The Ancient Art of the Numerati
A guide to practical data mining, collective intelligence, and building recommendation systems
datamining  book  machinelearning  python 
4 days ago
Letterlocking: Intelligencer Simeon Fox’s Dagger-Trap Pleated Letter sent from Venice (1601) - YouTube
An ingenius mechanism for locking a paper letter so the receiver knows if it has been read or not.
letters  security  lock  paper  video 
4 days ago
Orange – Data Mining Fruitful & Fun
Open source machine learning and data visualization for novice and expert. Interactive data analysis workflows with a large toolbox.
datamining  python  machinelearning 
6 days ago
Fifty Years of BASIC, the Language That Made Computers Personal | Time
When it comes to technology, I don’t feel like a grumpy old man. Nearly always, I believe that the best of times is now. But I don’t mind saying this: The world was a better place when almost everybody who used PCs at least dabbled in BASIC.
basic  programming  computers 
15 days ago
The Leitner Box—How to Remember Anything Forever - YouTube
How to make and use a Leitner Box! The Leitner Box is a kind of spaced repetition system; basically, flashcards on steroids. It is one of the fastest, easiest, and most reliable ways to put lots of data into your long-term memory—and chances are, you have everything you need to make one already!
video  memorization  box  indexcards  flashcards 
18 days ago
Why Japan is So Obsessed With Kit Kat
As it turned out, a huge part of Kit Kat’s success story in Japan is due to one fortunate coincidence: Kit Kat sounds similar to the Japanese phrase kitto katsu, which means: “you will surely win”.

Being a common phrase said to students sitting exams, it was an instant ideal marketing opportunity which the company immediately tapped soon after they noticed parents were giving Kit Kats to their children, and friends to each other to express support, usually with hand-written messages. The practice eventually extended beyond exams.

Banking on the instant catchphrase’s success, Nestlé even collaborated with Japan Post to launch the postable Kit Kat. The campaign was a massive hit, resulting in an annual tradition that had people sending Kit Kats to almost half of the country’s 600,000 annual exam-taking students for good luck.

It was just the start of numerous other innovations that would result in the Japanese Kit Kat being a totally unique brand that the rest of the world recognizes.
japan  kitkat  chocolate  exams  luck  food 
19 days ago
If Printed Dictionaries Are History, What Will Children Sit on to Reach the | National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)
But, as anyone who grew up in twentieth-century America knows, many a dictionary stopped a door or flattened autumn leaves between waxed paper. Earlier in the year, flowers had dried within their pages. At Thanksgiving, children unable to reach their turkey sat atop the big Webster’s or Random House. Heaven help the family with too many children and too few dictionaries. Dictionaries were useful objects, but when people weren’t sitting on them or looking things up in them, they were also household ornaments that signified eloquently the social status of their owners.
But now, in the twenty-first century, it’s not clear that dictionaries-as-physical-objects will persist, and, even if they do, surely their cachet will be diminished. Digital dictionaries are practically useless: It would be reckless to stop a door with your laptop, and you can’t raise children to table level by having them sit on your phone.
dictionary  books 
25 days ago
I pulled a 1,500-year-old sword out of a lake | Life and style | The Guardian
I was crawling along the bottom of the lake on my arms and knees, looking for stones to skim, when my hand and knee felt something long and hard buried in the clay and sand. I pulled it out and saw that it was different from the sticks or rocks I usually find. One end had a point, and the other had a handle, so I pointed it up to the sky, put my other hand on my hip and called out, “Daddy, I’ve found a sword!”

I felt like a warrior, but Daddy said I looked like Pippi Longstocking. The sword felt rough and hard, and I got some sticky, icky brown rust on my hands. It started to bend and Daddy splashed up to me, and said I should let him hold it. It was my sword and now he was taking it away! I gave it to him in the end.
sweden  sword  history  archeology 
25 days ago
Donna Strickland's Wikipedia Page and Women Nobel Winners - The Atlantic
The construction of the Wikipedia page feels like a metaphor for a historic award process that has long been criticized for neglecting women in its selection, and for the shortage of women’s stories in the sciences at large. To scroll through the “history” tab of Strickland’s page, where all edits are recorded and tracked, is to witness in real time the recognition of a scientist whose story likely deserved attention long before the Nobel Prize committee called.
wikipedia  woman  science  donnastrickland  nobelprize 
5 weeks ago
Female Nobel prize winner deemed not important enough for Wikipedia entry | Science | The Guardian
“If somebody else thinks something that you don’t believe in, just think they’re wrong and you’re right and keep going,” Strickland told a young scientist at the press conference following the announcement of her win. ”That’s pretty much the way I always think.”
science  donnastrickland 
5 weeks ago
Banksy artwork shreds itself after £1m sale at Sotheby's - BBC News
The framed Girl With Balloon, one of the artist's best known works, was auctioned by Sotheby's in London.

