I am traveling all over India at the moment so I’m not really able to write contentful posts. Here are even more links instead, sigh. Maybe later I’ll talk about log-Sobolev inequalities so I can be cool like Max.

Speaking of Max, he posted this hilarious bad lip reading version of Game of Thrones. Probably NSFW. I don’t even like the series but it’s pretty funny.

For those who are fans of Rejected, Don Hertzfeldt’s new film is available on Vimeo.

Those who were at Berkeley may remember seeing Ed Reed perform at the Cheeseboard. His album (which I helped fund via indiegogo, was named a Downbeat Editors’ Pick. It’s a great album.

In light of the Snowden leaks, some doubt has been cast on NIST’s crypto standards.

I’m super late to this, but I endorse Andrew’s endorsement of Sergio‘s interview with Robert Fano in the IT Newsletter. Here’s just the article, if you want that.

An op-ed from n+1 on the safety of being brown.

Via Mimosa (I think), a profile of photographer Nemai Ghosh, who worked with Satyajit Ray.

Via my father, the story of Indian Jewish actresses in early Bollywood.

Things seems to be heating up on the LAC. Not a good sign.

The death toll in Dhaka keeps rising. This makes Matthew Yglesias’s reaction (see a stunningly poor example of self-reflection here) a bit more that the usual brand of neoliberal odiousness.

Tony Kushner responds to some of the criticism of Lincoln.

Paul Frees, the actor who played Boris Badenov was in a ton of other things — who knew?

The Simons Foundation wrote about differential privacy.

After being at NIPS, which was held in a casino megaplex, Andrew Gelman’s post on casinos had more resonance.

My friend John is blogging about his time at the Abhayagiri monastery. It’s an interesting look in on this kind of monastic life.

For those who missed the news, a package for Indiana Jones arrived at UChicago, but the truth is someone less ARG-like than expected.

The NIPS deadline is coming up, so I’ve been a bit harried. However, there are many cool things out there on the internet…

IIT Kanpur wants to open an office in the US to recruit faculty.

Via my father, don’t you wonder where the center of mass of a pizza slice is? This is more of an issue for those New York-style fans — in Chicago the deep dish is a little more stable.

A fascinating post from the NY Times about ephemeral islands which appear and disappear as sea levels shift.

Via BK, a musical film about coffee. It’s part of the Jazz Dance Film Fest, which promises to be my undoing, productivity-wise.

An interesting article on the Dalit movement in Maharashtra.

Posting has been nonexistent this week due to being busy and incredibly tired. Hopefully the improved spring weather will thaw me out. On the upside, I’ve been reading more.

The ongoing problem of race in young adult literature (via Amitha Knight)

Speaking of race, the Chronicle of Higher Education published a piece mocking the whole field of Black Studies based on reading the titles of (proposed) dissertations (and a paragraph description). Tressie mc had a trenchant response. The faculty and students also responded.

And segueing from race via race and statistics (and eugenics), most of Galton’s works are now online.

Dirac’s thoughts on math and physics.

A touching film about 9/11 from Eusong Lee from CalArts.

On Saturday evening I saw In The Family at the Asian American Showcase. It’s a film by Patrick Wang, who I may have last seen in a production of Grand Hotel at MIT when I was just starting college. It’s a film that is definitely worth seeing — an affecting and truthful story, it may make you tear up at times. It will also make you believe that a deposition can be the most important moment in a person’s life.

The trailer for the movie is here:

The synopsis says

In the town of Martin, Tennessee, Chip Hines, a precocious six year old, has only known life with his two dads, Cody and Joey. And a good life it is. When Cody dies suddenly in a car accident, Joey and Chip struggle to find their footing again. Just as they begin to, Cody’s will reveals that he named his sister as Chip’s guardian. The years of Joey’s acceptance into the family unravel as Chip is taken away from him. In his now solitary home life, Joey searches for a solution. The law is not on his side, but friends are. Armed with their comfort and inspired by memories of Cody, Joey finds a path to peace with the family and closer to his son.

The trailer starts almost towards the end of the film, and I think doesn’t really show the things which are the most beautiful about it. There is a scene after Cody’s funeral when Joey and Chip return to the house, shocked. Joey sits at the kitchen table, and Chip (where do they get these child actors — the kid is amazing!) has a long silent scene in which he gets the mail, climbs on the step stool, gets a glass, gets the Coke from the fridge, pours himself some, gets his dad a beer, opens the beer with some effort, then clinks the bottle and glass for cheers, and that is what snaps Joey out of it and he start sorting the mail. This is what I mean by a truthful scene — in the face of trauma and loss, at some point we go on, as Beckett might say. Watching those moments is important.

