Martin Scorsese, Rejected

Cardinal Hayes is a high school in the Bronx, and after a year of minor seminary — a tryout for the priesthood; once a regular stop for bright Catholic boys of limited means — Scorsese went there. (Don DeLillo, the novelist, was a few years ahead.) Rejected by Fordham University because of poor grades, Scorsese enrolled at N.Y.U.’s Washington Square College and its film program. From there, he plunged into the ’60s: a concertgoer at the Fillmore East, an expatriate in England and Holland, an assistant director at Woodstock (he became an editor on the concert film) and then a maker of his own movies — “Who’s That Knocking at My Door,” about a young man in the suddenly liberated ’60s whose Catholic principles keep him out of bed with his girlfriend, and “Boxcar Bertha,” a film about a female rabble-rouser “free’er than most.”

The Passion of Martin Scorsese, The New York Times Magazine, 21 Nov 2016

I always find it interesting (and validating) how many successful people were crappy students.

“No Sleep ‘Til No Hate in Brooklyn”

Rolling Stone: Beastie Boys’ Ad-Rock Speaks Out at NYC Anti-Hate Rally:

The election “felt very personal because … I’m a brown, female immigrant,” says Maria Paz Alegre, a U.S. citizen and New York resident who was born in the Philippines. “It’s been very painful to hear that half the country doesn’t want me here. It doesn’t matter that I do charity work, it doesn’t matter that I’m a teacher – it matters that I don’t look like them.”

She adds that “MCA was always my favorite Beastie Boy. His discussion of violence against women and his regret over misogynistic lyrics in the past always moved me,” she says. “For this park specifically to be defaced since he was [Jewish] was painful.”

Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz expressed a similar sentiment while addressing the crowd Sunday. “We’re all here today because we’re thinking the same thing: Painting swastikas on a children’s playground is a messed-up thing to do,” he said. “And for many of us, it has special meaning, because this park is named for Adam Yauch, who was my friend and bandmate for over 30 years, but he was also someone who taught nonviolence in his music, in his life, to all of us and to me. But this is more about someone in New York City” committing a hate crime in the name of Donald Trump, he noted.

I lived in Manhattan from 2000 to 2012. My younger brother lives in Brooklyn. My father was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Queens. Swastikas on a children’s playground is not a New York City I recognize at all.

For the people who voted for Trump who don’t consider themselves racists, I ask them, “Why do you think Trump attracts the KKK and white supremacists?”

You can’t cherry-pick the qualities you agree with in the candidate you voted for. You have to accept everything about them. If you’re choice for President of The United States was officially endorsed by the KKK, you have to own that.

You’re part of the problem, not the solution.

It’s not a joke anymore.

In the bowels of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, three blocks from the White House, members of the so-called alt-right movement gathered for what they had supposed would be an autopsy to plot their grim future under a Clinton administration. Instead, they celebrated the unexpected march of their white nationalist ideas toward the mainstream, portraying Mr. Trump’s win as validation that the tide had turned in their fight to preserve white culture.

“It’s been an awakening,” Richard B. Spencer, who is credited with coining the term alt-right, said at the gathering on Saturday. “This is what a successful movement looks like.”

The movement has been critical of politicians of all stripes for promoting diversity, immigration and perceived political correctness. Its critics call it a rebranded version of the Ku Klux Klan, promoting anti-Semitism, violence and suppression of minorities.

Intellectual leaders of the movement argue that they are merely trying to realize their desire for a white “ethno-state” where they can be left alone. Mr. Trump, with his divisive language about immigrants and Muslims, has given them hope that these dreams can come true.

White Nationalists Celebrate ‘an Awakening’ After Donald Trump’s Victory, The New York Times, 19 Nov 2016

First off, “white culture” is mentioned in the quote above. What the fuck is that? It sounds like an oxymoron to me.

In the 10+ years I’ve been running this site, I’ve posted very few entries on politics. I’d rather post on graphic design, web design, art, culture, cars, and technology, but I’m both scared and fascinated by Donald Trump, especially now that he is our president-elect.

Sure, it might be fun for some people to see Alec Baldwin portray him on Saturday Night Live, but I don’t find myself laughing that much. It’s not a joke for me anymore.

I’m concerned both with what Trump is capable of doing with his power as president, and with what white nationalists — a euphemism for racists, in my opinion — are capable of doing.

Feeding the Phenomenon

There’s an exploitation going on here that the media justifies for self-interested reasons. They recognize that most of the people in the debates are not serious candidates — they’re running to be talk show hosts, or something like that. In any case, the belief is that this stuff is not actually deciding the election.