The piece which shows a girl reaching towards a heart-shaped balloon was the final work sold at the auction.

However, moments after the piece went under the hammer, the canvas passed through a shredder that was hidden inside the frame.
banksy  art 
5 weeks ago
Alternative Moons – ViennaPhotoBookAward 2017
42 unique photographic images of moons and cosmic landscapes.
42 brand new discoveries unlike you have ever seen before.
moon  book  photos  pancakes 
7 weeks ago
CTS - conserve the sound
Conserve the sound« is an online museum for vanishing and endangered sounds. The sound of a dial telephone, a walkman, a analog typewriter, a pay phone, a 56k modem, a nuclear power plant or even a cell phone keypad are partially already gone or are about to disappear from our daily life.
sound  history  phone  modem  walkman  typewriter  audio 
7 weeks ago
Great Leap Years - Official site of Stephen Fry
The podcast explores topics ranging from the rise of humankind as the inventor, to the astonishing combination of persistence, investment and inspiration it took to create the Gutenberg Press and the communication technologies that created our world. It tells the story of how our lives have been transformed by a fascinating and compelling mixture of human decision and vision, greed and need.
stephenfry  audio  podcast  inventions  history 
8 weeks ago
Welcome to Botwiki | Botwiki
examples of interesting and creative online bots, and providing tutorials and other resources to folks interested in making them.
bots  wiki 
8 weeks ago
Javascript library to draw nice transit/underground maps
mapping  maps  transport  subway  underground  transit  javascript  via:amcewen 
8 weeks ago
Freeways by Captain Games
"You are a traffic engineer. Draw freeway interchanges. Optimize for efficency and avoid traffic jams."
games  traffic  engineering  roads  via:infovore 
9 weeks ago
At any given time in their lives, people have two dozen regular haunts - Human behaviour
It turns out that someone’s “location capacity”, the number of places which he or she visits regularly, remains constant over periods of months and years. What constitutes a “place” depends on what distance between two places makes them separate. But analysing movement patterns helps illuminate the distinction and the researchers found that the average location capacity was 25. If a new location does make its way into the set of places an individual tends to visit, an old one drops out in response. People do not, in other words, gather places like collector cards. Rather, they cycle through them. Their geographical behaviour is limited and predictable, not footloose and fancy-free.
geography  places 
10 weeks ago
The Vanishing City | DiscoverMagazine.com
Every year around Labor Day weekend, about 75,000 people converge on the Black Rock Desert in Nevada to build a city. Occupying more than 14,000 acres, the pop-up metropolis features distinctive neighborhoods, extensive dining and entertainment, even a small airport. I find no hint of this when I visit the playa, or desert basin, on a sunny afternoon in March. All I see is a flat expanse of white alkaline soil, nearly identical to what pioneers described in their 19th-century journals.

