Sunday, August 12, 2012

USB Tethering on Android with Mac OS


How to enable USB tethering from an Android device onto a Mac OS machine:

  1. Install the EasyTether Driver
  2. Install EasyTether Lite to test (and upgrade later to support them when it works!)
  3. If you have trouble, read their excellent FAQ, which includes hacks to bypass carriers' tethering blocks.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

ProxySwitchy not reading .pac files on Ubuntu

Finally found a workaround for ProxySwitchy not reading .pac files on Ubuntu after the latest Chrome update:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

tom mccarthy


blown my mind:  tom mccarthy, who i'd never heard of until i heard him talking to my favorite quail [eleanor wachtel on writers & company].  the man is nuts, visceral, a schizophrenically articulate beat-academic who was apparently short-listed for the booker last year (though i had a start at reading his new novel, the letter C, and it didn't grab me maniacally in the manner i require.  never mind -- i shall persist).  his interview is fantastic, ecstatic, multidimensionally creative, weird.

he's written Tintin and the Secret of Literature, "a reading of HergĂ©'s Tintin books through the prism of structuralist and post-structuralist literary theory", and since 1999 has operated as 'General Secretary' of a 'semi-fictitious organisation' called the International Necronautical Society (INS) "devoted to mind-bending projects that would do for death what the Surrealists had done for sex".

yes he's been accused of being pointlessly pretentious.  i admit i'm a total sucker for it all anyway [e.g. martin amis].

excerpts of him chatting don't do him justice, but here are some vaguely representative bits & bobs:

on some of his previous writing, hidden meaning, freud's The Wolf Man:

"...what Freud is really talking about is not a pyramid; it’s a crypt.  cryptos means hidden, anything buried.  And it’s a site—it’s a linguistic site of encryption. I mean, psychoanalysis is “the listening cure.” The psychoanalyst tunes in to the patient almost like a kind of radio ham tuning into some mysterious frequency, and what they find when they tune in, via Freud, to his patient, is this kind of double eavesdropping in this multilinguistic zone, because the wolf man was first Russian, then spoke English and French, and is talking to Freud in German. They find this kind of polyglottal crackling zone of words, which contain images and memories and associations, kind of encrypting one another to produce this weird neurosis, almost like a linguistic tumor. And I found that very, very compelling..."
on the modern fascination with secret messages and codes:

"it's a populist manifestation of Calvinist culture, basically. For the Calvinists, we were living in a world of signs. As Francis Bacon said, “Nature is God’s second book.” It’s a text—it needs to be interpreted. I mean, you get it in the Greeks, in Virgil—every flight path of a sparrow or movement of an ant over a tuft of ground is a message. It is a sign—it needs interpretation. In more modern literature you get this sensibility very much in the work of Thomas Pynchon or William Burroughs, the sense that we are living in a world of signs, that there’s an order behind the visible that needs to be drawn out through interpretation.
"And I guess this manifests itself in many ways, in more subcultural formats. Even in the paranoia of the Christian parents of America who want to listen to Iron Maiden records backward and find the Satanist messages in them. Of course, maybe one in every hundred chance “message” that emerges could be construed as Satanist—the others turn out to be things like 'Give me a peppermint,” or 'It smells of fish.'"

he has a nice point about how popular literature (well, novels) after the promise of modernism made a bit of a safe turn back towards the stultifying safety of 19th c romanticism...

don't make many like him these days.

Monday, January 17, 2011

tom stoppard on terry gilliam on the film brazil

came across this in krasny's memoir off mike (collection of vignettes from his interviews over the years), which i picked up over christmas in point reyes.  i intensely hated the experience of watching brazil, and yet it's surprised me what an impression it must have made: it has firmly stuck with me over the last couple of years.  i suppose that's much of the purpose of dystopian literature and film?  anyway, laughed on reading this, as i'd felt brazil to be so resonantly orwellian:

Stoppard tells an amusing story of his work with Terry Gilliam on the film script for Brazil.  He kept telling Gilliam that everything sounded too much like Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four.  Gilliam told him not to worry.  Two years after Brazil was released, Stoppard saw Gilliam, and Gilliam admitted he had never read Nineteen Eight-Four before they worked on the film.  He had read it for the first time just that week.  He told Stoppard the parallels and similarities between the two works shocked him.


Off mike: a memoir of talk radio and literary life, by 

Michael Krasny

Thursday, November 11, 2010

i'm kind of obsessed with water right now...

...and behold!  If you microwave a given quantity of water and an equivalent mass of ice:

Although it only takes an increase of a few °C to melt the ice, and the water has to heat up by about 80°C to boil, the water will normally boil before the ice melts!

What is going on?

There are two effects happening here, one of them is that to melt ice takes a huge amount of energy, the equivalent of heating water by about 80°C.  This is because in ice water molecules are locked together by quite strong hydrogen bonds, and to melt it has to break a lot of these bonds, which takes a lot of energy.
The second effect is that ice just doesn't absorb microwaves nearly as well as water - this means it actually heats up less.

Why does water absorb microwaves better than ice?

A microwave oven cooks by creating microwaves, a form of light or electromagnetic radiation.  These are produced on the right hand side of the oven and are sent into the main oven.  They reflect back and forth creating a standing wave.

Field inside Microwave
The microwave oven gives out microwaves (a form of electromagnetic radiation) which then reflect back and forth across the metal box.
As they do this they create an electric field which will point up and then down about 2.5 billion times a second.

In the microwave the electric field will point upwards and then downwards about 2.5 billion times every second.  This means that anything charged will be pulled upwards and downwards by the field produced by the microwaves.