So the film is 3 hours long almost. But it’s worth it, because it shows you that kind of truth. Moment by moment. You get to understand what is at stake in this story, why Cody and Chip mean so much to Joey. It’s a beautiful debut film, and was rejected from a number of festivals but they are self-distributing it and it’s going to appear soon in a venue near you, hopefully. Do try to see it — it will move you.

The variation of the human body across sports is fascinating (via Matt Tong).

The films of Andrei Tarkovsky (1932-1986) are available for free online (via Zhenya Tumanova).

A paper arguing that systems-CS conference reviews are bad. (via Manu Sridharan)

Downton Arby’s.

A watch that’s on Indian Time. Works for other cultures too! (via Harbeer)

Via Jay P., a pretty amazing dance video.

Via 530nm330Hz, a very interesting tidbit on the history of the one-time pad. A free tech report version is available too. The one-time pad XOR’s the bits of a message with a i.i.d. random bitstring of the same length, and is credited to Gilbert Vernam and Joseph Mauborgne. However, as Steven Bellovin‘s paper shows,

In 1882, a California banker named Frank Miller published Telegraphic Code to Insure Privacy and Secrecy in the Transmission of Telegrams. In it, he describes the first one-time pad system, as a superencipherment mechanism for his telegraph code. If used properly, it would have had the same property of absolute security.

Although in theory Miller can claim priority, reality is more complex. As will be explained below, it is quite unlikely that either he or anyone else ever used his system for real messages; in fact, it is unclear if anyone other than he and his friends and family ever knew of its existence. That said, there are some possible links to Mauborgne. It thus remains unclear who should be credited with effectively inventing the one-time pad.

Another fun tidbit : apparently mother’s maiden name was used for security purposes way back in 1882!

I really like shiso leaves and their cousins. I had a shiso plant but it did not survive the California sun / I have a black thumb. One of my favorite meals at ISIT 2009 was with Bobak Nazer, where we found an out-of-the way BBQ joint where they brought us a long box filled with 7 varieties of leaves, including perilla leaves. It makes me hungry just writing about it.

Kudos to Adrienne for the amazing photo.

There’s Only One Sun, a short sci-fi film by Wong Kar-Wai.

I’m blogging from Chicago, where it is a balmy 42 degrees but sunny. Whither spring, I ask! Actually, I’m not blogging so much as linking to a bunch of stuff.

For San Diegans, the SD Asian Film Festival Spring Showcase is going on. It looks like I’ll miss a lot of it but I might try to catch something at the end of the week.

Less Pretentious & More Accurate Titles For Literary Masterworks — funny but possibly NSFW.

This home-scanning program seems creepy, regardless of the constitutionality issues.

Unfortunate headlines strike again.

I really like scallion pancakes. I’ll have to try this out when I get back to San Diego.

I agree that this video is awesome. Yo-Yo Ma and Lil Buck. I think that dude is made of rubber. And steel.

Tom Waits was induced into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I just hope I get to see him live some day.

Some things to skim or read from ArXiV when I get the chance:
Sequential Analysis in High Dimensional Multiple Testing and Sparse Recovery (Matt Malloy, Robert Nowak)
Differential Privacy: on the trade-off between Utility and Information Leakage (Mário S. Alvim, Miguel E. Andrés, Konstantinos Chatzikokolakis, Pierpaolo Degano, Catuscia Palamidessi)
Capacity of Byzantine Consensus with Capacity-Limited Point-to-Point Links (Guanfeng Liang, Nitin Vaidya)
Settling the feasibility of interference alignment for the MIMO interference channel: the symmetric square case (Guy Bresler, Dustin Cartwright, David Tse)
Decentralized Online Learning Algorithms for Opportunistic Spectrum Access (Yi Gai, Bhaskar Krishnamachari)
Online and Batch Learning Algorithms for Data with Missing Features (Afshin Rostamizadeh, Alekh Agarwal, Peter Bartlett)
Nonuniform Coverage Control on the Line (Naomi Ehrich Leonard, Alex Olshevsky)
Degree Fluctuations and the Convergence Time of Consensus Algorithms (Alex Olshevsky, John Tsitsiklis)

More content-ful posts to come soon, I swear. I got sidetracked by job applications. ‘Tis the season, you know…

The REAL STORY of Alice and Bob. Classic investigative journalism (h/t Bikash Dey)

Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls gets panned. I should mention that the play was done at MIT my first year there and I still remember it as one of the most affecting pieces of theater that I saw during my time there (and maybe after as well).

Scott McLemee on the poverty of the Rally to Restore Sanity.

Winners of the SD Asian Film Festival “Interpretations” contest. Like contentless scenes from your acting/directing class, but with film!

SAALT put out a report called From Macacas to Turban Toppers: The Rise in Xenophobic and Racist Rhetoric in American Political Discourse (PDF). Reading it is keeping me up past my bedtime. (via Sepia Mutiny).

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