The disappearing act is by design. It’s one of the core attributes of Black Rock City, guided by the tenets of the event for which this temporary metropolis is built: the annual pyrotechnic extravaganza known as Burning Man. Yet the weeklong festival’s leave-no-trace ethos has not stopped archaeologist Carolyn White from studying the city as she would any other vanished civilization. In fact, the cyclicality is one of the qualities that draws her here year after year.
nevada  usa  desert  city  burningman  archeology 
11 weeks ago
The Official CrowBox
The CrowBox is an experimentation platform designed to autonomously train corvids (the family of birds crows belong to). So far we’ve trained captive crows to deposit dropped coins they found on the ground in exchange for peanuts.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcp_FWfYtLY
birds  crows  joshuaklein 
11 weeks ago
Women's Pockets are Inferior.
What do we want? Functional pockets. When do we want it? NOW, but really like several centuries ago.
gender  clothes  pockets 
12 weeks ago
Figures in the Stars
It is innately human to see and use the figures in the night sky. To dream, to tell stories, to navigate, and more. Some groups of relatively bright stars are so distinct that cultures from around the world, separated by vast oceans, have connected them into a constellation in almost the same way. It's our human imagination and cultural history that ascribes wildly different figures and meaning to the shapes though. From kings, to legendary & important animals to mythical gods and beings.
stars  mentalmaps  constellations  sky 
july 2018
How Tree Trunks Are Cut to Produce Wood With Different Appearances and Uses | ArchDaily
The lumber we use to build is extracted from the trunks of more than 2000 tree species worldwide, each with different densities and humidity levels. In addition to these factors, the way in which the trunk is cut establishes the functionality and final characteristics of each wood section. Let's review the most-used cuts.
trees  wood 
july 2018
How can I print more than 9 thumbnails to a page in powerpoint? | PC Review
File > Print, set to print SLIDES (not handouts), then go to LAYOUT and the PAGES PER SHEET pull down menu. Select 16. (you can also select 2, 4, 6 or 9 here and it will put less space between the slides than if you use the "handout" selection)
powerpoint  printing  slides 
july 2018
Below the Surface - Archeologische vondsten Noord/Zuidlijn Amsterdam
Rivers in cities are unlikely archaeological sites. It is not often that a riverbed, let alone one in the middle of a city, is pumped dry and can be systematically examined. The excavations in the Amstel yielded a deluge of finds, some 700,000 in all: a vast array of objects, some broken, some whole, all jumbled together. Damrak and Rokin proved to be extremely rich sites on account of the waste that had been dumped in the river for centuries and the objects accidentally lost in the water. The enormous quantity, great variety and everyday nature of these material remains make them rare sources of urban history. The richly assorted collection covers a vast stretch of time, from long before the emergence of the city right up to the present day. The objects paint a multi-facetted picture of daily life in the city of Amsterdam. Every find is a frozen moment in time, connecting the past and the present. The picture they paint of their era is extremely detailed and yet entirely random due to the chance of objects or remains sinking down into the riverbed and being retrieved from there.
amsterdam  collections  history  netherlands  archeology 
june 2018
What causes the sound of a dripping tap—and how do you stop it?
Using ultra-high-speed cameras and modern audio capture techniques, the researchers, from the University of Cambridge, found that the 'plink, plink' sound produced by a water droplet hitting a liquid surface is caused not by the droplet itself, but by the oscillation of a small bubble of air trapped beneath the water's surface.
water  sound  droplet 
june 2018
The basic requirements for tactile books are related to the age of the children, their disability, their development level and their relevant experience.
In tactile books for the early years it is important to strictly follow certain rules; as the child grows and his or her experience increases it is more permissible to ‘break the rules’ in some circumstances.

Features of the book :
- it must be robust;
- it must have stiff pages (cardboard or fabric) with rounded corners;
- it must have a binding that allows it to open out flat for tactile exploration of each page and to close properly afterwards
- the text must be in both large print (eg 24pt Ariel) and braille
- the text should always be on the same side of the book (ie left or right hand page) and so should the illustrations;
- the dimensions of the pages vary according to the age of the child; a child could start with a book 15 x 15 cms and progress (20 x 20, 25 x 25, 21 x 29.7) as the child grows and his/her exploratory skills develop.
- the number of pages is also related to age; you can start with just a few pages (5 – 6), and gradually increase the number;
- mark the bottom of each page to help the child with the orientation of the book.
- make sure that the details can be easily identifiable;
- leave plenty of space between different items on the page;
- avoid occlusion (items which pass in front of other items and partially hide them);
- respect proportions and avoid the effects of perspective;
- human shapes are best represented from the front, while animal shapes are best shown sideways (with four legs);
- if a character appears more than once in the story, it should keep the same characteristics;
- the thickness of materials glued to the page should be at least 1 mm.
books  touch  children  blindness 
june 2018
McMoon: How the Earliest Images of the Moon Were so Much Better than we Realised – World of Indie
Fifty years ago, 5 unmanned lunar orbiters circled the moon, taking extremely high resolution photos of the surface. They were trying to find the perfect landing site for the Apollo missions. They would be good enough to blow up to 40 x 54ft images that the astronauts would walk across looking for the great spot. After their use, the images were locked away from the public, as at the time they would have revealed the superior technology of the USA’s spy satellite cameras, which the orbiters cameras were designed from. Instead the images from that time were grainy and low resolution, made to be so by NASA.
nasa  moon  space  images 
june 2018
Mr. Rogers's Simple Set of Rules for Talking to Kids - The Atlantic
Per the pamphlet, there were nine steps for translating into Freddish:

