responsibility to learn about it, become informed beyond Internet gossip, and make the only sensible, reasonable choice: vaccinate your kids.

It deeply saddens me to think there are people so stubborn and irresponsible that they would gamble with their own children’s lives like that.


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