Shared posts

14 Aug 14:51

Robot arm seeks out Waldo, using machine learning

by Nathan Yau

Sort of... terrifying?

The camera on the slightly creepy arm takes a picture of the pages in the book, the software uses OpenCV to extract faces, and the faces are passed to Google Auto ML Vision comparing the faces to a Waldo model. The result: There’s Waldo.

Tags: machine learning, robot, vision, Waldo

13 Aug 16:00

for New Scientist magazine


Ouch, also, true

for New Scientist magazine

13 Aug 11:51

Aerial view of sheepdogs herding sheep

by Nathan Yau

Worth watching!

Sometimes the visualization takes care of itself. Photographer Tim Whittaker filmed sheepdogs herding thousands of sheep, and the flows one place to another are like organized randomness.

Tags: drone, flow, herd, sheep

12 Aug 03:24

OutsideShort video by Vladimir Tomin is a series of sketches...


I love these!


Short video by Vladimir Tomin is a series of sketches imagining the real world manipulated through PC desktop software interfaces:

So that’s what it feels like to go outside


07 Aug 12:15

Patrick Stewart to reprise Star Trek role

by chozzles

Yes, I get all my important news from a Star Trek fashion tumblr. What of it

Patrick Stewart to reprise Star Trek role:

A little late to the game here, but… WHAT WILL HE WEAR? I’m not *not* opposed to it being this caj tee & jeans look. Thanks to friend of the blog Nathan for the tip!

02 Aug 21:01


by Victor Mair

Amazing fart battles. (I never thought I’d type those words!)

Japanese artists depicted almost anything imaginable concerning humans, animals, and the natural world, and they did so with great skill and emotional power.  One sub-genre of Japanese painting that I recently became aware of is that of the fart battle (hōhi gassen 放屁合戦):

"21 Classic Images Of Japanese Fart Battles From The 19th Century", by Wyatt Redd, ati (7/23/18)

As soon as I perused this astonishing scroll, I could not get the expression "artsy-fartsy" out of my mind, and I wondered how and when English acquired such a peculiar term.  Merriam-Webster says that it's a rhyming compound based on "artsy" and "fart", and that its first known use is 1962.

Note that, in the fourteenth image of this scroll (as presented in Redd's article), an unlucky cat is stricken by the foul stench-stream from a gentleman's anus.

That fart-battle scroll (hōhi gassen emaki 放屁合戦絵巻) is held by Waseda, which generously provides a high-res PDF for our viewing pleasure.

There are others, such as this drabber piece held by the Suntory art museum.

This blog post begins with an image from an even zanier fart-battle scroll.

Nathan Hopson says that his favorite may well be this early Meiji gem depicting heiryoku 屁威力 ("fart power") a play on the homophonous heiryoku 兵力 ("military power") being used to overcome the old bakufu forces.  It's interesting that here we have a three-character expression being used as a pun for a two-character term.

Japanese art never ceases to amaze me, both for its refined wit and for its somaesthetic sensitivity and creativity.

[h.t. John Rohsenow]

02 Aug 09:35


by justanotherguyincali

Oh, shit.

31 Jul 07:41

Google Reader: A Time Capsule from 5 Years Ago

by Mihai Parparita

So much fun.

Google ReaderIt's now been 5 years since Google Reader was shut down. As a time capsule of that bygone era, I've resurrected to host a snapshot of what Reader was like in its final moments — visit to see a mostly-working Reader user interface.

Before you get too excited, realize that it is populated with canned data only, and that there is no persistence. On the other hand, the fact that it is an entirely static site means that it is much more likely to keep working indefinitely. I was inspired by the work that Internet Archive has done with getting old software running in a browser — Prince of Persia (which I spent hundreds of hours trying to beat) is only a click away. It seemed unfortunate that something of much more recent vintage was not accessible at all.

Right before the shutdown I had saved a copy of Reader's (public) static assets (compiled JavaScript, CSS, images, etc.) and used it to build a tool for viewing archived data. However, that required a separate server component and was showing private data. It occurred to me that I could instead achieve much of the same effect directly in the browser: the JavaScript was fetching all data via XMLHttpRequest, so it should just be a matter of intercepting all those requests. I initially considered doing this via Service Worker, but I realized that even a simple monkeypatch of the built-in object would work, since I didn't need anything to work offline.

The resulting code is in the static_reader directory of the readerisdead project. It definitely felt strange mixing this modern JavaScript code (written in TypeScript, with a bit of async/await) with Reader's 2011-vintage script. However, it all worked out, without too many surprises. Coming back to the Reader core structures (tags, streams, preferences, etc.) felt very familiar, but there were also some embarrassing moments (why did we serve timestamps as seconds, milliseconds, and microseconds, all within the same structure?).

