Microblog: A very long article Wikipedia article on the orientation of toilet paper [Jun 7th, 22:52] [R]

Thursday, December 31st, 2020

The Mask

Categories: [ TV/Cinema ]



Stanley Ipkiss is a an insecure bank clerc who someday gets his hands on a mysterious mask. When he puts it on, he becomes an extravagant cartoon character. To be able to enter a posh night club, he needs money and therefore robs the bank he's working at, just as a local crime lord Tyrell's goons attempt to rob it too. After that the Mask goes to the club and dances exuberantly with said crime lord's girlfriend Tina. Stanley, suspected to be the robber, is then betrayed by a journalist to Tyrell (who wants to recover the cash) and sent to prison. Tyrell then wears the mask and plans to get rid of his crime boss during a charity event. Stanley manages to escape from prison and goes to the club. Tyrell plans to detonate a bomb to kill all witnesses (including Tina), but she tricks him into taking the mask off. Stanley then saves the day as The Mask.

[ Posted on December 31st, 2020 at 15:54 | no comment | ]


Categories: [ TV/Cinema ]



Princess Elsa has the power to create snow and ice at will. As a child, she accidentally wounded her younger sister Anna, prompting her father to isolate her in her room and to lock the doors of the castle. The king and queen later disappear at sea, and the castle's doors reopen only on Elsa's 18th birthday when she becomes queen. During the celebration, Anna meets, falls in love and accepts to marry prince Hans, but Elsa becomes angry, plunges the whole region in perpetual winter, and flees to the mountains where she builds a castle of ice. Anna also leaves after her, in the hope to talk and convince her to lift the curse. On her way, Anna meets Kristoff the iceman who helps her reach the castle. But Elsa admits she does not know how to lift the curse and wounds Anna accidentally again. Kristoff takes Anna to his friends the trolls to treat her, but the only thing that could save her is an act of true love. Kristoff rushes Anna home so that Hans could give her a true love's kiss while Hans' men capture Elsa and put her in jail. Kristoff then reveals himself as a manipulator who is only interested in taking the throne and locks Anna in her room to die. Elsa provokes a blizzard and escapes when Hans tells her she killed her sister and Anna escapes into the blizzard to meet Kristoff (whom she learned is in love with her). Outside, Anna interposes herself as Hans is about to strike Elsa and gets frozen. Elsa then hugs her sister who thaws out, her heroism being an act of true love. Elsa then discovers that love allows her to control her power, and she then lifts the curse.

[ Posted on December 31st, 2020 at 15:11 | no comment | ]

Friday, December 25th, 2020

One of Our Thursdays is Missing

Categories: [ Books/Thursday Next ]

ISBN: 9780340963098

© Amazon.fr

In the BookWorld, the written Thursday struggles to keep the few readers of her books interested, after the remake of the BookWorld where the Great Library setting is replaced with an hollow planet setting where different genres are regions of islands, and books are organised geographically along streets in cities. Thursday also works for Jurisfiction's Accident Investigation Department and is asked to investigate the crash of a self-published book that was flown on its way to be destroyed after the last copy in the real word has been destroyed. She meets a strange character who tells her that ‘one of our Thursdays is missing’ and slips the real Thursday's Jurisfiction badge in her pocket before being arrested by the Men in Plaid, an independent militia obeying directly the Council of Genres. During her investigation, Thursday saves a mechanical man who becomes her butler and helps her discover that the accident may not have been an accident. Moreover, the real Thursday has not been seen for a long while and the written one starts to suspect that the disappearance is linked to the accident. Thursday decides to report that the accident was just an accident, but continues investigating on her own time. With Bradshaw's complicity, Thursday briefly visits the real world and meets Landen who confirms that the real Thursday has been missing for over a week. Upon her return she tries to find the taxi whose rear axle was found on the crash site and the taxi's driver, during which she survives multiple murder attempts by the Men in Plaid and the fact that the real Thursday was working with a geologist who got killed just before he could give any useful explanation. Thursday is then ordered by senator Jobsbworth to pose as the real one during the peace talks that are planned to take place a few days later in the North, in an attempt to prevent a war between Racy Novels and its two neighbours Women's Fiction and Dogma. A delegation travels up the Metaphoric River and discovers that there has been a terrible battle at the resupply station between a battalion of clowns from Comedy and an unknown opponent. During the remainder of the journey, Thursday discovers that Red Herring, her boss from JAID has been replaced by a double during the journey and has planted a bomb on the boat. She eventually figures out that Red Herring has learned that there is a large deposit of raw metaphor (a very valuable substance in the BookWorld) under Racy Novel and had manipulated the Daphne Farquitt genre to start a war, invade Racy Novel and take control of that deposit. Thursday then realises that the real Thursday may have survived the crash and be hiding somewhere in Psychological Thriller; she indeed finds her severely wounded but alive. In the end Thursday becomes a Jurisfiction agent and gets permission to change her books' story to mention the BookWorld and make them more interesting to the readers.

