¿BoJack y los grandes datos?

por Pedro Jorge Romero el 27/04/2015

Me gusta mucho esta reflexión sobre BoJack Horseman, esa excelente serie de animación de Netflix. El argumento principal es que una serie así no debería existir, que mezcla demasiados géneros, que cambia excesivamente de registro en unos pocos minutos como para poder recibir la aprobación de una cadena normal de televisión. Sin embargo, Netflix dispone de enormes datos muy precisos sobre lo que la gente ve o deja de ver. La hipótesis es que una empresa como Netflix podía “ver” que el uso de elementos tan diversos mezclados podía trascender las divisiones demográficas habituales y satisfacer a un grupo “desconocido” hasta ese momento.

Neighed to Order: The Case of BoJack Horseman Matt Sienkiewicz / Boston College | Flow:

Our suggestion, therefore, is that at the moment of the show’s pitch and throughout the development process, Netflix may well have had reason to believe that BoJack’s strange menagerie could actually work. Armed with data about the viewing habits of its clients, the company was able to free itself from the restraints of long standing industry lore and even the limitations of blunt instruments such as genre conventions and traditional demographics. In a previous era, BoJack may well have been seen as a program full of contradictory niches, hailing small audience groups with one aspect while repelling those same groups with the next. The data, however, may well have shown that this would not be the case, suggesting that audiences for the shows BoJack draws from have more in common than is immediately apparent.
Certainly, there is the potential for the abuse of such information. If BoJack works too well, we could see a parade of increasingly ham-fisted attempts to combine popular programs in cheap, search engine-friendly ways. Though this may be unfortunate, it would also not be terribly new, of course, as copy catting has long been one of the industry’s most unappealing but profitable vices.

Es, simplemente, una hipótesis, que se fundamenta en saber que Netflix dispone efectivamente de esos datos. Evidentemente, ya se apunta en el segundo párrafo que si es así, podemos acabar con un montón de programas creados según los datos.


In the meantime, we can enjoy the freedom that BoJack displays in its mixing of genres and crossing of references. It is a strange, wondrous beast of a show, recalling Raoul Duke’s description of Dr. Gonzo in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: “too weird to live, too rare to die.” In a previous era, it likely would not have lived at all. Today, it exists and even thrives, perhaps less to the surprise of its benefactors than we might think.

Late Rembrandt

por Pedro Jorge Romero el 27/04/2015

Late Rembrandt es una exposición (hasta el 17 de mayo) en el Rijksmuseum de Ámsterdam:

Rembrandt’s later life was marked by tragic personal loss and financial setbacks. Yet it was also the time when he produced his best work. He experimented with paint and light, managing to bring an unprecedented emotional depth to his work. It resulted in his most daring and intimate work.

En A Generosity of Rembrandts: The Late Works at the Rijksmuseum la comentan:

The exhibition begins with a series of late self-portraits, a somber how-do-you-do in the foyer of the show. These establish what Rembrandt’s numerical age might not (he was 63 when he died): that he was playing an endgame. All half-lengths, the self-portraits depict the body in a three-quarters view, the head turned to the picture plane. In each, his face is wrinkled and pouchy, and in the 1659 self-portrait now in Washington, D.C., he seems to have taken great care to use all the crusty bits of paint on his palette to render the weathered and spotty texture of his skin in strokes of jaundice yellow and rosacea pink.

Rembrandt had reason to feel the weight of mortality and loss. He had once dominated the Amsterdam art world. His portraits were in demand by the city’s elite, he made a love match with his dealer’s higher-born niece, Saskia, and he could afford to buy a large new house in a nice part of town. By 1656, all that was over. Saskia had died after a series of difficult pregnancies; he’d had a disastrous love affair with the woman he’d hired to take care of his surviving child; and unwise spending, much of it on art and things like exotic shells, led to bankruptcy. He lived in reduced circumstances with his second love, Hendrickje, and his son Titus, but he survived them both, Hendrickje by six years, Titus by one.

Git para humanos

por Pedro Jorge Romero el 27/04/2015

Legit is a complementary command-line interface for Git, optimized for workflow simplicity. It is heavily inspired by GitHub for Mac.

Origen: Welcome | Legit (Git Workflow for Humans)

“A dream discarded”

por Pedro Jorge Romero el 27/04/2015

A dream discarded

A photo posted by @pjorge on

No molestar

por Pedro Jorge Romero el 26/04/2015

Se puede coleccionar cualquier cosa, incluso esos cartelitos de “no molestar” que hay en los hoteles. Y resulta que la variación puede ser espectacular.

As the son of a hotel manager, Edoardo Flores spent his childhood around objects many of us associate solely with the niceties of vacation. His interest in collecting “Do Not Disturb” signs didn’t come until later, when he grabbed some unique ones as business trip souvenirs. Around 1995 he began collecting in earnest, and he now owns close to 9,000 signs from 190 countries.

