Article Summary 2015-05-29

44 years of UNIX, Time-lapse Photo Mining, Self Healing Buildings, Free NASA Code, Realtime User Monitoring, Email for Apple Watch, Two-thirds of Europeans Have Same Fathers, New Language for FPGAs, Smartphone with Projector, and Light Bulb with Speaker.

“A Repository with 44 Years of Unix Evolution”

This is one of the coolest things I’ve seen for a nerds and geeks alike in a long time–a GitHub repository that traces 44 years of evolution in the UNIX operating system code base from 1972 to 2015–659,000 commits from 850 identified individual contributors.

“Time-lapse Mining from Internet Photos”

These guys mined 86 million public photos then collapsed ones of places into a common viewpoint. From that, they were able to develop time-lapse videos. Their detailed paper is an amazing read.

“The First Building That Can Heal Its Own Cracks With Biological Cement”

Self-healing buildings.

“It Is Rocket Science! NASA Releases Abundance of Free Code”

Open source code from NASA

“How to provide real user monitoring for single-page applications”

Discusses three challenges single-page apps (SPA) face with respect to real user monitoring (RUM) along with a solution path for Angular-based SPAs using Boomerang.

“How To Send a Hidden Version of Your Email That Only Apple Watch Will See”

Discusses how to craft email messages to specifically utilize the capabilities of the Apple Watch.

“A handful of Bronze-Age men could have fathered two thirds of Europeans”

“Genetic study reveals that two-thirds of European men can be traced back to just three individuals who lived between 3,500 and 7,300 years ago.”

Presents even more detail on the research into the Y-chromosomal most recent common ancestor (“Y-MRCA” or “Y-chromosomal Adam”) and the matrilineal most recent common ancestor (“MRCA” or “Mitochondrial Eve”). If you want to have your genetic ancestry documented, there are some services that can give you a genealogical DNA test.

“Enginursday: A New Approach to FPGAs!”

To increase the usability and approachability of Embedded Micro’s Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) “Mojo” development board, they have released a new language named Lucid. Lucid should make customizable hardware as approachable as the Arduino made embedded microcontrollers. Hopefully once things calm down with my bookshelf project, I can start playing with one of these fellows.

“Lenovo’s Projector Phone Beams a Touchscreen Onto Any Surface”

For at least a couple years now, after seeing the projected keyboards and miniature video projectors, I have been saying that what someone needs to do is create a phone that integrates the two. I was specifically thinking of something that could project your view onto a wall at the same time it could project a keyboard. Since this only has one projector it cannot do both yet, but it is certainly getting closer. Not available in the States.

“Sony’s LED Bulb Doubles as a Bluetooth Speaker”

Now if they could only get a variation of this out that supports changing the color like the Philips Hue, one would have the ultimate in mood lighting. But, none the less, this is pretty cool. Also not yet available in the States. (Do you sometimes feel like we’re lagging a bit these days?)

Article Summary 2015-05-21

Usually I send out the articles one-by-one to one or more people who I think might be interested in them. Other times, I post it to my Facebook or LinkedIn feeds. For some, clip them into my Evernote ‘Articles’ notebook so I can reference them later (which also filters out the ads). Finally, others I bookmark on my Pinboard shared browser bookmarks log.

In thinking about all this, what I have been doing is not that effective for the following reasons:

  • I am probably making incorrect assumptions in the filter bubble I inevitably create by only sending some articles to some folks.
  • I create much disjointed work for myself by being inconsistent about distribution.
  • I actually make it harder to find articles when I later need them.
  • I also make it harder to refer someone new to an article I somehow sent to someone else if they might be interested in it.

Today I am trying something new. Periodically I will then publish up to ten of the best in a simple post like this one on my blog which cross posts to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Tumbler. Eventually, I will also send a link to the post out to all individuals who might be interested in at least one of the articles and to a general mailing list folks can sign up for if they always want to receive the post.

Without further ado, here are is the first installment:

“Boeing Patents Sci-Fi Force Field That Deflects Explosive Shock Waves”

Boeing has a way to create a “Laser-Induced Plasma Channel” (LIPC) that can absorb the shock wave produced by an explosion. While it will not divert the projectile itself, it does divert the destructive shockwave. Thank you to Josh Garrett for sharing this article.

“Jeremy England, the Man Who May One-Up Darwin”

It may be alive, but does it have a soul? Thank you to Jerry Horne (blog) for sharing this article.

“Haskell Programmers Are Liars: Or, The Real Way to Generate a List of Primes in Haskell”

Setting the reaction provoking, click-bait, title aside this is a really interesting article on Melissa E. O’Neill‘s correct approach to the Sieve of Eratosthenes implementation in Haskell.

“Ember.js: An Antidote To Your Hype Fatigue”

While certainly written with a bias towards Ember.js, this article does have a wealth of good background information on the wide-range of front-end JavaScript frameworks. It then goes on to provide an overview of Ember.js.

“Wolfram Language Artificial Intelligence: The Image Identification Project”

Being a fan of Stephen Wolfram, I have highlighted many of his articles before. Here is one reviewing their new image recognition efforts. More than just a product announcement, it goes into his background assumptions and development efforts openly discussing the challenges he faced.

“The revolutionary Lily Flying Camera Drone is brought to life thanks to 3D printing”

An amazing drone that follows you around.

“DARPA Aims to Accelerate Memory Function for Skill Learning”

DARPA is looking into “memory replay” (Restoring Active Memory (RAM) Replay) as a way to help folks remember events and learn new skills. Johnny Mnemonic will be just around the corner.

“DIY Lock Cracker”

A very clever “robot” for cracking the Master Lock combination locks. Very cool.

“New Sentry Electronic Fire Safe Opened in Seconds with No Sign of Entry” (video)

And, while we are on the topic of breaking into things, the money starts at 3:55 into the video. It is amazing what rare earth elements can do and how inexpensive they can be. Here is where you can get one of those magnets–195.8# of pull for just $88.99.

“Mad Max: Fury Road”

I have not yet seen it, but there are some interesting positive reviews coming in on what had looked to me to be not much more than a nonsensical action movie. Also, it is getting some interesting press about subverting movie sexism.