As for myself, I still use NewsBlur every day, and have even contributed a few patches to it. The main thing that's changed is that I first read Twitter content in it (using pretty much the same setup I described a while back), with a few other sites that I've trained as being important also getting read consistently. Everything else I read much more opportunistically, as opposed to my completionist tendencies of years past. This may just be a reflection of the decreased amount of time that I have for reading content online in general.

NewsBlur has a paid tier, which makes me reasonably confident that it'll be around for years to come. It went from 587 paid users right before the Reader shutdown announcement to 8,424 shortly after to 5,345 now. While not the kind of up-and-to-right curve that would make a VC happy, it should hopefully be a sustainable level for the one person (hi Samuel!) to keep working on it, Pinboard-style.

Looking at the other feed readers that sprung up (or got a big boost in usage) in the wake of Reader's shutdown, they all still seem to be around: Feedly, The Old Reader, FeedWrangler, Feedbin, Innoreader, Reeder, and so on. One of the more notable exceptions is Digg Reader, which itself was shut down earlier this year. But there are also new projects springing up like Evergreen and Elytra and so I'm cautiously optimistic about the feed reading space.

27 Jul 05:30

an entomologist rates ant emojis


Excellent ant reviews 11/10


Beautiful big almond eye, realistic and full of expression as she gazes gently at you. Elbowed antennae and delicately segmented legs and body. Gorgeous pearlescent sheen like she is glowing. This ant moisturizes. This ant is round and huggable. This ant is a star. 11/10.

Beautifully detailed, lifelike pose but with an unexpected neck and odd antennae, perhaps scared straight. Her eyes suggest she has seen things. Her expression confirms she has seen too much. She is haunted and I want to know more. 7/10.

Floppy antenna, pointy muppet face, oddly posed legs. What is she? She has no waist. May be she is some kind of bee in disguise? I find her unsettling. 3/10.

This ant has an unexplained, double-jointed thorax, and no evidence of a waist. Her four-footed pose suggests that she a centaur rather than an ant. Centaur ants would be cool. I’m not sure what was intended here. 2/10.

Good first impression, kind of bland in the details. This ant has no particular waist to speak of, floppy rather than elbowed antennae, and an inexpressive face. Her color scheme is soft and hazy. I like the sharp angles of her stylishly sophisticated legs. This ant may not know quite were she is going, but she knows how she is getting there. 6/10.

Were you even trying. 0/10

Gasp! This ant is elegant. This ant has a beautiful tapered thorax, a segmented abdomen, alert, elbowed antennae, and a light-footed pose. This ant’s face suggests curiosity and a desire to explore the world. This ant inspires me. I want to be like her. 10/10

3-legged, waistless centaur-ant with strange, limp antennae and a beak. I don’t know what this is? It kind of reminds me of a Hork-Bajir. 1/10, not an ant.

This ant… makes me sad. All of her legs are broken. The MS Paint art style and gradient abuse convey distress. She has a duck beak. Despite this, her expression suggests perseverance and determined cheerfulness. I want this ant to have a better life. I am rooting for her. 3/10

This ant is a bold and challenging mixture of photorealism and caricature. She is broad and low-built and seems very sturdy. She looks like she would help you move. This ant is a dependable friend. 9/10

A picture of an ant from a children’s book.  She is wearing little boots.  This ant is wrong in every way, and yet I can’t stay mad at her.  7/10

An interesting, top-down view of an ant; her legs are positioned with slightly jarring symmetry.  Nevertheless, her overall impression is that of a graceful, stylized design, like a pictograph.  She is suitable for adorning fine garments and jewelry or perhaps gracing the walls of a tiny ant church.  I like this minimalist ant.  8/10.

This is a termite. -10/10

26 Jul 09:23

The ingredient that makes this meatless burger bleed is safe to eat, FDA rules

by Stephen Johnson

Getting closer...

The announcement is a major victory for Impossible Foods, the San Francisco-based startup that makes Silicon Valley's favorite veggie burger.

Read More
23 Jul 22:21

Rainbow Long Exposure Photography

by swissmiss


I can not stop looking at these rainbow long exposure photographs by Daniel Mercadante. He captured his partner running with a custom built lighting rig. So much appreciation for this. So much!

23 Jul 11:23

Yet more double negative jokes

by Mark Liberman

Following up on "Clarification by misnegation" and "More double negative jokes", here are some tweets I missed:

A lot of people came up independently with variants on "I am not not a crook".

Twitter registers some complaints from Trump supporters about Trump Derangement Syndrome, but I haven't seen any attempts to turn the double negative humor in the opposite direction.

