Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Prefab Home That Can Withstand A Category 3 Hurricane

Business Insider reports: [edited]

Tropical storms are becoming more common along the Dutch Coast When winds are particularly strong, they can wreak havoc on homes and other structures.

In preparation for future storms, Borren Staalenhoef Architecten BV bna has designed a house that can resist Category 3 hurricanes. The home's rounded roof and sturdy materials help it withstand powerful wind speeds. The house was constructed above sea level as well, helping it avoid the risk of flooding.

A construction crew assembled the prefab house in just two days in Vlieland, Netherlands.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Google Release Bristlecone Quantum Processor

TechCrunch reports: [edited]

Teams at Google, Microsoft, Intel, IBM and various startups and academic labs are racing to become the first to achieve quantum supremacy – the point where a quantum computer can run certain algorithms faster than a conventional version.

The purpose of Bristlecone, Google says, it to provide its researchers with a testbed “for research into system error rates and scalability of our qubit technology, as well as applications in quantum simulation, optimisation, and machine learning.”

One of the issues that quantum computers have to contend with is error rates. Quantum computers typically run at extremely low temperatures and are shielded from the environment because quantum bits are highly unstable and any 'noise' can lead to errors.

Because of this, the qubits in modern quantum processors (the quantum computing versions of 'bits') are often a combination of numerous bits to help account for potential errors. Another limiting factor is that most of these systems can only preserve their state for microseconds.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Future Fonts reports: [edited]

Future Fonts is a new marketplace for typefaces in progress, as well as a community of designers who create and use typefaces. It’s a way to gain access to interesting typographic styles sooner, and help fund the long process type designers undertake.

Future Fonts is a collection of brand new typefaces that designers are working on, and will be continuing to update. This platform encourages designers to release workable versions of their typeface throughout the process, similar to how software versions are released. This makes new styles available sooner and helps fund the long and expensive, creative process.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

London - Somerset - London, 25 & 26-02-18

London to Somerset
My Beloved Monster - Eels
You'll Never Again Be Mine - Levon Helm
Wham Bam Thank You Mam - The Small Faces
Halloween On The Barbary Coast - The Flaming Lips
Videotheque - Dollar
Pop Musik - M
Who's Stopping You? - Semisonic
As The Years Go Passing By - Otis Rush
Dweller By A Dark Stream - Bruce Cockburn
The Mayor of Candor Lied - Martyn Joseph
Solitary Man - Neil Diamond
Caterwaul (Non-Album Version) - Ryan Adams
Nothing Matters When We're Dancing - The Magnetic Fields
The Little Shoemaker - The Michael Twins
Responsibility (live) - Steve Forbert
Elijah - Rich Mullins
Chimes - North Sea Radio Orchestra
Since I've Been Loving You - Led Zeppelin
If You Just Keep Still - Mahalia Jackson
Hostage-O - Warren Zevon
Here Today - The Beach Boys
Chinese Bakery - The Auteurs
Evergreen - Matthew Sweet
Sacrifice - Elton John
Michelangelo - Emmylou Harris
Bricks & Mortar [John Peel Session - 19/07/1977] - The Jam
The Last Time - Talk Talk
Tonight, I'll Be Staying Here With You - Bob Dylan & The Rolling Thunder Revue
The Whole Of The Moon - The Waterboys
Brompton Oratory - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Guns & Dolls - Chris Whitley
Standing On Tiptoe - Martyn Joseph
After the Glow - Bill Mallonee
Me Encontraras - Pedro Conga
Union Sundown - Bob Dylan
Whole New You - Shawn Colvin
Brontosaurus - The Move
Burned By The Sun - Beulah
I'll Say I'm Sorry Now - Shawn Colvin
Working Girls (BBC Session) - Deaf School
Cherry-Coloured Funk - Cocteau Twins
Round Of Blues - Shawn Colvin

