Category Archives: Off-Topic

The Truth About Angry Birds: The Movie

Plato’s student Aristotle stated: “Tolerance is the last virtue of a dying society.”‘

“… and then I got it, and had to bow before a spectacularly confident stroke of movie-making genius.”

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One of the oldest myths of mankind is that during a time of penultimate crisis, ancient heroes will return to the land in order to rescue society from its own blind and self-destructive foolishness.

For the first 15 or 20 minutes of The Angry Birds Movie, I felt bored, frustrated and alienated – and then I got it, and had to bow before a spectacularly confident stroke of movie-making genius.

What is the Truth About Angry Birds: The Movie?

The Truth About Angry Birds: The Movie

New Evidence Could Overthrow the Standard View of Quantum Mechanics | WIRED

But there’s another view—one that’s been around for almost a century—in which particles really do have precise positions at all times. This alternative view, known as pilot-wave theory or Bohmian mechanics, never became as popular as the Copenhagen view, in part because Bohmian mechanics implies that the world must be strange in other ways. In particular, a 1992 study claimed to crystalize certain bizarre consequences of Bohmian mechanics and in doing so deal it a fatal conceptual blow. The authors of that paper concluded that a particle following the laws of Bohmian mechanics would end up taking a trajectory that was so unphysical—even by the warped standards of quantum theory—that they described it as “surreal.”

Nearly a quarter-century later, a group of scientists has carried out an experiment in a Toronto laboratory that aims to test this idea. And if their results, first reported earlier this year, hold up to scrutiny, the Bohmian view of quantum mechanics—less fuzzy but in some ways more strange than the traditional view—may be poised for a comeback.

New Evidence Could Overthrow the Standard View of Quantum Mechanics | WIRED

This is an example showing how the science is never settled. We’ll have to wait and see how this turns out.

What if the existing view followers (Copenhageners) called the Bohmians fascists and racists? What if the Copenhageners lied about their results in order to maintain their model of the universe? What if science did not focus on truth? Wouldn’t we as a society be in serious trouble. Yet, this is exactly what happens once we step away from the hard sciences, engineering and math. When truth is fuzzy it gets manipulated.

This unusual test reveals how smart you are – The Washington Post

Last summer, a couple of researchers ran a funny experiment about honesty. They went to an Israeli shopping mall and recruited people, one-by-one, into a private booth. Alone inside the booth, each subject rolled a six-sided die. Then they stepped out and reported the number that came up.

There was an incentive to lie. The higher the number, the more money people received. If they rolled a one, they got a bonus of about $2.50. If they rolled a two, they got a bonus of $5, and so on. If they rolled a six, the bonus was about $15. (Everyone also received $5 just for participating.)

This unusual test reveals how smart you are – The Washington Post

Read the article before you read my comment.

You roll the dice, report your number and get paid according to your number. Here is my thinking:

  1. I am not going to lie over something stupid.
  2. The amount of money paid is not enough to care.
  3. If they paid me so much money that I cared then I would suspect that something is wrong.
  4. I always pass up deals in real life if I have not already studied the scenario.

Meet The Amazing Women Who Launched America’s First Rockets | Popular Science

At the end of May 1977, Sylvia and her date sat in a movie theater watching the blockbuster Star Wars. Sylvia was tired, and her mind kept drifting back to a computer program that wasn’t working properly. It was hard to let go of the code and relax; she went over the broken commands again and again. Suddenly a view of the stars filled the screen. It was the splendor of outer space, as imagined by George Lucas, and Sylvia was entranced. She giggled at R2-D2, amused at the difference between robots in movies and those in the lab, and reveled in the quirky characters in the bar scene. Along with everyone else in the theater, she became lost in the story. Later, as they left the dark movie theater for the bright light of day, she felt energized. It was as if she had a secret, shared only by those at JPL. She was about to see the real outer space, a view that needed no special effects from Hollywood.

On August 20, 1977, Voyager 2 sat atop a powerful Titan-Centaur rocket at the launchpad at Cape Canaveral. It was early morning, and those at JPL were full of nervous energy. The women knew this was their one shot at the Grand Tour. The planets wouldn’t align like this again for another three lifetimes.

