Milan's Public Journal

© Welcome to Milan's Public Journal, weblog by Milan Živić - a personal cloud of short stories, both fiction and real, including honest reviews, travel guides, rationality and personal glimpses of the world. Also a lot of science, physics, astronomy, science fiction, history and reflections on religion and politics.

Anthropocene of Movies

There is a debate whether or not Holocene, the latest geological epoch is already finished with ultimate human impact on Earth's ecosystems, which started along with industrial and technological maturity in recent past. Many of us believe that new era, suitably named Anthropocene is what we are living in already. With technology rise, it looks like humans already changed fundamentally to the point of incompatibility with our distant ancestors. Perhaps we are indeed heading toward rapid evolutionary change, like in the latest Dan Brown's novel "Origin", but this premise is way more suitable for another science fiction I have just watched (for the second time). I am sure that for all of you who like intelligent movies, a long anticipated sequel for "The Man from Earth" finally came and it, without a doubt, opened the Holocene-Anthropocene transition for John Oldman, a 14000 years old man, who also, like entire humanity, seemed to be going through the change of his own.

The movie distribution has just started and I am not going to spoil the content but I will tell you that after I watched it for the first time my initial thought was that there was many "I didn't see this coming" moments, looking from the point of view of the first film. After watching a movie for the second time, and I really needed to do it to clarify the image, my impressions didn't change a bit and I truly hope Richard Schenkman's wishes for the sequel TV show will come to life. I would definitely like to see what happens next. Perhaps little more science than religion could spice the script with additional direction. After all, Anthropocene epoch is a scientific achievement, which is maybe faster in development than what human society can handle at the same pace.

"The Man from Earth: Holocene" comes with one more twist when it comes to distribution of films in general. It uses donationware, a licensing model originates from the software publication but with one more add-on, to stay with the IT vocabulary. If you don't like it, you get full or partial refund of the small amount of money taken from your card. This is exactly what I speculated once before on the blog, back in 2012 when some sort of political attack was launched after Wikipedia. The story went toward anti-piracy war and distribution of movies and I complained that my time was not free to be wasted and after watching some movies I felt like I would like having some system that would provide some sort of refund for both of my lost time and money.

"The Man from Earth" and "The Man from Earth: Holocene" are now part of this donationware-like system and the distribution of both films is made by a fairly new website called MovieSaints and in their words, this is the place "where people can discover and watch compelling independent films from around the world. Viewers can support the filmmaker/creators if they like a film and get a refund if they don't like it." I would really like to see the success of this for the future and not just for small independent projects but also for the major franchises as well. After all, internet is also one of those scientific achievements that are forcing full closure of the Holocene epoch and this donation-refund system, if succeeded, could have power to dramatically reduce intermediaries and pirates.

Ever since the internet arrived and spread everywhere as the ultimate carrier of the intellectual property of various kind, along with came the business, politics and all the other side-effects and struggles intended for squeezing pennies or votes out from the little man behind the screen. Of course, when it all started, the stage was academic and most of the suits, whether they were hiding behind various business acronyms or political parties, stayed outside. The internet was small back then and not important from their point of view. It was also more honest in the nineties before the new millennium. Well... Almost. The web pirates were there from the beginning.

I remember I wanted to contribute with what I did best at the time and created several desktop applications for home users and small companies. It was nothing special, just couple of ActiveX libraries to help Internet Explorer to use email functionalities and sharing files more easily or, for example, a very nice application for FM radio stations - the producers' tool for organizing "on the air" time with custom lists of MP3 songs and commercials scheduled to be aired automatically without host or technician. For small applications like those, it was popular choice to go with "Shareware" distribution. It basically meant the applications were free but slightly limited in functionality and if small fee was paid, I was creating the unlock code that provided restrictions to go away. Even without that, all apps were useful enough so the end users with paying for the code were actually more sending the note that they are really satisfied with functionality. The unlock code was pretty simple - just small math equations that verified that serious of numbers corresponds with the math result. Imagine my surprise when almost day after I posted applications online, the pirate sites included license keys for all of them.

