Categories
humor

What It’s Like to go Viral in 2020

Alexis Pereira documents going viral in his essay: My 72 Hours in a Viral Tweet Vortex. I had my viral moment back in 2006, before “going viral” was even a thing, and overall, I liked it. Then again nobody tried to have me fired — even if in his case he wasn’t actually a professor.

Here’s the tweet in question:

Categories
Politics work

Peter Mansbridge at SWATCA

After a wonderful, although extremely busy, parental leave I’m back at work teaching and just in time for the 2020 SWATCA Teacher’s Convention. This morning’s keynote speaker was none other than newscaster and Canadian icon Peter Mansbridge.1

Mansbridge opened his talk by speaking about the important role teacher’s have in Canadian society, and I caught the few minutes on my iPhone’s camera for posterity:

He went on to speak about his experiences with notable Canadian politicians from John Deifenbaker to Justin Trudeau. My favorite though, was his summary in three stories about what it means to be a Canadian.

Here’s the Soundcloud of his speech (I missed about 10 seconds between the end of the YouTube clip above and when I started the audio recording):

Later that day, I happened to stop into the operations room for the event and mentioned that I was looking for a substitute teacher when a guy dressed in a hoodie sitting next to me asked if it was true I had to find my own subs. I said yeah—I used to have an admin at my old school that did it but now I had to find them myself. I glanced over at the man and did a double-take. To my surprise, it was Peter Mansbridge! So we chatted a little more and then I got up the courage to ask if he would pose for a photo with me. He kindly obliged.

Jeff Milner and Peter Mansbridge
Jeff Milner meeting Peter Mansbridge at SWATCA 2020.

It made my day.

1. Mansbridge is also known for his role presenting the news in the North American version of Disney’s Zootopia as Peter Moosebridge.

Categories
entertainment

Amazing Stories Premieres March 6

I got a huge rush of nostalgia when the music for Amazing Stories kicked in during this trailer for the upcoming revival of the series which premieres on March 6th on Apple TV+.

(via macrumors)

Categories
bad review revue

The Bad Review Revue

Downhill: “‘Downhill’ depressingly spirals in the title’s direction.” — Roger Tennis, Cinemaclips.com

The Last Full Measure: “The Last Full Measure shoots itself in the foot. It may deserve a Purple Heart for that, but nothing much more.” — Kelly Vance, East Bay Express

Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words: “Maybe silence was better.” — Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter

The Song of Names: “Mainly, this movie chatters when it should sing.” — Kate Taylor, Globe and Mail

Categories
humor

Valentine’s Day Plans

It’s a few years old, but I still consider it the best tweet of the day:

(via Miss Cellania)

Categories
games

The Magic of Chess

Another chess related post today. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it on this site but for the past 4 or 5 years I’ve been the President of the Lethbridge Chess club. Last Christmas I was demoted to President Emeritus and Klaus Jerricho has taken over the job.

Anyway, today’s post is about The Magic of Chess, which is a short documentary that shows young chess champions revealing how the game has enriched their lives. The four minute movie was shot by director Jenny Schwitzer Bell on location at the 2019 Elementary Chess Championships, a high-stakes tournament held annually in Nashville.

From The Atlantic:

In attendance—and interviewed in the film—was Tani Adewumi, the 8-year-old Nigerian refugee who, while living in a homeless shelter with his family, beat elite-private-school kids in the New York Chess Championships.

The children interviewed in the film are articulate and wise beyond their years. “When I asked the kids questions like, ‘What has chess taught you?,’ I was surprised, given their limited life experience, that they could formulate a response beyond the obvious mechanics of the game,” Schweitzer Bell told me.

Chess “teaches you how to make a plan,” one child says in the film.

“When you lose, you learn from your mistakes,” says another.

Photo credit: David Pacey CC 2.0
(via The Loop)

Categories
games

The Knight’s Tour

The Knight’s Tour is a sequence of chess moves by a knight on a chessboard such that the piece visits every square only once. How hard could it be?

