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Month: October 2017

The Cross Bearer

The Cross Bearer

Joe Eszterhas was the screenwriter for the movies Basic Instinct, Flashdance, Showgirls. He also authored Hollywood Animal and American Rhapsody. Before that, he worked as a police reporter, racing the cops to robberies and shootings. He interviewed and wrote about mass murders and serial killers. Eszterhas knew a lot about darkness.  Then, on a hellishly hot day in 2001, desperately battling to survive throat cancer because of his addictions to alcohol and cigarettes, Joe Eszterhas found God. Or God found him.

His first prayer in over 40 years led him back to faith and the Catholic Church. Ironically, the priest he met was actually inspired to follow his path to the priesthood by the line from Flashdance: “to follow your dream”. Eszterhas wrote his autobiography in the book ‘The Cross Bearer’ which tells his story of how this author of The Devil’s Guide to Hollywood into the arms of a loving God.

He even gave a talk at Mt Angel Seminary about his journey. You can read it here in his book titled The Cross Bearer

Stand By Me filming locations

Stand By Me filming locations

I recently took a trip to the Steens Mountains and Alvord Desert in the extreme southeast corner Oregon for a week. On my way, I took a little side trip and stopped by Brownsville, OR. The reason I stopped? Major scenes of the movie Stand By Me were filmed there.

Despite the movie being 31 years old, this movie is an icon of my childhood. It hearkened me back to a time when I wasn’t absorbed in digital entertainment and still had adventures in real life with real friends with real tree forts and camping adventures.

The city still has a majority of the locations easily spotted right on the main drag. The town is very tiny – only 1 or 2 main streets really and a central core that’s about 1000 feet square. Spotting all the sites can be done in just a small 20 minute stroll. Seeing all the sites in town can easily be done in a couple of hours (depending on how long you want to stroll around).

Here’s a really good guide if you’re planning on making a trip.

http://www.thennowmovielocations.com/2012/10/stand-by-me.html

Le Théâtre du Grand-Guignol

Le Théâtre du Grand-Guignol

It’s Fall – my favorite season. Which means Halloween is just around the corner.

I’m heading to Europe here for a business trip that will take me through Paris. While looking into things to do, I found out about this theater. It was located in the Pigalle area of Paris (20 bis, rue Chaptal). From its opening in 1897 until its closing in 1962, and specialized in naturalistic horror shows. Its had live staged graphic, amoral horror entertainment, a genre popular from Elizabethan and Jacobean theater (other examples include Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, and Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi and The White Devil). Today, we might call them splatter films. While it was always staged horror, the “special effects” would sometimes be too realistic and it was reported audience member would faint or vomit during performances. It was said the ‘success’ of the show was rated by how many people fainted.

It didn’t help that the building was an old chapel. The Gothic interior added to the ambiance. Here were some of the plays for example:

  • Le Laboratoire des Hallucinations, by André de Lorde: When a doctor finds his wife’s lover in his operating room, he performs a graphic brain surgery, rendering the adulterer a hallucinating semi-zombie. Now insane, the lover/patient hammers a chisel into the doctor’s brain
  • Un Crime dans une Maison de Fous, by André de Lorde: Two hags in an insane asylum use scissors to blind a pretty, young fellow inmate out of jealousy
  • L’Horrible Passion, by André de Lorde: A nanny strangles the children in her care
  • Le Baiser dans la Nuit, by Maurice Level: A young woman visits the man whose face she horribly disfigured with acid, where he obtains his revenge

It’s interesting that it waned in the years following World War II then closed in 1962. Management attributed the closure in part to the fact that the theater’s faux horrors had been eclipsed by the actual events of WW II two decades earlier. Apparently people had their fill of realistic horrors.

Read more about it here:
http://www.grandguignol.com

 

Preverting Education to just be rationalization

Preverting Education to just be rationalization

Barrett nodded. “Education?”
“New York. London. Berlin. Paris. Vienna. No specific course of study. Logic, ethics, religion, philosophy.”
“Just enough with which to rationalize his actions, I imagine,”

– From the description of the depraved Emeric Belasco. Hell House by Richard Matheson

If your philosophy, religion, ethics, or logic come from popular authors or coffee table/internet level articles – do yourself a favor and stop. You’re far more likely to end up justifying your own beliefs instead of being challenged to find real truth. The kind you can base your life on.

Pro-tip: it doesn’t exist in any soundbite. Instead, it teaches you to think critically, to see the nuances of arguments, to realize NONE of them are completely correct, AND to see both sides. If your education isn’t doing this, then you’re just being spoon-fed what you want to hear. Your education should challenge you, make you angry, confirm and refute what you believe. Education is what allows you to experience that without having to lash out against others – and just deal with the ideas.

VNC on Ubuntu 16 and 17

VNC on Ubuntu 16 and 17

Works on 17.04 as well.

The biggest pain about Ubuntu is changes they made to vnc setup. Often, once you think you have it set up, you connect and get nothing but the ancient X windows grey screen with no way to interact with the UI.