Although water molecules don't have an overall charge, their oxygen atom is slightly negative and their hydrogen atoms are slightly positive (they have a positive and negative pole so are called polar).  This means that in an electric field they will rotate to align with the field.

Water in a downward field
Water molecules in an electric field
Each water molecule is made up of one oxygen atom which is slightly  negative and two hydrogen atoms which are slightly positive.
If the electric field points upwards then the positive hydrogen atoms are pulled upwards and the negative oxygen atoms are pulled downwards, so the molecules rotate.

If the field keeps changing at 2.5 billion times a second they will keep rotating which will give them energy so the water heats up.

Water in a downward field
Ice in an upward field
If the field now points downwards then the oxygen atoms will try an reverse their direction. All of this rotation transfers energy to the water and heats it up.
Although the ice molecules also feel a rotational force they are locked into a crystal and rotating would involve breaking bonds between molecules. So they hardly move and they absorb very little energy.

In ice the water molecules are all locked together in a crystal structure by hydrogen bonds.  These bonds will stop the water molecules rotating, which means they can't absorb much energy from the microwaves.  This, in turn, means that the ice doesn't heat up.

Aaaaa!  So cool!


Thursday, October 07, 2010

befoozlement of Kultur and the consequent hell

I actually can't believe I'm reading this. Ezra Pound, writing in 1917:

....The hell of contemporary Europe is caused by the lack of representative government in Germany, and by the non-existence of decent prose in the German language. Clear thought and sanity depend on clear prose. They cannot live apart. The former produces the latter. The latter conserves and transmits the former.

The mush of the German sentence, the straddling of the verb out to the end, are just as much a part of the befoozlement of Kultur and the consequent hell, as was the rhetoric of later Rome the seed and the symptom of the Roman Empire's decadence and extinction. A nation that cannot write clearly cannot be trusted to govern, nor yet to think.

-- "At Last the Novel Appears," from The Egoist, February 1917.

The irony (tragedy?) is that his madness drew him straight into the arms of the fascist and antisemitic ideologies of the 1930s, leading to a treason arrest, poetry written in adulation of Mussolini, and ultimately the postshumus publication of a certain Canto "CXX", asking (too late?)
"Let those I love forgive / what I have made".

See also

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

graham greene, luis bunuel, j.m. coatzee

graham greene, short story cheap in august. deeply affecting.

luis bunuel, the discreet charm of the bourgeoisie, 1972 [french] film by the notorious [spanish, modern, surrealist art film] director; in US won academy award for best foreign film. not unpleasant, but a bit baffling: where is the line dividing the random and the absurd? tried quite hard to find meaning in the bits that seemed beyond satire (so much shooting, priest wanting to be gardner), but didn't come up with much, and was suspicious that so many websites laud the film without an analysis. one thing i managed to take away: i read that bunuel was at the end of his life and nearly deaf when he made the film, and on reflection i realized that it did feel a bit like a silent dream-world, how one might experience scenes of life with no sound: intently focusing on one scene or another, then moving one's attention because one can't hear what's happening beyond what one can see.

interview with j.m. coatzee, who is on my list of excruciatingly good writers...a funny fellow, in person much more reluctant/measured/guarded/defensive/serious than i would have expected (he apparently refused to discuss his life or his writing in the interview, and upon being asked which books he felt were important, after a big wind up of this-is-a-very-loaded-question-you-know, he finally admitted that he supposed he could include the iliad as having lasting impact(!) also mentioned plato, so i've picked up the republic...) my favorite bit was a lovely theory about why beckett switched to writing in french (without explanation): included in my random jumble of notes below that will remain a jumble of notes.

Writing in general is becoing underrated...I speak from the bosom of an educational institution that is in the process of turning itself from an instituition that studies writing to an inst that studies all kinds of other 'cultural artifacts', some exceedingly transitory in nature.

(contrast that with what susan sontag said on the Big Ideas lecture)

one can't fully belong, inherit the judeo-christian-greco-tradition without understanding the philosophy of aristotle, plato.

horace - classic is one that somehow keeps being read (said that 2000 years ago!)

written about beckett, ford maddox ford, kafka -- could all be considered outsiders...

FDF: became outsider bc of social scandals
kafka: constitutional outsider, woudl have been an outsider wherever he was. his outsiderdom was only compounded by the fact of having been born a jew in troubled times, ieven in autrohungary of the end of the 19th century
beckettt - outsdier by temperament, election.
dostoyevsky - outsider bc of external circumstances, being caught up without full premeditations in student secret movement, being packed orf to siberia for a long period. returned with mark against his naem which was dificult to obliterate.

beckett's writing gives him "a sensuous delight".
also joyce, in different ways: knew the english language with a completeness.

joyce in ulysses, beckett, at least while still writing in english, there exists a conoisseurship, a delight in the perfection of the writing itself.

that sensuous side of his own writing was perhaps what beckett reacted to when he, in effect, gave up writing in english. needed a greater rigor of e.g. a strictly romance language, fewer seductive possibilities in lexical choices -- playing off the romance against the germanic, which is not possible in any other language. beckett never explained fully why he made the switch, so it's for us to guess why he made it. he felt the [irrelevant?] seductions of english post-1945 just felt to be something he'd done, he'd played with language enough, it was time to move on.

american authors he admires (but has never written about):
melleville, whitman, faulkner, emily dickinson,

read dostoevsky, tolstoy "on their own terms" (meaning wrt their fear, devotion to god).