In traditional media:

Tom Toles, "Trump doubles down on never not re-reversing no non-unchanged double non-negative un-denials", Washington Post 7/18/2018:

The Late Show, "Schoolhouse Rock! Presents: Double Negative Junction", 7/18/2018:

Alexandra Petri, "This was ‘not’ what Trump meant to say", Washington Post 7/17/2018:

It is easy to see how this might be confusing. President Trump understands how you might have gotten confused. […]

Anyway, he now is issuing an unequivocal statement that “I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place. Could be other people also. A lot of people out there.”

Is that unequivocal or not unequivocal? Well, it is definitely one of the two, and if we decide it was not unequivocal, we can tack that “not” on in the next 24 hours without incident. […]

Trump meant to really send a stern message to Putin. He meant to not not mention human rights, and certainly he was going to stand his ground when confronting the Russian president on the subject of election interference. Instead he did not that. Easy mistake, is the point. You can think, “Wait, am I supposed to do this, or is this the thing I am supposed to not do?” and sometimes you forget and guess wrong, and that is Trump foreign policy in a notshell. […]

He does not think the American people are idiots who will just take this “not” statement at face value. He does not think so little of you. This is not insulting to you. I think I am using the right number of “not,” but these days, who knows?

For those interested in a serious analysis of the grammatical and psychological issues involved, see Lane Greene (writing as Prospero), "Double-plus un-obvious: A grammatical analysis of Donald Trump’s double negatives", 7/18/2018.

22 Jul 00:20

What do you do if you find a turtle crossing the road? I...


Good tips. Important turtle news! 🐢

What do you do if you find a turtle crossing the road? I collaborated with Dr. David Steen of the Alongside Wild Foundation to tell you how to save our shelly pals.

Support me on Patreon

17 Jul 21:29

Interactive to see street orientation everywhere

by Nathan Yau

After seeing polar charts of street orientation in major cities, Vladimir Agafonkin, an engineer at Mapbox, implemented an interactive version that lets you see directions for everywhere:

Extracting and processing the road data for every place of interest to generate a polar chart seemed like too much work. Could I do it on an interactive map? It turns out that this is a perfect use case for Mapbox vector maps — since the map data is there on the client, we can analyze and visualize it instantly for any place in the world.


So someone’s going to take the next step to rank and rate griddyness around the world, right?

Tags: directions, streets

16 Jul 05:28

Pubic education

by Iva Cheung

I love everything about this story. Pyoobz!

English-usage authority Bryan A. Garner shook Language Twitter by suggesting that only philistines pronounced pubes as a single syllable.







More than a few of us responded with tweets of bewilderment and skepticism, likely confusing everyone around us as we muttered “PYOO-beez. PYOOBZ. PYOO-beez??” at our screens.








Garner claimed that the two-syllable pronunciation was all that his dictionaries offered, and a little digging proved him right. Not only did Merriam-Webster not have the /pyoobz/ pronunciation,





Screen shot from Merriam-Webster entry for


but Oxford Living Dictionaries’ US page

Screen shot from Oxford Online Dictionary's entry for


Screen shot from's first entry for

all listed /PYOO-beez/ as the preferred—sometimes only—pronunciation.

Most unsettling was dictionaries’ disregard for the existence of the singular pube.




It was enough to prompt a conspiracy theory:

So what was going on? Dictionaries are supposed to reflect predominant usage, yet this diverse community of language enthusiasts, most of them conscientious writers or editors, had never heard the two-syllable pubes. Were we all being gaslit?

As it turns out, all of these dictionary entries were for the medical or scientific usage of “pubes,” prounounced /PYOO-beez/, which can mean (with earliest citations in the Oxford English Dictionary):

  • the mons pubis—the lower part of the abdomen at the front of the pelvis

The grinde or share is called Pubes, betwene the whyche are sette the priuye members, vnder the bothome of the bely. (John Hall, A most excellent and learned woorke of chirurgerie, called Chirurgia parua Lanfranci, translation of Lafranc, 1565)

  • the plural form of pubis, referring to the bone making up the front and back sides of the pelvis

Between the Ischium and Pubes the Foramen. (William Cheselden, The Anatomy of the Humane Body, 1713)  

  • the plural form of pubis, referring to a pubic hair

In adolencie when Pubes was springing. (William Wager, Longer thou Liuest, 1569)

The OED acknowledges that “in later use,” that last definition is “difficulty to distinguish from the plural of PUBE, n.,” and the entry for pube does give the monosyllabic pronunciation. Its etymological note says, “non-technical context usually suggests that the monosyllabic, colloquial pronunciation is intended,” lending credence to this suggestion:

So in medical contexts, it’s /PYOO-beez/ and in a casual ones, it’s /pyoobz/. Case closed, right?