Somerset to London
Summer And Lighting - Electric Light Orchestra
La Tristesse Durera (Scream To A Sigh) - Manic Street Preachers
Gone Again - Indigo Girls
Tug Of War - Paul McCartney
Electro-Shock Blues - Eels
Rush Hour (Fonzerelli Hot & Sexy Remix) - SJB Feat. Jane Wiedlin
El Pussy Cat - Roland Alphonso
Blue Moon - Mud
Anyone For Tennis - Cream
Spin Around - Josie & The Pussycats
Strangelanguage - Charlie Peacock
Jump Up And Down - Helen Love
Haunting Me - Mary Lee's Corvette
Venus And Mars / Rockshow (Single Edit) - Paul McCartney & Wings
Brooklyn Roads - Neil Diamond
The Denial Twist - The White Stripes
Honestly OK - Dido
Touch Me, Touch Me - Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich
Sweetheart Come - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Feed The Enemy - Magazine
Hang Onto The Night - XTC
I Don't Like Mondays - Boomtown Rats
Sprout & The Bean - Joanna Newsom
Röyksopp's Night Out - Royksopp
Distant Smile - Ultravox
Rachael - Buffalo Tom
Standin In The Rain - Electric Light Orchestra
Elizabeth My Dear - The Stone Roses
Son Of A Preacher Man - Dusty Springfield
What'd I Say - Ray Charles
Storybook Children - Lee Hazlewood & Nancy Sinatra
(Nothing But) Blood - This Mortal Coil
Janine - David Bowie
Touch Me - The Doors
Capaldi's Cafe - Deaf School
A Message To You Rudy - The Specials Featuring Rico
Pontiac to Home Girl - Thea Gilmore
Mama Look Deh - The Pioneers
Hard Times - Syd Straw
More Than You'll Ever Know - Wheat
The Long Division - Elvis Costello & Burt Bacharach
Bring It Down To Jelly Roll - John Fogerty
Got Me Under Pressure - ZZ Top
If You Want Me To Stay - Ronny

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Free Font - D-Din

Font Squirrel reports: [edited]

DIN 1451 is a sans-serif typeface that is widely used for traffic, administrative and technical applications.

Datto commissioned Monotype to create D-Din and has allowed it to be open sourced under a SIL OFL v1.1 license.

It is available in 8 different styles, including italic and condensed versions.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Oxford Comma Worth $5 Million

New York Times reports: [edited]

Ending a case that electrified punctuation pedants, Oakhurst Dairy settled a $5 million overtime dispute with its drivers that hinged on the lack of an Oxford comma in state law.

The case began in 2014, when three truck drivers sued the dairy for what they said was four years’ worth of overtime pay they had been denied. Maine law requires time-and-a-half pay for each hour worked after 40 hours, but it carved out exemptions for:

‘The canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution of:

(1) Agricultural produce;
(2) Meat and fish products; and
(3) Perishable foods.’

What followed the last comma in the first sentence was the crux of the matter: ‘packing for shipment or distribution of’. The court ruled that it was not clear whether the law exempted the distribution of the three categories that followed, or if it exempted packing for the shipment or distribution of them.

Had there been a comma after ‘shipment’ the meaning would have been clear.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Over 40s Should Lift Weights, Eat More Protein

New York Times reports: [edited]

People who would like to become physically stronger should start with weight training and add protein to their diets, according to a recent scientific review.

The review finds that eating more protein than the amounts currently recommended can significantly augment the effects of lifting weights, especially for the over 40s.

The sweet spot for protein intake turned out to be about 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Historical Movie Posters Available Online

Harry Ransom Center reports: [edited]

The Movie Poster Collection at the Harry Ransom Center encompasses over 10,000 posters and spans from when the film industry was just beginning to compete with vaudeville acts in the 1920s to the rise of the modern megaplex and drive-in theaters in the 1970s. The sizes range from that of a small window card to that of a billboard.

The movie posters collection is currently part of an ambitious digitisation project. Each of the 10,000 posters is being photographed, with the resulting image linked to searchable metadata, and the image made available to download.

To browse the growing collection click here

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

milliDelta Robot

Wyss Institute reports: [edited]

Delta robots are deployed in many industrial processes, including pick-and-place assemblies, machining, welding and food packaging. Starting with the first version developed in the 1980s by Reymond Clavel to place chocolate pralines in their packages, Delta robots use three individually controlled and lightweight arms that guide a platform to move fast and accurately in three directions.

Over time, roboticists have designed smaller and smaller Delta robots, but shrinking them to the millimeter scale has proven fruitless.

A new design, the milliDelta robot, developed by Robert Wood’s team at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) overcomes this miniaturisation challenge. In 2011, inspired by pop-up books and origami, Wood’s team developed a micro-fabrication approach that enables the assembly of robots from flat sheets of composite materials.

Pop-up MEMS (short for 'microelectromechanical systems') manufacturing has since been used for the construction of dynamic centimetre-scale machines that can walk, or, as in the case of the RoboBee, can fly. In their new study, the researchers applied their approach to develop a Delta robot measuring 15 x 15 x 20mm.