This method works for 17.04 and 16.04. It’s also faster performance that other approaches.

Ubuntu 16.04 – Configure your system to have x11vnc running at startup

Summary:

sudo apt-get install x11vnc -y
sudo x11vnc -storepasswd /etc/x11vnc.pass
Edit /lib/systemd/system/x11vnc.service

[Unit]
Description=Start x11vnc at startup.
After=multi-user.target
[Service]
Type=simple
ExecStart=/usr/bin/x11vnc -auth guess -forever -loop -noxdamage -repeat -rfbauth /etc/x11vnc.pass -rfbport 5900 -shared
[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

sudo systemctl enable x11vnc.service
sudo systemctl daemon-reload
sudo shutdown -r now

On reboot run the script:
sudo ./vnc-startup.sh

Or, just manually start it:
x11vnc -usepw -forever

Use your vnc client to connect to the system’s ip address at port :5900

Missing Million

Missing Million

I’ve mentioned this phenomenon before – but the BBC did a small documentary on it.

Hundreds of thousands of young men are turning their backs entirely on society and real life. They are choosing instead to lock themselves away, usually in their bedrooms, for years. They literally enter their rooms and refuse to leave. The phenomenon is called hikikomori in Japanese and it literally means ‘to withdraw from society’.

Most of the sufferers of this condition live in the suburbs that surround Japan’s major cities. Recent surveys show that the majority are male and usually the first-born child. There are many stories of young men who give up on society. Some seem to be unable to handle academic or job pressure, others simply got fed up of people and still others do it out of fear of not being good enough and anxiety about their future.

Japanese teens are growing up under an overwhelming amount of technology, which seems to have replaced the inherent human experience, making teens handicapped when it comes to communicating honestly and openly with other people.

After a few years, some hikikomori victims recover enough to re-enter society. Another young man who spent three years as a recluse is now a counselor working with a support group for parents. In Japan it takes parents up to four years of not seeing their child before they seek outside help.

Kernel compiling and the PIC mode error

Kernel compiling and the PIC mode error

If you see this when compiling an Ubuntu or other kernel (my case was a Yocto kernel on an Ubuntu 17.04 distro)

...
CHK include/generated/uapi/linux/version.h
CHK include/generated/utsrelease.h
CC scripts/mod/empty.o
/usr/src/linux-4.4/scripts/mod/empty.c:1:0: error: code model kernel does not support PIC mode
/* empty file to figure out endianness / word size */

 

Then the issue is with your gcc installation. In gcc 6+ versions, PIE (position independent executables) is enabled by default. So in order to compile you need to disable it. Even gcc 5 has the issue. This is a known bug for gcc. Bug Link.

So far there is no official patch from gcc side, so the workaround is to patch the Makefile of kernel source.

If you are familiar with patching the source file use the codes from this link to create the patch file then try to compile.Patch File

Here’s the patch to add to your kernel Makefile to disable PIE compiling.

diff –git a/Makefile b/Makefile
index 5c18baa..e342473 100644
— a/Makefile
+++ b/Makefile
@@ -612,6 +612,12 @@ endif # $(dot-config)
# Defaults to vmlinux, but the arch makefile usually adds further targets
all: vmlinux

+# force no-pie for distro compilers that enable pie by default
+KBUILD_CFLAGS += $(call cc-option, -fno-pie)
+KBUILD_CFLAGS += $(call cc-option, -no-pie)
+KBUILD_AFLAGS += $(call cc-option, -fno-pie)
+KBUILD_CPPFLAGS += $(call cc-option, -fno-pie)

# The arch Makefile can set ARCH_{CPP,A,C}FLAGS to override the default
# values of the respective KBUILD_* variables
ARCH_CPPFLAGS :=

 

Hearing for the first time…

Hearing for the first time…

We are far greater than the limitations of our bodies. It’s moments like this that show our transcendent natures…

Christy Keane’s daughter Charly was born deaf. She’s still an infant, but recently got hearing aids. We’ve seen older children and adults get emotional when they hear sound for the first time, but Charly is so young, she doesn’t understand what’s happening or how to react. Her facial expressions are precious.

Compare these reactions of Charly and a 29 year old:

With this:

Robotic Magic

Robotic Magic

The double pendulum problem is kind of a historical/mathematical marvel. It is very easy to predict the motion of a common, everyday clock pendulum that swings back and forth; but add another pendulum at the end of that, and the complexity shoots through the roof in the most unexpected ways. It puzzled early mathematicians for years.

The system begins to exhibit chaotic motion, and the mathematics needed to solve the motion goes from simple polynomial math to Lagrange differential equations requiring a full college program of Calculus to solve. Here’s a full solution write-up.

Solving is one problem, but making something useful out of it is even more impressive. Here are two robots that can balance not only a double pendulum, but a triple! One application would be to have self-parking and skid-controllable multi-trailer semis. There are probably many more.

If the original double-pendulum mathematicians could see this, they would consider is sorcery. If you’ve ever tried to balance a broom on your hand, you should also marvel:

Triple pendulum: