Bag of Randomness for Wednesday, June 24, 2020


书记跨下的警花I’ve been seeing?Top Gun air a lot on television. I bet there was some contractual obligation due to the sequel which was supposed to come out this summer but has been pushed back to December.

I know in many Asian cultures, wearing white clothing is a sign of morning and you’ll see it at a lot of funerals. I’ve noticed a lot of white clothing being worn in the black community, but I’m unaware of it’s always been a part of their culture or something recently adopted.

We watched the fifth episode of season one of?Ozark and I felt like it “jumped the shark”, but I’m still gonna stick with it.? First, the closeted homosexuality was a stretch. Second, I don’t believe a pastor would accept a strip club owner’s money to build a church. I know I live in Texas and not the Ozarks, but a lot of my pastoral friends have bluntly told me they could not accept a lottery winner’s tithing because the money came from sin.

AI researchers discover inherent resolution limit to “upsampling” of pixelated faces

Duke University researchers have created an AI algorithm (“PULSE”) that pixelates an uploaded picture of a human face and then explores the range of possible (computer-generated) human faces that could produce that pixelated face.

For starters, Rudin said, “We kind of proved that you can’t do facial recognition from blurry images because there are so many possibilities. So zoom and enhance, beyond a certain threshold level, cannot possibly exist.”

“A lot of algorithms in the past have tried to recover the high-resolution image from the low-res/high-res pair,” Rudin said. But according to her, that’s probably the wrong approach. Most real-world applications of this upsampling problem would involve having access to only the low-res original image. That would be the starting point from which one would try to recreate the high-resolution equivalent of that low-res original.

“When we finally abandoned trying to come up with the ground truth, we then were able to take the low-res [picture] and try to construct many very good high-res images,” Rudin said.

So while PULSE looks beyond the failure point of facial recognition applications, she said, it may still find applications in fields that grapple with their own blurry images–among them, astronomy, medicine, microscopy, and satellite imagery.

Vice-President Pence had a reverse Gerald Ford moment.

My Photo Shoot with Mike Tyson

Every so often a photo shoot comes along that both excites you and terrifies you at the same time. Today’s article is about one such experience.

When I was in college—more specifically in Russian History 401 at ASU—I got a phone call and had to leave class, much to my teachers chagrin. It was Getty Images (my rep at the time) with a request for me to photograph the one and only?Mike Tyson. To add a little stress to the mix, I had less than two days to prepare for the shoot.

Posted in Personal|2 Comments

Bag of Randomness for Tuesday, June 23, 2020

This whole struggling to breathe thing is not fun. I’d like to lay down, but it just makes it harder to breathe, so I try to sleep in an elevated position, but that hurts my back. Right now I have to inhale albuterol through a nebulizer about every six hours. But hey, it could certainly be worst, much worst, and I’m thankful I only have to deal with this much and that I can afford and have access to medical care. The doc at the ER seemed to think my allergies flared up really bad, despite me not really having a case of breathing problems before. The COVID test was more of a precaution, I think. However, CBS11 did have a segment in which a doctor was seeing a lot of patients who came in for what they thought was allergy symptoms but tuned out they were COVID-19 positive.

Michael Keaton in Talks to Play Bruce Wayne in ‘The Flash’ Movie

After nearly 30 years, Michael Keaton is in talks to return to the role of Batman, to appear alongside Ezra Miller in Warner Bros.’ upcoming movie “The Flash,” TheWrap has learned exclusively. Talks with Keaton are in the very early stages, it is far from a sure thing, and can go either way. No details are currently available about how big or small Keaton’s role is.

That plot will introduce general audiences to the idea of the multiverse, one of the of core concepts underpinning DC Comics. For the non fanboy set, the multiverse refers to a shifting number of alternate universes that coexist within the larger reality depicted in DC comics. Originally created to explain various contradictory changes the company’s characters experienced over decades, it allows several different versions of the same characters to simultaneously exist and, occasionally, interact.

For my fellow fans of?Hamilton who are eagerly awaiting next Friday, July 3rd, this is good news from which I acquired from several Lin-Manuel Miranda tweets.