Putting the milliDelta’s potential for micromanipulations to a first test, the researchers explored their robot as a hand tremor-cancelling device. “We first mapped the paths that the tip of a toothpick circumscribed when held by an individual, computed those, and fed them into the milliDelta robot, which was able to match and cancel them out,” said co-first author Fatma Zeynep Temel. The researchers think that specialised milliDelta robots could either be added on to existing robotic devices, or be developed as standalone devices, for example, platforms for the manipulation of cells in research and clinical laboratories.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Western Digital 1TB USB-C Flash Drive

Digital Photography Review reports: [edited]

Western Digital has introduced what it claims to be the world's smallest 1TB USB-C flash drive. No release date or price available.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Self-healing, Cheap, Artificial Muscles

Newsweek reports: [edited]

Scientists have created nimble robotic muscles as strong as an elephant and as bendy as an octopus. These soft but powerful new artificial muscles can sense their own movements and self-heal from electrical damage. What’s more, they cost only 10 cents to make.

The University of Colorado Boulder team filled elastic pouches with vegetable oil and hydrogel electrodes. When electricity is applied, the oil around the electrodes spasms. This pulls on the electrodes, making the whole artificial muscle contract and release in milliseconds. These movements can beat the speed of human muscle reactions.

The team calls the flexible muscles “Hydraulically-amplified Self-healing Electrostatic” actuators, or HASEL actuators.

Using a layer of insulating liquid also allows the muscles to heal from electrical damage. This gives them an advantage over other “soft robotic” actuators that have a solid insulating layer.

Just like human muscles, the actuators can sense environmental input. The electrical components create a kind of capacitor that stores potential energy according to the stretch of the actuator. This can be measured to figure out the strain of the muscle.

While the super-strength muscles can be stronger, faster and more flexible than our own, they are not perfect. At present, the powerful muscles are held back by their thirst for electricity.

Acome explains: "The high voltage required for operation is a challenge for moving forward. However, we are already working on solving that problem and have designed devices in the lab that operate with a fifth of the voltage used in this paper."

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

iPhone X - First Thoughts

I recently upgraded from an iPhone 6s Plus to an iPhone X. Early impressions follow…

– Feels great in the hand compared to the 6s Plus, it seems smaller and lighter than the 14g and removal of top/bottom bezels would suggest.

– Face ID works as advertised, reliable and 'tap screen and swipe up from bottom edge to wake' is more elegant than clicking a home button.

– It is SO fast. Everything happens in real time, something you forget about until you use an older phone.

– The screen is beautiful, colours are subtle and yet clearly visible in bright light. Again, you notice it when you use another phone, when the colours look garish in comparison. It also seems to shrug off dirt and grease more effectively.

– The camera is excellent, and the 'artificial bokeh/studio effects' are useful for snap shots. When used with Adobe Lightroom (using RAW images) the results are incrementally better than the images from the 6s Plus.

– The £1,000 cost is often criticised, but as an item that I use regularly, 365 days a year for a vast range of tasks, and given that most of my iPhones have lasted between 2 and 3 years between upgrades and still have a saleable value, the approx. £1 per day it is costing me seems very reasonable.

– Wireless charging is one of those things you start out thinking 'Why do i need this?', and quickly move to 'Using wires to charge stuff is such a pain'.

– I know it is new, but the battery life is better than any previous iPhone I've used.

– The built-in speakers' sound quality has been significantly improved.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

