The weekly recap (2021#17)

This week I’ve seen a lot of stuff in different fields: biology, material science, computer science, tech, art… let’s take a look:

Dig it!

Really interesting read on an experiment that has been in development since 1879. The big question here is: how long can seeds last before not being able to germinate? The answer is more tricky than you might think, because even if today we cannot make something grow, we don’t really know if in some years technology could do it… Anyway, I also liked the mystique going around the experiment, as the number of researches that know the location of the seeds is super small, and they dig out every few years in total secret.

One of the World’s Oldest Science Experiments Comes Up From the Dirt, on The New York Times

Shut up and take my money!

NFTs keep being sent, the planet keeps dying. Now half a million dollars for a meme. What a time to be alive.

The World Knows Her as ‘Disaster Girl.’ She Just Made $500,000 Off the Meme, on The New York Times

Put the glasses on!

Apple keeps doing movements with regard to user security and the data that other companies have access to. However, many people are actively fighting against it with everything they got. While its early to say, everything seems to be going into a good direction, at least when compared to the crazy habits that we adopted during the last decade. Quite interesting topic here, I will definitely follow any updates.

Apple And Tracking: A Story Of Good Guys And Bad Guys, on Forbes

Welcome to the world of… yesterday?

Amazing video of London during the 30s and the 40s, colorized by means of Artificial Inteligence. You can read more about it in the nice article on OpenCulture.


Paint it white!

New advances in fabrication keep providing materials with better and better properties. In this case, some researchers at Purdue University have achieved a material that reflects up to 98.1% of the sunlight it receives. This is pretty cool when you think about it, as having higher albedo keeps things cooler, which is something we are going to need in the near future…

The whitest paint is here – and it’s the coolest. Literally. on purdue.edu

How a good design can push you to new heights: The Power of Video Game HUDs

Mark Brown released a video this week on Game Maker’s Toolkit, his channel on videogame design. This time he talks about the design of the Heads-Up Display (HUD). Something I really enjoyed is they way he describes how the decisions you make on its design affect not only the way players approach the game, but also how they understand or interact with it. I think there is a really cool concept there that transcends to many different platforms. In my case, they way I design figures for a conference presentation or a manuscript affects the way the readers will approach the subject I try to explain, and thinking about it is key to success. It also highlights that depending on the format, you might need to use different approaches to design, as sometimes what really works for a relaxed read does not work at all for a live talk.


And that’s it for the week. Stay safe!

PS: Paddington 2 is now officially the best movie ever done. At last.

The weekly recap (2021#16)

Quite a busy week, but fortunately I still managed to have some time to enjoy really cool stuff.

Lift off!

Just make a small pause and think about this: a couple days ago humanity did its first flight on a different planet. And we did not even were there. Let it sink. I have always been a bit jealous of the generation that lived through the Moon missions, but it seems that we are going to see incredible feats in the following years.

There were some really cool pieces on the Ingenuity helicopter:

Lift off! First flight on Mars launches new way to explore worlds, on nature.com
THE WRIGHT STUFF: FIRST POWERED FLIGHT ON MARS IS A SUCCESS, on hackaday.com

Look at it go!

Really cool article on OpenCulture on how the animation tools in Pixar have evolved through the years. A nice mix between tech and art:

How Pixar’s Movement Animation Became So Realistic: The Technological Breakthroughs Behind the Animation, on Openculture.com

The Times They Are a-Changin’

As we set course for other planets, I think it is time to reflect on the way we are shaping our home. Google released a new feature where you can take a look at some of our planet locations through the last decades, and see how humans have impacted on the landscape. You can take a look at Google Earth (they say they will keep adding info in the future too), and read about it on their blog post.


Long live the 70’s!

This actually happened last week, but I did not realize: Greta Van Fleet has a new album, and its awesome. Late birthday gift! Streaming links: Spotify, Deezer.


And that’s it for the week. Stay safe!

The weekly recap (2021#15)

Crazy things happening in the world this week. The header image of this post (well, the one in the header is a copy) was sold for $1.36 million. This NFT stuff still goes over my head, but seems like is something that will stick around, whether it really makes sense to burn energy this way… anyway, all hail capitalism I guess. There have been quite a lot of news on the topic, if you are interested[1,2,3]


MindPong revisited

Really cool video from P. Nuyujukian, going into all the details of the latest advances shown by Neuralink last week. It really was like watching a movie director’s cut.


Look at that one!

Astonishing collection of science-related images, made by Nature each month


Brace yourselves, they are coming

I knew at some they would stop dancing…

The French army is testing Boston Dynamics’ robot dog Spot in combat scenarios, on theverge.com

The end of paywalls on papers?

It seems we crossed the point of no return in going open-access, but is is not clear at all which is going to be the final model. An interesting debate is ongoing, as many institutions are pushing for making every public research publicly available, but that often interferes with journal publishers. You can read a nice piece on the topic here:

A guide to Plan S: the open-access initiative shaking up science publishing, on nature.com

Technologies that shaped music

Really cool video by Rick Beato on 20 inventions that revolutionized music. While I would have added some (I cannot believe mp3 and microphones did not make into the list!), the video is a nice take on the history of music.


Get out of here, stalker!

The film that keeps on giving. OpenCulture posted this week a video I did not know about on the history behind the movie. Really interesting.

The Story of Stalker, Andrei Tarkovsky’s Troubled (and Even Deadly) Sci-Fi Masterpiece, on openculture.com

And that’s it for the week. Stay safe!

the Weekly recap

Let’s see for how long can I do this section this time… Lots of really cool stuff happening right now to be honest. I hope this short recap is interesting!


