Shared posts

23 Jan 14:38

"Kanyon" and the North American "Pole of Inaccessibility"

by Minnesotastan
Andreas Aronsson

Huhoh... an underwater nuclear torpedo sounds scary AF yo...

A "pole of inaccessibility" is a location that is most remote from access points.  For continents those poles are at the furthest point from any ocean or sea.  The map above shows the location for North America.
The location of the North American POI was determined to be at the northern section of Bennett County of South Dakota, about 6 km SW from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and 25 km SE from the Badlands National Park.
For the other poles (Eurasia, South America etc) visit the Wikipedia link or this excellent article (whence the map).

The reason I looked this up is that today I learned that the Russians are developing a "doomsday torpedo," dubbed "Kanyon."
Kanyon is reportedly a very long range autonomous underwater vehicle that has a range 6,200 miles, a maximum depth of 3,280 feet, and a speed of 100 knots according to claims in leaked Russian documents.

But what really makes Kanyon nightmare fuel is the drone torpedo's payload: a 100-megaton thermonuclear weapon. By way of comparison, the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima was 16 kilotons, or the equivalent of 16,000 tons of TNT. Kanyon’s nuke would be the equivalent of 100,000,000 tons of TNT...

Kanyon is designed to attack coastal areas, destroying cities, naval bases, and ports. The mega-bomb would also generate an artificial tsunami that would surge inland, spreading radioactive contamination with the advancing water. To make matters worse there are reports the warhead is “salted” with the radioactive isotope Cobalt-60. Contaminated areas would be off-limits to humanity for up to 100 years...

Kanyon is designed to get around American ballistic missile defenses, primarily the Ground-Based Interceptor missiles based in Alaska and California.
You have to admit this is a fiendishly clever way to bypass the missile defenses.

And since the Kanyon wouldn't be deployed to impact southern Hudson Bay, the pole of inaccessibility would shift more toward Minnesota and Wisconsin. 
19 Jun 19:09

Glymphatic system discovered

by Minnesotastan
Andreas Aronsson

Well... this is interesting.

That's not a typo.  It's a new anatomical system.
Kari Alitalo had studied lymphatic vessels for more than two decades. So he knew that this network, which carries immune cells throughout the body and removes waste and toxins, didn’t extend into the brain: This had been accepted wisdom for more than 300 years. “Nobody questioned that it stopped at the brain,” says Alitalo, a scientist at the University of Helsinki in Finland...

But when Alitalo and Aspelund repeated the experiment, they got the same result. It seemed that the lymphatic vessels extended to the brain after all. This was surprising, to say the least: In the 21st century, major findings involving basic human anatomy are rare...

Researchers have identified two networks: the vessels that lead into and surround the brain, and those within the brain itself. The first is known as the lymphatic system for the brain, while the latter is called the glymphatic system. The “g” added to “lymphatic” refers to glia, the kind of neuron that makes up the lymphatic vessels in the brain. The glymphatic vessels carry cerebrospinal fluid and immune cells into the brain and remove cellular trash from it. Alitalo, Nedergaard, Kipnis and others have found evidence that when the systems malfunction, the brain can become clogged with toxins and suffused with inflammatory immune cells.

Over decades, this process may play a key role in Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative illnesses, research suggests. “This is a revolutionary finding,” Nedergaard says. “This system plays a huge role in the health of the brain.”..

One key to glymphatic performance seems to be sleep. Nedergaard has shown that at least in mice, the system processes twice as much fluid during sleep as it does during wakefulness. She and her colleagues focused on amyloid beta; they found that the lymphatic system removed much more of the protein when the animals were asleep than when they were awake. She suggests that over time, sleep dysfunction may contribute to Alzheimer’s and perhaps other brain illnesses. “You only clean your brain when you’re sleeping,” she says. “This is probably an important reason that we sleep. You need time off from consciousness to do the housekeeping.” 
Further details at The Washington Post.  Absolutely fascinating.
12 Mar 15:14


Andreas Aronsson

This is my reality, our reality? Are we doomed? Does doom get announced on social media? Uuuh...

[*disables social networking accounts*] [*social isolation increases*] Wait, why does this ALSO feel bad?
12 Mar 15:08

Duck Hunting by Valentine Dubinin

by Brad
Andreas Aronsson

Well this was actually quite impressive.

Russian cartoonist Valentine Dubinin illustrated this unique portrait.  It depicts a duck hunter in the water getting ready to fire at a duck desperately attempting to flee the scene.  The hunter’s dog can be seen in the lower right-hand corner of the image, possibly ready to retrieve the duck if the hunter lands a successful shot.

When you turn this image upside down, an entirely different scene is presented.  The hunter with the gun transforms into an angry duck swooping down at the hunter’s dog swimming in the water (with a concerned look on his face).

12 Mar 14:02

Donald Trump may have dyslexia

by Minnesotastan
Andreas Aronsson

Well, sure makes sense...

This video presents a very interesting proposition: that Donald Trump has difficulty reading.   He has admitted - publicly and unabashedly - that he "doesn't" read (books, reports, briefings) and prefers to get his information from television.  Examples are presented of him appearing to have problems reading when presented with documents during court testimony and public signings.

I think it's unfortunate that the video title questions whether Trump "knows how" to read.  The problem, presuming it exists, would be a reading disability rather than a lack of knowledge of how to read.  It would also explain his famously low-reading-level speech as being easier to memorize or to read off a teleprompter. 

Dyslexia does not preclude advancement or competence in professions.  Wikipedia's List of people diagnosed with dyslexia is long and impressive, including Alexander Graham Bell, Richard Branson, Lewis Carroll, Thomas Edison, David Rockefeller and many others. 