  • The announcement of King George will be included.
  • …you’re getting the whole show, every note & scene, & a 1-minute countdown clock during intermission (bathroom!)
  • Since it’s rated PG-13 does that mean that some (iconic) lines have been cut? – “MPAA has a hard rule about language: more than 1 utterance of “Fuck” is an automatic R rating. We have 3 “Fucks” in our show. So…..I literally gave two fucks so the kids could see it:
    1. In Yorktown, there’s a mute over “I get the f___ back up again”
    2. “Southern *record scratch*kin’ Democratic Republicans.”
    You can sing whatEVER you like at home (even sync up the album)!
    Love you. Enjoy.”
  • Other good news, it will be available for more than one day, and for a while.

What we’ll see was shot in a three-day shoot. The performance was shot during a Sunday matinee. When the audience left, they shot closeups, dolly shots, and crane shots. Then on Monday (their day off), they shot additional closeups and did steady-cam work and did additional shooting on the following Tuesday.

Edge of a rainstorm.


Posted in Personal|2 Comments

Bag of Randomness for Monday, June 22, 2020

I spent the majority of my Father’s Day afternoon in an emergency room which included me taking a COVID-19 test. I was having breathing difficulties and after several breathing treatments and tests, was released. The COVID-19 test was exactly what I thought it would be, a nasal swab to each nostril which felt like it touched my brain. While it was uncomfortable, it wasn’t as painful as many have made it to be. I should know my results in five to seven days.

Yesterday was our 17-year wedding anniversary. We share that honor with Col. White and his bride. It’s also would have been the 18 year anniversary of my widower neighbor and his wife.

I wasn’t totally comfortable with WifeGeeding taking the kids and visiting her parent in East Texas last weekend. The rising COVID-19 numbers were and still are a concern, and her side of the family isn’t concerned or taking as many precautions as I would like. For instance, they are traveling to Shreveport for a baseball tournament and plan on traveling to Memphis and Corpus Christi for others. But while they were away, I decided to finally watch the 2009 film Watchmen and then start on the related HBO series by the same name. I believe the HBO series is set 30-years after the events of the graphic novel and/or film. Then, on Monday, I read LiberallyLean’s blog and saw that he also started to watch the HBO series. I have some funny timing and coincidences with him despite never meeting or talking to the man. One of the things I get a kick out is the movie and series alternative universe. For instance:

  • One of the Watchmen prevented the death of Thomas and Martha Wayne. Since they never died, Bruce never was an orphan, and thus Batman never existed.
  • Nixon is elected to six terms. As you would guess, the 22nd Amendment regarding term limits was repealed.
  • Vietnam becomes the 51st state to join the United States.

WifeGeeding and I started Netflix’s?Ozark. I think the first episode is better than the first episode of?Breaking Bad. Jason Bateman is better in the lead role than I expected, it’s nice seeing him play a different character than what we’re all used to seeing him. We’re only about for or five episodes in, and those following episodes don’t quite live up to the first episode, but I think that’s due to some character and plotline building.

Horses and dolphins.

Google’s new Chrome extension lets you link directly to specific text on a page

Link to Text Fragment?is a new Chrome Extension from Google that lets you generate URLs to specific text on a webpage, regardless of the page’s formatting.

With the extension installed, simply highlight the text you want to link to, right click, and select “Copy Link to Selected Text.” This can then be shared and opened by anyone using a compatible browser.

A little over two months ago, the organization which runs the charter school our children attend and WifeGeeding teaches at sent out a survey about COVID-19 and the 2020-2021 school year. They recently shared the results of that survey and stated the school year would start on August 12, though they still aren’t sure what the school environment will look like. The survey responses surprised me, and I wonder what a more current survey would show.

  • When provided the four options, 40% of parents favored starting school normally; 20% favored a return to school with additional safety and health measures in place; 19% were interested in a blended approach, and 16% favored remote learning.
  • When provided with five different options, 40% of families expressed interest in following the district calendar as long as there would be an extended summer vacation; 30% of families said they were open to a year-long calendar if necessary; 14% said they preferred to follow the district independent of what they do, with 9% interested in a different start date.
Posted in Personal|5 Comments

Bag of Randomness for Friday, June 12, 2020

I may take a few days off from blogging next week. I’ve scheduled some vacation days as I have an overabundance, and kinda want to make it feel like I’m really taking time off. But who knows, I may just end up blogging anyways because changing up my routine makes my day feel incomplete. Maybe I’ll “empty the bag” and do a link dump of items I’ve thought about posting about but never got around to for one reason or another.

