Posts

Showing posts from 2009

Climate change: Global warming is a real threat

Ivo Vegter recently did a great post on climate change. In this post, he argues that admitting that we don't know enough about climate change is perfectly acceptable - and preferable - to jumping to conclusions either way. Certainly, we are nowhere near a state where we can sign on the dotted line in Copenhagen, carbon capping and taxing all carbon-based lifeforms and their carbon spewing ways when there is no conclusive evidence to suggest a link between carbon dioxide and global warming. I would like to take a different approach here, basing my arguments on the laws of thermodynamics.

The laws of thermodynamics
The laws of thermodynamics describe energy flow in thermodynamic processes. In simple terms, they describe the flow of heat. I was introduced to these laws in chemistry, where we basically used the laws to determine whether reactions are exothermic (release heat) or endothermic (absorb heat). There are four laws of thermodynamics, namely:
Zeroth Law: There is a regression to…

The political theory of evolution

Image
This is the theory of evolution as it applies to politicians. Most of us have seen this picture:


Evolution as it applies to us cubicle dwellers.

Why do politicians always have one hand in the air?
I noticed the other day that politicians always seem to have one hand in the air. This must be something their life coaches or NLP gurus teaches them.

Following this observation, I found a few pictures of politicians and this is the evolution I noticed:







Obviously, Jeremy Cronin has to be the least evolved out of the three politicians I chose. This because he is the South African Communist Party deputy secretary general. Anybody who has been involved with communism for that long without having heard of Russia, Cuba and Cambodia's histories and connecting the dots has to be a few leather studs short of a kinky. He also has his arm and his hand the lowest of the three.

Next in line is Julius Malema. You can see he is more evolved because he needs less supportive eye wear and he has the gall to ra…

Drag Me To Hell DVD Review

Image
Five Lines That Dominate Review
A capitalist pig gringo girl perturbs a gypsy lady (who looks in slightly better shape than Manto “Chaka-laka” Tshabalala-Msimang) by refusing to exacerbate the sub-prime mortgage crisis. That is, she refused to grant people who can't pay their loans extra credit, thereby helping all of us in the long run because our tax money goes to social services (hence people who can't pay won't be out on the street) and the rest of us have to pay no matter what. The gypsy lady does not approve and summons an evil goat-herding Che Guevara communist spirit to haunt the poor capitalist girl. Lots of people get possessed and start convulsing with their eyeballs spinning in their sockets and lots of bodily fluids squirting all over everything plus the kitchen sink. They all still manage to end up looking in better shape than Manto, even while being dragged to Cuba er, I mean hell.

Plot

Elisha Cuthbert likes to live on the edge in this day of Islamic radicals …

Meteor shower sighted in Gauteng

Image
Last night a few friends and I were having a much deserved party after finishing this year's studies. We were sitting outside on the stoep smoking hubbly and having a few drinks. At approximately 11 pm, the sky lit up, becoming almost as bright as daylight. I turned around, having observed the light as coming from behind me, and saw a bulb on the horizon. The bulb was a bright light, with the rest of the sky glowing in blue and green colours, almost as big as the ass of Jennifer Lopez. Astonishing!


This is not what it looked like at all. We could not observe any particles, only a very bright glow in the entire sky. This picture is from the BBC article to give you an idea of what it was.

A few girls were at the opposite end of the building. They came running around, asking if we'd seen the UFO. Apparently they also observed a bulb on the horizon, with the exception that the glow had been red and orange instead of our green and blue.

Naturally, we were curious to find out what thi…

I Know Who Killed Me DVD Review

Image
A Conclusive Five Line Review
This film stars Lindsay Lohan. Usually, that's the worst feature of a film. However, in the case of this blatant Shock rip-off, that is about the only redeeming feature of this film. Utter shyte - unless you happen to enjoy perving Lindsay Lohan. She looks quite fit here.

Plot
A serial killer is on the loose and you know who it is the first time you see him. The killer captures and kills a popular girl. Or does he?

Review
This film received negative reviews all around. I must say it's not entirely without its entertaining features. Lindsay Lohan delivers quite a convincing performance as a teen brat and later as a teeny bopper who lives a life of wanton abandon. Drugs, strip clubs and underage drinking and underage sex. I wonder how much of this was acting? Very Method. Stanislavski would be proud of Lindsay.