If he is dyslexic, he really ought to come out and say so, and tell his staff that that is why he has avoided the morning briefings, and make arrangements for information to be presented to him in other ways.  A public announcement would probably garner a measure of sympathy and perhaps some improved tolerance for his shenanigans.
18 Jan 21:23

Ransomware taken to the next level

by Minnesotastan
Andreas Aronsson

Good thing I'm no longer working at the place where we used MongoDB for a Facebook-like social network. I hope that project died. I'm afraid to look.

Krebs on Security reports that now paying ransom to cybercriminals does not ensure that the database will be restored:
Tens of thousands of personal and possibly proprietary databases that were left accessible to the public online have just been wiped from the Internet, replaced with ransom notes demanding payment for the return of the files. Adding insult to injury, it appears that virtually none of the victims who have paid the ransom have gotten their files back because multiple fraudsters are now wise to the extortion attempts and are competing to replace each other’s ransom notes.

At the eye of this developing data destruction maelstrom is an online database platform called MongoDB. Tens of thousands of organizations use MongoDB to store data, but it is easy to misconfigure and leave the database exposed online. If installed on a server with the default settings, for example, MongoDB allows anyone to browse the databases, download them, or even write over them and delete them...

Merrigan and Gevers are maintaining a public Google Drive document (read-only) that is tracking the various victims and ransom demands. Merrigan said it appears that at least 29,000 MongoDB databases that were previously published online are now erased. Worse, hardly anyone who’s paid the ransom demands has yet received their files back...

For now, Merrigan is advising victims not to pay the ransom. He encouraged those inclined to do so anyway to demand “proof of life” from the extortionists — i.e., request that they share one or two of the deleted files to prove that they can restore the entire cache.
What an unholy hell of a situation.
04 Dec 18:15

THeMIS ADDER weaponized UGV aces first live fire tests

by Michael Irving
Andreas Aronsson

So... keep an eye out for robots killing your family.

The THeMIS ADDER is designed to support or eventually replace ground troops in the battlefield

After unveiling it at the Singapore Airshow back in February, Milrem and ST Kinetics have conducted the first live fire tests of their weaponized unmanned ground vehicle (UGV), the THeMIS ADDER. Armed with a heavy machine gun, the UGV reportedly aced the tests, paving the way for robots that may eventually be able to support or even replace ground troops on the battlefield.

.. Continue Reading THeMIS ADDER weaponized UGV aces first live fire tests

Category: Military

Tags: Related Articles:
26 Nov 23:03

Let's Encrypt Everything

by Jeff Atwood
Andreas Aronsson

HTTPS is the shit, definitely, lets watch this video then...

I'll admit I was late to the HTTPS party.

But post Snowden, and particularly after the result of the last election here in the US, it's clear that everything on the web should be encrypted by default.


  1. You have an unalienable right to privacy, both in the real world and online. And without HTTPS you have zero online privacy – from anyone else on your WiFi, from your network provider, from website operators, from large companies, from the government.

  2. The performance penalty of HTTPS is gone, in fact, HTTPS arguably performs better than HTTP on modern devices.

  3. Using HTTPS means nobody can tamper with the content in your web browser. This was a bit of an abstract concern five years ago, but these days, there are more and more instances of upstream providers actively mucking with the data that passes through their pipes. For example, if Comcast detects you have a copyright strike, they'll insert banners into your web contentall your web content! And that's what the good guy scenario looks like – or at least a corporation trying to follow the rules. Imagine what it looks like when someone, or some large company, decides the rules don't apply to them?

So, how do you as an end user "use" encryption on the web? Mostly, you lobby for the websites you use regularly to adopt it. And it's working. In the last year, the use of HTTPS by default on websites has doubled.

Browsers can help, too. By January 2017, Google Chrome will show this alert in the UI when a login or credit card form is displayed on an unencrypted connection:

Additionally, Google is throwing their considerable weight behind this effort by ranking non-encrypted websites lower in search results.

But there's another essential part required for encryption to work on any websites – the HTTPS certificate. Historically these certificates have been issued by certificate authorities, and they were at least $30 per year per website, sometimes hundreds of dollars per year. Without that required cash each year, without the SSL certificate that you must re-purchase every year in perpetuity – you can't encrypt anything.

That is, until Let's Encrypt arrived on the scene.

Let's Encrypt is a 501.3(c)(3) non-profit organization supported by the Linux Foundation. They've been in beta for about a year now, and to my knowledge they are the only reliable, official free source of SSL certificates that has ever existed.

However, because Let's Encrypt is a non-profit organization, not owned by any company that must make a profit from each SSL certificate they issue, they need our support:

As a company, we've donated a Discourse hosted support community, and a cash amount that represents how much we would have paid in a year to one of the existing for-profit certificate authorities to set up HTTPS for all the Discourse websites we host.

I urge you to do the same:

  • Estimate how much you would have paid for any free SSL certificates you obtained from Let's Encrypt, and please donate that amount to Let's Encrypt.

  • If you work for a large company, urge them to sponsor Let's Encrypt as a fundamental cornerstone of a safe web.

If you believe in an unalienable right to privacy on the Internet for every citizen in every nation, please support Let's Encrypt.

[advertisement] Find a better job the Stack Overflow way - what you need when you need it, no spam, and no scams.
24 Nov 23:47

New supercapacitor technology could bring an end to our battery charging woes

Andreas Aronsson

So in like... 25-50 years then... nice.

Image: University of Central Florida

Technological advances have made it possible to do amazing things like order a pizza from your smart watch, but there's one problem holding much of consumer tech back: battery life. Despite the computing leaps we've made forward, batteries are still a major limitation for pretty much all mobile devices and a lot of photographic equipment. However, a team of scientists at the University of Central Florida’s NanoScience Technology Center may have taken a step toward ending our collective nightmare. 

The research team has developed a process for creating flexible supercapacitors that can store more energy and be charged faster than current battery technology. The concept also allows for recharging more than 30,000 times without degradation.

