Links and Notes - March 22nd 2021

The legends cricket cup belongs to India

As predicted yesterday, the legends cricket cup went to India. It wasn't as bad as I expected it to be. Our team put on a valiant effort and the game was always kept in winning range. Sadly to win we'd need to have put a few sixers in and unfortunately, we just don't have that kind of strength.

On that note, it's worth appreciating just how effortlessly some of the players in the Indian team make it look. When I see them hit the ball it doesn't feel like they've heaved and smashed. Especially in slow motion, it just looks like they are redirecting the ball with minimum effort of their own. Absolutely wonderful.

Floods hit New South Wales

Yesterday I shared my reading of the mice situation in eastern rural Australia. In it the locals were despairing that there wasn't anything that could be done with the mice and the best chance would be for the heavy storms that were predicted to drown them out.

Unfortunately the heave storms have come and have brought severe floods to New South Wales. From NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian:

Yesterday we were hoping it will only be a one-in-20-year event, now it looks like a one-in-50-year event, and potentially another 4,000 people may be asked to evacuate in and around that Hawkesbury region, parts of western Sydney.

And in the midst of that, spiders are escaping the flood with many moving towards people's homes. Sigh. Hope the people are ok soon.

Lion king deepfaked

Someone, Jonty Pressinger, used deepfakes to improve the expressionless characters in the "live action" Lion King movie. It's not great, but it gives a great look into what could have been had the makers of the movie moved away from photorealism. The unfortunate effect of photo realistic characters for a movie like Lion King is that Lions and other animals cannot convey emotion the way humans see it. No widening eyes. No exaggerated smiles. No frowns and curling lips the way humans are accustomed to. Honestly, it makes the whole Disney version quite bland.

Here's Jonty's video:

I do think this pushes too far towards cartoonism. Still, its an impressive demo of deepfake technology. But let's look at some movies where characterization of CG animals was done well. First, lions

The expressions of Aslan are imposing. As they should be. You feel the anger, the authority through his face and not just his voice. Watch it all the way to the end. Worth noting that the move was made in 2005. 14 years before Disney's Lion King.

As for more modern movies, although it looks rough at times — not unexpected given how production was pretty much dropped, Andy Serkis' 2018 Mowgli should be the canonical reference for how anthropomorphism should look in "live action" CG.

Again, you feel the expressions. Sadly, it feels like this movie and all the lessons of characterization that the industry could take from it has just been buried

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Purple Faced Langurs more and more

I'm seeing more and more people report sightings of Purple Faced Langurs in the city in Sri Lanka. While they've never interfered with humans as far as I know, they are active and occasionally noisy. And when they end up in residential areas, there's reason for concern: Damaged electricity/telephone cables, water tank lids being removed, the occasional security camera or satellite dish being knocked over.

A purple faced langur with its baby
By Lärchenholz - Self-photographed, Public Domain,

With the frequency of sightings increasing and the fact that they have no natural predators in the city, I'm starting to wonder if they are going to become a problem within a few years.

Dota 2 Dragon's blood is almost here

Set your reminder here

View the trailer here

The animated series drops on Thursday 🙌🏽! I'm wondering if this is going to lead to a resurgence in interest in Dota 2. With the pro circuit tournaments in full swing, one wonders what the finals are going to look like this year. Combined with a TV show animated by the excellent Studio Mir (animators of Legend of Korra and other amazing shows), this could be a chance for the Dota 2 community to really grow.

The worry? The absolutely insane levels of toxicity that any new player faces from the community which is what makes an already very difficult to pick up game even harder to stomach.

What is empathy?

That's it really. That question. What is empathy? I often wonder about that question. People say empathise. Is empathy truly possible if you haven't gone through the emotions that someone else is going through? If you haven't experienced those struggles, then is it sympathy? More importantly if you've experienced what they've experienced but felt entirely differently can you truly empathise? You can pretend. But can you truly empathise? Sympathy yes. Listen to them without judging yes. But empathy? Can you look at someone and say "wow that sucks" when you don't feel that way? Do you say "that must feel awful" when you don't think that? Maybe it's just me but that feels so insincere.

Empathy is hard.

This blog doesn't have a comment box. But I'd love to hear any thoughts y'all might have. Send them to [email protected]

Previous links and notes (March 21st 2021)

Next links and notes (March 23rd 2021)

Posted on March 22 2021 by Adnan Issadeen