Well, not quite. Because we’re working mostly off of written records—and pubes sadly doesn’t seem to come up in a lot of historical rhyming poetry—we can’t be sure how the colloquial pubes was pronounced. For example, the first citation in the OED under pube is from 1968:

Tracing the line of feeling from nipple to pubes. (A. Ginsberg, Planet News, 1968)

But we don’t know for sure this wasn’t pronounced /PYOO-beez/.

Complicating matters is that, according to Green’s Dictionary of Slang, pubies and pubeys were also slang terms for pubic hair:

Pubies: Pubic hairs. (Baker et al., CUSS, 1967–8)

I’m still missing half of my pubies from the first day here. (J. Sayles, Union Dues, 1978)

There. On my soap. You fucken pig. Yer pubies. (J.M. Del Vecchio, 13th Valley, 1983)

What kind of dude shaves his pubeys? Hello! (J. Stahl ‘Pure’ in Love Without, 2007)

Are these terms evidence that people obviously pronounced pubes as a single syllable in colloquial use, necessitating these spellings to emphasize a different pronunciation? Or are they evidence that people said /PYOO-beez/ to refer to pubes—and pubes, pubies, and pubeys are variant spellings of the same word?

We can be pretty confident that /pyoobz/ arrived more recently than /PYOO-beez/, but when? And did we pluralize to pube to pubes, or did we get the singular pube from the plural?

A couple of linguists nerded out the issue on Twitter:

I think both theories are plausible, and the two phenomena might even have happened concurrently. Some speakers probably clipped pubic hair to pube, and because we usually talk about pubes in the plural, started saying /pyoobz/. Others may have seen pubes written and, via spelling pronunciation, assumed it was said /pyoobz/.

Searching for pube on its own would give us more definite answers to some of these questions because /pyoob/ is the only pronunciation offered for the singular in all dictionaries that list it. Ain’t nobody sayin’ /PYOO-bee/.

But there’s very little evidence in the written record of singular pube—and nothing that antedates the earliest confirmable usage of monosyllabic pubes.

As esoterically fascinating as this dive into pubes’s history is, what mattered to many of us was what was currently happening. The predominant colloquial pronunciation today is unquestionably /pyoobz/. We saw this pronunciation in Wayne’s World 2 (1993):

South Park (2001):

Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004):

and several Judd Apatow projects, including The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. (Does Apatow have a pube fixation?)

Shouldn’t the dictionaries reflect this widespread usage?

Fortunately, Merriam-Webster answered our call, writing:

A number of readers took to Twitter and created a polite and well-ordered pitchfork mob of descriptivist bent, taking pains to inform us that our pronunciation for pubes was in error…

We do not currently have the latter pubes in our dictionary (in our defense, the word does not frequently appear in published, edited text), but an entry is in progress. So a hearty round of congratulations to those of you who have raised this issue; you may henceforth say that you helped put pubes (rhymes with tubes) in the dictionary.

And this announcement led to much celebration:


Thanks to Ben Zimmer and Todd Snider for their contributions to this post!

12 Jul 23:07

A "Wild Boar" proficient in five languages — English, Thai, Burmese, Mandarin, and Wa

by Victor Mair

So glad LL covered this!

At the same time as the World Cup was being held in Russia, an even more intense soccer-related drama was unfolding in Thailand.  A group of teenage boys and their coach had become trapped in a cave complex for more than a week after the entrance had been sealed by rapidly rising floodwaters.  An international team of rescuers worked tirelessly to bring them out of the cave, and one brave hero lost his life in the attempt.  His name was Saman Gunan (Guana/Kunan); he died while taking oxygen to the Thai youngsters trapped in the cave.  Requiescat in pace!

But there was another hero of the Thai rescue operation, and he was a 14-year-old polyglot:

"Teen hero emerges from Thai cave rescue mission", NZ Herald (7/11/18)

Adul Sam-on, a 14-year-old member of the Wild Boars soccer team, played a vital role in the dramatic rescue mission of his teammates and coach.

The teenager is proficient in five languages — English, Thai, Burmese, Mandarin and Wa, a language spoken near the [border between] Myanmar and China.

It was his knowledge of English that was crucial because it allowed him to talk to the British rescue divers on behalf of the group when it was discovered nine days after becoming stuck.


The Thai Navy SEAL Force shared a photo of the boy with a huge smile on his face. No matter how dire the situation looked, he could afford to smile with optimism.

"I'm Adul, I'm in good health," the rake-thin teenager said in Thai in a video that emerged hours after the group was discovered. He also offered a traditional Thai "wai" greeting — trademark politeness, his teachers say.


