June 25, 2016

Special, as in you idiots can't go to the bathroom without our help

"[W]hile the UK’s relationship with the EU will change, one thing that will not change is the special relationship that exists between our two nations.”

(link)


Meanwhile:
Britain's £1bn warships are losing power in the Persian Gulf because they cannot cope with the warm waters.

(link)


June 24, 2016

Uninstalling Windows now

(link)

June 23, 2016

Please Apply to a Variety of Situations

I charge ahead.

June 22, 2016

True dat

"So...Livingston WAS Scott Wedman..."

June 20, 2016

Monday commute

June 19, 2016

Words to remember

“For over a thousand years Roman conquerors returning from the wars enjoyed the honor of triumph, a tumultuous parade. In the procession came trumpeteers, musicians and strange animals from conquered territories, together with carts laden with treasure and captured armaments. The conqueror rode in a triumphal chariot, the dazed prisoners walking in chains before him. Sometimes his children robed in white stood with him in the chariot or rode the trace horses. A slave stood behind the conqueror holding a golden crown and whispering in his ear a warning: that all glory is fleeting.”

- Steve Kerr

Don't care. Doesn't mean a thing.

I can't believe how lucky they were!

June 18, 2016

Batman - as you know him - begins here

[O]ften overlooked by casual fans, is the fact that modern-day Batman is arguably most influenced by the pivotal voice acting, writing, and directing of Batman: The Animated Series.

(link)


Ed. Note:  If you view only one episode, Beware the Gray Ghost is a good choice.

Vote

Recent research finds that because of welfare reform, roughly three million American children live in households with incomes of less than $2 per person per day, a global metric of extreme poverty. That’s one American child in 25. They would be counted as extremely poor if they lived in Africa, and they are our neighbors in the most powerful nation in the world.

(link)


An interesting moment in the history of economic thought

2008
Waxman:  "You found that your view of the world, your ideology, was not right, it was not working?"

Greenspan: "That's precisely the reason I was shocked because I'd been going for 40 years or so with considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well."



Now
Brad Delong -

Inflation, production, and employment (but not the unemployment rate) have been disappointingly low relative to Federal Reserve expectations for each of the past nine years. These events should have led to substantial rethinking by the Federal Reserve of its model of the economy. And yet the model set forward by Yellen and Fischer (but not Evans and Brainard) appears to be very much the model they held to in the late 1990s, which was the model they believed in in the early 1980s...


Krugman -

There is a near-consensus at the FOMC that rates must eventually move up. But here’s my question: why, exactly? Specifically, which component of aggregate demand do we believe will continue to strengthen in a way that will require monetary tightening to avoid an overheating economy?


...I don’t see an obvious reason to believe that current rates are too low. Yes, they’re near zero — but that in itself doesn’t mean too low.

Like others, notably Larry Summers, I think the Fed is trying to return to a normality that is no longer normal.


St. Louis Fed -


The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis is changing its characterization of the U.S. macroeconomic and monetary policy outlook. An older narrative that the Bank has been using since the financial crisis ended has now likely outlived its usefulness, and so it is being replaced by a new narrative. The hallmark of the new narrative is to think of medium- and longer-term macroeconomic outcomes in terms of regimes. The concept of a single, long-run steady state to which the economy is converging is abandoned, and is replaced by a set of possible regimes that the economy may visit. Regimes are generally viewed as persistent, and optimal monetary policy is viewed as regime dependent. 

[And, note well:]  Switches between regimes are viewed as not forecastable...


June 16, 2016

All is not well

Well get to work then

Most digital handcuffs are so easy to break that it's not an issue how to break it, more so an issue of the penalty one might face for actually breaking it. In this case, it is impossible to break unless you have a way to factorize semi-primes with approximately 600 decimal digits in a reasonable time.

(link)

Something is clearly wrong with SHIELD, and I hope they get it resolved

June 15, 2016

TVTropes explains the NBA Finals



(link)

June 12, 2016

Star power

It was all to be so different this year.  The Cleveland Cavaliers managed to convince themselves that with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love back, they would be competitive against the Golden State Warriors.  Now they had no reason to think that - they couldn't beat the Warriors in the regular season, and both San Antonio and OKC were better overall...