In a history of the collection that Flores provided to Hyperallergic, he claims that little is known about the development of the “Do Not Disturb” (DND) sign, now such a common, expected component of hotel stays. Flores speculates that the DND sign was the wise invention of one hotel manager, and that other places later emulated the practice.

Mi preferido creo que es:

Origen: The Diverse Designs of “Do Not Disturb” Signs

Play House

por Pedro Jorge Romero el 26/04/2015

Play House. Según la descripción:

Play House is an automata that generates slow hypnotic acid house through mechanisms built from LEGO Technic.

Y efectivamente, ofrece un enorme deleite visual ver ese cacharro en funcionamiento.

Su creador, Alex Allmont, tiene bastantes otras creaciones en su web, que combinan todo tipo de elementos. Dice:

My research ties together aspects of cognition and performance and I am focused on making the experience as open as possible so that the audience can get better understand what is driving the performer – or become the performer in some cases. The intention is to blur the lines and responsibilities between them in an attempt to have a deeper connection with music.

Para los aficionados a LEGO, este otro vídeo puede resultar fascinante y educativo:

LEGO Sketchbook 2013 from Alex Allmont on Vimeo.

(vía Play House | ./mediateletipos))))

Gene Wolfe

por Pedro Jorge Romero el 26/04/2015

La revista New Yorker ofrece un muy buen perfil de Gene Wolfe, el mejor escritor de ciencia ficción vivo. Su magistral El libro del sol nuevo es una lectura maravillosa y una prueba de las cumbres a las que puede llegar el género en manos de un autor sobresaliente.

Wolfe has published more than twenty-five novels and more than fifty stories, and has won some of science fiction and fantasy’s most prestigious awards. But he has rarely, if ever, been considered fully within the larger context of literature. His books contain all of the nasty genre tropes—space travel, robots, even dragons—and he hasn’t crossed into the mainstream on the strength of a TV or movie adaptation. Wolfe himself sees the trappings of science fiction and fantasy, the spaceships and so on, as simply “a sketchy outline of the things that can be done.” But even within fantasy fandom, Wolfe’s work presents difficulties. His science fiction is neither operatic nor scientifically accurate; his fantasy works are not full of clanging swords and wizardly knowledge. But ask science-fiction or fantasy authors about Gene Wolfe and they are likely to cite him as a giant in their field. Ursula K. Le Guin once called Wolfe “our Melville.”

Origen: Sci-Fi’s Difficult Genius – The New Yorker

(vía “That Notoriously Picky Publication” — Crooked Timber)

5 mètres 80

por Pedro Jorge Romero el 26/04/2015

Hay gente a la que uno simplemente debe admirar.


por Pedro Jorge Romero el 26/04/2015

Fixing the world, one piece of hardware at a time.

Origen: iFixit Store Europe | Pro Tech Toolkit

El problema de la eugenesia

por Pedro Jorge Romero el 26/04/2015

Es el de toda tecnología: ¿quién decide cómo se aplica? No es tanto que se pueda o no se pueda hacer, sino para qué fines vamos a usar la tecnología:


Por otra parte, también es verdad que dada una tecnología, siempre decidimos que nosotros somos las personas adecuadas para decidir su uso. Nunca se nos ocurre pensar: “esto lo vamos a dejar que se lo miren en el futuro”.

Origen: Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal


El arte de mayor

por Pedro Jorge Romero el 25/04/2015

Aparentemente, dedicarse al arte de mayor tiene enormes beneficios para el cerebro:

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota have found that beginning to paint, draw, or sculpt in old age could actually ward off the muddled thinking and slips in memory that befall many.

Origen: Picking Up Art Later in Life Could Help the Brain

Pintar paisajes

por Pedro Jorge Romero el 24/04/2015

Often nature itself gets in the way.

Source: The Anxieties of Landscape Painting

Through a glass, darkly

por Pedro Jorge Romero el 24/04/2015

Through a glass, darkly

A photo posted by @pjorge on

Desmontando el Apple Watch

por Pedro Jorge Romero el 24/04/2015

Los de iFixit se sacrifican para que nosotros no tengamos que desmontarlo en casa:

Apple Watch Teardown – iFixit

Time flies: it’s been eight months since Apple announced its (digital) crowning achievement, the Apple Watch. Join us as we make time stand still by tearing down the Apple Watch—and see what makes it tick.


The Ghosts of Pretty Cello Girls

por Pedro Jorge Romero el 23/04/2015

“The Ghosts of Pretty Cello Girls”

To say that Lena Griffin plays the cello on “The Ghosts of Pretty Cello Girls” is to only tell half the track’s story. This is because half the track isn’t cello.

