The Definition of Art

People find it difficult to define art. I find it simple. I have ever since I attended an introductory college course on poetry but many have so I suppose I must credit my professor for this definition.

Art is compressed meaning, in a given medium, and using that medium’s communication devices.

The question is often asked, “Is this art?” Video games, for example, are often critiqued in this way. But of course they are, given a proper, objective definition. The real question is really often, “Is this good art?”

Literature has literary devices to compress meaning, such as contrast and comparison, imagery and symbolism, metaphor and conceit. Other media, such as painting, or music, or sculpting, have their “language”, too, devices or methods used to figuratively communicate some meaning.

Painting may use perspective, texture, or stroke to indicate meaning. Music may use instruments or rhythm to convey meaning. Sculpting may use material, edge, or orientation to communicate meaning.

All media have their devices and methods of communication, and as they are used to compress meaning they then become art.

Martin Scorsese’s Silence – A YouTube Comment

The following are comments I wrote on the YouTube video, Silence – The Deconstruction of Faith, a great video essay, itself, where I lay out my frustrations with the film. I have recorded them here for posterity and access.

This film was frustrating for its lack of biblical knowledge that would be directly relevant to the moral choices.

Christian martyrs don’t “die for their priests” they stand firm because Christ Himself told us to take up our Cross and follow Him, and Christ Himself also said “he who denies me before men I will also deny before the Father.”

This film displays a lack of respect for the material and the real, recorded lives of Christian martyrs who gave and give their lives still to follow Christ and love their neighbor.

See the Jesus Freaks books for modern tellings of both past and present martyrs, young and old.


@conan263 See the book of Matthew ch 10 the context makes it clear it’s literally a life and death choice.
@conan263 Show off, flaunt, no. That’s the problem with the film, it’s based on a book, a work of fiction, rather than the source material of both, both historical records of martyrs and the Christian Bible. Scorsese and the book have an agenda, a message they wanted to deliver. They accomplished that at the sacrifice of truth.

An Online Course Review Checklist (Udemy, Coursera, EdX, etc.)

In 2020, I decided to take a few months and update my skills with some online courses from Coursera, Udemy, EdX, etc. I started with Coursera but quickly ended up finishing 35+ courses in about 5 months, mostly Udemy courses. I quickly discovered that I was repeating myself when writing course reviews and decided to formalize it a bit.

Here’s my online course checklist. I hope it helps somebody in picking quality courses and in writing their own helpful reviews.

  • Overall
    • Overall valuable course.
    • Overall okay course.
    • Overall not a valuable course.
  • 1080p Videos
    • Good – Has 1080p videos.
    • Improve – Include 1080p or higher videos.
  • Volume Levels
    • Good – Consistent volume levels.
    • Improve – Inconsistent volume levels.
  • Audio Quality
    • Good – Clear audio quality.
    • Improve – Inconsistent audio quality.
  • Vocal Speed
    • Good – Vocal speed fast enough at 2x.
    • Improve – Vocal speed at 1x is too slow resulting in 2x being too slow.
  • Has Transcripts
    • Good – Has transripts.
    • Improve – Include transcripts.
  • Has Captions
    • Good – Has captions.
    • Improve – Include captions.
  • Has single PDF of course notes slides
    • Good – Has single PDF of course notes slides.
    • Improve – Include single PDF of course notes slides.
  • Has single zip download of all resources
    • Good – Has single zip download of all resources.
    • Improve – Include single zip download of all resources.
  • Quiz Pacing
    • Good – Quizzes paced nicely.
    • Improve – Quizzes are can sometimes be too frequent.
    • Improve – Quizzes are can sometimes be too spread out.
  • Quiz Length
    • Good – Well sized quizzes.
    • Improve – Quizzes sometimes too short (recommend 5-10 questions).
    • Improve – Quizzes sometimes be too long (recommend 5-10 questions).
  • Minimal distracting visual or audio effects
    • Good – Minimal visual/audio distracting gimmicks.
    • Improve – Reduce visual/audio distracting gimmicks.
  • Minimal reading material – Should be in video format for flow
    • Good – Minimal reading material (uses video to cover most topics).
    • Improve – Reduce reading material (use video to cover most topics).
  • Minimal intros/outros to reduce time waste
    • Good – Minimal intros/outros to reduce time waste.
    • Improve – Reduce intros/outros to reduce time waste.
  • Intros/Outros Lack Substance/Value
    • Good – Intros/Outros provide just enough substance/value.
    • Improve – Intros/Outros do not provide enough substance/value.

I simply copy&paste the appropriate Good or Improve bullet points in order to create my reviews.

Course authors may find this list helpful as a checklist of what to look for in their coursea and what to include or not include when planning out courses.

PS. If Udemy happens to read this, the Rating descriptions provided are confusing. For example, “Good / Amazing” is confusing. Something might be “good” but far from “amazing”. Many times I chose “Good / What I expected”, instead. This kind of confusion and non-objective descriptions may be hurting your ratings system.

Credit: Featured Image

We live in Nietzsche’s madness. How Nietzsche called the 20th and 21st centuries.

Nietzsche truly called the 20th and 21st centuries.

We live in the madness.

“Nietzsche went on to say that because God had died in the 19th century there would be two direct results in the 20th century.”