Adul has been praised for his ability to speak proficient English in a country where less than a third of the population understand the language.

He was the only one able to communicate with the British divers that discovered the boys on Monday night.

AntC, who called this report to my attention, remarks:

I did wonder, when the news announced it was a Brit/Australian team going into the cave complex, how they were going to communicate with the soccer team. Now we know.

Probably few people, even on Language Log, have ever heard of Wa.  Because of the importance of this Mon-Khmer (Palaungic branch) group for the history and culture of tea, I had studied their folkways and language when doing research for The True History of Tea, which I wrote with Erling Hoh in 2009.  I wonder if Adul Sam-on's mother tongue is Wa.


"Caucasian words for tea" (1/26/17)

"Multilingual tea packaging" (4/7/18)

"Trump tea" (1/13/17

10 Jul 21:14

Composite image of a spider building its web

by Nathan Yau


Christian Fröschlin combined 2,800 frames of a spider building its web for this composite image. Brrrbrbr.

Tags: composite, image, spider

09 Jul 08:21

‘WFF’ a person who you encountered briefly, but stays in your online life forever

by Teyosh

This is such a useful concept!

Before social networks, there were episodic characters in our lives – people we’ve only met once or twice, and we haven’t heard from since. Nowadays whoever, we once add a person to…

The post ‘WFF’ a person who you encountered briefly, but stays in your online life forever appeared first on Next Nature Network.

No related posts.
09 Jul 08:20

ericmortensen: Remember this guy? I did, so I dug around for...


I admit I skim watched this because 8 minutes of insanity is about 7 minutes too many


Remember this guy? I did, so I dug around for some high quality source material and made this silly thing. 

Dynamically generated/modified music and video of that Question Mark Guy from the commercials.

09 Jul 07:42

Guerrilla Artist Pulls a Banksy, Installs Own Art at Banksy Museum Exhibit

by Kurt
[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Street Art & Graffiti. ]

In the early 2000s, Banksy famously hung one of his own works at London’s famous Tate Britain museum, and now, 15 years later, a Toronto artist has pulled off a similar guerrilla trick, this time targeting an exhibition of Banksy’s own work in Canada.

Tharanga Ramanayake‘s piece involves a Banksy-worthy critique of the art world, objecting to admission fees charged to see street art, which is typically public and accessible by nature.

The meta-commentary comes through in layers, with art on walls lining a street within the canvas of the piece itself. Street art, the artist believes, should be free, which his piece Free-For-All highlights.

“Theft,” reads the plaque, “is bringing street art inside and then charging an admission fee.” Ramanayake’s art used a sketch of Trolley Hunters, a Banksy work that was stolen last month before the exhibit opened to the public.

The new art was hung alongside a print of Rage, The Flower Thrower, one of Banky’s most famous works. It was taken down after security was alerted, but no charges were pursued and the artwork was returned to its creator. The exhibitors also noted that the art on the walls wasn’t really street art, in their view, but prints of public pieces, which would be sold in part to fund further public installations.

Street Art Olympics: Banksy Works on 2012 London Games

When the games are in town, street art abounds, with locals and visitors alike responding to the huge city-shifting influx of infrastructure and viewers. For his part, UK-native (but ...

Unauthorized Installations: The Fine Art of Urban Subversion

Brad Downey is familiar with both sides of the art world, with a fine arts degree and gallery exhibitions, on the one hand, and run-ins with the authorities about his sometimes-unsanctioned ...

Busy Banksy: New Street Art Spans All 5 Boroughs of NYC

Banksy's artwork is all over the map this month, both literally and metaphorically, showing up in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Staten Island - some of it is even traveling in ...

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[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Street Art & Graffiti. ]

[ WebUrbanist | Archives | Galleries | Privacy | TOS ]

06 Jul 00:59

Daughter of the Lilies - E1.13


Ooh! The end of book one. If you're into serialised fantasy comics (and I mean, who *isn't*???), and haven't read this, now would be a great time to start from the beginning...

New comic!

Today's News:

This is really it this time: the real end to book one. Thank you all so much for reading!

Starting on Thursday, we will be featuring a bunch of wonderful Thistle Theories as submitted by you readers. Yoko, Rosey, and I will all be off working on Book II, a decent buffer, and finishing all the color conversions for every page in Book I so that we can kickstart a print copy for y'all's bookshelves.

I was kinda overwhelmed working on these last few pages of this book, primarily because of where I was when I first started it. The person I was then desperately hoped for something better in her life, and the person I am now still can't believe I managed to grab hold of it. 