“If they were to replace the batteries with these supercapacitors, you could charge your mobile phone in a few seconds and you wouldn’t need to charge it again for over a week,” said team member Nitin Choudhary. 

Unlike batteries, which use chemical reactions, supercapacitors store electricity statically on the surface of a material which means they can be charged quicker. Previous research projects used graphene for this purpose, but with limited success. The team at UCF has instead been experimenting with newly discovered two-dimensional metal materials that are only a few atoms thick. The newly developed supercapacitors consist of millions of highly-conductive nanowires that are wrapped with those materials. As a result, electrons can pass quickly from the core to the shell and high energy and power densities are produced.

“There have been problems in the way people incorporate these two-dimensional materials into the existing systems – that’s been a bottleneck in the field. We developed a simple chemical synthesis approach so we can very nicely integrate the existing materials with the two-dimensional materials,” said principal investigator Yeonwoong “Eric” Jung.

At this stage the technology is only a proof of concept and not ready for commercialization. However, the team is in the process of patenting the method and, if developed further, could power the mobile devices, compact cameras and electric vehicles of the future. 

05 Oct 21:39

The IT Cloud

The IT Cloud I just checked the history books and this comic is 100% accurate!

via: Reddit

See more: The IT Cloud
03 Oct 14:54

DJI Mavic Pro vs GoPro Karma: How the Drones’ Specs Stack Up

by Michael Zhang
Andreas Aronsson

Well this was one-sided... not that surprising considering which company has the most drone experience... but sheesh.


In the span of just over one week, DJI and GoPro each unveiled a foldable and ultra-portable personal camera drone. With so much hype surrounding these two products, we’ve decided to do a comparison of features and specs to see how the Mavic Pro and Karma stack up — at least on paper.


The Mavic Pro weighs 1.62lbs (734g), and the Karma weighs 2.22lbs (1006g).

Winner: DJI Mavic Pro.

Dimensions When Folded


One of the main features of both drones is the fact that they fold up for easy storage and transport. While the Karma’s arms fold in, the Mavic Pro’s propellers fold up as well, giving it extra compactness (the size of a water bottle, DJI says).

Folded up, the Mavic Pro has dimensions of 83x83x198mm. By comparison, the folded up Karma measures 89.9×224.3×356.2mm.

Winner: DJI Mavic Pro.

Maximum Speed

The Mavic Pro can fly 40 mph (65 kph) while in Sport mode. The Karma has a maximum speed of 35 mph (56.3 kph).

Winner: DJI Mavic Pro.

Max Flight Time

The Mavic Pro can fly for 27 minutes, and the Karma can fly for up to 20 minutes.

Winner: DJI Mavic Pro.

Max Distance

The Mavic Pro can be flown at a distance of 4.3 miles (7 km) away from its controller, and the Karma has a max distance of 0.62 miles (1 km) 1.86 miles (3 km) [See update below].

Winner: DJI Mavic Pro.



The Mavic Pro has a built-in camera, while the Karma requires a separate GoPro camera to be attached to the front, adding some additional size and weight.

Both the Mavic Pro camera and the GoPro HERO5 Black use 1/2.3-inch, 12-megapixel CMOS sensors. Both are capable of shooting both JPEG and RAW photos as well as 4K video.

We won’t know how the image quality of the cameras compare until they’re pitted against one another.

Winner: Uncertain (for now)


Both drones feature a gimbal for 3-axis stabilization. The Karma has a range of motion of -90° to 0° up and down. The Mavic Pro has a wider range of motion of -90° to +30° (pitch) and the ability to roll.

Winner: DJI Mavic Pro.

Remote Controller


The Mavic Pro remote controller features an LCD screen with essential flight info and can be paired with your smartphone for powerful auto-flight features and a live 1080p video feed from the drone. Since you can use various phones, the specs of your touch display are up to you. The Karma controller is inspired by video game controllers and features a 5-inch, 720p touchscreen with a live video stream.

Winner: Uncertain (for now)

Intelligent Flight Modes

The Mavic Pro uses a host of sensors and cameras for its FlightAutonomy obstacle avoidance system, object tracking system, and gesture control system. The Karma lacks obstacle avoidance and “Follow Me” features.

Mavic Pro’s auto-flight features are geared towards people who want to operate a drone without necessarily having the skills to fly a drone. Karma has some automated features, including the ability to travel between two points, but it’s geared much more towards manual controlled flight.

Winner: DJI Mavic Pro.


The DJI Mavic Pro costs $749 for the drone (controlled with your smartphone) or $1,000 for the drone and a remote controller. The GoPro Karma costs $799 for the drone and controller, but it requires an additional camera. A bundle that includes the GoPro HERO5 Black costs $1,099.

Winner: DJI Mavic Pro.


Although its brand is dominant in the action camera industry, GoPro’s stock has been hammered in recent times due to slowing sales and disappointing financials. The company spent months hyping up the Karma as a major expansion into a new business, stepping into the ring with camera drone heavyweight DJI, but the official Karma unveiling on September 19th was quickly dwarfed just days later by DJI announcing the Mavic Pro.

With stronger specs in important categories, better intelligent flight features, and an attractive price point, the DJI Mavic Pro has quickly sucked the wind out of GoPro’s sails. GoPro’s stock responded by plummeting over 6% at one point yesterday after DJI’s unveiling.

Update on 9/29/16: An earlier version of this article stated that the Karma plus GoPro HERO5 Black bundle would cost $1,199, but GoPro is offering the bundle at a price of $1,099.

Update on 9/29/16: It seems that GoPro has changed its Karma specs page since our original post yesterday. Instead of having a max operating distance of 1km, the page now says “up to” 3km.

02 Oct 08:15

The Photographer Who Was Bitten by a Black Mamba… and Got the Shot

by Michael Zhang
Andreas Aronsson

I guess that's why I mostly photograph landscapes and urban stuff. Flowers doesn't bite... that often.


