Saturday, 30 July 2016

Knight To Meet You

Always read the fine print on 'Help Wanted' posters in the forest.

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(thanks Cora)

How Photo Retouching Worked Before Photoshop

Retouching has been around almost as long as photography itself, but instead of taking place on a computer, as it does now, it originally took place on the negative. Photographers and retouching specialists would scrape their film with knives, draw or paint on top of it, and even paste multiple negatives together to create a single print.

And just like today, photographers and critics of the 19th and 20th centuries debated the ethics of retouching. Public enthusiasm for the practice has risen and fallen in waves, but retouching has been an integral part of photography.

Smart Guy

(via Bad Newspaper)

Electricity Finding The Path Of Least Resistance On A Piece Of Wood

Lichtenberg figures are branching electric discharges that sometimes appear on the surface or in the interior of insulating materials. In this video this phenomenon is seen on a piece of wood.

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Film Dialogue From 2,000 Screenplays, Broken Down By Gender And Age

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Lately, Hollywood has been taking so much shit for rampant sexism and racism. The prevailing theme: white men dominate movie roles. But it's all rhetoric and no data, which gets us nowhere in terms of having an informed discussion.

How many movies are actually about men? What changes by genre, era, or box-office revenue? What circumstances generate more diversity? Polygraph 'Googled' their way to 8,000 screenplays and matched each character's lines to an actor. From there, they compiled the number of words spoken by male and female characters across roughly 2,000 films.

The History Of Chatbots

A chatbot is a computer program which conducts a conversation via auditory or textual methods. Such programs are often designed to convincingly simulate how a human would behave as a conversational partner, thereby passing the Turing test.

Chatbots are typically used in dialog systems for various practical purposes including customer service or information acquisition. Here's an infographic about the history of chatbots, from Eliza in 1966 to Tay in 2016.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Scientists Find Mystery Purple Blob At The Bottom Of Ocean

The unmanned sea rover Nautilus discovered an unidentified purple orb stunning scientists. After sampling, it began to unfold to reveal two distinct lobes. Currently scientists are thinking the purple orb is a pleurobranch, a nudibranch relative.

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The Mystery Of Why You Can't Remember Being A Baby

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You're out to lunch with someone you've known for a few years. Together you've held parties, celebrated birthdays, visited parks and bonded over your mutual love of ice cream. The thing is: you can't remember any of it.

From the most dramatic moment in life - the day of your birth - to first steps, first words, first food, right up to nursery school, most of us can't remember anything of our first few years. How come?

Cappadocia: Man-Made Wonders Combined With Natural Beauty

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In Turkey, a natural sightseeing spot draws the attention of thousands of tourists worldwide every year: Cappadocia. What looks like a man-made science-fiction movie set, is in fact, a unique combination of rocks and hills.

The soft texture of the rocks gives them a smooth appearance, that creates the illusion of sand dunes in certain areas, when viewed from above. Cappadocia is an endless source of entertainment for those who get there, even though just enjoying this incredible place would be enough for some.

How Maritime Law Works

Maritime law governs maritime questions and offenses. It's a body of both domestic law governing maritime activities, and private international law governing the relationships between private entities that operate vessels on the oceans.

It deals with matters including marine commerce, marine navigation, marine salvaging, shipping, sailors, and the transportation of passengers and goods by sea. Maritime law can be confusing, but interesting.

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(via Miss Cellania)

Historical Photos Of The Great Escape From Alcatraz In 1962

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The June 1962 Alcatraz escape may have been the only successful escape from Alcatraz in that facility's history. Inmates Clarence Anglin, John Anglin and Frank Morris tucked papier-mâché heads resembling their own likenesses into their beds, broke out of the main prison building via an unused utility corridor, and departed Alcatraz Island aboard an improvised inflatable raft to an uncertain fate.

Hundreds of leads have been pursued by the FBI and local law enforcement officials in the ensuing years, but no conclusive evidence has ever surfaced favoring the success or failure of the attempt.

From Warhol's Grave To Elvis' Front Door, 10 Museum Webcams To Watch

Some of the greatest wonders of our museums are available 24/7 through online webcams. Webcams can make you a witness as a statue of Lenin comes down in Ukraine, or offer the vantage point of 18th-century philosopher Jeremy Bentham's skeleton as he watches over University College London.

Here are 10 museum webcams that you can tune in to anytime, anywhere, and watch over like a benevolent Big Brother.

The Public Shaming Of England's First Umbrella User

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In the early 1750s, an Englishman by the name of Jonas Hanway, who returned from a trip to France, began carrying an umbrella around the rainy streets of London.

People were outraged. Some bystanders hooted and jeered at Hanway as he passed; others simply stared in shock. Who was this strange man who seemed not to care that he was committing a social sin.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

First Open-Air Hotel Opens In Switzerland

Earlier this month, conceptual artists Frank and Patrik Riklin opened the 'Null Stern Hotel' in Switzerland's Safiental region. It's a hotel in the open air, without walls and a roof. Guests are being served by the establishment's butler.

YouTube link

(thanks Cora)

Albert Einstein's Mind-Melting Thought Experiments That Revolutionized How We Understand Time

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Albert Einstein forever changed the landscape of science by introducing revolutionary concepts that shook our understanding of the physical world. One of Einstein's most defining qualities was his remarkable ability to conceptualize complex scientific ideas by imagining real-life scenarios.

He called these scenarios Gedankenexperiments, which is German for thought experiments. Here are a few thought experiments that demonstrate some of Einstein's most groundbreaking discoveries.

10 Shot Towers That Once Made The World's Bullets

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The little metal shot balls that were once the standard projectile for all manner of guns used to be made using little more than heat and gravity, in tall spires called shot towers. Melted lead would be poured through a funnel at the top of the tower and drip down the length of the tower, naturally forming into little spheres as it fell and cooled.

While bullet manufacturing has gotten more high-tech since the days of the shot tower, you can still find the towers all over the world. Check out 10 of these monolithic reminders of a bygone trade.

10 Fascinating Facts About Egyptian Hieroglyphs

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The elegant and mysterious design of hieroglyphics have captured our imagination for thousands of years. They remained undeciphered and silent for centuries until the Rosetta Stone was discovered in the 18th century, and we could finally hear the voices of the ancient Egyptians.

Here are some interesting facts about Egyptian hieroglyphs covering everything from their early origin to the present day.

Robotic Airship Inspector

See how Lockheed Martin Skunk Works' patented SPIDER (Self-Propelled Instrument for Damage Evaluation and Repair) solves one of the greatest challenges faced by the airship industry.

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A Day In The Life Of A NYC Ice Cream Truck Operator

I hear them bells when they're off, I hear them in my sleep, I hear them when I lay down,' says Victor, an ice cream truck vendor who parks near Williamsburg's East River State Park in New York City.

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(thanks Cora)

The 10 Most Over the Top Limousines

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Limousines have always been a luxury vehicle that is specifically made for excess. However, some limos take it completely beyond the normal standard of lavish and include a downright ridiculous amount of features, amenities, and tech.

Here are ten of the world's most over the top limousines.

(via Neatorama)