A Garota Que Anda à Noite (“A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night”)

I just finished watching one of the most amazing movies I have seen in a long, long, time–Ana Lily Amirpor’sA Girl Walks Home Alone at Night“. Yes, I know, it only has a 7.1 currently on IMDB but, oh, this one could be a classic if it receives more exposure. Take a look at the trailer and consider watching it on Netflix or direct from Vice films.

Amirpor describes it as “Iranian Vampire Spaghetti Western” and I agree with the attribution if one also throws in Film Noir. This is not an egregious horror flick–it is subtle, subdued, and sexy. There is a touch of drugs, a touch of violence, and a big heaping dose of good story.

Strangely enough, with the soundtrack and underlying love story I found myself even thinking of Pump up the Volume. I know the comparison is a stretch since Amirpor’s soundtrack is all Iranian artists but I draw the comparison in that both of these movies have introduced me to a host of new artists and expanded my taste.

The film debuted at Sundance in 2014 and is an extended version of a short film that won “Best Short Film” at the 2012 Noor Iranian Film Festival.  Even thought it was filmed over just 24 days in California, this is an Iranian film (in Persian with subtitles) at heart and produced by an amazing new director whom I hope goes far. It has been making the film festival circuits and nominated at numerous ones. Hopefully it may make the jump to the mainstream. I was led to it from A Taste of Cinema’s “14 Movies From The Last 5 Years That Have The Potential To Be Future Cult Favorites.

This film is an absolute must see for film aficionados. I really cannot write much about it without giving it away, but I will say it has made my personal Top Ten movie list. The only thing I could think to bump from my list to make room was Citizen Kane–yes, it is that good. This is ironic for it one the “Citizen Kane Award for Best Directorial Revelation” at the “Sitges” Catalonian International Film Festival.

I highly recommend this film.

Article Summary 2015-06-10

“Chess piece moving patterns”

I think it would be really cools to mount all of these pictures in some sort of a display.

“Million Base is a database of 2.2 million chess games. Steve Tung (@_tungs_) visualized chess piece journeys based on this data, for each piece on the board. Above is the footprint for the white knight. Each thin line represents 500 moves, and from what looks like a little bit of random noise to offset each line, you see a more prominent path for more frequent hops.”

“Meet Margaret Hamilton, the badass ’60s programmer who saved the moon landing”

I am really happy that more and more good information about women software developers is coming out. This is about Margaret Hamilton who led the MIT Instrumentation Lab that developed the software for the Apollo Guidance Computer. If you’re interested, the source code is also available.

“Why Firewalls Won’t Matter In A Few Years” (NSFW)

When I was leading engineering at nCircle (now a part of Tripwire), we developed a saying that firewalls are like that Farside cartoon with the polar bear taking a bite out of an igloo–crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside. Well, this article too finds little value in firewalls over time and makes a great case for why. A good read and watch but the video is not safe for some work environments.

“Geeks, MOPs, and sociopaths in subculture evolution”

An interesting analysis of what happens to subcultures. I find it pretty accurate from my own experiences.

“DARPA commissions killer robots to kill targets without human help”

This is a pretty interesting little glimpse into what will ultimately be upon us. I have not bought into all the artificial intelligence fear mongering going on now; however, I have thought ever since reading Manuel de Landa’s ‘War in an Age of Intelligent Machines’ that we are headed for a day of autonomous warfare. And, here it comes . . .

“Vim speed is not really the point”

Ah, good old vi. It lives forever. Who needs fancy and complex Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) when one has vi.

“Researchers Find Missing Link Between the Brain and Immune System

Your brain and your immune system really are linked.

“Sony Finds ‘Dark Tower’ Movie Director In ‘Dragon Tattoo’ Writer”

I am so excited! My favorite Stephen King series, The Dark Tower, is being made into a movie; however, I have no idea how they could squeeze so much into one movie.

Reality doesn’t exist until we measure it, quantum experiment confirms”

Scientists have physically fulfilled a famous thought experiment (“gedankenexperiment” or, simply, “gedanken”) confirming quantum physics predications that it is only through observation that reality as we know it comes into existence. Now there are debates about what constitutes an “observer,” but it does seem from a quantum perspective that we really do create our reality.

Article Summary 2015-05-21

Usually I send out the articles one-by-one to one or more people who I think might be interested in them. Other times, I post it to my Facebook or LinkedIn feeds. For some, clip them into my Evernote ‘Articles’ notebook so I can reference them later (which also filters out the ads). Finally, others I bookmark on my Pinboard shared browser bookmarks log.