The worst features of this film are:
The editing. It's just sloppy. It is true that the use of colour in this film is quite engrossing, althoug…

Zombie Strippers DVD Review

Image
Conclusion
At last: the moment we have all been waiting for. An opportunity to see porn star Jenna Jameson with her clothes on. To those in the Middle East, it means an opportunity to finally see Jenna Jameson's face without a veil inserted by some censorship bureau of one kind or another.



Plot
A bunch of porn stars decide to break into mainstream films by doing their usual routine of 'don't look at the camera' faces, 'don't break my nails' gun toting and deadpan, wisecrack humour with the notable exception that they are wearing clothes most of the time. Oh, there are zombies that are naturally caused by chemical weapons of the Bush administration. And sometimes they strip.

Review
There are many technical defects in this film that are like named bullets for the cast in the arsenal of any serious film critic. Naturally, Jenna Jameson has quite a few bullets with her name on them. Yet if you can look past the deficiencies and remember that films are supposed to be…

Mensa New Words Game

Mensa, those erudites of the round table, have invented this word game whereby you invent new words by changing only one letter of existing words. Indeed, the world's brightest people would rather dick around playing word games than aid the rest of us. If the world's best minds think we are hopeless, who am I to argue?

The Mensa New Words Game
Take any word from the dictionary.
Alter it by adding, subtracting or changing one letter.
Supply a new definition.

An example is the Mensa New Words for 2005. Mensa dictionaries must be filled with crayon marks. Despite being considered beyond help by Mensa, I've been playing this game on a forum for a while and these are some of the best entries:

Some of the best entries
addherent, n:
A person who buys a product because they liked the commercial.

brandwidth, n:
A range in which the brands of your accessories are visible.
The capacity for transferring awareness of the brands of your accessories, often kept artificially high.
devine, adj:
Of or p…

Metacritique of "The Objectivist Ethics"

The following responds to a critique of "The Objectivist Ethics". Regular readers might have guessed that I am a bit of a Randroid. My numbering corresponds to the numbering of the author. To follow things smoothly, you have to read the critique and my metacritique next to each other.

1. Rand's argument
Objection to i
The fact that Ayn Rand does not offer an argument for 1 does not make it false. This piece does not offer a counter argument. That besides, Ayn Rand bases Objectivism on axioms. Per definition, axioms are not proven but assumed to be true.

Objection to ii
The alternatives need to be there for either schools of value to be satisfied. Absolute good is in contrast with less good options, relative good is in contrast with other worse options. A million US dollars, or South African Rand, has to be compared with something of lesser value (a million Zimbabwean Dollars, for instance) to be considered valuable.

Objection to iii
Non-living things cannot make value judgemen…

Lip synching exercise

Following hot on the heels of our pixilation project, we received a lip synching exercise and a cel animation exercise. This in addition to our actual term project, which we received too little time for from the outset.

What I wanted to submit

Lip synch test from Garg Unzola on Vimeo.

Turns out blunt honesty isn't that great for marks, so I scrapped that idea.

What I submitted in the end

Lip synching exercise from Garg Unzola on Vimeo.

Unfortunately I suck at exporting Flash files to video so you don't get the full effect of the movieclips at the end. The quality is bad, but you get the idea.

Hot hot rack

Image
This chick has the hottest rack I have ever seen:



At least, I hope that's a chick.

Blocking Para Sites

My week hasn't gone particularly well. Firstly, my computer blew up in blue smoke. Then, my replacement computer ended up not being all that compatible with software I need to run for projects. There is also a distinct possibility that I may have swine flu. Some members of the Illiterati tried to mug me three times this week. I say try because there is circumstantial evidence that implicates me in assault and propagating hate speech. The lesson you learn from this is don't fuck with me. In more diplomatic terms, this rule is expressed as do unto others as you would like to be done unto yourself. Same thing, if expressed with more syntactic sugar. I don't like being fucked with, so I do my best not to fuck with other people. You get the idea.

What to do if a website fucks with you
Suggest that you have a particularly shitty ISP. Suggest that this ISP is called isturb. Suggest that isturb decided it's an anurism inducing brainwave idea to hijack your browser and redirect i…

Bile of Man free mp3 download promotion

Image
Bile of Man is a South African death metal band I've had the pleasure of seeing once or twice. I also included them among my best bands on myspace list. They are currently giving away free mp3s as part of a promotion.



You may download the mp3s here:
Bile of Man promo tracks.