[ Posted on December 25th, 2020 at 16:53 | no comment | ]

Sunday, December 13th, 2020

First Among Sequels

Categories: [ Books/Thursday Next ]

ISBN: 9780340752029

© Amazon.fr

Fourteen years after Something Rotten Thursday is working for ACME carpets, which is a front for the now-defunct SpecOps 13 and 27; most of the members of the service are still working, funded by Thursday's operations on the cheese black market. But her work at the unofficial SpecOps is itself a front for her work at Jurisfiction. Over the past years, five books telling Thursday' adventures have been written. The first four have lots of sex and gratuitous violence, perpetrated by Thursday1-4. The fifth one is Thursday's attempt to take control and represent herself as she imagines herself, and Thursday5 is a soppy new-age fan. Thursday's current assignment is to train and evaluate Thursday1-4 and Thursday5 to become new Jurisfiction agents. The former is however too volatile to be trustworthy, and the second is too soft to make a good agent. In the meanwhile, Thursday also tries to convince her teenage son Friday to join the ChronoGuard, as he is supposed to become in the future the head of the organisation, but the boy is not interested at all. This is the source of tention, as the potential future Friday, head of ChronoGuard, explains that if the principle of the time machine is not invented within the next few days, time travel will not exist and all the work made by the ChronoGuard until now will be cancelled and some very influential members of ChronoGuard who have invested a lot of money with their knowledge of the future are really pushing to prevent this from happening. Thursday discovers, thanks to the phantom of her uncle Mycroft the inventor, that he had hidden the principle of time travel in a poem years ago, when he was hiding in the BookWorld, so it should be safe. In the meanwhile, the perspective of having no time left is causing people to lose interest in books and prefer reality television and the Council of Genres is planing to turn Jane Eyre into an interactive book that would change its story for good. Friday reveals that he is not the lazy teenager he has been pretending to be, but that it was just an act to prevent the discovery of time travel. Soon after Thursday is attacked in the real world by Thursday1-4 and loses the TravelGuide and therefore her ability to go to the BookWorld and veto the CoG's plans. Aware that the Goliath Corporation as an almost ready means of travel to the BookWorld, she makes a deal with them, but she is betrayed and stranded, while the Goliath agent attempts to travel to the poem and recover Mycroft's invention. The agent is however killed and Thursday destroys the invention. She is attacked by DanverClones and saved in the nick of time by Thursday5 disguised as Thursday1-4. Thursday rushes to the CoG to confront Thursday1-4 who has been pretending to be the real Thursday and approved all the stupid decisions from the CoG, but she eventually defeats Thursday1-4 while she was locked in Thursday5's book by destroying the said book.