At the time, the internet market was restricted to IT only, but today, it became fast and almost everything could be stored and streamed, without obstacles from technical point of view. The obstacle now is the fact that businessmen and politicians joined the pirates. Today, if you wrote the book, composed the music, created the software, had a breakthrough in science, made a movie or contributed with any kind of intellectual property and you want to earn little money from the effort, you can't do it alone. Your significant share is taken by businessmen or stolen by pirates or taxed and/or forbidden by illogical laws that favor others. Not to mention lawyers and bankers that also parasitically live within the system and take the share with any transactions or legal processes.

In conclusion and to put everything in perspective, what people behind MovieSaints are trying to do, at least with small independent movies, and what was the main idea decade or two with shareware concept, now with addition of refund policy, is taking one step further. It does require a little bit of honesty to work. Something that is not the prime feature for the average human being but I am sure that, deep down, everybody possess it. Moreover, along with honesty for this system to work, it does require other distribution companies to follow but to see it running on the bigger scale at least one big player in the vast internet arena must join.


5th Grade Coding

It was different when I was 5th grader in many ways. Learning how to code was not in the realm of elementary schools back then. Computers were simply too large and expensive for kids to play with and having a good teacher who knew programming languages was rarity. So I was in a bit of a blur when I pressed "P" key on, my first, just unboxed, brand new and state of the art, Sinclair ZX Spectrum keyboard with amazing 16KB of RAM memory. It reacted immediately and at the bottom of the large home TV, it said "PRINT" followed with blinking black square cursor. "2+2" I added and hit "ENTER". It was like magic seeing "4" printed on the screen next instant. The magic of course was not in the correct number. It was rather in the unworldly feeling I got that exact moment of what would come next. What I could command it to do. It was like I found the door of the amazing new world and the door started to open wide!

Soon later I learned more, especially commands like "INPUT", "IF", "FOR", "GOTO" and those more interesting ones, like "PLOT", "BEEP", "DRAW" followed with even more exotic directives like "PEEK" and "POKE". It went without saying that I occupied living room TV for too many precious hours every day, so my parents eventually bought me a small 12", black and white TV, so I continued with my self-coding BASIC lessons (and with games) on my little 5th grader's desk in my room.

Today, in Viktor's 5th grade time, three and a change decades after, introducing the programming world is a bit different. The main tool is now the browser and the language evolved into VPL or Visual Programming Language. This practically means the coding is done by creating and juggling program elements within graphical environment. It is far more intuitive than doing it with words and I can't see any obstacles that, in one way or another, what kids are doing today will be the main way of coding in the future. How far in the future is debatable but just compare the function created by one simple VPL in above screenshot with the following code that does the same thing and I am sure that you don't have to be coder in order to understand what's better for 5th graders to start learning programming. And not just for them.

public void NectarCollection() { for(int i=0; i<=3; i++) { MoveForward(i); for(int j=0; j<=2; j++) { MoveForward(j); GetNectar(j); } TurnRight(i); } }

VPL coding was not the new idea. Programming languages are slowly pushing in this directions for some time. For example, within my professional world, which is fully oriented towards the data manipulation, unified communication and business in general, the main programming tool is Microsoft's Visual Studio with its first version dating way back in 1997. It's current release is named VS2017 and it's about tenth or eleventh edition by now, but despite its name very little inside is truly visual. To be honest, there are some graphically operated bits and pieces but still, good old VS is still using the text editor for it's main weapon.

Quantum Weirdness

Rarely I've got a chance and real opportunity to revive an old article from the past and to update it to fit better in the present day. Actually, the quantum weirdness is still where it was four years ago - science is not something that changes over night especially with quantum mechanics, so I am not going to update the post with any new physics or breakthroughs. Instead, what 's new and what pushed me to repost today is one extraordinary novel in the field. The book that kept me from sleeping last weekend was "Quantum Space" by Douglas Phillips and in short it is by far, one of the best titles I read this year. It is one of those true sci-fi stories that follows the real science and in this case the weirdness of the quantum world I wrote about in this post and I would add one of those articles I enjoyed the most writing in the history of the blog. But, before couple of my glimpses to the book itself, followed by my warm recommendation and especially if you want to read it yourself, please continue reading about physics itself. This one definitely requires some knowledge to understand it fully, so let's start with some weirdness of our own macro physics first.