I did not get here by myself - there were many, many people who extended their hands to give me a boost to the next foothold I needed. Therefore, I would like to give my deepest thanks to Lora and Mike Innes, who were the first ones who ever told me that my comics were seriously good and worth doing, Milo Neuman, who encourages me each and every day to be a better person and a better artist, Yoko Weaver, without whom the comic would not have even gotten this far nor would have looked this good, and every single one of my Patrons on Patreon, without whom we'd still only be updating once a week, and wouldn't be moving at so wonderful a pace as we are today. 

And, of course, a very special thanks to you, who reads this. There would be no point of doing this if you weren't here. Thank you.

I'll have more news for you about Book II in the blog posts of upcoming updates, including its title, its status, and when you can expect it to return. We'll see you soon.

Discuss this comic: FORUM | REDDIT | DISCORD*
*The author is not affiliated with any of these communities nor the moderation thereof. 

03 Jul 14:25

For New Scientist



For New Scientist

03 Jul 06:25

The Opulent Public Toilet On A Norwegian Scenic Highway

by Stephanie Wade

Must Norway be better at everything?!

Oslo studio Morfeus Arkitekter has completed a mirrored toilet block on the Norwegian coastline of Andøya, a magnificent rest break for road trippers passing by.

Read more

02 Jul 21:56

"Gretchen: On the International Space Station, you have astronauts from the US and from other English..."


I want to learn Space Pidgin!

Gretchen: On the International Space Station, you have astronauts from the US and from other English speaking countries and you have cosmonauts from Russia. And obviously it’s very important to get your communication right if you’re on a tiny metal box circling the Earth or going somewhere. You don’t want to have a miscommunication there because you could end up floating in space in the wrong way. And so one of the things that they do on the ISS – so first of all every astronaut and cosmonaut needs to be bilingual in English and Russian because those are the languages of space.

Lauren: Yep. Wait, the language of space are English and Russian? I’m sorry, I just said ‘yep’ and I didn’t really think about it, so that’s a fact is it?

Gretchen: I mean, pretty much, yeah, if you go on astronaut training recruitment forums, which I have gone on to research this episode…

Lauren: You’re got to have a backup job, Gretchen.

Gretchen: I don’t think I’m going to become an astronaut, but I would like to do astronaut linguistics. And one of the things these forums say, is, you need to know stuff about math and engineering and, like, how to fly planes and so on. But they also say, you either have to arrive knowing English and Russian or they put you through an intensive language training course.

But then when they’re up in space, one of the things that they do is have the English native speakers speak Russian and the Russian speakers speak English. Because the idea is, if you speak your native language, maybe you’re speaking too fast or maybe you’re not sure if the other person’s really understanding you. Whereas if you both speak the language you’re not as fluent in, then you arrive at a level where both people can be sure that the other person’s understanding. And by now, there’s kind of this hybrid English-Russian language that’s developed. Not a full-fledged language but kind of a-

Lauren: Space Creole!

Gretchen: Yeah, a Space Pidgin that the astronauts use to speak with each other! I don’t know if anyone’s written a grammar of it, but I really want to see a grammar of Space Pidgin.


Excerpt from Episode 1 of Lingthusiasm: Speaking a single language won’t bring about world peace. Listen to the full episode, read the transcript, or check out the show notes.

(via lingthusiasm)

28 Jun 09:08

Marci Robin on Twitter: “I bought a car today, and the...



Marci Robin on Twitter: “I bought a car today, and the dealership had me check off — with a pen, on paper — that I’m not a robot.”

27 Jun 22:40

Soccer On Your TabletopResearch from the University of...


Would watch!

Soccer On Your Tabletop

Research from the University of Washington, Facebook and Google can reproduce a 3D representation of a football match from the footage from a single camera:

We present a system that transforms a monocular video of a soccer game into a moving 3D reconstruction, in which the players and field can be rendered interactively with a 3D viewer or through an Augmented Reality device.  At the heart of our paper is an approach to estimate the depth map of each player, using a CNN that is trained on 3D player data extracted from soccer video games.  We compare with state of the art body pose and depth estimation techniques, and show results on both synthetic ground truth benchmarks, and real YouTube soccer footage. 

The official project page can be found here

Also, the code for this project has been made available on Github and can be run via Unity ond Hololens. Developer Ash_Yin presents a short demo using the Hololens headset [source]

27 Jun 05:13

“Desert Breath” is a double-spiral work of land art...



“Desert Breath” is a double-spiral work of land art found in the Egyptian desert, near the city of Hurghada. Created in March 1997 by a team of three Greek women artists, the work covers an area of about 1 million square feet (100,000 square meters). One spiral consists of 89 protruding cones, and the other spiral is made up of 89 depressed cones. A large pool of water used to occupy the center of the piece, but it has since evaporated.


