Wednesday, September 21st, 2022

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Jon Stewart talks with the Crooked Media Guys

I've listened to the Crooked Media podcast folks for a while, on and off, right now I mainly just listen to 'Offline' with Jon Favreau. Enjoyed this conversation a lot.

9/21/2022 10:25 am | | Tags: podcast, us politics, news

Estimates say there are 2.5mil ants for each human living on Earth

9/21/2022 10:33 am | | Tags: science, animals, insects

Next week NASA will attempt to deflect an asteroid with the DART mission

For decades, scientists around the world have been scanning the sky, searching for potentially hazardous asteroids in the vicinity of Earth. And as astronomers discover near-Earth asteroids in ever greater numbers, attention is now turning toward how we might protect Earth should an asteroid on a collision course be discovered. One technique is brute force, and to test it, DART will collide with the 560-foot-wide (170 m) Dimorphos at 7:14 p.m. EDT (2314 GMT) on Sept. 26.

Dimorphos is a member of a binary system with another asteroid, the 2,600-foot-wide (780 m) Didymos, making it the ideal target with which to measure our deflection capabilities. DART's so-called "kinetic impact" will alter Dimorphos' orbit around Didymos, and because the two rocks are gravitationally bound, there's no chance that the impact could send Dimorphos accidentally careening across space.

9/21/2022 10:38 am | | Tags: space, nasa, science

Researchers use fluid dynamics to identify audio and video deepfakes

The first step in differentiating speech produced by humans from speech generated by deepfakes is understanding how to acoustically model the vocal tract. Luckily scientists have techniques to estimate what someone – or some being such as a dinosaur – would sound like based on anatomical measurements of its vocal tract.

We did the reverse. By inverting many of these same techniques, we were able to extract an approximation of a speaker's vocal tract during a segment of speech. This allowed us to effectively peer into the anatomy of the speaker who created the audio sample.

9/21/2022 10:58 am | | Tags: digital security, deepfake

Far more fascinating than it has any right to be

I can still recall as a kid watching fascinatedly as my older brother made a simple Lego car, but he added a working steering wheel that angled the front wheels. It blew my tiny mind. This video did similar to my grown-up mind.

9/21/2022 1:10 pm | | Tags: legos, mechanical engineering

The Chess Drama

I can't escape the chess drama that is going on right now. The current World Champion, Magnus Carlsen, feels another GM was cheating against him and withdrew from the tournament though there is no hard evidence that he did so. In another event this past weekend where they had previously agreed to participate, when they faced off, Magnus made one move and then resigned the match.

Cheating is not new in chess. There was a big hullabaloo a few years ago when Women's GM Anna Rudolf was accused of cheating by using a computer hidden in a bottle of lipstick. And much of the commentary around the ongoing event is a basic acknowledgment that cheating is a real threat given the comparative strength of engines these days. To achieve what Deep Blue did decades ago no longer requires a specially engineered super computer. The modern reality is that most GMs struggle against a chess engine on just modest computer hardware.

Overall, it feels unfortunate that the game is being shown in this light in such a large way. It is definitely also being boosted by the content engine. Every chess YouTuber I follow has been forced to make a video about the drama for fear of losing out on easy revenue. And, to that end, I think some are prolonging the coverage in hopes of continuing to make the money while they can.

9/21/2022 1:20 pm | | Tags: chess

The earliest born photographed person is thought to be Conrad Heyer, born in 1749

Conrad Heyer was born in 1749. He crossed the Delaware with George Washington. And, at the age of 103, he had his photo taken. Not the first photo taken, but believed to be the photo of the earliest born person, ever.

9/21/2022 2:47 pm | | Tags: us history, photography

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