It's very well known that the world we live in are driven by two sets of rules or physic laws. The one for big and the one for small. We don't need to be rocket scientists in order to observe our big world surrounding us and to notice all the laws we obey to. For example if we drop a book and a feather and let them both hit the floor separately, it is obvious that book touches the floor first. However if we put feather ON the book and let them fall together, they will hit the carpet in the same time. Well, the book will still hit the carpet first, but if you try the experiment you will know what I mean. This simple experiment was itching Galileo's mind centuries ago when he discovered one of the fundamental physics law stating simply that mass of the object has no influence to the speed of free falling. But, we can ask ourselves next, why the feather traveled slower toward the floor if dropped alone? Because of the things we cannot see. The air is blocking it. To learn what is happening with the feather during the fall we have to go beyond our eyes. We need science and experiments to discover why small molecules of the air would rather play with feather than with heavy book.

Was the book/feather experiment weird to you? I am sure it was at least little weird if you are seeing it for the first time. We simply accept things for granted. What we cannot see, like the air and its little ingredients in above experiment, we tend to exclude from our perception. If this was little strange and intriguing, lets go further to the world of even smaller and compare it to the world of the big. For example, in a mind experiment, we have a 9mm gun and shoot toward the wall with two holes in it, both with diameter of 9mm or little bigger. If you are Olympic champion in shooting you will, of course, need only two bullets, one for each whole. In the world of little if we use a gun that shoots electrons toward a wall with two adequate holes in it, you would probably think that we would need two electrons to hit both holes, right? Nope, we need only one. Believe it or not, one electron goes through both holes and we even don't need to aim too perfectly. No, it doesn't split up in two and use each half to pass the holes. It goes through both holes in the same time. In fact, if we had three or more holes on the wall, one single electron would go through each one and in same time use all possible paths toward the destination. Perhaps the best illustration what happens in this experiment is presented by "Stephen Hawking's Grand Design" documentary made by Discovery Channel.

And you thought feather on the book was weird...

Space Humor

It happened long ago, in the dark ages of CRT monitors, when I first received a short forum message with :-) at the end. I stared at the message for a long minute(s) before giving up of decoding its meaning. It came from the well respected friend of mine so I responded with short reply:


"You have to turn your screen 90 degrees clockwise." Answer came promptly.

My CRT was large and heavy and it looked way too dangerous to tilt it that way so after little brainstorming the problem, I concluded there's a better way of achieving the same goal.

I tilted my head 90 degrees anticlockwise.

"Aaaaaah!!!" I said promptly and after realising the picture, big smile on my face slowly morphed into loud laughter. So I typed back:


I didn't have to wait long for the next message:


"What?" - I quickly copy/pasted my earlier message but realised I was too not informed about new internet fashion so I canceled the message and opened new Netscape window instead, called and 'googled' new internet words. Ever since then LOL is on the top of my list of favorite acronyms. Along with all those cute ASCII faces. ;-)

In my case, and probably with many people as well, laughter is one of those most powerful cure for everything. The all mighty vaccine for all diseases. Especially boredom and poor moodiness. LOL moments, somehow come naturally with live social occasions and in movies but in books they have one extra dimension. I really can't explain why is that. Perhaps funny moments in written world often come unexpected and more genuine. Take for instance Andy Weir's "The Martian" - the hilarious parts in the book were genuinely funnier than in the film. At least with me... Well, nevermind that, so to get to the chase, last month I read three extraordinary funny books in the realm of science fiction and space exploration. So here they are in this short review, sorted by the count of LOL moments I had during reading. In descending order of course.

The first one was "Where the Hell is Tesla?" by Rob Dircks. I stumbled to this one by accident and boy I am glad I did. Nikola Tesla is one of my favorite men in the history of people, science and engineering and here in Serbia, especially during my childhood, Tesla was idealised and always portrayed in too serious manner. Anyhow, when I saw the title with Tesla playing the major role in the comedy story I couldn't resist and I didn't regret a single penny. It was by far the funniest book I read in a while. It had it all, decent science fiction based on cutting edge scientific theories of the multiverse, the romance and friendship within different storylines, cute aliens, sci-fi battles of enormous proportions, great style of writing, Nikola Tesla in the most entertaining meaning of the word and of course ... Chip. I am not going to spoil the reading for you but I will tell you this. On one occasion, I almost dropped my Kindle on the hard floor caused by one of the strongest LOL moments. Enough said.