Animated chess board with a single Knight and no other pieces going to every square on the chess board once

Here’s one possible path that I worked out starting at e1.

e1, g2, h4, f3, e5, g6, h8, f7, d8, b7, a5, c6, d4, b3, a1, c2, b4, a2, c1, d3, c5, a6, b8, d7, f8, h7, g5, e6, f4, h3, g1, e2, g3, h1, f2, e4, c3, d1, b2, a4, b6, a8, c7, b5, a7, c8, d6, e8, f6, g8, e7, d5, e3, c4, a3, b1, d2, f1, h2, g4, h6, f5, g7, h5

The trick is (as far as I can tell) you’ve got to move in a pattern such that at the halfway point your board looks like this:

Chess board with one knight halfway on the Knight's Tour

There might be other ways to complete the tour, but regardless, if you can get sets of two in the block pattern similar to the image above then the rest is just as easy as getting here in the first place. Also, notice that only two corners have been filled at this point, A1 and G8 while at the same time in the centre four squares D4 and E5 are filled while D5 and E4 are not yet taken. The other general idea is to choose the move that has the least options to move to next (beware there are exceptions).

The knight is randomly placed at the outset but this pattern is buildable from any of the start positions I’ve worked on. Give it a try: The Knight’s Tour. The source code is at github if you’d like to build your own — created by Reddit user psrwo.

(via BoingBoing)

Categories
podcasting

YouTube Audio to Overcast

Mike Rockwell on how to convert YouTube videos into audio ready for playback on Overcast. Spoiler: He uses a Shortcut.

There’s just so many videos on YouTube that don’t really need the video component. Whether they be information videos or talk shows, often times you can get by without the visuals. For those videos, the YouTube app is a bit heavier than what is necessary for listening. Something like Overcast with its Smart Speed feature, is a much better solution.

[…]

So I put together a shortcut — Push To Overcast — that lets me download a video from YouTube, convert it to an audio file, and then easily upload it to Overcast.

[…]

The shortcut utilizes UPull.me to download the YouTube videos. I don’t know too much about the site or who built it, but it’s the best method I’ve found for downloading videos from YouTube.

You need to have Overcast Premium in order to upload a file via the website but it’s a well-worthwhile purchase even if you don’t use this shortcut.

(via Michael Tsai)

Categories
parody

Watch the Tesla Cybertruck go… Back to the Future

Worth it for the license plate.

(via BoingBoing)

Update: The video below is actually a little more interesting and came out a few days after the top one. It’s a “deep fake” with Robert Downey Jr. inserted as Doc and Tom Holland playing Marty.

Categories
economics

Pigouvian Horn Tax in Mumbai

A pigovian tax is a tax on any market activity that generates negative externalities. One such negative externality is the noise pollution that happens in Mumbai as drivers continually slam on their horns hoping to help speed up the wait at traffic lights. The Mumbia police have issued such a pigouvian tax on the honkers by setting up noise detectors that automatically reset the red light waiting time if the honking gets too loud.

From the article:

For the Mumbai’s perpetual honkers, who love to blare the horns of their vehicles even when the traffic signal is red, the Mumbai Traffic Police has quietly come up with an unique initiative to discipline them in order to curb the alarming rise in the noise pollution levels in the country’s commercial capital.

From Friday (January 31, 2020), it has installed decibel meters at certain select but heavy traffic signals to deter the habitual honkers through a campaign named ‘The Punishing Signal’.

Joint Police Commissioner (Traffic) Madhukar Pandey said that the decibel monitors are connected to traffic signals around the island city, and when the cacophony exceeds the dangerous 85-decibel mark due to needless honking, the signal timer resets, entailing a double waiting time for all vehicles.

Photo Credit – Adam Cohn CC 2.0
(Via Marginal Revolution)