El reboot de Friends

por Pedro Jorge Romero el 23/04/2015

Friends: Rebooted

Friends in 2015 would have been awful.

Posted by AskMen on Martes, 17 de febrero de 2015

ht faraox

El jarrón radiactivo

por Pedro Jorge Romero el 23/04/2015

Radioactive Ming vases echo our toxic dependency on electronics – we make money not art

Last year, the Unknown Fields Division, a nomadic design studio that explores peripheral landscapes, industrial ecologies and precarious wilderness, travelled to Asia to follow the path of the symbol of globalization: the massive container ship. The group came back with amazing stories, images, videos and with a set of radioactive Ming vases made from the toxic waste of our electronic gadgets.


Each object is made from the amount of toxic waste created in the production of three items of technology – a smartphone, a featherweight laptop and the cell of a smart car battery. Besides, the vases are sized in relation to the amount of waste created in the production of each item.

Rare Earthenware – Full Film from Toby Smith on Vimeo.

Hoy llueve en Mongo

por Pedro Jorge Romero el 22/04/2015

Lo que más me ha gustado deHow Not to Write About Smartphones and Spain · Global Voices no es lo que dice del uso de los teléfonos en España (que puede ser más o menos interesante) sino más bien el poner en evidencia nuestra tendencia a tratar los lugares relativamente lejanos como a) totalmente uniformes y b) como extraños en sí mismo.

Es una tendencia habitual de la ciencia ficción, donde viajar a un planeta lejano es como ir a un lugar con climatología y ecología simple, donde todo es de una única forma concreta. No hay más que pensar en Star Wars, en la que un número limitado de personajes y escenarios ocupa toda una galaxia, y donde los planetas vienen marcados por: hielo, desierto, agua…

En la ficción puede considerase excusable, pero más grave es cuando lo hacemos con otros países y regiones, cuando recurrimos a una especie de esencialismo primitivo, considerando que sólo ciertas facetas del lugar son representativas y excluimos lo que no nos encaja. Lo hacemos mucho con China y Japón, que no sólo tendemos a considerar culturas monolíticas, sino que además tratamos como territorios lejanos donde suceden cosas extrañas que no podemos entender (y por tanto, cualquier noticia “rara” situada en uno de esos países nos resulta automáticamente creíble sea verdad o no). Otro ejemplo es nuestra tendencia a considerar que lo que pasa en España no pasa en otros países de nuestro entorno, como si el resto de Europa viviese en la utopía.

Básicamente, nos aprovechamos de los lugares lo suficientemente remotos para situar allí el paraíso o el infierno.

Como decía, lo gracioso de este artículo es que trata, y desmonta, una de esas situaciones, pero en la que nosotros somos los protagonistas, donde nosotros somos el objeto de alteridad fantástica y monolítica. Es una buena oportunidad para ver el mecanismo funcionando en sentido contrario:

It’s not often that I speak in Internet, but an incredulous O RLY? escaped my lips. The tweet linked to a column in Pacific Standard magazine, which covers social, economic and political issues in the United States, that asserts “the biggest difference” between how Americans and Spaniards use technology is “that no one seems to be on their phones” in Spain. “What locals were doing instead was talking to each other, loudly and heatedly, continuously,” the Brooklyn-based author writes, his observations based on a trip through Spain and Portugal. “It struck me as the kind of socializing we desire when we bemoan our smartphone ‘addictions.’”

The piece almost reads like a satire of a Western correspondent parachuting into an “exotic” locale and reporting back sweeping generalizations about the place. It portrays Spain—still known to many as the land of the midday siesta, even though only about 16% of the population still take a nap every day—and greater Europe as some sort of 21st-century noble savage, in tune with the natural art of conversation and uncorrupted by the same technology that is turning Americans into bleary-eyed zombies.

But when it comes to technology and smartphone addiction, that’s not the case. “Nobody over there seems to be talking about addiction to technology,” you say? Sure, if you don’t pay any attention to Spanish media and haven’t spent more than a holiday’s worth of time with Spaniards, you could say that. A quick Google search returns more than a few mainstream discussions of the issue (in Spanish, of course).

Una vez hice un vídeo sobre Lanzarote, mi tierra, donde mostraba algunas cosas que hay en Lanzarote (un tigre blanco, por ejemplo) pero que no se corresponden con la imagen de Lanzarote. Sin embargo, son elementos presentes y que además llevan allí mucho tiempo. Recibí algún comentario al respecto, más que nada porque nos cuesta aceptar que los lugares reales rara vez se ajustan a la imagen que tenemos de ellos. Pero es un hecho que la isla ha cambiado mucho desde que yo era niño.

Dancing in The Rothko

por Pedro Jorge Romero el 22/04/2015

Ambient Piano from Southend-on-Sea