Hi, I'm Fuzzwah.

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Hi, I'm Fuzzwah.

The 90 Best Movies of the 1990s

You'd think that narrowing down a list of the Top 90 films of any decade would be relatively painless. But even just my personal worksheet of no-brainers for the Best 90 Movies of the 1990s added up to over 100 films--not to mention everyone else's exhaustive picks. Maybe it was the birth of the modern American indie film movement, led by Steven Soderbergh and Richard Linklater, that produced such an explosion of memorable movies in the decade. Maybe it was the emergence of the New World Order (certainly the fall of Communism was directly responsible for Krzysztof Kieslowski, among many others, to do his finest work). Or maybe it's just that we all have a soft spot in our hearts for our post-college-era movies.

The 100 Best Films of the 1990s

By the current timetable of cultural recycling, pop artifacts tend to look their most dated--no longer fresh and new, but also not yet easily filed as products of their time--roughly 15 to 20 years following their initial conception. That became painfully clear when, and this isn't to speak for the rest of the Slant writers, I set about the task of re-watching some of the '90s movies I've long considered favorites, and even more so as I finally set about to catch up with some of the other movies my colleagues were endorsing. Beyond the leftover '80s-hangover effect, there's also the fact that some of the most beloved and influential '90s movies helped kick off trends that have, in the years since, curdled into cliche and downright annoyance. Hence, over-familiarity and premature antiquity form a minefield that makes determining the last analog decade's best films uniquely tricky.

Podcast Sync

I listen to audio books and podcasts using a SanDisk Sansa, I prefer this over using my mobile phone for a few reasons. The main ones are:

  • battery life; the sansa lasts weeks with out a recharge

  • it clips onto my collar and I use a very short set of headphones

I use the Juice podcast receiver application to download and manage my podcast subscriptions. I have it rigged up to download new podcasts every day and delete any file over 14 days old (for some podcasts I set up a longer purge time).

I then have a batch file which calls xxcopy to sync the mp3 files from the podcast download folder on my laptop onto the sansa. Here is the batch file:

[code]@echo off
set SN=19088743
set "extDrive="

for /f %%D in ('wmic volume get driveLetter^, serialNumber ^| find "%sn%"') do set extDrive=%%D

if not defined extDrive echo Error finding external drive & pause & exit /b

xxcopy C:\Users\fuzzy\Podcasts "%extDrive%\PODCASTS" /KS/H/E/R/Q/BB/ZE/oD0/ZY/YY/EXC:\Users\fuzzy\Utils\podcast-exclude.txt[/code]

Now there are a couple of things which you'd have to edit if you were going to make use of this:

  • plug in your mp3 player

  • check what drive letter has been assigned to it

  • open a cmd window (start -> run -> cmd)

  • execute the following: wmic volume get driveLetter, serialNumber

  • copy the serial number listed next to the drive letter of your mp3 player

  • edit this number into the line in the batch file to replace my serial number: set SN=19088743

You'll also need to edit the paths to your podcast directory on your PC and the output directory.

The C:\Users\fuzzy\Utils\podcast-exclude.txt part is the location of a text file which contains a list of any folders which I don't want to include in the sync.

Windows 8.1 Upgrade

I had a few issues while attempting to upgrade my laptop from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1.

  1. If your harddrive is encrypted with something like TrueCrypt, you'll have to decode it, apply the upgrade and then re-encode it.
  2. A batch file script I use to sync podcasts between my PC and mp3 player had once gone a little nuts and written some files to my system reserved partition. This meant that there wasn't enough free space in there for the 8.1 upgrade to do its thing. I had to use a GParted Live CD to work out what was wrong and clean up the podcast mess.

Once the install of the 8.1 upgrade was completed the first thing I attempted to do was connect to one of the servers I manage via remote desktop. I usually do this by selecting the appropriate entry from my start -> run history. Imagine my joy to find out that all the entries for all commands had been removed. Thanks MS.

Russell Brand was right, what now?

That does not mean the solution lies within the prevailing political paradigm. Brand's call for revolution, for a fundamental political, economic, cultural and cognitive shift, is on point. But rather than entailing disengagement resulting in anarchy, this requires the opposite: Engagement at all levels in order to elicit structural transformation on multiple scales through the overwhelming presence of people taking power back, here and now.That could include civil disobedience and occupying public spaces. But it should also include occupying mainstream political spaces - not just as an act of protest, but as an act of constructive engagement that is difficult to ignore, through intensive, organised grassroots campaigning, lobbying and dialogue with political actors; occupying media narratives by mobilising organised critical engagement with journalists and editors; occupying economic spaces by experimenting with new equitable forms of production, consumption and exchange; occupying food and energy spaces by pooling community resources to grow our own food and produce our own energy in our communities; and so on.

Physics - What We Do and Don't Know

Cosmology and elementary particle physics span a range from the largest to the smallest distances about which we have any reliable knowledge. The cosmologist looks out to a cosmic horizon, the farthest distance light could have traveled since the universe became transparent to light over ten billion years ago, while the elementary particle physicist explores distances much smaller than an atomic nucleus. Yet our standard models really work--they allow us to make numerical predictions of high precision, which turn out to agree with observation. Up to a point the stories of cosmology and particle physics can be told separately. In the end, though, they will come together.

Physics - What We Do and Don't Know

History of Formula 1 engines

Formula 1 is a multi-billion dollar sport driven by superfast cars. The cars are multi-million dollar vehicles encompassing the best of modern cutting-edge technology. The chassis, the carbon-fiber body, the electronic systems and the engines are all designed with the best technology and engineering in the world in Formula 1 (F1). The leading F1 car designers apply the best aerodynamic techniques to assemble these parts to produce the fastest vehicles on earth. At the heart of this F1 car is the F1 engine which is located behind the driver in the car. The engines allow the F1 cars to travel at over 300 km/h speed and produce the high-pitched roar of the cars that has captivated millions of F1 fans around the world.

History of Formula 1 engines

A Legendary Photo Gives Up Its Secrets

Part detective story, part homage to the American immigrant experience and, ultimately, a tribute to the simple dignity of hard work, the documentary film Men at Lunch examines the mysteries behind one of the most recognizable images of the 20th century: eleven men casually perched atop a steel beam hundreds of feet above Manhattan. For eight decades, from the time the photo was made in 1932 until brothers Sean and Eamonn O Cualain came across a print of the photo in a pub in the west of Ireland in 2009, the picture was embraced as a stirring illustration of the creation of modern New York. Here, the picture seems to say, are the immigrants who built, by hand, the greatest skyline in the world. Here are the unsung heroes of Manhattan.

A Legendary Photo Gives Up Its Secrets

A Gear Discovered in Nature

As the legs unfurl to power the jump," Burrows says, "both have to move at exactly the same time. If they didn't, the animal would start to spiral out of control." Larger animals, whether kangaroos or NBA players, rely on their nervous system to keep their legs in sync when pushing off to jump--using a constant loop of adjustment and feedback. But for the issus, their legs outpace their nervous system. By the time the insect has sent a signal from its legs to its brain and back again, roughly 5 or 6 milliseconds, the launch has long since happened. Instead, the gears, which engage before the jump, let the issus lock its legs together--synchronizing their movements to a precision of 1/300,000 of a second.

A Gear Discovered in Nature