...and now Cleveland has looked as clueless against the Warriors in the Finals as they did in the regular season.  Irving and Love are heavy favorites for enshrinement in the 2016 wing of The Smithsonian Institution Hall of Star Basketball Players Who Don't Win Championships Because They Won't Play Defense (Tripucka Building, Vandeweghe Plaza).

Kevin Love And Kyrie Irving Got Eaten Up Against The Warriors (link)
Cleveland's only win this year came with Love out, and of course they gave the Warriors some trouble in last year's Finals without either Love or Irving.  The reality is that you can't beat Golden State without a focused team effort on defense, and everyone but the Cavaliers seems to understand this.  OKC made the commitment and took Golden State all the way to death's door.  At this point Cleveland's best chance might be to start their best defensive team, with Irving as 6th man and Kevin Love in the David Lee role.  But that won't happen because Kyrie and Kevin are special stars.

It's in the nature of star-mind to blame everyone but oneself, and the Cavs are now working overtime on that:


Remember This (Warriors 108, Cavaliers 97) (link)

Fortunately for the Cavaliers, it looks like help is on the way, and I could not be happier for them:
Carmelo Anthony may be LeBron James’ missing piece (link)


June 11, 2016

The Phantom Menace


(link)

June 10, 2016

I think that went well

For the Comedy Textbook

June 09, 2016

I have often thought the same


(link)

I blame the media

China’s propaganda department, tasked with controlling the media and arts, has been given a slap on the wrist for not being good enough at shaping public opinion, according to a report on a government website.

(link)

That Darn Media!

A big red flag for me is when I read someone's political comments and he refers to the media, with or without a very-not-specific modifier -- the corporate media (if he's a liberal) or the mainstream media (if he's a conservative).

Expressing that signifier is like opening a big bag of potato chips and placing it right next to yourself. Except, instead of potato chips, the bag is full of circular reasoning.

Game 3 blues

June 08, 2016

The hell that is Northern California

San Jose has taken the rare step of publicly opposing the project, saying it would add far too many jobs, exacerbating the region’s housing shortage.

(link)

June 07, 2016

Me too

And he came to his senses...



Luke 15:17Εἰςto) The supply of foods that ministered to the scattering of his senses (which the French not inappropriately term se divertir, [the word diversion implying that one is thereby turned aside from self-inspection]) had now failed. The commencement of his return to himself is immediately linked to the height of his misery: it is by the latter that his mad recklessness in sin is cooled down, so that the man returns to himself, and presently after [also] to God. His repentance is his conversion.—[ἐγὼ δὲ ὧδεbut I here) The word, ὧδε, after ἐγὼ δὲ, has the force of here, emphatically.—Not. Crit.]

(link)

June 05, 2016

Yikes


A few notes on last night's viewing of Young Frankenstein


  • Brooks was really unsure about my favorite scene.  According to the "Making of" documentary included with the DVD (which is mostly Wilder, Brooks did not participate), Brooks called it a 'conceit' to Wilder's face, but backed down when Wilder reacted strongly.  An entry in TVTropes says Brooks only decided to keep the scene after seeing the crew struggling to not laugh during filming.
    • "For safety's sake - DON'T HUMILIATE HIM!"
  • Those cool laboratory sets?  Some are from the original Frankenstein movies.
  • In previous viewings I found Frau Blücher tiresome.  Now I find her hilarious.
    • "He was MY BOYFRIEND!"
  • Teri Garr, man.  Wow.  One of a very small number of modern black and white screen goddesses.  See under "The camera is in love with..." (Interesting compare and contrast: Patti Boyd in A Hard Day's Night).  

  • This movie looks great.  In the DVD commentary cinematographer Gerald Hirschfeld explains that the overall photography was intended to be like the original Universal Pictures films, but - at Brooks' insistence - more so.  But when they did interior close-ups, having established the settings, they would zoom in and put a lot of light around the actors.  This brought to mind an episode in Kevin Brownlow's The Parade's Gone By in which a group of silent movie enthusiasts brought von Sternberg into a London studio in the 1960s to learn how he set up a shot, and were stunned as he transformed a local model into a luminous near-Dietrich:

  • Ok, in my teen years I sort of missed the significance of the book in secret library:  How I did it, by Victor Frankenstein.  Not available on Amazon, but Goodreads reviewers clearly enjoyed it.

Also, I always wondered who that great character actor was:
Gene Hackman in Young Frankenstein

June 04, 2016

Your eyes do not deceive you

I've spent a good part of the past two days enjoying the stellar performance of Shaun Livingston in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.  Livingston's story is now well-known, but it's worth repeating, as Michael Weinreb does in Rolling Stone:
Here was Curry, putting up an airball from the corner on a 3-point attempt, and here was Thompson, bricking the pull-up 3's he usually nails with reckless abandon, particularly at home. But it didn't matter, because Curry's backup, Shaun Livingston – the same Shaun Livingston who, it should be mentioned any time he does something like this, nearly lost a leg following a gruesome knee injury – put up 20 points in 26 minutes on a series of the mid-range jumpers that have come to define his game the past couple of years.



It's not hard to see why scouts were so excited when he was drafted out of high school.  He's a 6-7 point guard with great ball handling skills, and always seems to make the right pass.  He moves with graceful efficiency, never seems out of control.  His game is encased in amber from the days when there was no 3-point line: if the defense tries to play him straight-up he can drive, or just shoot a floater or jumper over the man guarding him, whether it is 6-3 Kyrie Irving or 6-10 Kevin Love.

  • Shaun Livingston's Jumper Is The Poison On The Warriors' Blade (link)

This was all on full display Thursday night, when Livingston scored 20 points in as stylish a way as humanly possible:




Watching him, I thought: he's like a ghost, a phantom.  Rob Mahoney of Sports Illustrated agrees:
Livingston exists in negative space. While the thrill of watching the Warriors comes from players like Curry and Klay Thompson, Livingston is—almost by definition—the marker of their absence. He fills in at the point alongside Thompson, on the wing alongside Curry, or at the helm alongside neither. His minutes fill the void of the Warriors’ needs, in part because his game grows to complement whichever teammates are on the floor.
He's an insubstantial figure that somehow floats from place to place doing things that appear on the scoreboard.  He rarely sprints, never 'mixes it up'.  But things seem to go well when he's out there.  How does he do it?  Or...and this is a cruel thought, I know...is he just Scott Wedman?  A 6-7 past-his-prime role player who had a big night in a big game, and now will recede back into the shadows?  What is his real value?  WHAT IS HE?

I did a little study, summarized below.  I still don't know what Shaun Livingston is, exactly, but in this year's playoff run he is giving the Warriors the best minutes of anyone on the team, including All-Stars Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. (Curry, who has been hurt for much of the postseason, gets a pass.)


(Data source here.)

The Galloping Ghost is not a phantasm, not just decoration or one-way bit player.  He is real.  He is integral.  When Curry went down, Livingston and his bad knee were all that stood between the Warriors and oblivion.  But the knee, and Livingston's game, held up.  And now the Warriors are just three wins away from a second consecutive NBA championship.

  • Steve Kerr: Warriors would be 'dead' without Shaun Livingston (link)




June 03, 2016

Memo from a dark place and time

As an enthusiastic strategic combined arms hobbyist, I'm happy to report that Timothy Wray's seminal 1986 treatise on German defensive doctrine in the early years of World War II is available online.  Don't try to organize a mobile defense against the Warsaw Pact without it!




(link)

June 02, 2016

Read your scouting report, back of page 3...


EXACTLY as I predicted


June 01, 2016

Yes, actually, that *is* the way we drew it up on the blackboard...

Crosby told Sheary to move from his normal position on the draw to the boards. He explained that he was going to win the draw back to defenseman Kris Letang and then Letang was going to give Sheary a pass in the middle of the ice, where the San Jose Sharks weren't likely to expect him to be.

Conor Sheary followed the instructions. It's Crosby, right? And Crosby won the draw and Letang feeds Sheary, who ripped home the game-winner.

(link)