The second is "Jazz of Artemis". In context of today's post, this is how I would name the book if I was Andy Weir. Of course, his new book is not a comedy per se. But it is not "The Martian" as well. However, in the realm of the funny moments it is a decent sequel. Way better and much funnier. Jazz is ... let me find the right word ... extraordinary girl on the multiple levels. I enjoyed her adventures fully and I do hope for the real sequel this time. I mean with Jazz around, what can go wrong on the Moon? I really hope there will be the movie after this one as well but not solely because of the entertainment part and all the LOL moments, especially with that Svoboda guy and his ability to manufacture various devices that do or do not belong to ESA blueprints and worksheets.

But seriously, what Andy Weir did with creating a fully functional city on the moon with both working technology and society organisation is amazing and also extraordinary. It definitely deserves the motion pictures and I am sure filming the movie that takes entire story and action on the moon is another challenge. I am sure Ridley Scott is buzzing his mind with this as we speak.

Finally and to use the cliché, the last but not the least comes the good old British humor. Something I grew up with all the great TV shows like "Monty Python" and "Only Fools and Horses" or short comedy sketches and skits by Dave Allen, Benny Hill, Rowan Atkinson and others. But in the flashlight of the parody novels the throne is still with Douglas Adams and his "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". This was the first book I experienced LOL moments with, way before LOL acronym was ever invented. "The Worst Man on Mars" by Mark Roman and Corben Duke was probably the most similar novel I read in a long while.

This is also a parody, but not really as much as the famous predecessor. This book follows the plausible science fiction and doesn't go into wild imagination, like the restaurant at the end of the universe or "42". I really did like many technological backgrounds inside, like artificial intelligence or space elevator for example. But the humor with this one comes first and the robots in their sitcom on Mars are something I do recommend warmly.



Here’s How Augmented Reality is Going to Rock Our World

Augmented reality (AR) is on the cusp of changing the world. The technology overlays imagery and information about our physical surroundings on visual devices like tablets, mobile devices, and wearable hardware like glasses. Everything from how we shop to technical training will change as advances in AR create new applications in every aspect of our lives.

Apple has been at the forefront of the AR trend with the introduction of ARKit, a framework tool that enables AR mobile web app development for the iPhone and iPad. The software uses the device’s camera, motion sensing, GPS data, and more to explore the physical world around us and add new, innovative ways to interact with it. Here are other ways augmented reality is changing the world as we know it.

Guest writer article by Serena Garner

Augmented reality (AR) is on the cusp of changing the world. The technology overlays imagery and information about our physical surroundings on visual devices like tablets, mobile devices, and wearable hardware like glasses. Everything from how we shop to technical training will change as advances in AR create new applications in every aspect of our lives.

Apple has been at the forefront of the AR trend with the introduction of ARKit, a framework tool that enables AR mobile web app development for the iPhone and iPad. The software uses the device’s camera, motion sensing, GPS data, and more to explore the physical world around us and add new, innovative ways to interact with it. Here are other ways augmented reality is changing the world as we know it.

The Application of AR Will Spread Everywhere

Gamification is a great way to introduce new technology to consumers. It’s fun, entertaining, and a proven way to teach users new applications. Probably the most well-known AR mobile app is Pokemon Go!, which introduced millions of consumers to the concept of augmented reality technology.

The same ideas that made this app so successful can be applied to the workplace. For instance, it is possible to gamify the work process, allowing employees to earn points and rewards as they complete tasks, outperform, and improve their results. Gamifying enhances engagement and employee performance.

The potential for improving lives, however, goes beyond simple gaming. With AR, the workplace can be transformed with greater safety and efficiency by giving staff access to vital information about their surroundings. Things like warnings about machine operations, tracking items within a warehouse, or expanding situational awareness in chaotic environments can contribute to better and safer spaces for employees.

The applications AR has for life-saving are also vast. From military in the field to underserved remote areas of the world, medical training and guidance can become an augmented reality experience that will save time and even lives.

It Has Even Greater Effects on Retail and Design

Another huge impact from AR will be in the world of commerce and e-commerce. AR mapping of retail malls and stores will turn searching for any item into simply following of a virtual map to its location.

Through various scanning techniques, shoppers will be able to use their own facial features or body types to virtually try on merchandise. Since the inability to try on clothing or shoes account for over 30% of Ecommerce returns, the online market will expand and satisfy customer needs more easily. They can now offer products that will perform as expected, clothing that will fit, or determine if a purchase will fit in the space that you envision.