To the real geeks, the tracks are also available in ogg format.

Descendant of Desecration
The first aspect of Bile of Man that kicks you in the face is the strong Dying Fetus influence. The second aspect is the foundation of some fine sound. The guitars are still a little raw, but for the most part the production serves to build a wall of sound, with some interesting stereo effects and a few disembowelling bass parts. Oh, and they can keep time, which is something of a novelty for most South African bands.

Wrath of the Stillborn
Descendant of Desecration has a few risky tempo changes, but Wrath of the Stillborn is the better of the two tracks in my opinion. It kicks off with some arsenic blast beats that flow into ev…

White South African gets asylum in Canada

Image
Brandon Huntley made the news this week because he managed to convince the Canadian authorities that he was being targeted by criminals because of his race. He also opened a can of worms because South Africa is meant to be the land that Nelson Mandela magically fixed with his pixie dust and his car bombs.



Brandon Huntley, the South African refugee from racial persecution.

Brandon Huntley's refugee status
Refugee status is granted to those who meet the following United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees criteria:

A person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to su…

Pixilation project

This is a pixilation project I did for university. Enjoy!

These boots are made for walking

Pixilation Project from Garg Unzola on Vimeo.

Details
Camera: Canon PowerShot A430. Tip: Don't try stop motion with a happy snappy. Use some decent hardware.
Images: about 324. Excluding the ones I had to redo because my Canon gave blurry shots, despite the fact that I'd used a timer and wasn't touching the camera.
Beer: about 4 l.
Music: Peaches En Regalia by Frank Zappa. We are allowed to use copyright content for our projects because they are only for evaluation purposes.

Help Wanted

Image
Are you charismatic, intelligent and arrogantly over-confident? If so, a dynamic international company might be seeking your services to further its objectives.


Our secret volcano base. These are the kind of challenges you could expect during your new employment. This microfilm is for your eyes only.

Scientists and industrialists who feel that morality is relative and that the terms megalomaniac and elitist are often abused will enjoy preference for this once in a lifetime opportunity. Candidates will be flown to an exotic island location for selection and training. Candidates must love pets, especially Persian cats, and be immune to British accents. Maniacal laughter is a bonus. You must be willing to sign a non-disclosure agreement.


Meet the boss: This is our CEO, Mr Ernst Stavro Blofeld. The cat is called Solomon. That's Mr Solomon to you.

Compensation: your share of $1 000 000 $100 000 000, negotiable. SPECTRE is an apolitical organisation. We are concerned with economics, not pol…

Superman vs Alien

Image
Sometimes, it's not so bad when franchises collide:



I still rate Predator would whip Superman. Predator is the sickest alien out there.

Bayesian Analysis: To probably be, or probably not be, depending on something else's probability

Image
That man of science, Urikalish, loves to torment us superstitious, intuitive mortals who adore the Secret and the Law of Attraction with logic. This is his latest riddle:

Urikalish's Riddle
Let’s assume there’s a deadly disease that affects 1 in every 10 people.

Let's say there’s a pretty good test for this disease which is 90% accurate (that means that if a person is sick – the test will say he’s sick in 90% of the cases, and if a person is healthy – the test will say he’s healthy in 90% of the cases).

Now, assuming you took this 90% accurate test, and got a positive result that implies that you are sick - what are the odds that you are really sick?

Bayes's Theorem
The key to solving this riddle is Bayes's Theorem. Don't ask me why. I'm an elitist and I don't need to explain myself to the likes of you. Especially when I have no idea what I'm talking about.



P(A|B): This is the probability of A, given B. This is what you are looking for. This is the posterior o…

How to remove toolbars

Toolbars really annoy the manure out of me. It is simply poor interface design to have some junk from your previous page hover over your next page. Upon navigating to a new page, the user expectancy is to see a new page, not clutter from the old page.

Why toolbars are bad
Jakob Nielsen is the guru of user interface design. He offers some heuristics to guide interface design, which make the peasant user experience much more pleasant. You may cast an eye on that list and see for yourself how many heuristics are ignored because some social networking Mafia wants to spam your browser. Tsk, tsk, social networking sites. David Bowie is very disappointed in you.

How to make toolbars go away
Yet one of the most useful heuristics I've learnt from real-life is that there are two ways to solve a problem: the political way and the technical way. The political way to make toolbars go away is to grovel and beg the social networking Mafia until they make the toolbar disappear. The technical way is j…

Herzbot: A prototype music recommender

Image
Herzbot is a music recommender application on Facebook. This is the prototype:

Find Herzbot on Facebook.

