Impromptu on Santa Fe (TX)

Another school shooting. By kids against kids. I keep trying to imagine the conversation between the plotters of the mass killing.

— Yo, yo. Know what? We could pull the head off those fuckin morons and the teachers and all, just like, just like in Florida, man. Blow every head off their necks.

— You fuckin crazy, dude. Wanna spend the rest of your life in prison. No fuckin way. Its like, crazy dude stuff, like, I ain’t that crazy. Get real.

Continue reading “Impromptu on Santa Fe (TX)”

The Library of Babel

This Borges short story, along with another essay by the Argentinian writer named The Total Library, inspired a provocative project developed by Jonathan Basile. Basile utilized computational models in order to create a library of all books written and yet to be written with every character of the English language. Dividing anything that has or will be written with those characters into pages of 3200 characters, it is possible to know, beforehand, all possible combinations of these characters on a page. Thus it is possible to assign a specific address, or a hex name, for each and every imaginable sequence of characters on a page, and for its location, in a system of walls, shelves and volumes, which emulates Borges vision of the library built in hexagons.

Here are the hex names and locations of the pages of an English version of Borges’ short story The Library of Babel, kept at the Library of Babel. Notice that these names and locations will never change. They function as an indexing system. It is still a very primitive one, as each hex name can be as as long as the page it names. Pages of a same text, moreover, are scattered throughout the library, and there is no systematic way of retrieving the second page by knowing the location of the first. In other words, there is a long way to go. But the idea is promising. After all, every imaginable fragment of text is there. 😉

Obs.: the version below may be accessed using the browse feature of the Library of Babel, developed by Jonathan Basile.  https://libraryofbabel.info 

Continue reading “The Library of Babel”

Blockchains, or why Bitcoin is not a Tulip

Skeptically, but with some audacity, I took five thousand dollars out of my savings account and bought a fraction of a cryptocurrency, the popular Bitcoin. I became owner of 0.42625601 bitcoins. After one week going through clearance to complete the transaction at CoinBase, my broker of choice, I looked at the value of a Bitcoin. In one week, I had made a two thousand dollars profit, exactly 40% of my original investment. Surreal. The twenty-first century version of the Ponzi scheme that overwhelmed the Dutch with their Tulips in the sixteenth century. “It is a bubble just waiting to burst”, all bank portfolio managers I spoke to have argued. Had I caught it just before doom? Or is it months or years away and, in spite of so much volatility, I had been a winner that week.

Continue reading “Blockchains, or why Bitcoin is not a Tulip”

Soy Cuba

A 3m22s cut-less shot by the Soviet director Mijaíl Kalatozov, from the movie Soy Cuba (1964). A brilliant piece of cinematography, and a wonderous imagination of what Cuba looked like before the revolution. Notice the shot is taken on two different buildings, with the famous Habana Libre on the background. Notice it is blocked. Must click Watch on YouTube to see it. Still worth it.

 

The Dumb and the Numb

A story about how an insurance company paid a Painkiller.

Everybody has a doctor, and everyone needs health insurance in order to see one. A case in which means defeat their end. One spends one hour at a regular visit to his primary physician, yet one might spend three or four times as much time making sure he will spend only a copay for that service. Matching providers and health insurances they accept is another nightmare. In network, out-of-network. Go figure. You will pay anyway. Continue reading “The Dumb and the Numb”

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