Catastrophic destruction and a universal madness.

“First, the 20th century would become the bloodiest, most catastrophically destructive century in history, and second, a universal madness would break out and turn the West upside-down.”

“Truth would become lie and lie truth; evil would become good, the unnatural would become natural, and the unholy would become holy.”

We live in the madness.

Quotes from  Nietzsche’s Dire Visions: Universal Madness and Genocide

This piece was originally a series of @Shovas tweets.

Credit: Featured Image

Secrets of Bitcoin and Crypto


  • This is a cheatsheet meant to quickly onboard people to Bitcoin and crypto
  • These are all the details I find myself explaining when introducing Bitcoin and crypto to people

Getting Started

  • Crash course yourself on Bitcoin with the Bitcoin Wikipedia article, the Bitcoin Whitepaper, YouTube videos, Online Bitcoin Courses (eg. Udemy), etc.
  • Understand the nature of Bitcoin and crypto, where it came from, its intentions, its blockchain technology, its pros and cons, its place in the world versus other currencies or stores of value (eg. gold), and its property of being a global currency. This will provide the conviction to feel confident to proceed with crypto.

Buying Crypto

  • You will probably buy your first crypto on an exchange but there are other options including ATMs and local face-to-face buying and selling
  • Never spend more than you can afford to lose


  • Bitcoin’s Early Inflationary Cycle
    • Bitcoin has a history of repeated multiple times gains, followed by 80%+ crashes, followed later by new all-time-highs
      • Ex. In 2017, Bitcoin reached nearly $20k USD, crashed to nearly $3K (~85% crash), followed by a 2020/2021 rally to more than $30k.
    • This is the game in an unregulated asset that is in an early inflationary stage
    • Don’t panic sell during these crashes
    • Those who know this cycle are confident even during crashes and reap the rewards on the next up-cycle
  • Bitcoin has always been far and away the leading and most trusted crypto. You will be tempted to buy altcoins, and like stocks it’s fair to have a portfolio, but represent most of your money in Bitcoin to maximize your gains.


  • Never store your crypto on an exchange for longer than you have to (because exchange’s are prime hacking targets)
  • Withdraw your crypto from an exchange as soon as possible
  • Never share your password, private key, or recovery phrase with anyone


  • Avoid new or sketchy feeling Exchanges
  • Go with exchanges that have been around with a good track record (Coinbase, Kraken, Binance, etc.)
  • Exchanges are prime targets for hacks
  • Never store your crypto on an exchange for longer than you have to
  • Withdraw your crypto from an exchange as soon as possible


Tracking Prices and Analytics

Blockchain Explorers

Explorers allow you to look up transaction details. You might do this to check up on the status of sending or receiving crypto.

Just search for “<coin> blockchain explorer” to find explorers for your coin

Nim’s Vintersaga

Enter Nim’s world this Christmas season and let his wintry world carry you to a land of northern lights, falling snow, playful gremlins, sleeping giants, chilly horses, and one little girl who still believes in good. Rest, and refresh, as Ola Schubert draws you into Nim’s magical land in his wonderously hand-crafted and richly orchestrated tale, Nim’s Vintersaga.


The original flash homepage seems to be up still but who has flash anymore?

How to know what is right

Love God and Neighbour

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40

Preach the Gospel and Make Disciples

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

Mercy Triumphs over Judgment

Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:12-13

Featured Image by Jens Johnsson from Pexels

How to learn something new

Learn something new

  1. Summarize (eg. definition, article)
  2. Cheatsheet (eg. handy one-page doc/pdf)
  3. Crash Course (eg. videos, online course)
  4. Deep Dive (eg. online courses, docs)
  5. Certify (eg. complete a quiz or test, or better, earn a certification)
  6. Refresh (eg. periodic online courses to maintain knowledge)

Continue reading “How to learn something new”

John Wick. A hot take. In five parts. A thread.

I watched John Wick 1 again to remember why I liked it and figure out why I don’t like the sequels.

The first movie is serious and dark and the humour that is there is dark humour. The action was honest just making it work action. The violence wasn’t the focus either. There’s surprisingly little blood shown.

The second movie focused too much on violence, blood and world building instead of character and story.

The third just became a fourth wall breaking caricature of itself with even more focus on shallow violence, slapstick, and “funny” “in” jokes because the movie knows that we know that it’s so over the top.

Their mistake is thinking the audience wants a reality check when what they really want is escapism for two hours, like every other good movie.

Thank you for coming to my ted talk

Context: These tweets were taken from a messaging group with friends in August 2019. Apparently the movies still bother me and my ego really is that big.

This is also a series of @shovas (me) tweets.

Secrets of Project Cars 2

  • You really should be using Christiaan’s Pure FFB. It appears to be the best attempt at improving FFB.
    • You probably need a lot of smoothing on direct drive wheels
    • See my AccuForce ffb settings in this post
    • Alternatively, if you have native telemetry ffb with your wheel (something like AccuForce SimCommander’s Steering Feedback Foundation, iRacing’s irFFB, etc.) then these tend to be ‘cleaner’ ffb signals in my experience.
  • TrackIR works:
    • Must launch using Steam VR launch mode
    • Must use Helmet view
      • You can disable the helmet visual so it looks just like Cockpit view