27°22'49.6"N, 33°37'56.6"E

Source imagery: DigitalGlobe

12 Jun 17:46

love letters as writing samples, the candidate who spoke Pirate, and other tales of amazing resumes

by Ask a Manager

I LOL’d several times. My own unforgettable candidate listed 3rd grade trombone. (!?!?)

A few weeks ago, I asked you about the strangest things you’ve ever seen on a resume. You shared some amazing stories — so many, in fact, that I couldn’t pick my usual 10, so here are 30 of the best.

1. “A recent applicant for an entry-level office job at the nonprofit where I work wrote in his application, ‘Just Google me.’ As if I wasn’t already going to. The candidate did not get an interview.

2. “At a previous job we received a 3-page resume that started with a list of accomplishments. One of the so-called accomplishments was ‘Met Lenny Kravitz.’ We had a laugh at that, because WTF?! It had absolutely nothing to do with the job or the industry that we were in. And, I mean, he just met the dude, he didn’t work with him or anything. That’s absolutely not an ‘accomplishment’ even if you’re trying to break into the recording business or something!

Then we got to the third page of his resume and it was just a scanned picture of him with Lenny Kravitz.

We did not move forward with his application.”

3. “A candidate listed his part in a play in the 1980s for an office job at a university. He was either in elementary or middle school then. He had no other acting or theatrical experience. I’m pretty sure it was a school play.”

4. “We interviewed a guy for a web designer’s job. His portfolio was quite good, until we came across one of our own websites in there. We asked him to explain and he said that he put it in there as an example of a well designed website. We didn’t really believe him. He didn’t get the job.”

5. “This was a position aimed at university students. A student applied, and in the application where she had to select an option, instead of using an X or check mark, she filled in the blanks with hearts.”

6. “We had someone with a languages section and they wrote ‘Pirate.’ We only called because we were desperate and his work was in line with what we needed. We made him an offer but I’m worried that might have enforced his decision here. We asked about it in the phone screen and he confirmed that it meant talking with a lot of ‘arrr’s.'”

7. “A college student applied for a summer internship by sending us copies of love letters he wrote to his high school crush as a proof of his writing skills.”

8. “I had a husband and wife apply together for one position, with a single resume. It listed degrees and experience, with dates, but did not differentiate between spouses. They were working artists and explained they preferred to share a job and decide among themselves who would show up on any given day.

They provided a link to their art portfolio. (The position I was hiring for was not art-related.) I looked and their art involved nude photos of themselves, digitally combined and altered into sort of amorphous abstracts.”

9. “A female applicant put “Bachelorette Degree” on her resume and when I called her to screen, let her know of, what I had assumed, was a typo. She assured me that she did, indeed, have a Bachelorette degree because she’s not a man. Duh.”

10. “I got a resume where instead of attaching his resume, the poor guy accidentally attached a letter from his mom telling him to get a job and stop taking money from his grandfather. He didn’t get an interview either. I still wonder if he ever stopped mooching off his grandpa.”

11. “I’ve seen quite a few resumes that list fanfic and it’s even worse when it’s fanfic for books that my company publishes. I’m in fandom and enjoy writing/reading fanfic, but no one is going to hire someone who wrote fanfic for X series to work with that author. It’s a disaster waiting to happen.

There have been a few who have linked to their fanfic and well…….I checked out of pure curiosity (none of them were invited for an interview). One was a really great author. Another had some of the more hardcore kinks fandom loves (and ones that make me uncomfortable), and I was just baffled that someone would think it’s a good idea to link to their erotica on a resume.”

12. “It was the kind of application form where you’re supposed to upload your resume as an attachment, and one candidate uploaded a Word document that contained one line: ‘Resume available upon request.'”

13. “Once received a resume that was written in the form of a recipe:

1/2 cup working with individuals on their job skills
2 tsp crisis intervention
3 cups supervising staff

That kind of thing. And there were little clip art gingerbread men all over it. And I remember the paper being pink. No actual time spent in jobs (list of jobs at the bottom), or list of skills. It was up to us to figure out what to what the different measurements equated.”

14. “One listed why he left each job. Fired, quit because the boss sucked (yes, that was a reason), but the one that stood out? Fired because he was in jail for attempted murder. Yeah… we didn’t interview him. (In the resume, he did note that he was found ‘not guilty on a technicality.’ Not that he wasn’t actually not guilty, but found not guilty due to a technicality.)”

15. “In the past few months I have seen:
– excessive use of emojis (more than 0 is excessive to me)
– put down ‘working my ass off’ as one of the bullet points for a position
– a very ‘light’ resume in the work history section, but a very detailed Karate section”

16. “When we had an open position that was half-admin-half-research-assistant, one applicant in his late twenties sent a resume that began with standard education/work history and continued on the 3rd page into a creative writing sample/series of diary entries. The entries covered every topic from a conversation with his dying grandfather, to his first sexual experience (3rd base graphically described, occurring in a back room of his parents’ church), to a very flowery description of doing drugs in a field with his best friends.