Photographer Mark Laita has a mention in Wikipedia for a wild and unusual reason: he was bitten by a black mamba (one of the world’s deadliest snakes), survived, and found that he had accidentally captured the bite on camera.

The incident, which was widely reported on back in 2012, occurred while Laita was shooting portraits of spectacular snakes species for his project and book, titled Serpentine.

One of the snakes Laita selected was the black mamba, a highly aggressive snake that’s considered to be one of the most dangerous to humans. A bite will generally cause a human to collapse within 45 minutes and die just hours later. Prior to antivenom for the bite becoming available, basically all black mamba bites were a death sentence.

Laita found a black mamba to photograph for his project at the home of a snake collector in Central America. Although some owners of venomous snakes have the venom glands removed, this particular black mamba was still fully venomous.

Special safety precautions were taken for each snake Laita shot: for the black mamba, one was that Laita wore shorts to avoid scaring the creature with movements from pant legs (and to make sure it didn’t slither up his leg).

After photographing the snake on a black backdrop with a 8×10 view camera and a Hasselblad medium format camera, Laita switched to a point-and-shoot when the snake began slithering near Laita.

Dozens of photos later, the snake’s owner extended a hook to collect the snake, but that’s when disaster struck. Instead of hooking the snake cleanly, the owner accidentally snagged a red cable that was part of Laita’s camera setup. Startled, the black mamba lashed out and sank its fangs into Laita’s calf.

“The blood was gushing out,” Laita told Strange Behaviors. “Both fangs hit an artery in my calf, like the snake knew what it was doing.”

After several minutes and then hours passed and Laita was still feeling fine — experts recommend heading straight for a hospital, by the way — the crew concluded that Laita didn’t have any venom in his system. The photographer believes that it was either a “dry bite,” when a snake doesn’t release any venom, or that his heavy flow of blood pushed out the venom.

Later that night, when Laita began reviewing the photos he had taken during the shoot, he found that he had snapped a shot at the exact moment the snake sank its fangs into his leg.


Surviving a black mamba bite without treatment is so rare that Laita’s story is now mentioned in Wikipedia’s “black mamba” article.

And yes, the black mamba did have its portrait included in Laita’s book Serpentine, even though it tried to kill its photographer.


Image credits: Header black mamba strike photo by Tad Arensmeier and licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0. Black mamba portrait by Mark Laita and courtesy Fahey/Klein Gallery.

31 Aug 11:58

Self-driving tractors promise to get themselves to work, plow without complaint

by Scott Collie
Andreas Aronsson

It's happening, the robot farms from Psychopass! Whoa whoo hoho ho!

Self-driving tractors can work day and night, through rain, hail and shine

There's been a lot of focus on consumer self-driving technology recently, but autonomy promises to shake things up in the agricultural world too. CNH Industrial's latest concepts aim to demonstrate how self-driving tractors can deliver faster, more precise results than their human controlled counterparts.

.. Continue Reading Self-driving tractors promise to get themselves to work, plow without complaint

Category: Automotive

Tags: Related Articles:
29 Aug 18:35

“To My Fellow Filthy Rich Americans: The Pitchforks Are Coming”

by Minnesotastan
Andreas Aronsson

Yay, capitalism! Woo! Well, question is if pitchforks can stand up to tanks, drones and missiles.

 Capitalism and the Reformer, by Art Young, 
from The Best of Art Young © 1936 The Vanguard Press, Inc., New York City, via Harper's.

Excerpts from an open letter:
You probably don’t know me, but like you I am one of those .01%ers, a proud and unapologetic capitalist. I have founded, co-founded and funded more than 30 companies across a range of industries...

What sets me apart, I think, is a tolerance for risk and an intuition about what will happen in the future. Seeing where things are headed is the essence of entrepreneurship. And what do I see in our future now?

I see pitchforks.

At the same time that people like you and me are thriving beyond the dreams of any plutocrats in history, the rest of the country—the 99.99 percent—is lagging far behind...

But the problem isn’t that we have inequality. Some inequality is intrinsic to any high-functioning capitalist economy. The problem is that inequality is at historically high levels and getting worse every day. Our country is rapidly becoming less a capitalist society and more a feudal society. Unless our policies change dramatically, the middle class will disappear, and we will be back to late 18th-century France. Before the revolution.

And so I have a message for my fellow filthy rich, for all of us who live in our gated bubble worlds: Wake up, people. It won’t last...

If we don’t do something to fix the glaring inequities in this economy, the pitchforks are going to come for us. No society can sustain this kind of rising inequality. In fact, there is no example in human history where wealth accumulated like this and the pitchforks didn’t eventually come out. You show me a highly unequal society, and I will show you a police state. Or an uprising. There are no counterexamples. None. It’s not if, it’s when...

The model for us rich guys here should be Henry Ford, who realized that all his autoworkers in Michigan weren’t only cheap labor to be exploited; they were consumers, too. Ford figured that if he raised their wages, to a then-exorbitant $5 a day, they’d be able to afford his Model Ts...

Which is why the fundamental law of capitalism must be: If workers have more money, businesses have more customers. Which makes middle-class consumers, not rich businesspeople like us, the true job creators. Which means a thriving middle class is the source of American prosperity, not a consequence of it. The middle class creates us rich people, not the other way around.
Fulltext of the letter here.  Via Jobsanger
22 Aug 12:46

Portraits of Homeless People and Their Dreams of Old

by Michael Zhang
Andreas Aronsson

Thought provoking. Or well, makes it clear that appearance tells a story.


For his new project The Prince and the Pauper, San Francisco-based photographer Horia Manolache connected with homeless people, learned their stories, and shot two portraits of each of them: the first shows them as they are now, and the second portrait shows them in the life or career they had once dreamed about.