The design world will be turned on its head as AR technology continues to develop. Products can go through an AR modeling process that will skip the physical prototype phase, saving time and money and allowing for design improvement and enhancement.

3D models will become virtual experiences, such as a car designer sits inside a car and sees the impact of layout. Or, a furniture designer tests designs for ergonomics or structural issues without the need for physical samples.

AR Has an Enormous Financial Upside

From a business point of view, the stakes are high for augmented reality. Broadening markets, improving customer satisfaction through quality sales, and developing marketing ideas that will create more user engagement and loyalty all will improve the bottom lines of companies. The revenues for companies investing in AR technology that integrates with their products and services is expecting to explode from $23 million today to almost $50 billion in less than five years.

Utilizing and understanding AR technology now will provide businesses with revenue-enhancing opportunities ahead of the competition. It will also provide consumers with a new way to engage in aspects of life ranging from gaming to the workplace.

AR has arrived and will expand at a breakneck pace. As consumers and employees, we will see our world change in ways that will save time and money, enhance our everyday experience, and move us into the world of the future.

Robert Langdon vs Desmond Hughes

Stories and speculations about human origin are always fascinating. Ever since Darwin. "Origin of Species", published in the middle of 19th century, was truly one of those real breakthroughs in scientific thought. However, even though it is widely accepted by the mainstream and to date no alternative theory exists, if we disregard religion, that is - theory of evolution is not complete. In it's core, Darwin's natural selection of life is 'only' describing the evolution as a process. How life adapts to changes. Tries and errors of survival of species. The entanglement of life and environment. What happens if one species collides with another. But, the origin is something else entirely. No valued theory is anywhere on the horizon. What happened at the very beginning is still a mystery. We just ... don't know.

Hence.. The stories and speculations.

This october my reading time has been reserved for two books about human origin. Coincidentally, they arrived at the same time, Dan Brown's "Origin" and A.G.Riddle's "Genome", both extraordinary novels centered on the same premise. With Dan Brown it came in a form of "Where do we come from and where are we going?" while A.G.Riddle's phrase was "How we became what we are and what we are destined to become?". The premise was not the only similarity in the books and after I've finished with reading, I couldn't get rid of the feeling that both writers defined the scientific background together, like over the restaurant table or so. Well, this is probably highly unlikely and the simple truth is that this is how like-minded people think and work and surely coincidences do happen. I am also one of those like-minded people when it comes to this topic and I truly had genuine pleasure while reading both novels. So, let me show you how I experienced both adventures with couple of my humble thoughts on the science behind.

Ok, Robert Langdon first. To be honest, Dan Brown came with one significant disadvantage - based on his previous success, especially with "The Da Vinci Code", many people, and me among them, expected his best game. When I saw the title when he introduced the new book while ago, it was obvious that he wanted to return to Rome, so to speak. To rattle religious world once again and this time with science and Darwin. But, to be honest, when I started to read, my thoughts wandered elsewhere and I couldn't see the AI, quantum computers, gamescience, supreme technology, cutting edge simulations... But when I finally saw where he was going with the story, I probably felt like Robert Langdon - confused at first, but determined and open minded to 'see' Edmond Kirsch's final presentation.

For the conclusion of this short review, there are two thoughts I want to share, along with my indisputable recommendation. First is Winston - he was amazingly designed and for the first time in the series, Dan Brown allowed another character to steal the show from Robert Langdon. I truly hope there will be 'Origin', the movie and I'd love to see Winston 'in flash'. In a way, he reminded me of Arty, my own character within the FAR-T1 stories...

Final thought about the book was about Kirsch's answer to the premise. His powerful simulation to prove the origin and DNA appearance for the first time was amazing. It was word-perfect and just fits my understanding of the proposed science. Unfortunately, the answer to the second question is a bit blurry. Future human evolution and emerging of the new technological species that would consume us in such a short time was, well, not very convincing. Perhaps, I was expecting something more dramatic and elaborative but I guess this vision, if we exclude short timeframe, is more consistent with Jules Verne type of plausible science fiction and I verily respect that.