[ Posted on December 13th, 2020 at 22:40 | 1 comment | ]

Sunday, December 6th, 2020

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Categories: [ TV/Cinema/Marvel ]



Toomes has got a contract for cleaning up the city of New York after the battle in Avengers, but as the contract is cancelled and the task given to the Department of Damage Control, he decides to steal some of the alien technology. Eight years later, he has a successful underground business of making futuristic weapons and selling them to criminals. At the same time, Peter Parker is called to join the Avengers and since then hopes to be called again at any time to help them. While stopping a robbery, Spider-Man discovers the existence of Toomes' weapons. Soon after he witnesses a sale of such weapons, but Toomes attacks him and Spider-Man is saved in the nick of time by Iron Man who still keeps an eye on him. Spider-Man then finds a part of one of the weapons and with his friend Ned they extract its alien power source. Having set a tracker on one of the villains, they track them to a location in Maryland. They take advantage of a school trip to Washington, D.C. to get closer to the location. Spider-Man manages to prevent another theft of alien artifacts by Toomes' team but finds himself locked in a DODC storage facility. He discovers that the power supply in Ned's backpack is a grenade, and the latter indeed goes off as Ned visits the Washington monument with his schoolmates. Trapped in the elevator, they are saved in the nick of time by Spider-Man. Spider-Man then attempts to stop another arms deal on the Staten Island ferry, but it goes wrong and people's lives are saved only thanks to Iron Man. To punish his recklessness, Tony Stark then confiscates Peter's high-tech Spider-Man costume. Peter then tries to become a better student at school, but he discovers that Toomes is the father of his date for the homecoming dance. Peter then realizes (from bits heard here and there) that Toomes plans to hijack the DODC plane transporting weapons from the old Avengers headquarters to the new one. Using his old Spider-Man costume, Peter prevents the theft and catches Toomes. In the end, Stark offers Peter a membership in the Avengers, but the latter declines.

[ Posted on December 6th, 2020 at 20:51 | no comment | ]

Thornbridge Kipling

Categories: [ Beer/Thornbridge ]


“Nelson Sauvin hop… passion fruit, gooseberry and mango aromas”

A bit sweet and slightly bitter, very fruity. Quite good.

Thornbridge brewery, Bakewell, Derbyshire, England. 5.2% alcohol.

[ Posted on December 6th, 2020 at 14:35 | no comment | ]

Tuesday, December 1st, 2020

Unpopular Ratings

Categories: [ Science ]

For quite a while, I've been wondering what to do with movies or games which have been rated with a small number of people, such as the ones found on IMDb or BoardGameGeek: users can give a 0 – 10 rating to items, and the users' average is then shown. Is an obscure movie rated 8 by 42 people actually worth an 8?

Putting aside the actual usefulness of those ratings, I wanted to know how much uncertainty there is on those values, knowing only the arithmetic mean and the number of people who have voted.

Given population (i.e., all the users who have seen the film or played the game and who could vote), when we take a sample (i.e., the users who have rated the item) of size n, we get a sample mean m. But if another sample had been taken, we would have gotten a slightly different sample mean. How much much different would these two values be? In other words, how close is this value from the value we would get if the whole population would have rated the item?

The standard error of the mean indicates how much the sample mean m can vary by calculating its standard deviation sm = s/√n. The problem is that it is based on the standard deviation s of the population, which is unknown. Given that we do not know the users' individual ratings, we cannot either calculate the standard deviation of the sample.

All is not lost, however: since the ratings are always between 0 and 10, we can estimate the maximum value of the standard deviation. My best guess is that this value is maximal when half the ratings are 0 and the other half are 10, leading to a standard deviation of 5.

Given that the means of 96% of the samples of size n falls within ±2sm of the population's mean, we know that the mean of the population is very likely to be between m−10√n (but no less than 0) and m+10√n (but no more than 10). So this obscure movie rated 8 by 42 users is worth between 6.5 and 9.5. Given that on IMDb movies rated above about 7 are reasonably good, the obscure movie may be worth watching.

[ Posted on December 1st, 2020 at 22:59 | no comment | ]