After meeting his subjects and getting to know them, Manolache invited them to a portrait session in a studio set up in a hotel room. Manolache’s wife gave haircuts and applied makeup for the “dream” portraits, and the props and outfits were rented or purchased from eBay and Amazon.



“The goal of my project was to show these people in an unlikely approach and from an unlikely distance,” says Manolache, “and I hope this book will help others to reflect on the homelessness problem.”




Manolache also provided his subjects with as much help as he could in the form of food, money, lodging, clothing, and other assistance.






Manolache originally started the project for a class he was taking, but as he created the photos, he decided that he would publish the work as a book. He’s currently running a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to raise funds from anyone interested in supporting the project and obtaining a copy of the book.

Image credits: Photographs by Horia Manolache and used with permission

18 Aug 22:17

Image and specs of the new GoPro Hero 5 Black!

by Andreapazzo
Andreas Aronsson

Looks to be a fully integrated case, just like the Session, huh.


Nokishita leaked the full images and specs of the upcoming GoPro Hero 5 Black:

gopro gopro2

The post Image and specs of the new GoPro Hero 5 Black! appeared first on mirrorlessrumors.

05 Aug 11:54

Pokémon Go

Andreas Aronsson


Still waiting for the Pokémon Go update that lets you capture strangers' pets.
05 Aug 11:48

Household Tips

Andreas Aronsson

I... have just upgraded my life. And I know, everyone reads this and/or it's already old. I'm too much in VR.

To make your shoes feel more comfortable, smell better, and last longer, try taking them off before you shower.
10 Jul 11:21

When You're Married You Always Need an Alibi


Submitted by: (via @GrantTanaka)

Tagged: twitter , marriage
26 Jun 08:48

Childhood of a Coder: Booting to BIOS

by CommitStrip
Andreas Aronsson

So this is what all hackers are doing in movies, trying to get into bios... to be honest I've done this myself many times. I'm a hacker.


15 Jun 09:01

Taking photos makes experiences ... better?

by Ben Coxworth
Andreas Aronsson

Research! Yeah! Taking photos means paying attention to your environment, should be pretty obvious that it would enhance passive experiences where your attention is the only thing giving you enjoyment. At the same time it will indeed make horrible things worse as you again are looking at details, paying attention to the visual! Time to get my camera out to make this visit to the toilet more enjoyable... or, less?

According to new research, snapping photos makes us enjoy pleasant experiences even more

You've probably either said it yourself, or had it said to you: Stop taking all those photos, and just enjoy the experience. Indeed, it does make sense to think that picture-taking "removes" you from a situation, changing you from being a participant to being an observer. According to a new multi-university study, however, getting snapshots can actually make you enjoy experiences more.

.. Continue Reading Taking photos makes experiences ... better?

Category: Health & Wellbeing

Tags: Related Articles:
15 Jun 06:59

Obama on guns

by Minnesotastan
Andreas Aronsson

Trump is definitely winning the election, I wonder what he will do to fix the weapon problem in the US. Oh, wait, there is no problem!

From comments during a town hall meeting in Elkhart, Indiana:
I just came from a meeting today in the Situation Room in which I got people who we know have been on ISIL Web sites, living here in the United States, U.S. citizens, and we’re allowed to put them on the no-fly list when it comes to airlines, but because of the National Rifle Association, I cannot prohibit those people from buying a gun.

This is somebody who is a known ISIL sympathizer. And if he wants to walk in to a gun store or a gun show right now and buy as much — as many weapons and ammo as he can, nothing’s prohibiting him from doing that, even though the FBI knows who that person is.

So, sir, I just have to say, respectfully, that there is a way for us to have commonsense gun laws. There is a way for us to make sure that lawful, responsible gun owners like yourself are able to use them for sporting, hunting, protecting yourself, but the only way we’re going to do that is if we don’t have a situation in which anything that is proposed is viewed as some tyrannical destruction of the Second Amendment. And that’s how the issue too often gets framed.
Note these comments were made last week, before the Orlando massacre.
Law enforcement sources confirmed that Mateen was on the FBI's radar but not necessarily on a watch list. But even appearing on the list wouldn't have necessarily prevented him from obtaining weapons

"Being on the watch list is not in itself disqualifying, under law. The disqualifying elements of the investigation may be classified," ABC News consultant and former acting Homeland Security undersecretary John Cohen said. 

According to Florida law, there is a mandatory three-day waiting period for handgun purchases, but no permit, registration or licensing is needed to buy or own rifles, shotguns or handguns. A permit is needed, however, to carry a handgun.
10 Jun 23:19

Man Revisits Iconic Film Locations in Fun ‘Then and Now’ Photo Series

by DL Cade
Andreas Aronsson

Well... some good research and photography has taken place. Nice job.


Phil Grishayev is an LA video producer with an interesting hobby: he revisit iconic locations from his favorite films and recreates the same shot to show the location “then and now.”

The resulting photos are shared through his quickly-growing Instagram account, where you’ll see images from scenes found in Blade Runner, Fight Club, Back to the Future, Ghostbusters, The Graduate, and many many more. He even mixes some television show scenes and historical photos into the mix on occasion.

Here’s a selection of our favorites:
















To see more of his photos or follow him as he continues to seek out more movie, TV, and historic locations, be sure to give Phil a follow on Instagram.

(via Laughing Squid)

Image credits: Photographs by Phil Grishayev and used with permission.

03 Jun 17:18


Hey Cyberpongers,

We just added a hotfix for a network connectivity issue we were having. Thanks to FoRever for reporting this bug!

Cyberpong Team
14 May 18:17

Eisenhower, LeMay, Nimitz: "Hiroshima bombing unnecessary"

by Minnesotastan
Andreas Aronsson

This is exactly what a person we met in Japan outside the A-bomb Dome in Hiroshima said to us when we was there. That the war was pretty much already over for Japan... :/ Said as much on YouTube and of course American patriots shot me down quickly :x

"All the watches found in the ground zero were stopped at 8:15 am, the time of the explosion."
President Obama's planned trip to Hiroshima has triggered a series of memorial articles, some of them revisiting the question of the necessity of the bombings.
In a 1963 interview on the use of the atomic bomb against Hiroshima, President Dwight D. Eisenhower bluntly declared that “…it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing.”...