On the other hand, maybe even more complex and entertaining was A.G.Riddle's "Genome". Actually, this novel is the second part of the "The Extinction Files" series. To fully understand entire adventure you must start with the first book called "Pandemic" as there are many characters that intersect with each other and they are all essential all the way to the final chapter. Speaking of characters, another similarity with "Origin" was the character origin, to say in the appropriate manner. After I finished reading both books it was impossible not to notice real world resemblances and compare Brown's Edmond Kirsch with Steve Jobs and A.G.Riddle's Desmond Hughes with Elon Musk. Perhaps this was their intentions in the first place, but whatever it is, I liked it very much. These two men are definitely two of those most inspirational people in the current world and their time.

While in "Origin" the science fiction is sharing the surface with typical Robert Langdon's old-fashioned adventure wrapped into religious background, "The Extinction Files" is more focused on the Sci-Fi part. Actually A.G.Riddle is not offering the answer to the human origin and he never intended to - his first question was more how evolution actually works and his characters were focused to find the pattern in human behaviour and what actually triggered for evolution to go in one direction and not the other. Another puzzle was, for instance, why different groups of ancient people developed the same ability for art, agriculture or writing even though they were living in isolated environments. The proposed solution is that the DNA was hard-encoded to do the same evolutional paths wherever and whenever it happens and that this behaviour is not the result of trial and errors in human brains evolution.

However and what was most exciting in "Genome" is the answer to the second question - what we are destined to become? This is where Sci-Fi part went wild and extremely exciting and where I couldn't stop reading, eager to learn what would happen next. I am not going to spoil reading for anybody and I will just say that what I liked the most was that Riddle in the final chapters amazingly 'solved', or tried to, to say the least, two great mysteries in science - Fermi's paradox and everlasting question of how to cheat death. The best of all, the solution for both was connected more than I could imagine before reading the book and yet it still stayed in the realm of Jules Verne plausible fiction. The one that, if proven right in the future, has a good chance to become reality.

To conclude with final similarity for the two books and if we ask Dan Brown and A.G.Riddle what device we really need in order for their predictions of the future to come true, I am sure there's a good chance for them both to say two same words in the same time. Quantum computer.

If you ask me the same question about our future and whether or not we will be consumed with technology or merged with, I am not so sure. It's a possibility, though. What I am sure of, after all I am a software developer for decades, is that qubits will one day become a real player. This is where computing is headed and to be honest with IT of the present day, digital world is, after all, created by sampling of analog data. No matter how advanced digital computers are, digital realm is just a subset of the analog world. One day we will have a way to handle any sort of data continuously without any need to simulate it with digital samples and qubits will provide just that. One more thing I am also sure of. When that happens, possibilities will be unthinkable and new world will open wide.

Origin & Genome

Image refs:

zViktor22, YouTube Channel

I read about a man once, and I honestly couldn't remember who he was, but in the nutshell he returned from the tourist trip with tons of photos and when his friends asked him why he didn't upload them online yet, he said that he needed to enriched them with words first, otherwise they would be just a pile of nice colored moments taken in time and saying very little or nothing at all about the trip and all the sites he visited.

The same is with me and the same truth goes with videos as well. Let me be honest about watching other people videos online and browsing private photos uploaded to social media - I am simply not impressed with many of them, because they lack the story. With me, there is no point of uploading a nicely taken photo of you and your friends in front of some historic place or monument and explain nothing about where were you, why were you taking that photo or without saying little something about the place itself. With videos it goes even further - filming a YouTube video of your children playing on the beach is great, but this is your memory only and meaningful only to you and your dearest. In my case, in order to watch such video to the end, I would need something more, like at least a small interesting narrative during the clip or a hint of the plot behind your little film.

With all that in mind, when Viktor wanted to start his own YouTube channel, we both agreed that uploading simple video files taken out of memory cards would be lame and lazy. We didn't actually talked about it, or defined any rules, but I think he understood the creativity of the entire process and the channel properly. Simply put, the uploaded video must be accompanied with the story, filmed with at least several shots and edited. Anyhow, these days is actually sort of the anniversary - the entire full year of his channel. He named it simple - zViktor22 and with every new video file I am proud of him more and more. The future of the channel is surely unknown, but the experience gathered, even in this past single year, is priceless. I am helping a lot, with all the technicality, the best I can, but he deserves the most of the credits. For the occasion, I decided to include in this post, the most of our efforts from the passing year grouped within these playlists.