Intel Processors in the 2017 Macbook Pro

WWDC just rolled around, and techy news sites are running their usual breathless summary articles. They list of the high level features of new Macbook Pros,  but never seem to give any technical information about the processors beyond superficial and meaningless ‘Ghz’ numbers.

This is probably appropriate for most of their readers. Apple knows that its customers don’t usually care about the difference between an i7-5557U and an i7-7660U, so they don’t provide model numbers on their site, either.

It’s possible to figure out what processors are lurking behind the marketing vomit by visiting Intel’s ARK knowledge base. Cross reference timing, base and maximum clock frequencies, and voila you’ve got yourself technical data upon which to base purchasing decisions.

Here are all the processors Apple has put in their Macbook Pro machines this WWDC:

Macbook Pro 13

 

What should boys make of Wonder Woman?

Boys, let’s be selfish for a moment. You’ve probably read a lot of great commentary about Wonder Woman from a feminist perspective. Let’s talk about it from the male perspective, about what she means for us.

Action movies serve up a plethora of fantastic male heroes: They might be tounge-in-cheek, like Keanu Reeves as John Wick. Or serious but self-aware, like Daniel Craig as James Bond. Or just plain serious, unrelenting, and indefatigable à la Denzel Washington in Man on Fire. These men are superheroes, in on way or another.

They are physically strong, attractive, and capable. They are emotionally tortured by what they’ve seen and done. They are smart. They are fighters. They are who we imagine ourselves to be, should we ever find ourselves in a position where we must save the world from great evil.

What of Wonder Woman? What Consider her aggression, her anger,  her fire, ferocity, and fury in the face of threats to those she loves.  Revel in her will to win.

These are the qualities we associate with our Bonds, Wicks, and Creasy’s, wherein they are warriors for good and, in their best moments, inspiring. Yet for heterosexual males, bar the odd surprise-semi when Daniel Craig gets out of the ocean, they’re not blood-pumping.

The worst elements of male chauvinism present weak females as the ideal: Men fight, women stay home, keep themselves clean and pretty, and submit to the dominant male upon his return from the battlefield. In their less inspiring moments, our male superheroes act out this ideal with some token female co-star. These females are often physically stunning, and framed by the camera as the most tantalising of treats.

Yet they cannot hold a candle to Wonder Woman. Wonder Women oozes sexuality. Not because of her physical appearance, as great as those legs may be, but because she fights. She roars. She charges into battle and defeats her foes with unrelenting, unashamed application of physical force. And she quotes Greek literature.

Some men might find the weak, protected female form attractive. Their desires dominate our media landscape. You and I know they’re missing out. Give me a woman that stands with me on the battlefield. One that fights alongside me, bleeds with me, stands tall beside me in the face of danger, screams with me into the jaws of impending doom.

She’s the one you want to kiss passionately after a great victory. She’s the one you trust to be your companion through life, because she has literally saved your life, as you have hers. She’s strong, attractive, capable, emotionally tortured, smart, a fighter – Just like you, because in this story, you are the hero too. You are a team. An ass-kicking, sexy,  battle-winning team.

Boys, in our own selfish interests, we should be cheering on Wonder Woman. We should be cheering womens-only screenings, we should be whooping in the cinema, and we should be encouraging artists to create more films like it. We should be thrilled to indulge in fantasies where both ourselves and our partners are superheroes.

Of course, we must also stop thinking with our dicks, being selfish, and acknowledge all the other reasons why Wonder Woman is important. Other writers have argued those reasons much better than I ever could. This was just between us men. Wonder Woman is not just a victory for women in film, it’s a victory for all of us as people.

Drone Mapping

Having a birds eye perspective on a problem facilitates better decision making. Quite literally, being able to look down upon a geographic area allows one to craft better plans. Modern mapping services like Google Maps grant views with exceptional clarity.

Google’s photogrammetric mapping is astoundingly good – Here’s the Lower Haight district in San Francisco

Such services are not available on Thornleigh Farm – located, as it is, on remote Lord Howe Island. This is understandable: Internet giants like Google are hardly going to expend their resources producing hyper-detailed maps of a remote island in the Tasman Sea.

A freely available satellite survey of Lord Howe Island provided on Google Maps

The best resolution I’ve been able to get from freely available satellite surveys is generally about 30cm / pixel. This isn’t enough to usefully inform decision making. Enter consumer-grade drone technology. Using a DJI Mavic Pro drone, I’ve been able to produce aerial surveys with a resolution as fine as 1cm / pixel.

An individual image from a DJI Mavic Pro flying over Thornleigh Farm

Images can be stitched together using Adobe Photoshop’s inbuilt Photomerge functionality. I took approximately 200 photos and then used Photomerge to stitch them all together at once. On my laptop, this took only a few hours. The result is so intimately detailed that I don’t want to post it here, out of respect for our privacy on the farm.

Drones like the DJI Mavic Pro are not cheap. But they are significantly cheaper than orbiting satellites, and presumably cheaper than the vehicles Google uses to produce photogrammetric maps. Yet they allow a small business on a remote island to produce fantastic, detailed aerial surveys to inform better decision making. If anyone ever tells you drones are useless toys – Point them to Thornleigh Farm.

Exchange-traded index funds are our friends

Horsies, doggies and casinos are a great analogy for stock markets. There are a lot of testosterone-amped men running around spinning yarns about how they know which horse will win, and why. The reality is, if anyone actually has scientific evidence suggesting strongly which horse will win, they are betting big and keeping quiet.

So it goes with shares. No one knows. Anyone that says they know is benevolently ignorant, or malevolently misleading.

As small scale investors, we are ripe targets. Just like intoxicated punters studying the form, we can be lured with promises of a quick buck, a certain return. There is no such thing – But there is big money in telling us there is, because if we trade lots, we pay lots of fees, and feed lots of payouts. So we are up against it.

Yet we still want a place to park our money for the long term, where it can work for us. This is where exchange-traded index funds are our friends. Instead of betting a single horse will win, they are a bet that some horses will win, some horses will lose, but that everyone will have a pretty good time and come back next year.

Pick a broad enough fund, and sit on it long enough, and you have an extremely high probability of achieving two objectives: Keep your capital safe, and earn a useful return. You won’t get rich, but you won’t get fucked, and there are a great many people out there with a serious interest in you being fucked.