Eisenhower was even more specific in his memoirs, writing that when he was informed by Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson the bomb was about to be used against Japan “…I had been conscious of a feeling of depression and so I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary, and secondly because I thought that our country should avoid shocking world opinion by the use of a weapon whose employment was, I thought, no longer mandatory as a measure to save American lives…”

Eisenhower was not alone. Many of the top military leaders, mostly conservatives, went public after World War II with similar judgments. The President’s chief of staff, William D. Leahy–the five-star admiral who presided over meetings of the Joint Chiefs of Staff–noted in his diary seven weeks before the bombing of Hiroshima: “It is my opinion that at the present time a surrender of Japan can be arranged with terms that can be accepted by Japan and that will make fully satisfactory provision for America’s defense against future trans-Pacific aggression.”...

Just a few weeks after the bombing, the famous “hawk” who led the Twenty-First Bomber Command, Major General Curtis E. LeMay, stated publicly that “The war would have been over in two weeks without the Russians entering and without the atomic bomb…the atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war at all.”...

Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet stated publicly two months after Hiroshima: “The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace before the atomic age was announced to the world with the destruction of Hiroshima and before the Russian entry into the war.” “The atomic bomb,” he stated “played no decisive part, from a purely military standpoint, in the defeat of Japan….”
More at the Salon article.  The counterargument (and the dominant justificatioin in American history articles) is that dropping the bomb saved lives by ending the war early.  That viewpoint persists to this day. Those who disagree and would like to argue with Eisenhower, Nimitz, and LeMay are welcome to do so in the Comments.  

Photo via Fogonazos, where there is a gallery of images, many NSFW.
16 Mar 17:34

Credit card skimmer installed in 3 seconds

by Minnesotastan
Andreas Aronsson

Might explain how my card info was stolen, I just wonder where it happened.. o.O

For more on the dangers of these devices, just type "skimmer" into the search box in the right sidebar; I must have written about a half-dozen posts on the subject over the years.
03 Mar 18:12

Eerily Beautiful Photos of Utopian Housing Projects in Paris

by Michael Zhang
Andreas Aronsson

So like, I get the feeling you have to be really special living in any of those houses, or just have a lot of money, or live in the right city. But when it comes down to it, they probably all look very similar on the inside. Perhaps a square toilet, but I've heard those suck anyway.

Laurent Kronental_Souvenir d'un Futur (1)

Between the 1950s and 1980s, large-scale residential districts were built in and around Paris, France, to provide affordable housing for a booming population. Known as “grands ensembles,” these sprawling complexes were sometimes poorly planned and constructed, causing some to have many empty units as residents found other places to live. Others, however, remain populated and are bustling with life.

In both cases, there are senior citizens who call the housing projects home. For his project Souvenir d’un Futur, photographer Laurent Kronental documented these strangely beautiful buildings and the seniors who live in them.

Laurent Kronental_Souvenir d'un Futur (2)

Kronental spent four years visiting the grands ensembles, meeting with residents, hearing their stories, and photographing their aging surroundings with a 4×5 large format film camera.

“Marked by the passing of time, these massive, gray buildings, like their elder residents, bear the signs of long lives,” Kronental writes. “And yet, in these wrinkled faces and cracked walls, in the energy of the bodies and of the facades, emerges the pride and pulse that we thought had disappeared.”

“These ‘monuments’, as living memories of their time, hold a fragile force: that of a younger generation that did not see itself age.”

Laurent Kronental_Souvenir d'un Futur (6)

Laurent Kronental_Souvenir d'un Futur (8)

Laurent Kronental_Souvenir d'un Futur (18)

Laurent Kronental_Souvenir d'un Futur (16)

Laurent Kronental_Souvenir d'un Futur (12)

Laurent Kronental_Souvenir d'un Futur (24)

Laurent Kronental_Souvenir d'un Futur (23)

Laurent Kronental_Souvenir d'un Futur (14)

Laurent Kronental_Souvenir d'un Futur (3)

Laurent Kronental_Souvenir d'un Futur (10)

You can find more of Kronental’s work over on his website.

(via Laurent Kronental via Bored Panda)

Update on 3/3/16: In our initial version of this post, we characterized these buildings as “poorly planned” and “abandoned.” Laurent Kronental points out that many of these buildings were well built and are still filled with inhabitants today. We’ve made changes to the title and text to reflect this, and are sorry for the incorrect statements that were made.

Image credits: Photographs by Laurent Kronental and used with permission

16 Feb 20:15

This Glass Disc Can Store 360 TB of Your Photos for 13.8 Billion Years

by Michael Zhang
Andreas Aronsson

Nice for backups... indeed.


If you back up your photos on optical disks or storage drives, there’s a good chance your data won’t last as long as you do due to things known as “disc rot” and “data rot“. But what if you want to ensure that your precious photos live longer than you? Good news: a new “eternal” storage technology may be on the horizon.

Scientists have created nanostructured glass discs that can storage digital data for billions of years.

Researchers at the University of Southampton announced this week that they’ve figured out how to store huge amounts of data on small glass discs using laser writing. They call it five dimensional (5D) digital data because in addition to the position of the data, the size and orientation plays a role too.

The glass storage discs can hold a whopping 360 terabytes each, are stable at temperatures up to 1,000°C (1,832°F), and are expected to keep the data intact for 13.8 billion years at room temperature (anything up to 190°C, or 374°F).


It’s a discovery that “opens a new era of eternal data archiving” because the discs have “virtually unlimited lifetime,” the university says, and museums, national archives, and libraries could benefit from having this eternal storage.