In thinking about all this, what I have been doing is not that effective for the following reasons:

  • I am probably making incorrect assumptions in the filter bubble I inevitably create by only sending some articles to some folks.
  • I create much disjointed work for myself by being inconsistent about distribution.
  • I actually make it harder to find articles when I later need them.
  • I also make it harder to refer someone new to an article I somehow sent to someone else if they might be interested in it.

Today I am trying something new. Periodically I will then publish up to ten of the best in a simple post like this one on my blog which cross posts to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Tumbler. Eventually, I will also send a link to the post out to all individuals who might be interested in at least one of the articles and to a general mailing list folks can sign up for if they always want to receive the post.

Without further ado, here are is the first installment:

“Boeing Patents Sci-Fi Force Field That Deflects Explosive Shock Waves”

Boeing has a way to create a “Laser-Induced Plasma Channel” (LIPC) that can absorb the shock wave produced by an explosion. While it will not divert the projectile itself, it does divert the destructive shockwave. Thank you to Josh Garrett for sharing this article.

“Jeremy England, the Man Who May One-Up Darwin”

It may be alive, but does it have a soul? Thank you to Jerry Horne (blog) for sharing this article.

“Haskell Programmers Are Liars: Or, The Real Way to Generate a List of Primes in Haskell”

Setting the reaction provoking, click-bait, title aside this is a really interesting article on Melissa E. O’Neill‘s correct approach to the Sieve of Eratosthenes implementation in Haskell.

“Ember.js: An Antidote To Your Hype Fatigue”

While certainly written with a bias towards Ember.js, this article does have a wealth of good background information on the wide-range of front-end JavaScript frameworks. It then goes on to provide an overview of Ember.js.

“Wolfram Language Artificial Intelligence: The Image Identification Project”

Being a fan of Stephen Wolfram, I have highlighted many of his articles before. Here is one reviewing their new image recognition efforts. More than just a product announcement, it goes into his background assumptions and development efforts openly discussing the challenges he faced.

“The revolutionary Lily Flying Camera Drone is brought to life thanks to 3D printing”

An amazing drone that follows you around.

“DARPA Aims to Accelerate Memory Function for Skill Learning”

DARPA is looking into “memory replay” (Restoring Active Memory (RAM) Replay) as a way to help folks remember events and learn new skills. Johnny Mnemonic will be just around the corner.

“DIY Lock Cracker”

A very clever “robot” for cracking the Master Lock combination locks. Very cool.

“New Sentry Electronic Fire Safe Opened in Seconds with No Sign of Entry” (video)

And, while we are on the topic of breaking into things, the money starts at 3:55 into the video. It is amazing what rare earth elements can do and how inexpensive they can be. Here is where you can get one of those magnets–195.8# of pull for just $88.99.

“Mad Max: Fury Road”

I have not yet seen it, but there are some interesting positive reviews coming in on what had looked to me to be not much more than a nonsensical action movie. Also, it is getting some interesting press about subverting movie sexism.



Top Ten Movie List

I recently revised my Top Ten movie list that I’ve maintained for years. Over that time, it hasn’t changed much. Most recently, “Interstellar” was added bumping out “The Return of the King.”

I was pleased to read a recent article that Akira Kurosawa (Seven Samurai, Yojimbo, Rashomon) agrees with me in placing The Godfather II over The Godfather. For some reason, I have always liked The Godfather II more and it seems I am in good company.

Kurosawa’s own “Seven Samurai” makes my list at the third slot bracketed by my two favorite Film Noir movies “Casablanca” and “Citizen Kane”.

As a common theme on my list, I vastly prefer “Seven Samurai” to its American remake “The Magnificent Seven”.

The two epics “Lawrence of Arabia” and “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” fill slots five and six followed by the war epic “Das Boot” of which I would recommend the original sub-titled version over the overdubbed “The Boot” version. I cannot think of a more gripping war movie.

“Wages of Fear” sits at number seven. This is a fabulous movie with a universal theme of bad people stuck in inescapable bad circumstances. Like Seven Samurai, this black-and-white original is much better than its 1970’s American remake named “Sorcerer.” Although, in it’s own way, Sorcerer has some unique qualities that make it worth at least one viewing.

The list ends with the constant favorite “Pulp Fiction” followed by “Interstellar” as the newcomer.

Here is the list itself followed by a link to the Evernote version (as of 2014-01-12):

  1. The Godfather II
  2. Casablanca
  3. Seven Samurai
  4. Citizen Kane
  5. Lawrence of Arabia
  6. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
  7. Wages of Fear
  8. Das Boot
  9. Pulp Fiction
  10. Interstellar

Honorable Mentions:

  • Alien
  • American Beauty
  • Dark Star

And, here is a link to the most current version of the list:

Decker’s Top Ten Movie List