1. “State the idea you wish to express as clearly as possible, and in terms preschoolers can understand.” Example: It is dangerous to play in the street. ​​​​​​
2. “Rephrase in a positive manner,” as in It is good to play where it is safe.
3. “Rephrase the idea, bearing in mind that preschoolers cannot yet make subtle distinctions and need to be redirected to authorities they trust.” As in, “Ask your parents where it is safe to play.”
4. “Rephrase your idea to eliminate all elements that could be considered prescriptive, directive, or instructive.” In the example, that’d mean getting rid of “ask”: Your parents will tell you where it is safe to play.
5. “Rephrase any element that suggests certainty.” That’d be “will”: Your parents can tell you where it is safe to play.
6. “Rephrase your idea to eliminate any element that may not apply to all children.” Not all children know their parents, so: Your favorite grown-ups can tell you where it is safe to play.
7. “Add a simple motivational idea that gives preschoolers a reason to follow your advice.” Perhaps: Your favorite grown-ups can tell you where it is safe to play. It is good to listen to them.
8. “Rephrase your new statement, repeating the first step.” “Good” represents a value judgment, so: Your favorite grown-ups can tell you where it is safe to play. It is important to try to listen to them.
9. “Rephrase your idea a final time, relating it to some phase of development a preschooler can understand.” Maybe: Your favorite grown-ups can tell you where it is safe to play. It is important to try to listen to them, and listening is an important part of growing.
language  misterrogers  children 
june 2018
Odločevalce bi morali prepričati rezultati, ne nagrade
Če hočeš neko stvar narediti dobro, jo moraš najprej dobro premisliti. Za 14. rojstni dan sem si zelo želel zračno puško. Oče mi jo je kupil, ampak na kopitu puške mi je prilepil papir, na katerem je pisalo: Miha, trikrat premisli, enkrat sproži. To je zelo globoka misel. Moto mojega življenja je, da ne poskušam takoj odgovoriti na vprašanja, ampak prej vdihnem, in če so kakšna pomembna, ponavadi rečem, da bom odgovoril jutri. Druge poskušam poslušat, ko mi govorijo in premisliti o tem, kar so povedali in jim čez čas odgovoriti. To velja tudi za dejanja. Trikratni premislek te marsikdaj reši nekaterih situacij. Lepo bi bilo, če bi to počelo več ljudi, vendar tega ne moreš, če najprej samega sebe ne prepričaš, da je to pravi način, zato je utvara misliti, da lahko nekoga spremeniš. To je filozofija zena, mindfulnessa, čuječnosti, kot pravimo v Sloveniji. Da se zavedaš sveta okoli sebe, ne samo, da poslušaš, tudi slišiš, ne samo, da gledaš, tudi vidiš.
mihakos  thinking  time 
may 2018
Old Man River - Futility Closet
Because of its importance to the region’s Māori people, New Zealand’s Whanganui River is legally a person, with rights, duties, and liabilities, including the right to be represented in court proceedings.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson said the river will be recognized as a person “in the same way a company is, which will give it rights and interests.”

Gerrard Albert, lead negotiator for the Whanganui iwi (tribe), said, “We have fought to find an approximation in law so that all others can understand that from our perspective treating the river as a living entity is the correct way to approach it, as an indivisible whole, instead of the traditional model for the last 100 years of treating it from a perspective of ownership and management.”

In 2011, residents of Ecuador sued the provincial government of Loja on behalf of the Vilcabama River to stop a road-widening project that was forcing rocks and debris into the watershed. A “rights of nature” provision in Ecuador’s constitution permits people to sue on behalf of an ecosystem. A judge decided in favor of the river, and the municipality had to cancel the project and rehabilitate the area.
river  newzealand  law  nature  environment 
may 2018
I Don’t Know How to Waste Time on the Internet Anymore
"What happened is that the internet stopped being something you went to in order to separate from the real world — from your job and your work and your obligations and responsibilities. It’s not the place you seek to waste time, but the place you go to so that you’ll someday have time to waste. The internet is a utility world for me now. It is efficient and all-encompassing. It is not very much fun."
internet  time 
may 2018
How To Give Great Feedback: The Architect Versus the Critic: | HASTAC
"No architect goes into a critique session without a pencil," he told us."We all want to get this room built, right? So we can't just say what's wrong. We need to contribute to a way forward. How do English professors give critique?"