So far, scientists have preserved important documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Magna Carta, and Kings James Bible on individual discs that will likely survive the human race.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights recorded on a 5D glass disc.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights recorded on a 5D glass disc.

The researchers are now looking for companies to help bring this data storage technology to market. No word on when it might appear or whether it will be available and affordable to ordinary photographers, but perhaps one day we’ll be able to store our entire lifetime body of photos on a single disc that is guaranteed to survive us (and all our descendants).

Image credits: Photographs by the University of Southampton

12 Feb 13:47

3 Moves Oculus is Borrowing from Apple’s Marketing Playbook

by Ben Lang
Andreas Aronsson

Might explain why I feel alienated from the marketing, I'm not an Apple person :P I say while writing this on a Macbook.

Even if you’re an Android fanboy, there’s no denying that Apple knows how to market. Some Apple haters might go so far to say that marketing is the only thing Apple does well—otherwise how have they managed to turn ‘copied ideas’ into billions? No matter which side you fall on, it’s clear that Oculus is borrowing from the Apple marketing playbook.

“Step into Rift” (sic)

This is perhaps the earliest sign of Oculus’ very Apple-like approach to marketing themselves and their products, and one that has stuck out to me from very early on.

As far as Oculus is concerned, their VR headset is called ‘Rift’. Not the Rift, mind you. Just… Rift. They do the same thing for ‘Touch’, their virtual reality controllers. Watch this video and listen for every time they say “Touch”. You will never hear the word “the” come before it. You’ll also spot this all over their marketing material:

step into rift

You’ll hear the exact same thing any time Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe talks about ‘Rift’ or ‘Touch’ on stage. Once you notice it, you’ll never not be able to notice it again… sorry about that.

Apple does the very same thing and has been doing for a long time, at least as far back as the original iPod reveal in 2001. Find any official marketing, whether it’s a keynote from CEO Tim Cook or marketing on their website and you’ll just about never hear ‘the iPhone’. It’s just ‘Enjoy iPhone’, ‘Look at iPhone’, ‘iPhone is amazing.’

oculus apple marketing iphoneBut why?

My hypothesis is that they are trying to update the product from a ‘thing’ to an ‘entity’, hoping to elevate it in your mind above everyday items. Technically they are constructing the sentences in a way that refers to the product as a proper noun instead of a common noun. Proper nouns in grammar denote specific, important things.

Consider the sentence ‘you’re going to love the Rift’, compared to ‘you’re going to love Rift’. The former refers to ‘the Rift’ as any old version of that item, while ‘Rift’ refers to a specific entity or concept, just like the difference between ‘a dad’ and ‘my Dad’.

I imagine it would be argued by the people making this decision that we store the concepts of proper nouns differently than common nouns; by elevating the product to a proper noun though language, they can move the idea of the product to that special place that our brains reserve for people and important things, instead of in that place where we put any old thing like ‘a fork’ or ‘an orange’.

No Specs

The world of PC marketing had long been entrenched in spec battles, where more bullet points and bigger numbers were used to one-up competitors. Apple came along with the opposite approach, marketing the experience, and shying away from specifications.

apple store view-master
See Also: Apple is Selling the ViewMaster Virtual Reality Viewer

If you go to the official iPhone 6s page on Apple’s website, you’ll notice only the most minimal specifications (about the camera). The company doesn’t list the battery life, weight, display resolution, or size of the phone. And the most specific they get about the processor is that it’s using an ‘A9 chip’, with no mention of gigahertz or cores or RAM. (Compare that the Google marketing the Nexus 6P where they specify ‘Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 810 v2.1, 2.0 GHz octa-core 64-bit CPU and Adreno 430 GPU’).

Oculus is pulling the exact same thing, perhaps even more extremely than Apple does it. On the official Rift page, there are literally no specifications for the headset. No field of view, no resolution, no refresh rate, no weight, no IPD, no nothing. And that’s because, like Apple, they’re marketing the experience rather than the specs.

Just listen to this fluffy experiential copy (complete with proper noun usage of ‘Rift’):

Rift is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. Whether you’re stepping into your favorite game, watching an immersive VR movie, jumping to a destination on the other side of the world, or just spending time with friends in VR, you’ll feel like you’re really there.

Minimalism and Industrial Design Focus

Let’s just take a look at the Rift page and the iPad Pro page side by side:

oculus apple marketing ipad pro oculus apple marketing rift

Are we seeing any similarities? Thin font, check. Lowercase letters, check (even though they want the Rift to be known as a proper noun). Buy button underneath a tiny line of copy, check.

Consider also these marketing videos offering extreme emphasis on the design of the product:

Oculus’ emphasis on design has made them very Apple-like from the get-go, and now we’re seeing it reflected with a very similar marketing style that’s minimal, approachable, and experience-oriented.

With Apple expected to enter the virtual reality field at some point soon enough, it will be interesting to watch Oculus try to out-Apple Apple themselves.

The post 3 Moves Oculus is Borrowing from Apple’s Marketing Playbook appeared first on Road to VR.

04 Feb 01:00

Why aren’t multiplayer-only shooters catching on?

by admin

There's been a worrying trend among shooters recently, where it is announced that a promising new game will be multiplayer-only. The game will launch with great hype and then... the community for the game just sort of dies very shortly after. This has happened for games like Evolve and Titanfall, and seems to be happening to the recently released Star Wars: Battlefront. The common thought in the online gaming community seems to be that these games are failing to create lasting communities because of two things: Undesirable pricing models and/or a lack of single player campaigns. The point of this article is to debunk both of these myths, instead proving that flaws in the inherent design of these games are what cause their communities to disperse after a short time period.