But this stuff gets talked about, and that’s why they do it. Trump understood that and he’s exploited it masterfully. He recognized the rules of the game and took advantage of it in a way we haven’t seen.

The press is often blamed for the politics we get; what usually happens is the press exaggerates and reinforces the phenomenon that it observes. It doesn’t create the phenomenon – it makes it bigger; it feeds it. And then the phenomenon wouldn’t be able to contain itself without the press being a willing enabler.

How Trump masterfully exploited the structural weaknesses of the press, Vox, 8 Nov 2016

Apple Watch Activity Tracking

I got an Apple Watch Series 2 on October 1st and have been wearing it every day since then. It’s been interesting to see how it folds into my everyday routines and workflows. This is also the first time I’ve regularly worn a watch in over 10 years.

It’s not integral to my life like my iPhone is. It’s a nice-to-have device and I see it staying that way for the foreseeable future.

The biggest benefits to wearing an Apple Watch are ones Apple put in by design: glancing at notifications and activity tracking. I no longer have to pull out my iPhone to read texts and emails. This is great.

Regarding the activity tracking, I’ve been curious exactly how it works.

iMore has a good breakdown on how it works:

Instead of counting steps or calories, the Apple Watch focuses more on your overall health and well-being. This difference has left some Apple Watch owners baffled at their standing desks when a notification comes through that it’s time to stand; others aren’t sure why workouts they log in other App Store apps don’t show up as a workout in the Activity app. And these are all logical questions.

And on what Apple records as “exercise”:

Apple defines exercise as any activity you perform that is the equivalent of a brisk walk or more. To determine exercise, your Apple Watch looks at your heart rate and movement data. That means that things you do on a regular basis like getting up and walking around your office or taking your dog for a walk probably won’t raise your heart rate enough for the Apple Watch to deem it as exercise.

I’ve absolutely become more cognizant of my movement and exercise since wearing my Apple Watch. There was a lot of bitching when it first came out over the fact that you have to recharge it every day, unlike wearables like the Fitbit which last much longer.

I don’t see the problem. Before I go to bed I take off my watch and let it charge. Then I get up the next morning and I put it back on my wrist. Repeat.

I should also note I usually end the day (9-10pm) with 25-45% battery left, and this including regularly glancing at texts, emails, and activity.

Porsche Mission E

Today’s previous post on artificial engine noises linked to Porsche’s announcement from last year on their electric Mission E:

Don’t call it a 911: Porsche spent much of its presentation at this evening’s Volkswagen Group press conference talking about the new 911, yes, but the real news is the Mission E — an all-electric four-seater with a design that’s well beyond anything Porsche’s ever made. The company is focusing on “long-distance driving” with this concept, but that’s not to say it won’t be exciting to drive: Porsche is promising 600 horsepower, a 0-62mph time “under” 3.5 seconds, a top speed of over 250 km/h (about 155mph), and a total range of over 500 kilometers (311 miles) while driving in a “sporty” manner. Those are Tesla Model S numbers, and it stands to reason that Porsche could command at least the same amount of money, too — well over $100,000 in top configurations. And the company says the Mission E can store an 80 percent charge in just 15 minutes using an 800-volt “Porsche Turbo Charging” system, even faster than Tesla’s Superchargers.

It’s now been over a year since the Mission E was announced and we still haven’t seen anything. I’m skeptical if Porsche has a the ability to assemble a team that can take on Tesla and their computer engineering and AI savvy.

I’ll believe the superior technical specs Porsche is flaunting when I see them.

A Wonderful Engine Note

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?

Smoothly

Trump Says Transition’s Going ‘Smoothly,’ Disputing Disarray Reports:

The president-elect criticized a report in The New York Times about his early telephone contacts with foreign leaders. In a post on Twitter, he said he had made and received “calls from many foreign leaders despite what the failing @nytimes said. Russia, U.K., China, Saudi Arabia, Japan.”

In fact, The Times reported that Mr. Trump had taken calls from the leaders of Egypt, Israel, Russia and Britain, but said they had been conducted haphazardly and without State Department briefings that traditionally guide conversations with foreign leaders.

Of the transition effort, Mr. Trump wrote: “It is going so smoothly.”

According to Trump, the United States is a mess, but his shitshow isn’t a shitshow. If you’re stupid enough to believe him, everything always goes smoothly for him, all the time.

I still can’t believe this is happening.