Our office came up with several theories. I half regret never reaching out to him to confirm whether this was a prank, accident, or gross misunderstanding of the job posting.”

17. “I once got someone who listed ‘World’s Best Grandson’ under awards. He was the winner in 2003, and then again from 2006-2008. I contacted him to come in for an interview (this was a part time call center job), but he didn’t answer. I was slightly disappointed, because his resume cracked me up.”

18. “I once received a resume that contained a photo of the applicant. It was a formally posed shot of him standing in front of a bookshelf holding a book and looking thoughtfully into the distance. The same resume include a series of quotes about him from people he knew (think the kind of blurbs you find on book jackets). Unfortunately for him, I knew some of them as well and they confirmed they hadn’t either said those things or given him permission to use their names in his resume.”

19. “I once received a resume that was fairly normal, along with a cover letter that was written as a ransom note (all the letters and words cut out of different magazines). I think the intent was to show creativity and humor, but it actually just felt a little creepy. No interview.”

20. “The strangest was a resume started off with the usual stuff like name address, etc. Then he states male with defined brown beard with a few gray hairs. The resume then continued on like a normal resume. If it wasn’t for that line he totally would have gotten an interview.”

21. “Instead of stating I was a stay at home mom and now I’m returning to work one woman listed it as a job. But also listed it as if she was talking to a 4-year-old. Something like this:
The Smith Household
1/1/13 to forever
Mommy to the best children in the world
*care for two amazing kids I love so much
*pay household bills for my wonderful family
*grocery shop to provide for my loves”

22. “I will never forget the time we were hiring for a research assistant and indicated a preference for bilingual English/Spanish speakers. One applicant’s cover letter included: ‘I’m not bilingual or bisexual (that I know of).'”

23. “I hired for >15 years for professional healthcare positions. Some of the memorable ones:

– Honorable mention certificate from a high school science fair
– 3rd place finish in a karate tournament in 7th grade
– Bikini photo of candidate
– Photo of candidate posing with firearm
– Photo of applicant posing in a bar saluting with a neon-blue cocktail while wearing a stethescope around her neck
– Related: doc who had IN VITO VERITAS as the actual header on his resume (like, I’m an enophile too, but unless you’re applying for a job in the beverage industry, THAT’S NOT RELEVANT.)”

24. “I received a two page resume where the first page listed the applicant’s interpersonal skills. In bullet points. The second page had a ‘Work’ heading, with the note that they would be happy to discuss their professional experience during their interview…but that they were not going to provide any info on their experience beforehand

25. “I had an applicant give me his entire budget … down to his electric bill and Netflix account, including a line item for the amount he would need ‘to take my girlfriend out to dinner now and again’ when asked for his salary requirements.”

26. “For a professional position in management an applicant sent a resume that was around 9 pages in length. The length was bad enough but the last several pages were detailed lists of his children’s accomplishments from middle school up until college (recent). Apparently he thought that demonstrating that he could rear productive and accomplished children said a lot about his management skills.”

27. “We recently had an applicant who didn’t even send a resume. Instead he attached a headshot and an invoice from a recent eye doctor appointment. Needless to say he did not receive the position.”

28. “The person who treated her resume like a wedding invitation. The resume itself had been printed on a pearlescent cardstock, with the applicant’s initials set as a watermark in the background in a fancy script. That same watermark was printed on a piece of (synthetic) vellum laid overtop the resume, for which purpose I’m still unclear. It also came with a reply card using the same paper finishes / watermarks / font style. Where the rest of the resume was obviously reaching for some sort of matrimonial elegance, the reply card ended with what I assume was a tongue-in-cheek joke but landed super flat. The options on the reply card were ‘Yes, we’d love to interview you and will be in touch!’, ‘No, but I’ll pass along your resume to a colleague who may be interested,’ and my favourite, ”NO, and don’t ever apply here again!’ My boss at the time was like, ‘Can I add a fourth option that says “This is a deeply inappropriate way to format your application”?'”

29. “I think the oddest I’ve seen to date, was a resume cover letter that included a picture of the applicant doing the 70’s action hero slide across the hood of a car.”

30. And from way back in 2014, because it needs to be included every time this topic comes up:

“The candidate who listed ‘Birthed four children vaginally with no anaesthetic’ under ‘Other Experience.'”

love letters as writing samples, the candidate who spoke Pirate, and other tales of amazing resumes was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

12 Jun 04:00

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by Li