XahLee.org tidbits 2009-09-15



Watched Coraline (film) today. Pretty good. Better in first half. Not as good as i expected though, because i read the summary of the story on Wikipedia first and i think i'd love it. I didn't particular find the animation that spectacular, nor the story extraordinarily fascinating.

This movie reminds me of Pan's Labyrinth, also a fantastic film. I think i liked PL better.

The technology of this film, Stop-motion, is rather fascinating. Basically, you just take still photos and sequence them together. I couldn't imagine how such method could make a good, smooth, animation, but apparantly it can.

Typically, stop-animation is done using clays for characters, because clay is easy to mold. This film is done by 3D printing to create models. Amazing technology. Imagine, in order to create this film, they have to build minature sets, and take tens of thousands photos of it. Quite amazing. Consider what it takes to build the minature sets, little houses, chairs, dolls... in a sense, they are high quality toys, custome made by dedicated professional artisans. The resulting product is a magnitude higher quality than mass produced minature toys you could by in toy stores. Fascinating. I wonder if they sell those sets and artifacts after the film.


Bang Brothers, a popular porn website. Wikipedia comes to explain: Bangbros

See also: Xah's Porn Outspeak.


The juvenile sea squirt wanders through the sea searching for a suitable rock or hunk of coral to cling to and make its home for life. For this task, it has a rudimentary nervous system. When it finds its spot and takes root, it doesn't need its brain anymore, so it eats it! (It's rather like getting tenure.)*

* The analogy between the sea squirt and the associate professor was first pointed out, I think, by the neuroscientist Rodolfo Llinas.

-Daniel C. Dennett (from Consciousness Explained, 1991)

The academic Tenure issue has been on my mind. My un-informed impression is that it's a extreme inefficiency. After reading the Wikipedia article, i learned that the origin of tenure itself is supposed to be academic freedom, but of course, some criticism states that its effects is exactly the opposite. I don't know for sure, but i think something of a life-long award is certainly bad. It basically make people lazy, by human nature. When food is guaranteed for life (by some unnatural modern social structure), it is questionable that the person will be as productive as before.

The tenure issue can be checked by statistical survey. (which probably has been done) We can look at all highly respected academics, and do a social study on their productivity, comparing those having tenure, and not, and productivity from before and after tenure. More likely than not, general speaking, tenure gets productivity downhill.


I've known about induced lactation, mostly from Wikipedia reading few years ago, however, Wikipedia has taken it to a high ground! See Erotic lactation.


This week i got a email from Rudy Rucker. He's writing a blog about pseudospheres http://www.rudyrucker.com/blog/2009/08/28/pseudospheres/. Our brief chat went over whether there's a animation of the Breather Surface breathing.

I don't know the answer. I don't even know what exactly the breahter surface is, and I've wondered about seeing it breathing. After asking Richard Palais, he gave me some explanation. Here's from what i understand. For detail, see: Breather Surface.

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