Starting chronologically, lets discuss Titanfall. The award-winning makers of the most successful FPS franchise ever go on to create a new IP featuring badass mech suits and jetpack parkour. Sounds awesome right? Well, the thing is... it actually is awesome... for a while. Titanfall's shortcomings are difficult to pin down because its design flaws are more subtle than Evolve's or Battlefront's. After much thought on the subject though, I'm convinced that Titanfall fails to create truly a sticky, long-lasting gameplay formula because of its gameplay flow, specifically the pacing.



What do I mean by flow? In 1975, Russian Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (say that three times fast!) defined the term as "the feeling of complete and energized focus in an activity, with a high level of enjoyment and fulfillment". Otherwise known as "the zone", you've probably experienced this phenomenon when playing at your highest level in a game you really enjoy. Leading game academics have co-opted Csikszentmihalyi's theories on flow to create better games, creating what is known as the "flow zone" (flow channel in the picture below).

An interesting concept of the "flow zone", as expanded upon by Jenova Chen, lead designer of Flow (!), Flower, and Journey, is that the "flow zone" actually oscillates on its way up. Looking at the image below, we can see that players ideally desire periods of down and up time in their game experiences as their challenges and skill increase. This brings me back to the issue of pacing in Titanfall.

Certain design choices, notably the decision to stuff the map with AI "creeps" to farm, create a game experience that is all action, all the time. While this sounds cool on paper, or in a trailer, or even on your first few playthroughs, eventually the pacing of the game will wear you down. As seen on the first chart on flow, too much gameplay stimulation can cause anxiety or fatigue. The best action movies have quieter scenes to make the action scenes hit harder when they roll around. Games are no different.



A big part of what made the original Modern Warfare's multiplayer such a success was the concept of kill streaks and the pacing they brought to a multiplayer match. You started off with balls-to-the-wall action and then got a killstreak. All of a sudden, one of two things happened - you used the killstreak, which brought you temporarily into a new mini-game, thus breaking up the flow of the game. Or, you tried to rack up more kills to unlock a further killstreak, playing conservatively and cautiously. Both of these strategies caused a break in the main action, potentially slowing down the gameplay and forcing interesting decisions onto players - exactly what defines good flow. This concept of flow explains why players of Titanfall eventually felt fatigue from playing, and eventually quit.


To be completely honest, I haven't played Evolve. However, from watching game footage and talking to several people who have owned it, I think it's safe to say that the game's problems are much more pronounced than Titanfall's. So while I haven't played it, I feel comfortable analyzing it. Much of Evolve's launch hype was tainted by the egregious DLC model that was announced. Many people cite the hardcore gaming community's problem with this model as a large reason for why Evolve failed to secure a community, but I think its design issues raise far bigger flags.



First of all, Evolve's daring, asymmetrical design makes it a tricky game to balance. The monster player's optimal strategy was to dully farm the neutral beasts for experience, while avoiding the other players. Meanwhile players want to kill the monster as quickly as possible, leading to a conflict of optimal strategies. Essentially, matches are usually underwhelming, where either the players catch the monster too early and the fight is anticlimactic, or boring while the monster farms all game and mows down the players with ease at the end. Neither option is ideal, and as a result, close, exciting matches are a rarity.

Another issue with Evolve's gameplay revolves around its high standards for team play. Good teamwork is essential in catching the monster before it grows too powerful. Throwing four random players together doesn't often work, due to the game's lack of tools with which to enforce cooperation. Certain games, like good MOBAs or MMO's, force random teams to more-or-less play cooperatively through rigidly designed roles that naturally synergize. While containing classes, Evolve's class design seems to lack this natural synergy, leading to frustration when one player is not in sync with his teammates. Often, this causes one or more players to leave the match early, ruining the game for everyone else.

Many of Evolve's players have said that the game can be incredibly rewarding and unique when all of the moving pieces line up well, but the reality is that a good match is an exception from the norm. Evolve's players tend to leave the game after coming to this realization.



I'm going to be fairly brief when discussing Battlefront, because I think that this game's issues are more glaring and better documented than the previous two games. While I defended Battlefront from its criticisms  in one of my previous posts, you may have noticed that I never disagreed with observations about the game's lack of depth. It is a shallow game with a low barrier of entry and there is nothing inherently wrong with that! Not every multiplayer shooter can and should aspire to be Counter Strike. However, we've seen its player base die off already, which is worrisome for what many consider to be a fun experience.



The bottom line is that, if we look at the graph for Csikszentmihalyi's flow again, we see that the two axes on the graph are player skill and then challenge. Optimal flow lies in the middle. Naturally, player skill increases as they spend time mastering a game's mechanics, so it is up to the game to increase the challenge as the player gets better. So when you have a game that is relatively easy to master, players, especially hardcore ones, leave the flow state relatively quickly as they drop into boredom. This is precisely why we see Battlefront's player base falling away at the moment. Smart game design, particularly multiplayer design, allows players to have fun at a low skill level, but also have room to enjoy other things that require time to master.


To conclude, we see that these three multiplayer-only shooters failing for entirely unique reasons, all related to their inherent design. Same symptoms, different diseases. I think that most people are quick to assign blame to their "multiplayer-only" component because they're actually good games. Maybe not great games, but they don't have any hugely glaring faults (with the exception of maybe Battlefront). It's hard to analyze why something isn't catching on if you played it for 20 hours and enjoyed yourself. I definitely think there is potential for modern multiplayer-only shooters to find and captivate large communities. Take a look at Rainbow Six: Siege right now. Despite having a rough launch with technical issues, its community is still very active on Twitch and other sites. Siege, while not without problems, seems to have a combination of solid pacing, built-in teamplay dynamics, and a decently high skillcap. See a pattern here? Perhaps Siege's continued success will be a model for the design of future multiplayer-only shooters.

Edit: A number of users have pointed out that Csikszentmihalyi is actually Hungarian, not Russian. I apologize for this inaccuracy and I'll do my best to fact check more thoroughly in future articles. Thanks for the correction guys!