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Regarding Eurovision: I sort of understand why you can’t vote for your own country. Though if you could, would the most populous country automatically win? Or the country with the biggest LGBTQ community? I don’t think so. People would still vote for a song they liked. But it would be interesting to try it one year.

But more importantly: why can people in the UK not vote by text? Seems weirdly old-fashioned.

Duplex Duplicity?

In A Little Duplex Skepticism, John Gruber says what I’ve been thinking about the Google Duplex demo:

It’s totally credible that Google would be the first to achieve something like Duplex, but the fact that all they did — as far as I’ve seen — was play a recording just seems off. It feels like a con.

I’ve only heard a bit of the “booking a haircut“ recording on a podcast. I thought it sounded a) impressive if real, but b) very possibly fake.

That kind of technology will come, eventually; but are we that close to it today?

(If we are, then whether or not we want it to be used in the kind of way demonstrated, is a whole other question.)

Google, of course, gave no timelines, no suggestion of when such a feature might be available. Given that, it makes you wonder why they even bothered to demo it.

Until his morning I couldn’t have told you the name of Frightened Rabbit’s lead singer, though I like some of their music. Now Twitter tells me of Scott Hutchison’s tragic death.

All I can say is: if you find yourself in a dark place, please, talk to someone. Help is there.

My daughter has just told me that Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been cancelled. God damn it. In this golden age of television that we’re living through, it’s consistently the funniest thing out there. Never an episode goes by that we don’t have to pause and jump back because one or more of us (to be fair, usually me) were laughing so hard we missed the next line.

I hope they don’t leave on another end-of-season cliffhanger.


It’s six years old, but I finally got round to watching Looper. Interesting. Not sure about it. Some of the time-travel stuff didn’t make sense — or was confusing, at least. The loopers do their killing and body-disposal in the past, but by the time Bruce Willis comes into it, everyone involved is in the same time, 2044, the past of the movie.

Also I thought I had heard that it wasn’t well thought of, but Rotten Tomatoes has it at 82% from audiences and 93% from critics. That’s pretty good, isn’t it?

This review at The Mary Sue is good on the weak points. Some interesting discussion in the comments, too.

The future was unconvincing — people still driving petrol-burning cars in 2044 and 2074? And the status of women was terrible. You can be a sex worker or a farming mom in future America. I mean, OK, we didn’t see the rest of society, but it’s not great. And a major Bechdel fail. Oh yes, and: the currency is silver? Actual, metallic silver? Time travel has really messed things up.

I enjoyed it on the whole, though, and the ending is great. We could have done without the voiceover, but maybe Rian Johnson, the director, has plans to release a cut without it in one possible future. Now where have I come across that idea before?