Psycho Pass & Shinsekai Yori: a just social order is possible. Somewhere at Lothlorien. Probably.

It's hard to reason about the social justice, and it's even harder to put it into practice. The general formula is that someone's freedom should be limited to achieve some kind of equality or order. Probably, a story about an absolutely fair society would be boring, and no one would author such stories, even if a way to build a utopian society would be known. Undoubtedly, the authors of the both stories discussed below tried to show us what a society may appear from particular limitations of freedom, and in the both cases the result is hardly fair. Let's try to sort out the details [spoiler warning].

A Short Vision of the Sky Crawlers

Like most of the other works of Mamoru Oshii the Sky Crawlers give you a feeling of dissonance at first, and you're wondering what these guys are doing, why they are doing this, and what the hell they are talking about. But the more times you watch it, the more beautiful it gets, and finally you understand why that girl moves her face so strange or why this guy smiles so bittersweet. "Every day could be your last. Live life like there's no tomorrow.", says the slogan. One of the last moments of the movie raises a question, though, whether or not you should do so. Below is the answer I've got [spoiler warning].

The world as a cellular automaton or a simple definiton of consciousness

The question about what the consciousness is is probably as old as time, and the time itself somehow should be related to this phenomenon. Among the others, the religious tradition of Zen Buddhism contains probably the most profound insights on this account claiming that the consciousness is a some fundamental process of nature, but it does not answer the question itself. On the other hand, Roger Penrose offers the hypothesis that the consciousness may be a result of some non-computational physical processes in the depth of our neurons, because brain is somehow able to solve problems which are proven to be not solvable algorithmically (e.g. the halting problem). But actually, it may be a very simple process which differs from understanding and reasoning, and it closely related to the question about how our universe is constructed and what the time is. Let's see how Zen teaching combined with some scientific views of the universe may give an answer to this question and produce an interesting picture of the world.

Imageboard aggregator: an interesting application for a URL-embedded text command interface

Damn imageboards... There may be a way to operate them a little bit more wisely. How about an idea for a tool which preloads the whole content of a board (let's say, all 10 pages of and compactifies the presentation to make it look like a RSS stream? No problems, we need to download and parse the specified amount of pages and use the URL to tell the tool which number of pages to grab. Having all the data available we also can easily reverse the thread order and display the oldest threads first with the URL or sort them by id with (if the highest id is stored in a database it's also possible to visually mark new threads). Need to search for all the K-ON related threads? The following URL would help:{k-on}. Need to display only new threads or the threads with new posts from the last visit? Not a problem again, the 'new' switch rescues: It's even possible to display threads from several boards in the same stream using, for example, the[a:10p,m:5p] URL.

It may be not wisely to specify the page number each time, so we may save the default page amount for this board somewhere in the preferences and use just Because we have all the available data parsed and structured, it's possible to make other interesting things, for example, save a thread OP-post in the database and pin it to the top of the thread stream or extract all visible images with There is one little problem though, a way to distinguish these URLs from the regular ones is necessary. The two most obvious solutions of this problem are: a browser extension which would listen for some protocol scheme (for example, chan://) or a web-application which includes these URLs as a part of its own one.

The both solutions are implemented by the Dark Flow aggregator. The application listens for the URLs with the chan:// scheme and tries to transform the requested resource according to the options specified in the URL (only Wakaba-derived boards are supported currently). The following video demonstrates the basic functionality of an old experimental version of the application in action.