Meet The Amazing Women Who Launched America’s First Rockets | Popular Science

Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars

In the 1940s and 50s, when the newly minted Jet Propulsion Laboratory needed quick-thinking mathematicians to calculate velocities and plot trajectories, they didn’t turn to male graduates. Rather, they recruited an elite group of young women who, with only pencil, paper, and mathematical prowess, transformed rocket design, helped bring about the first American satellites, and made the exploration of the solar system possible.

For the first time, Rise of the Rocket Girls tells the stories of these women–known as “human computers”–who broke the boundaries of both gender and science. Based on extensive research and interviews with all the living members of the team, Rise of the Rocket Girls offers a unique perspective on the role of women in science: both where we’ve been, and the far reaches of space to which we’re heading.

Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars: Nathalia Holt: 9780316338929: Books

Quantum Moves

Play Quantum Moves and contribute to cutting-edge physics research. Your task is to find clever ways of manipulating and moving atoms. By playing, you help physicists in the epic task of building a real quantum computer. This is your chance to push the boundaries of science!


Physicists are building a quantum computer by studying how people play this odd puzzle game | Digital Trends

What do physicists do when they can’t solve a bunch of complicated problems in quantum mechanics? They give the task to gamers.

Danish physicists and researchers at Aarhus University in Denmark have developed a new video game called Quantum Moves that challenges gamers to race against the clock and solve seemingly simple puzzles. The catch is the game behaves by the strange principles of quantum physics. It may seem easy to balance and carry a mysterious liquid across a 2D map. But this liquid doesn’t respond to movement like your average cup of water. It’s like a petulant and unpredictably viscous child. Move the cursor too quickly and the liquid sloshes out in incredible waves. Move the cursor too slowly and you’re beat by the clock.

Physicists are building a quantum computer by studying how people play this odd puzzle game | Digital Trends is a VPN for credit cards | The Verge

In 2016, it’s remarkably hard to buy something anonymously. Bitcoin would be the easiest way, but most places don’t accept it. Even walking into a store and paying cash, there’s a decent chance you’ll be asked for your name and zip code. Paying online is even harder. Use a credit card or a traditional payment service and the odds are your purchase will end up in an anonymized database, used to target you the next time advertisers want to find someone who’s bought a burrito, a pair of jeans, or a lamp in the last month.

Launching today, a new project called wants to change that. Modeled off password managers, works as the commerce equivalent of a VPN, sitting between you and the larger payment system. When it comes time to pay, drops in a one-time credit card number with no connection to you personally. The charges are still passed along as usual, but as far as the store is concerned, the money’s coming from Like PayPal, it also means you can pay through a debit account instead of a credit card, something that would normally make you far more exposed to fraud. is a VPN for credit cards | The Verge

‘The Black Tapes,’ ‘Lore,’ and the Rise of the Horror Podcast – The Atlantic

… “She called me in, shaking her head, and told me she got some calls from parents about how their kids couldn’t sleep alone in their rooms that weekend,” Bae says. During an annual Halloween tradition called the Hour of Horror, Bae told a class of ninth graders the tale of a toilet with a dark history: If a brave soul ventured to the third-floor restroom and entered the middle of three stalls at exactly 3 p.m., the lights would flicker as “the shadow of a girl on a noose would swing over the stall.” The girl, a victim of bullying, had taken her own life.

Unfortunately, Bae wasn’t able to finish the story. “At the end of every Hour of Horror, I’d say, ‘And there’s one more thing you should know: nothing I said today … is true,’” he says. “But for some reason, the bell rang during one of my answers, and the kids rushed out of the room to start their weekend. With a dawning sense of horror, it struck me: I forgot to tell them it was all made up.” His principal dismissed Bae with “a stern warning to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” but he apparently didn’t take those words to heart. His friend, the indie filmmaker Terry Miles, enticed Bae into the world of podcasting, and the pair now channel tales of the supernatural to 200,000 listeners a month with The Black Tapes. The podcast follows an affable journalist named Alex Reagan as she explores a series of terrifying cases—involving séances, demonic possessions, or apparitions—that have no apparent scientific or rational explanation.

