asides politics

What’s behind ISIS?

Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame) asks: what is behind ISIS?

The ISIS story doesn’t pass my B.S. filter because it violates common sense that such a competent fighting force could suddenly emerge and bitch-slap professionally trained (or even poorly trained) military forces with such consistency. I have worked in large organizations and I know that the logistics involved – the planning, training, and resupplying are huge challenges even for organized armies. Did ISIS really figure out all of that while their communications are presumably monitored by the enemy?

Well if that ain’t just some delicious conspiracy. It’s one of those “that’s crazy, but… it might just work.”


Movie Posters Minimalism: Paper edition

Love some great minimalist movie posters – this collection of movie posters with custom paper looks fantastic:


asides tech

All Roads Lead Back to WebOS

All mobile OS roads lead back to WebOS:

While WebOS is dead, the cards interface has flourished. Windows Phone, Android, and iOS all adopted a very similar multitasking view. In addition, safari and chrome replaced their tab view to a cards view with the same gestures as well. Frankly, it would be a lie to say that these OS’s were not influenced by WebOS.

I really wish the Palm devices had been available in Australia, because I thought it looked years ahead of any competition. That the design choices have made it into iOS, Android and Windows Mobile is testament to the fact that – much like Xerox’s OS that influenced Mac OS and Windows on the PC – some ideas are too good to die. Just a shame Palm got swallowed by HP and then booted into the ether.

asides politics

First Dog on the Moon budget cartoon

First Dog on the Moon points out the smaller programs which have been slashed in the budget:

11-06-2014 3-12-10 PM

Read it all. Crying with laughter.


Leonardo da Vinci’s Cover Letter

Leonardo da Vinci, applying for a job with the ruler of Milan:

My Most Illustrious Lord, 

1. I have plans for very light, strong and easily portable bridges with which to pursue and, on some occasions, flee the enemy, and others, sturdy and indestructible either by fire or in battle, easy and convenient to lift and place in position. Also means of burning and destroying those of the enemy. 

5. Also, I have means of arriving at a designated spot through mines and secret winding passages constructed completely without noise, even if it should be necessary to pass underneath moats or any river.

[and the kicker…]

Also I can execute sculpture in marble, bronze and clay. Likewise in painting, I can do everything possible as well as any other, whosoever he may be. 

That’s the kind of cover letter I’d love to have one day. Oh to be a Renaissance man…


Beyonce, Jay, Solange, and what happened after

Beyonce and Solange, after the elevator ride with Jay:

“Look,” Beyoncé said, gently. “I love you and I appreciate you. I know what you were trying to do. I appreciate that you were trying to defend me. I’m not mad at you for tearing into him.”

“Oh you’re not mad?”

“—Let me finish, Solange. I’m not mad at you for tearing into him. I am mad at you for not sticking to the plan.”

Beautiful. Must-read.


The Audacity of Samsung

This article on the Samsung-Apple patent battle shows some breathtaking audacity on Samsung’s part, and not just in the Apple case:

It was the same old pattern: when caught red-handed, countersue, claiming Samsung actually owned the patent or another one that the plaintiff company had used. Then, as the litigation dragged on, snap up a greater share of the market and settle when Samsung imports were about to be barred. Sharp had filed its lawsuit in 2007; as the lawsuit played out, Samsung built up its flat-screen business until, by the end of 2009, it held 23.6 percent of the global market in TV sets, while Sharp had only 5.4 percent. All in all, not a bad outcome for Samsung.

The same thing happened with Pioneer, a Japanese multi-national that specializes in digital entertainment products, which holds patents related to plasma televisions. Samsung once again decided to use the technology without bothering to pay for it. In 2006, Pioneer sued in federal court in the Eastern District of Texas, so Samsung countersued. The Samsung claim was thrown out before trial, but one document revealed in the course of the litigation was particularly damaging—a memo from a Samsung engineer stating explicitly that the company was violating the Pioneer patent.

Just stunning the amount of dirty tactics by Samsung, and what’s worse, it works out for them. Don’t think I’d ever consider a Samsung product again.


Wells and Stalin

Massively fascinating: a 1934 interview between H. G. Wells and Josef Stalin. You can see there were some heady debates about deep-seated philosophical issues and attitudes to society going on at the time:

Stalin: Yes, you are right when you say that the old social system is breaking down; but it is not breaking down of its own accord. Take Fascism for example. Fascism is a reactionary force which is trying to preserve the old system by means of violence. What will you do with the Fascists? Argue with them? Try to convince them? But this will have no effect upon them at all. Communists do not in the least idealise methods of violence. But they, the Communists, do not want to be taken by surprise; they cannot count on the old world voluntarily departing from the stage;

Stalin was a very cohesive thinker from the looks of things, able to lay out an argument in terms that would be convincing, and has an ability to keep the message focused until a greater level of detail is required. Would be interesting to read any other interviews with him.


Ride along with the Stig

This is cool: a 360° video (!) where you can ride on top of a Merc SLS (!) on the Top Gear test track with the Stig (!). The future, welcome to it.


Movie Poster Mashups

Awesome movie poster mashups – sadly a small list :)