Another one bites the dust

This week we found out that Yahoo! Answers is shutting down. Another cool site from an old internet era that goes away… Have fun with delicious, google reader, grooveshark, etc.


Don’t worry, we are not getting out of work soon

This week Fermilab made one of those announcements that the media loves (new physics?). I’ve collected a couple links talking about it that I liked. First one is a nice strip done by @PHDcomics that was published here. The Physics Girl also made a nice video talking about the topic, if you prefer that medium:


Out-nerd me now, Randall!

The week started with a super cool strip on the mRNA vaccines from xkcd. SMBC however, stepped up the game talking about quantum computing.


Neuralink keeps pushing forward

A new bunch of results from one of the coolest companies I know was published this week. Brain-to-machine interfaces are getting closer and closer, and that’s a good thing. There is a super cool blog post with more info on the experiments in the Neuralink blog.


Humour in science articles

A nice piece of text on Nature Review Physics on funny article titles.

Fantastic titles and where to find them, on Nat Rev Phys 3, 225 (2021).

Interesting insights on problem solving

A very cool News and Views on Nature about how people try to solve problems. Seems like the mantra “less is more” is not hardwired to our brains at all:

Adding is favoured over subtracting in problem solving, on Nature 592, 189-190 (2021).

Take these extra fps buddy

A very interesting text on hackaday about a technology I had never heard about: using machine learning tools to upscale videogames either spatially or temporally (and thus gaining resolution or frames per second). Really nice concept, as it seems that is should be way more efficient to do the training for each videogame in a super computer, and then millions of players could run it while consuming much less energy. The same can apply to streaming services, etc. Really shows how compression techniques leak to every aspect of our world today.

AI UPSCALING AND THE FUTURE OF CONTENT DELIVERY, on hackaday.com

And that’s it for the week. See you soon!

Weekly recap (29/04/2018)

This week we have a lot of interesting stuff:

Observing the cell in its native state: Imaging subcellular dynamics in multicellular organisms

Adaptive Optics + Light Sheet Microscopy to see living cells inside the body of a Zebra fish (the favorite fish of biologists!). Really impressive images overcoming scattering caused by tissue. You can read more about the paper on Nature and/or Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

 


The Feynmann Lectures on Physics online

I just read on OpenCulture that The Feynmann Lectures on Physics have been made available online. Until now, only the first part was published, but now you can also find volumes 2 and 3. Time to reread the classics…


Imaging Without Lenses

An interesting text appeared this week in American Scientist covering some aspects of the coming symbiosis between optics, computation and electronics. We are already able to overcome optical resolution, obtain phase information, or even imaging without using traditional optical elements, such as lenses. What’s coming next?


All-Optical Machine Learning Using Diffractive Deep Neural Networks

A very nice paper appeared on arXiv this week.

Xing Lin, Yair Rivenson, Nezih T. Yardimci, Muhammed Veli, Mona Jarrahi, Aydogan Ozcan

We introduce an all-optical Diffractive Deep Neural Network (D2NN) architecture that can learn to implement various functions after deep learning-based design of passive diffractive layers that work collectively. We experimentally demonstrated the success of this framework by creating 3D-printed D2NNs that learned to implement handwritten digit classification and the function of an imaging lens at terahertz spectrum. With the existing plethora of 3D-printing and other lithographic fabrication methods as well as spatial-light-modulators, this all-optical deep learning framework can perform, at the speed of light, various complex functions that computer-based neural networks can implement, and will find applications in all-optical image analysis, feature detection and object classification, also enabling new camera designs and optical components that can learn to perform unique tasks using D2NNs.

Imagine if Fourier Transforms were discovered before lenses, and then some day someone comes up with just a piece of glass and says “this can make the computations of FT at the speed of light”. Very cool read.


OPEN SPIN MICROSCOPY

I just stumbled upon this project while reading Lab on the Cheap. Seems like a very good resource if you plan to build a light-sheet microscope and do not wanna spend $$$$ on Thorlabs.


Artificial Inteligence kits from Google, updated edition

Last year, AIY Projects launched to give makers the power to build AI into their projects with two do-it-yourself kits. We’re seeing continued demand for the kits, especially from the STEM audience where parents and teachers alike have found the products to be great tools for the classroom. The changing nature of work in the future means students may have jobs that haven’t yet been imagined, and we know that computer science skills, like analytical thinking and creative problem solving, will be crucial.

We’re taking the first of many steps to help educators integrate AIY into STEM lesson plans and help prepare students for the challenges of the future by launching a new version of our AIY kits. The Voice Kit lets you build a voice controlled speaker, while the Vision Kit lets you build a camera that learns to recognize people and objects (check it out here). The new kits make getting started a little easier with clearer instructions, a new app and all the parts in one box.

To make setup easier, both kits have been redesigned to work with the new Raspberry Pi Zero WH, which comes included in the box, along with the USB connector cable and pre-provisioned SD card. Now users no longer need to download the software image and can get running faster. The updated AIY Vision Kit v1.1 also includes the Raspberry Pi Camera v2.

Looking forward to see the price tag and the date they become available.

The week in papers (22/04/18)

As a way to keep posts going, I am starting a short recap about interesting papers being published (or being discovered) every now and then. Probably I will write longer posts about some of them in the future.

Let’s get this thing going:

Two papers using ‘centroid estimation‘ to retrieve interesting information:

Extract voice information using high-speed camera

Mariko AkutsuYasuhiro Oikawa, and Yoshio Yamasaki, at The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America