No one had ever before offered me not just critique--a page of all the things that were wrong, often with rude abbreviations like "awk," but without any alternative suggestion for how to be "un-awk."
feedback  critique  criticism 
may 2018
Games for Sustainability
Welcome to Games for Sustainability where we provide a repository of outcomes from the Center for Behavior, Institutions and the Environment at Arizona State University on the use of experiments to study how people solve collective action problems related to the use of common resources. We used the experimental games in our research, and translated them for use in education and for participatory activities with stakeholders. We provide protocols, data, tutorials and testimonials.
games  sustainability 
may 2018
Binky: The App That Does Nothing - The Atlantic
Binky is an app that does everything an app is expected to do. It’s got posts. It’s got likes. It’s got comments. It’s got the infinitely scrolling timeline found in all social apps, from Facebook to Twitter, Instagram to Snapchat.

I open it and start scrolling. Images of people, foods, and objects appear on and then vanish off the screen. Solar cooker. B.F. Skinner. Shoes. Marmalade. Sports Bra. Michael Jackson. Ganesha. Aurora Borealis. These are “binks,” the name for posts on Binky.

I can “like” a bink by tapping a star, which unleashes an affirming explosion. I can “re-bink” binks, too. I can swipe left to judge them unsavory, Tinder-style, and I can swipe right to signal approval. I am a binker, and I am binking.

There’s just one catch: None of it is real. Binky is a ruse, a Potemkin-Village social network with no people, where the content is fake and feedback disappears into the void. And it might be exactly the thing that smartphone users want—and even need.
socialnetwork  app  phone  technology  nothing 
may 2018
Nice long list of dictionaries and tools and things to help with coming up with names for things. (via Tom Taylor)
names  via:philgyford 
may 2018
How to Prepare a Talk – Deconstruct
Find a room where no one can hear you. Stand up and start talking about your topic to no one, projecting your voice rather than mumbling. Wander around a bit. In short: act like you're on stage.
presentations  speaking  talk 
may 2018
Scientists Still Can't Decide How to Define a Tree - The Atlantic
We think we know what trees are, but they slip through the fingers when we try to define them.
trees  definition  science 
april 2018
The Secret Language of Ships | Hakai Magazine
Not many people have an opportunity to get this close to a container ship. Those who do may see icons that impart important information. For example, those black brackets to the right of the company name indicate where the tugboat is supposed to push.
language  ships  transport  sea  knowledge  shipping 
april 2018
BBC - Travel - Switzerland’s invisible linguistic borders
Röstigraben means literally ‘rösti ditch’ or ‘rösti trench’ (in French, it’s rideau de rösti, or rösti curtain). The term dates to World War I, when Switzerland’s loyalties were divided along linguistic lines. Rösti is a traditional Swiss-German meal consisting of pan-fried potatoes, and, well, more potatoes, sometimes with bacon, onion and cheese. Geographically, the Röstigraben roughly follows the Saane river (Sarine in French). You won’t find it on any map, though. It is a border of the mind, albeit one imprinted on the Swiss mind from a young age.

The cultural divide between Italian-speaking Switzerland and the rest of the country – a divide marked by the so-called Polentagraben – is even sharper. Italian-speakers are a distinct minority, accounting for only 8% of the population and living mostly in the far southern canton of Ticino. “When I first moved here, people told me, ‘Ticino is just like Italy except everything works’, and I think that’s true,” said Paulo Goncalves, a Brazilian academic who has been living in Ticino for the past decade.
switzerland  borders  mentalmaps  language 
april 2018
How long does it take to count to one million?
This counting calculator is based on the number of syllables in every number and counts all the syllables you’d have to pronounce in order to count from one to one million (or other numbers).
math  numbers  counting  million  billion  time 
march 2018
Lego Friends | Maritsa Patrinos @ Seasonal Depression
If you want to appeal to girls, you don’t need to, like… make a whole *separate* line of toys. You just need to add *one* piece.
lego  toys  girls  gender  comic  via:ap 
march 2018
Overview effect - Wikipedia
The overview effect is a cognitive shift in awareness reported by some astronauts and cosmonauts during spaceflight, often while viewing the Earth from orbit or from the lunar surface.

It refers to the experience of seeing firsthand the reality of the Earth in space, which is immediately understood to be a tiny, fragile ball of life, "hanging in the void", shielded and nourished by a paper-thin atmosphere. From space, national boundaries vanish, the conflicts that divide people become less important, and the need to create a planetary society with the united will to protect this "pale blue dot" becomes both obvious and imperative.
psychology  earth  space  bigpicture  astronauts  awareness 
march 2018
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