The kids couldn’t remember watching Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, so we fired it up and watched it last night. Orson Welles sure had a great voice.

My place of employment recently had a volunteer meeting about the current events affecting our nation. I was somewhat surprised to hear my CEO mention that she’s a member of St. John’s Episcopal Church across from the White House. She never mentioned the president by name, but she did state how much it broke her heart to see her home church’s become desecrated. She also spoke about how she made arrangements for her 89-year-old father to return to Miami so she and her husband could attend marches, that she was willing to expose herself to COVID-19 but didn’t want to do anything to harm her father. Since I’ve never marched, it was interesting to hear what to expect when you attend one of these things. All you need to do is bring yourself and wear good walking shoes, there’s no need to worry about water, food, or any materials to make posters. There are organizations that provide all those things.

G.O.P. Platform, Rolled Over From 2016, Condemns the ‘Current President’After the Republican National Committee kept outdated language from four years ago, when Barack Obama was still president, the party’s platform includes more than three dozen unflattering references to those in power at the White House.

The warning about speech online is one of more than three dozen unflattering references to either the “current president,” “current chief executive,” “current administration,” people “currently in control” of policy, or the “current occupant” of the White House that appear in the Republican platform. Adopted at the party’s 2016 convention, it has been carried over through 2024 after the executive committee of the Republican National Committee on Wednesday chose not to adopt a new platform for 2020.

There’s a simple trick to watch YouTube videos without any adsAn extra period can get around YouTube’s advertising machine… for now

Over on?Reddit?(and as highlighted by?Android Police?and?9to5Google), someone has posted a simple way of watching YouTube videos in a web browser without any ads. In the URL for whatever video you want to view, you just need to add an extra period after the dot com in the YouTube link.

This works as described for me when pasting a video URL into an incognito browser window with the added period. In addition to removing pre-roll ads, it also eliminates mid-roll interruptions for videos as well. By the time you’ve copied, pasted, and altered the video URL, I’m not sure how much time you’re really saving over just waiting for the “skip ad” button to appear — but it does indeed work.

You can skip to the 4:38 mark to see what it looks like driving down a road at night time.

Someone left the following comment this week, I didn’t want it to go unnoticed.

It’s only been in recent years that I learned about the very real and true events that make up our nation’s complex history from books and movies. Whether semi- fictionalized (like Hidden Figures or the Tulsa events in Watchmen) or documentary style (like 15th) or books like “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI”, I continue to be flabbergasted at what was considered ‘normal’ behavior by our forefathers. We have been indoctrinated into a veneration of men who arguably did great things. What was never acknowledged or answered was “at what expense?”. What that has changed in me is my desire to reflexively try to defend the “honor” of these men, or excuse or explain away these events. I understand now that I reflexively do this because I was raised/taught to do it. I HAD THE LUXURY OF NOT HAVING TO THINK ABOUT IT, OR BE REMINDED OF THE COSTS.

So I would invite those who give a damn about taking down Confederate monuments or renaming things named after Confederate generals to get educated about how and why they got those names in the first place. Then do some soul searching as to why any of this matters so deeply to you. So maybe you don’t mind the CFA statue by the courthouse, but know that it troubles people of color because it was put up to remind them of their place in this world and THAT’S why they want it moved or the name changed.

I see the argument about “this is history and if we remove it we are doomed to repeat it” a lot as well. This argument supposes that “we’ve fixed racism… we’re in post-racist times…etc”. Recent events show this isn’t the case. Leaving stuff up that was supposed to remind people of a bad time for 100 years now hasn’t “fixed” anything. Arguably it’s making things worse.

I don’t think I am suffering from “white liberal guilt”, I just think being exposed to different opinions/experiences has shown up in my natural empathy as a desire to do better. If you know your fellow man is hurting, why continue to hurt them for something so stupid as a chiseled rock or a name of a building. It seems deliberate and cruel.

Posted in Personal|4 Comments