‘The Black Tapes,’ ‘Lore,’ and the Rise of the Horror Podcast – The Atlantic

Not exactly on topic for this website, but the story was too rich to pass up.

Disney’s Animated Film ‘Zootopia’ is a U.S. Propaganda Tool, Chinese Professor Says – China Real Time Report – WSJ

The military-backed People’s Liberation Army Daily on Wednesday ran a commentary titled, “How can a sheep be turned into a ‘crazy’ scapegoat?” The author, a professor at a PLA-backed academy in the eastern city of Nanjing, questioned the plot of Disney’s animated animal film “Zootopia” (known as “Crazy Animal City” in Chinese), which features a sheep as the story’s main antagonist.

The animated film revolves around a rabbit police officer working to track down some disappeared predators with the help of a red fox. In the end — spoiler alert — the two discover that the sheep, who worked as assistant mayor of Zootopia, is the mastermind of the case.

Disney’s Animated Film ‘Zootopia’ is a U.S. Propaganda Tool, Chinese Professor Says – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Netflix Blocking Your VPN? Here’s How To Build Your Own | Lifehacker Australia

Possibly posing even more of a challenge to media companies wishing to shut down VPN use to circumvent geo-blocking is the ability of consumers to build their own personal cloud VPN service. This has become a real possibility thanks to cloud services from companies like Amazon, and open source software such as SoftEther VPN from the University of Tsukuba, Japan.

The first step involves creating a server on Amazon’s cloud service AWS. This can be done for free for a year although data costs will kick in past the first 15 GB. The server can be run in a number of different locations but for the purposes of accessing US services, one of three US locations can be chosen. Installing the SoftEther VPN software requires following relatively simple instructions but getting a neighbourhood techie to do it for you would be better. Once done, connecting to the VPN from a laptop is as easy as putting in the address of the server and entering the username and password created during the installation of the VPN software.

The whole process of setting up a personal VPN takes about 30 minutes (the time it took the author researching this article). This would be slightly longer if setting up accounts on Amazon for the first time. Setting up a VPN this way has the added advantage that it is very unlikely to be blocked by services like Netflix because they are only looking for known VPN service provider Internet addresses.

Netflix Blocking Your VPN? Here’s How To Build Your Own | Lifehacker Australia

My Netflix doesn’t work. Netflix is discovering my VPN and blocking service to the US. One way around this problem is setting up my own VPN service on Amazon’s cloud service.

Zootropolis (Zootopia or Zoomania): Evil packaged as fun

The modern mammal metropolis of Zootropolis is a city like no other. Comprised of habitat neighborhoods like ritzy Sahara Square and frigid Tundratown, it’s a melting pot where animals from every environment live together—a place where no matter what you are, from the biggest elephant to the smallest shrew, you can be anything. But when optimistic Officer Judy Hopps arrives, she discovers that being the first bunny on a police force of big, tough animals isn’t so easy. Determined to prove herself, she jumps at the opportunity to crack a case, even if it means partnering with a fast-talking, scam-artist fox, Nick Wilde, to solve the mystery. Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Zootropolis” a comedy-adventure directed by Byron Howard (“Tangled,” “Bolt”) and Rich Moore (“Wreck-It Ralph,” “The Simpsons”) and co-directed by Jared Bush (“Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero”).

Zootropolis – UK Trailer 3 – OFFICIAL Disney | HD – YouTube

I just got done watching Zootropolis with my family over here in Switzerland. We all enjoyed the movie a lot. I admit that I was totally hooked. So what kind of a twisted mind is capable of calling Zootropolis “evil packed as fun?”

After watching a Disney movie, I often ask the following question: How is Disney undermining society? OK, maybe this seems a little bit extreme. But it seems that Disney does this kind of undermining on a regular basis, so I can’t help myself. After Zootropolis was over, I just started to think about what I had just seen. What had Disney done to me this time? Well, one problem is real bad and the other merely bad.

