Gustave H awaits your glowing review of the Grand Budapest Hotel

Thursday, 24 July, 2014

Grand Budapest Hotel lobby

The Grand Budapest Hotel, the same establishment featured in Wes Anderson’s most recent film, now has its own page on TripAdvisor. It’s already collected a number of glowing reviews, making it the top rated hotel in The Republic of Zubrowka:

When we arrived we had some problems with the tram that leads to the main building, but it was quickly fixed by the highly efficient lobby boy. Out of all the common areas the one you should give special attention to is the Turkish bath and the Greek spa. Food was excellent, and on our first day there were regional sweets from the Mendl’s bakery in our bedroom out of courtesy – that was really nice and they tasted delicious. Staff was particularly kind and helfpul. Next season we’ll certainly go back!

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An illustrated catalogue of computer viruses

Thursday, 24 July, 2014

The Computer Virus Catalog, an illustrated guide to the worst viruses in computer history, may feature some pretty nasty examples of malicious code, but at least this catalogue of them is easy on the eye and informative.

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Are teenagers today really behaving more like… adults?

Thursday, 24 July, 2014

Far from seemingly spiralling ever further out of control, teenagers would appear to be becoming ever more adult like – though I’m not really sure that is the appropriate term to use – if trends of recent years are anything to go by:

Perhaps most remarkably, Britain’s notoriously surly youths are getting more polite: according to one government survey, those born in the early 1990s are less rude and noisy in public places than previous cohorts were at the same age. “People are still being young, but they’re recognising there are boundaries,” says one youth worker in Hackney, a borough of London long known for its high crime rate.

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It would seem that the shoes we fill are not quite big enough

Thursday, 24 July, 2014

Human feet are, as a general trend, becoming larger. That’s because people, as a general trend, are becoming taller. So far, so good.

What I didn’t realise though is that an individual’s feet can change in size, and I mean become bigger, well after we’ve reach adulthood. That may explain why whatever size shoe you’ve been wearing for years has suddenly become too small…

Foot shape and size can change in small but meaningful ways throughout adulthood, yet time-starved shoppers increasingly order shoes online and forgo proper sizing by a trained salesperson. The need for better-fitting shoes comes with the news that our feet, like the rest of us, are getting bigger. The average shoe size is up about two sizes since the 1970s, according to a study released last month from the College of Podiatry, a U.K. professional group. Emma Supple, a consulting podiatrist for the College of Podiatry, says she believes the findings apply outside the U.K. as well. “We’ve all gotten taller and we need big feet to hold us up,” she says.

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Is Tatooine really as bad as it is made out to be?

Wednesday, 23 July, 2014

Tatooine

A People’s History of Tattooine by Jacob Harris, Tim Carmody, and others. Having, by chance, re-watched the original “Star Wars” trilogy last week, it is apparent our perceptions of the planet, and the Mos Eisley space port, are very much shaped by Obi-Wan Kenobi’s quite disparaging, really, point of view.

What if Mos Eisley wasn’t really that wretched and it was just Obi Wan being racist again?

It’s hardly an excuse, but I guess the old Jedi master hadn’t ever envisaged that he would end up seeing out out his days on the desert planet.

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A list of the worst songs, according to people who like good songs

Wednesday, 23 July, 2014

The worst songs in the world as nominated by MetaFilter members. Most of these selections are on the mark, one or two are… subjective. You probably don’t want your wedding planner seeing this list though, lest they go taking inspiration from it.

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Ditching simple passwords isn’t all that simple

Wednesday, 23 July, 2014

The use of simple, or weak, passwords isn’t so bad, nor for that matter is using the same password on multiple websites. Only in certain circumstances though, for instance where the web service you are using is deemed to be “low risk”, say a group of Microsoft researchers.

Email and bank or finance applications are obviously examples of high risk websites that require complex pass codes, but it might be – and who knows – that the password for your tennis club’s online discussion forum isn’t.

While the use of strong, or complex, passwords is encouraged, there’s a limit to how many we can remember though, and forgetting, and then having to reset, too many of these codes can soon become more trouble than they are worth.

The trio argue that password reuse on low risk websites is necessary in order for users to be able to remember unique and high entropy codes chosen for important sites. Users should therefore slap the same simple passwords across free websites that don’t hold important information and save the tough and unique ones for banking websites and other repositories of high-value information. “The rapid decline of [password complexity as recall difficulty] increases suggests that, far from being unallowable, password re-use is a necessary and sensible tool in managing a portfolio,” the trio wrote.

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Being depressed… how does it actually feel though?

Wednesday, 23 July, 2014

A number of London based depression patients discuss their day to day experiences of the disorder… it’s one thing to understand the symptoms of depression, but another to know how it must actually feel.

Depression for me is not liking yourself, having no confidence in yourself, seeking reassurance, hanging onto anything that you can, pretty much anything emotionally, get your hands on. Lacking courage.

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Charlie’s Country

Tuesday, 22 July, 2014

3 and a half stars
Charlie's Country scene

Charlie (David Gulpilil), an Indigenous Australian living in Arnhem Land, is in a bind. His overly dependent family relies on his pension money, and his house, leaving Charlie to live in a makeshift shed. Government regulations meanwhile prohibit him from owning a hunting rifle, something that makes living off the land difficult.

Determined however to embrace a traditional lifestyle, Charlie sets up camp deep in the bush, and for a time is content. After illness strikes though, he is sent to a hospital in Darwin. He soon discharges himself and connects with the city’s Aboriginal community, but it is an association that quickly leads to strife with local police.

Charlie’s Country, trailer, the third collaboration between Gulpilil and Australian director Rolf de Heer (“Bad Boy Bubby”, “Dingo”), in taking a subtle, almost tableau like, approach to the points it is making, often goes wide of the mark. This is still compelling viewing though, on account of Gulpilil’s brooding, dignified, performance.

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Pluto, what we know now is not what we’ll know in twelve months

Tuesday, 22 July, 2014

NASA’s New Horizons space probe is now only one year out from its scheduled encounter with former planet Pluto, in the outer reaches of the solar system.

While astronomers have gleaned much information about the distant dwarf planet from Earth based telescopes, it is likely a fair bit of what we know, or think we know, will be turned on its head as New Horizons draws closer. In fact, far from coming up with answers, the abundance of new data brought forth will likely only pose even more questions.

New Horizon’s Pluto visit will transform the science of this small body in a matter of weeks, and it will likely take a long time before all of the data it provides will be unpacked. The only thing that would truly surprise the science team at this point would be if they find no surprises on Pluto, said Stern. It’s a safe bet to assume the probe probably won’t be definitively answering scientific questions so much as raising interesting new problems and providing researchers with many decades of mysteries.

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