The prototype uses a combination of collaborative filtering and a novel way to model social context I thought up to make music recommendations to you.

How does it work?
Herzbot constructs a profile for you and other Herzbot users. These profiles are then compared to give you recommendations from similar profiles. This is how ordinary collaborative filtering recommendations work. Herzbot also asks you for a few elite friends, which is your social context. This makes Herzbot unique. Your profile is constructed as follows:

You give Herzbot the name of one of your favourite artists and it gets a list of similar artists that you rate on a scale of 0 to 100%. Herzbot uses the Echo Nest API to get similar bands.
Then, you pick your elite friends who you think have more influence on your music taste than your ordinary Facebook contacts. Herzbot then constructs a profile for you. This is the only…

Best Bands on Myspace

Image
Why the Best Bands on Myspace?
Myspace has long lost its status as a safe haven for emo. Maybe hepatitis culled emo numbers a bit, but the Myspace target marget of late seems to be people in their late twenties who must like rap music, R & B and not so racy comedians. A lot.



The first thing you should do upon joining Myspace is to delete Tom Anderson as your friend. Who the fuck is that guy anyway? I don't want to be friends with someone who looks like he washed his mom's car with his shirt and then put it on as some kind of post modern fashion statement. He looks like he cut his own hair. With a lawn mower.

The second thing you should do on Myspace is to search for metal bands. The bands listed here are mostly unknown, unsigned and willing to give away free mp3s so you can form a good idea of their music. If you disagree with my opinion, I can't help that you have good taste, but feel free to rant about it in the comment section.

The third thing I did was look for busty p…

Human by Death review

Image
Last year, I had a Month of Megadeth during May. May is my birthday month so I like to do something special. Something so special that I won't forget it during the inevitable bouts of drinking and debauchery. This year, I'm having a Death Month.
Human
Symbolic
The Sound of Perseverance
Conclusion
Chuck Schuldiner basically hires Cynic as his backing band and together they craft one of the most skin tearing albums of all time.


Review
The album opens with Sean Reinert's incredible drumming fading in. From there, the riffs exchanged between Chuck and Paul Masvidal are tighter than the fix Government Motors (er, General Motors) finds itself in. Widely regarded as Death's finest moment, I prefer Symbolic but Human is certainly just as flawless.

The lyrics are introspective to the point of becoming existential. They deal with euthanasia, masks people wear to project a desired, distorted image to the world and simply with being human. This prompts some questions about what it means t…

Sound of Perseverance by Death review

Image
Last year, I had a Month of Megadeth during May. May is my birthday month so I like to do something special. Something so special that I won't forget it during the inevitable bouts of drinking and debauchery. This year, I'm having a Death Month.
Human
Symbolic
The Sound of Perseverance
Conclusion
Unfortunately, due to Chuck Schuldiner's untimely demise, this album is the last Death album. Fortunately, it shows Death still at the height of their game.



Review
There's not much you can do after making a stellar skin tearing, eyeball boiling album like Symbolic. Except perhaps to intensify the skin tearing and eyeball boiling. Even after listening to a few prior Death albums non-stop for a few weeks and familiarising myself with them, this album still took me by surprise. Usually, I'm like a Ninja and not much takes me by surprise. Except surprise itself. Must be my raging caffeine addiction.

Despite all the sandal melting metal, there is also the painfully beautiful melancholy…

Symbolic by Death review

Image
Last year, I had a Month of Megadeth during May. May is my birthday month so I like to do something special. Something so special that I won't forget it during the inevitable bouts of drinking and debauchery. This year, I'm having a Death Month.
Human
Symbolic
The Sound of Perseverance

Conclusion
This is one of those desert island disks. If a time capsule of our time is ever discovered, I would like for whoever digs it up to find some Death albums in there to create the impression that this is the kind of quality we appreciated in our time. None of that Pop Idol shyte, although they are plastic enough not to be biodegradable so they'd probably outlast any time capsule.



Review
The legendary Chuck Schuldiner and the Atomic Clock Gene Hoglan. As if that's not enough to make with the metal horns, Kelly Conlon plays bass and Bobby Koelble trades some impressive Cockzilla monster cock size riffs with Chuck.

As is typical of Death, the album is as good as the musicians who play with …