London - Somerset - London, 27 & 28-12-17

London to Somerset, 27-12-17
Trash - New York Dolls
Can't Do Without You - Caribou
Telegram Sam - T.Rex
The Lion Sleeps Tonight - Tokens
I'M Still Standing - Elton John
Fell In Love With A Girl - The White Stripes
Lean on Me (Ah-li-ayo) - Red Box
Dancing In The Moonlight - Toploader
I'm Gonna Make You Love Me - Diana Ross & The Supremes & The Temptations
These Boots Are Made For Walkin' - Nancy Sinatra
Rip It Up - Orange Juice
Waiting For Superman - Nightcore
No One Knows - Queens of the Stone Age
Barbados - Typically Tropical
Top Of The World - The Carpenters
Are You Ready for Love - Elton John
I Kissed A Girl - Jill Sobule
The Lion Sleeps Tonight - Robert John
Summer In The City - The Lovin' Spoonful
New Rules - Dua Lipa
Paper Romance - Groove Armada
Handsfree (If You Hold My Hand) [Radio Edit] - Sonny J
Looks, Looks, Looks - Sparks
Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) [Steve Angello Remix Edit] - Eurythmics
I Say A Little Prayer - Aretha Franklin
Take Me Away - Christina Vidal
Respectable - Mel & Kim
Ridin' - Chamillionaire Feat. Krazie Bone
Play House - Afrobeta
Ghostbusters - Ray Parker Jr
Happy Together - Simple Plan
Don't Phunk With My Heart - The Black Eyed Peas
Dancing On A Saturday Night - Barry Blue
Rollin' (Ballad of Big and Rich) - Big & Rich
I Will Never Let You Down - Rita Ora
I Want To Break Free [2011 Remaster] - Queen
Astounded (feat. Curtis Mayfield) - Bran Van 3000
More More More - Andrea True Connection
New Sensation - INXS
No Promises - Cheat Codes feat. Demi Lovato
Chippy Tea (2009 Version) - The Lancashire Hotpots
Legs - ZZ Top
Say Hello, Wave Goodbye - Soft Cell
Breakfast At Tiffany's - Deep Blue Something
Wild Wild Life - Talking Heads
Jackie - Scott Walker
I Dare You - The xx
What A Wonderful World - Joey Ramone
Magic - Pilot
Always - Erasure
Cuddly Toy - Roachford
Summer Of '69 - Bryan Adams
Girl Anachronism - The Dresden Dolls
Get Over You - Sophie Ellis-Bextor
Raspberry Beret (Extended 12" Version) - Prince & The Revolution
Don't Turn Around - Ace Of Base

Somerset to London, 28-12-17
Beauty Queen - Lash
Sequestered In Memphis - The Hold Steady
Raindrops - Basement Jaxx
Two Doors Down - Mystery Jets
Surburban Homeboy - Sparks
She's So Modern - The Boomtown Rats
Me No Pop I - Coati Mundi
North American Scum (Radio Edit) - LCD Soundsystem
Don't Go Breaking My Heart - Elton John & Kiki Dee
Solid Gold Easy Action - T.Rex
Number One Song In Heaven - Sparks
Sailing On The Seven Seas - Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark
Crocodile Rock - Elton John
Chantilly Lace - The Big Bopper
What A Way To End It All - Deaf School
Thunder In My Heart - Leo Sayer
Three Steps To Heaven - Showaddywaddy
1-800-273-8255 - Logic feat. Alessia Cara & Khalid
You Were Right - Badly Drawn Boy
Metal Guru - T.Rex
Shine - Aswad
Sugar - Nightcore
We Were Beautiful - Belle and Sebastian
Sweet Like Chocolate - Shanks & Bigfoot
Don't You Want Me - The Human League
Down In Mexico - The Coasters
War - Edwin Starr
This Town Ain't Big Enough For Both Of Us - Sparks
Beans For Breakfast - Johnny Cash
Sweet Dreams - Eurythmics
Ride A White Swan - T.Rex
Kiss The Bride - Elton John
Hi Jo Hi - Deaf School
Up Around The Bend - Creedence Clearwater Revival
My Number - Foals
Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go - Wham!
Town Called Malice - The Jam
White Boy - James
Happy Talk - Captain Sensible
Jet - Paul McCartney & Wings
Funny Funny - Sweet
Crying At the Discoteque (Radio Edit) - Alcazar
Life In A Northern Town - The Dream Academy
Girls & Boys (single) - Blur
Band On The Run - Paul McCartney & Wings
Right Place Wrong Time - Dr. John
C'mon Everybody - Eddie Cochran
Little Does She Know - Kursaal Flyers

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

iMac Pro

The Verge reports: [edited]

The iMac Pro is available. But for most people, it's a better idea to covet this machine than it is to actually acquire it. It starts at £4,899 and configuring its various options will rocket the price up from there.

The iMac Pro features Intel Xeon W-class processors with 8, 10, 14, or 18 cores. You can also choose between two Radeon Pro Vega graphics options.

It comes with four Thunderbolt/USB-C ports, four USB-A ports, 10Gb Ethernet, an SDXC card slot that supports UHS-II speeds, and a headphone jack. It has the same screen as the current 27-inch iMac Retina 5K.

The iMac Pro also has the usual complement of RAM and storage options — and the opportunity to get as much as 128GB of RAM. Apple claims that the entire system has been optimised so the iMac Pro will perform better than a custom-built workstation using the same components.

Much of that integration comes thanks to new, custom silicon that Apple is calling the T2. It's an integrated system that handles a ton of the deep computer controls that are usually handled by disparate parts of the motherboard. It handles audio, the image processing for the upgraded 1080p camera, and other system management functions. It also acts as a more powerful SSD controller, handling the computing load of file encryption directly rather than having it bog down your main processor.