You can be anything you want to be. Judy Hopps (a bunny) wants to be a cop. Never mind that real cops are 5 to 10 times her size, and they’re mostly male. Never mind that she could become a tasty lunch for a predator. She is bound and determined to become a cop. And against all the impossible odds, she survives the police academy. She really, truly becomes a cop. Except police chief Bogo is out to get her. She is given just 48 hours to solve the difficult case of a missing otter.  But this case is much, much bigger than it seems.

The problem here is that you can’t be anything you want to be. Maybe you want to be a pro in the NBA. Maybe you are willing to train much harder than anyone else. It just doesn’t matter unless you already have a number of things to bring to the table. Generally, you either need the right body type or are able to compensate in one way or another. And a lot of this is in the genes. You either have it or not. Training is only going to get you so far. Conceptually, this applies to everything. Do you suck at math? Then maybe math, science and engineering is not for you. If you suck at drawing then maybe art is not for you. Of course, you are free to try but maybe you should try something else.

So one should not be stupid. Focus in areas where you have a natural advantage, or you are naturally good at. Don’t believe the lie that you can become anything you want to be. If you are good at something and train hard, then you can become great. Focusing on areas where you are not so good is probably going to waste a lot of your time. One must always have a plan B in case of failure.

What most people don’t know is that the very next day (after the movie ended) we learn that Judy Hopps was killed by a craz’d predator.

Shakira – Try Everything (Official Video) – YouTube

An even bigger problem with this movie is how it creates a utopian society where the only way it gets out of balance is through an outside force. Initially, predators and prey live together in harmony. But it is one of the prey who seeks to undermine the society by secretly provoking some of the predators. These predators become very aggressive and dangerous because of this provocation by the prey.

The actual undermining of our society is taking place right before our eyes due to the modern liberal view of how societies really work. The modern liberal believes that people are basically good. In Zootropolis we see that predators and prey can live together in harmony – they are both good. The only way things get out of balance for society and the movie is if there is some kind of provocation. By whom? By the good guys, of course. So predators only become aggressive after they are drugged by a team led by one of the prey. Naturally, it is the prey who are the real bad guys.

In real life, you are safe. You are safe from criminals. You are safe from Muslim terrorists. You are safe from nuclear attack. But this safety breaks down because of your actions. It is you who provoke people into becoming criminals. It is you who provoke Muslims into becoming terrorists. And if there is a nuclear war then it will be because of you – the West provokes the other side.

With the rise of Russia and the invasion of Ukraine, one would think that Germany would be focusing heavily on building up its military. No, that would be ridiculous. Germany is too busy inviting over a million Muslim refugees from the Middle East. And why not? Everybody is basically good, and all religions are equal in the sense that non is better or worse than any other. The Russians are good unless provoked by the West, and Muslim refugees are good too.

But what happens when the idea of basic goodness is wrong?

German mom has multicultural encounter with son’s muslim ‘friends’
(“And eight, nine, ten men stormed out of the van, Federal Border Police!”)

The problem affects the entire western world.

If you believe that people are basically good, then you are endangering any country where you exist.

Zootropolis effectively packages the idea that people are basically good. This concept is exceptionally dangerous and evil. It causes a country to lower its guard to the point where it is unable and unwilling to defend itself. Europe barely lifts a finger to protect itself from Russia. Germany invites trouble in the form of Muslim refugees. And the US disarms its military and seeks to disarm its nuclear arsenal.

A Bad Time to Cut U.S. Nuclear Capability – WSJ

It is budget season in Washington, and nuclear-disarmament doves have again morphed into budget hawks. The familiar pitch is also back: Reducing the U.S. nuclear arsenal will ease global tensions, enlighten world leaders and save scarce defense dollars.

A Bad Time to Cut U.S. Nuclear Capability – WSJ

The US has reduced it nuclear arsenal to such a point that it has crossed a red line. It is no longer able to effectively deter Russia and China. And one continues to hear over and over that more nuclear reductions are needed. And this is after they have already crossed the red line. The US is no longer safe. History teaches that if you want peace then prepare for war. Modern liberals teach that if you want peace then prepare for peace.

Unfortunately, it seems that DIsney is pushing an insidious evil wrapped up in a lot of fun.