Trump: “I was just fucking with you. I love lobbyists!”

NYTimes: Trump Campaigned Against Lobbyists, but Now They’re on His Transition Team:

President-elect Donald J. Trump, who campaigned against the corrupt power of special interests, is filling his transition team with some of the very sort of people who he has complained have too much clout in Washington: corporate consultants and lobbyists.

Jeffrey Eisenach, a consultant who has worked for years on behalf of Verizon and other telecommunications clients, is the head of the team that is helping to pick staff members at the Federal Communications Commission.

Michael Catanzaro, a lobbyist whose clients include Devon Energy and Encana Oil and Gas, holds the “energy independence” portfolio.

Michael Torrey, a lobbyist who runs a firm that has earned millions of dollars helping food industry players such as the American Beverage Association and the dairy giant Dean Foods, is helping set up the new team at the Department of Agriculture.

If this news comes as a surprise to you, you’re an idiot.

Old Man, Check Out Your Tracks, They Sound A Lot Like iTunes…

(sing the title like Neil Young’s Old Man)

Jim Dalrymple is happy to report Neil Young has put his albums back in Apple Music.

So nobody bought your shitty, Toblerone-shaped PonoPlayer, did they, Neil? I think a lot of us knew this wasn’t going to work when he first launched his Kickstarter project for it back in October of 2014.

Slate contributor Seth Stevenson reviewed the PonoPlayer in February of 2015. He compared the remastered, ‘PonoMusic’ version of Neil Young’s “There’s a World,” with the iTunes version.

He couldn’t tell the difference, so he conducted the experiment on his colleagues:

I figured maybe my ears were faulty. So I ran an informal experiment. I asked several Slate colleagues to turn their backs while I played them the same 30-second clip on both devices, through headphones. Then I asked them to pick which clip they thought was higher resolution. I mixed up the order—at times playing the Pono first, and at times the iPhone. Some people borrowed my Polk headphones for the test while others used their own equipment. (The quality ranged from Apple earbuds to Klipsch in-ears to high-end Sony studio cans.)

Bottom line: Not one person had any clue whether they were listening to the Pono or to the “inferior” iTunes track. There was zero confidence in determining which was which. When forced to state a preference, six out of seven people actually picked the iPhone as the higher-quality experience. An eighth person refused to guess because he simply had no idea. These folks were in their 20s and 30s, all avid music listeners. A couple of them write about music professionally and one is a video producer.

I think Young’s intentions were good, but I think he wanted to believe so badly that his music sounded better that he convinced himself he was hearing higher fidelity sounds where none existed.

Neil Young unintentially made a placebo music player and sound format.

How Far 16GB of Memory Goes

Zdziarski explores the myth of professionals needing 16GB of RAM (via The Loop):

Apple’s latest MacBook Pro line is limited to 16GB due to energy (and likely heat) constraints, and that’s gotten a lot of people complaining that it simply isn’t enough for “real pros”. Ironically, many of the people saying that don’t quite fall into what many others would consider a “real pro” themselves; at least based on the target demographic of Apple’s “pro” line, which has traditionally been geared toward working professionals such as photographers, producers, engineers, and the like (not managers and bloggers). But even so, let’s take a look at what it takes to really pin your MacBook Pro’s memory, from a “professional’s” perspective.

First of, “myth” is a misnomer. It’s not a myth, it’s a view held by some (not all) professionals who legitimately need at least 16GB of RAM to work smoothly. Zdziarski acknowledges these people exist but I disagree in calling them “edge cases” like he does.

Zdziarski correctly points out developers need to write software that doesn’t try to eat every gig of memory your system has:

A couple apps you won’t see on this list are Chrome and Slack. Both of these applications have widespread reports of being memory pigs, and in my opinion you should boycott them until the developers learn how to write them to play nicer with memory. You can’t fault Apple for poorly written applications, and if Apple did give you 32 GB of RAM just for them, it wouldn’t matter. Poorly written apps are going to continue sucking down as much memory as possible until you’re out. So it’s reasonable to say that if you’re running poorly written applications, your mileage will definitely vary. RAM is only one half the equation: programmers need to know how to use it respectfully.

This is the Catch-22: Apple could raise the Macbook Pro’s memory to 32GB but then there’s the risk that developers just make more bloated, memory-hogging software.

This reminds me of what Robert Moses did in the early 20th century in New York City, building bridge after bridge after bridge to alleviate automobile congestion. In the short-term it worked, but eventually the number of cars increased to fill all the bridges and the congestion returned.

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006