A Bed of Clouds

A Bed of Clouds. This photo is available to licence on EyeEm.

#111

Friday, June 15, 2018

In This Edition:
Songs, tracking humans through walls, music and the brain, build your own blockchain, the command icon ⌘, the truth about lemmings, Mario 4-2, USSD, procrastination and Sterling coin secrets!

The 20+ degree weather in Swansea is just starting to break this week, with the introduction of some nice cloud cover, as seen in the photo above.
I love taking photos of clouds! :-)

Festival Of Voice: Every Song I've Ever Written

Image: Dr. Jenn Kirby

This week my wife Jenn performed in the Festival of Voice: Every Song I've Ever Written - Band Night. The project involved 4 acts covering or interpreting one of 58 songs written by Jacob Wren which are part of the Every Song I've Ever Written project.
Check out my photos from the night in Chapter in Cardiff here, featuring Perfect Body, Adwaith, Rufus Mufasa, and Jenn, and with a collaboration by all four acts at the end of the night.

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Human Tracking Through Walls

Image: RF-Pose, MIT

MIT have progressed on previous research that used radio signals to detect human movement through walls by adding a neural network that accurately generates a skeleton representation of the human in real time. It can also identify the human with 83% accuracy.

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Empathic People Process Music Differently

Image: SMU, UCLA

Researchers at Southern Methodist University and UCLA studied the brain activity of people while listening to music. Using a survey, the study participants were categorised based on their empathic qualities. The study found that empathic people process music with the involvement of social cognitive circuitry in the brain, like a pleasurable proxy for a human encounter. These areas of the brain were not activated by participants that rated low in empathy.

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Build Your Own Blockchain

Iamge: Hackernoon, Daniel van Flymen

This is a nice step by step tutorial by Daniel van Flymen on how to learn about blockchain by building your own blockchain and interacting with it via an API.

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The Origin Of The Command Icon ⌘

Image: Milanote

Susan Kare created the original Mac icons at Apple. This is a nice piece on Milanote about her work, including the origins of the Command key icon (⌘), which is used in Sweden to denote an interesting feature and is modelled on an aerial view of a castle with four turrets.

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The Truth About Lemmings

Image: Kotaku.com, Lemmings Video Game (1991)

We all know the story about how lemmings have a tendency to jump to their deaths en mass off a cliff. It inspired the classic 90's video game shown above.
Well it turns out it's all Disney propoganda and not true at all, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
In the 1958 White Wilderness series, Disney featured a segment on lemmings and staged a scene showing a rake of lemmings jumping to their death, with the narration of the piece implying the rodents have a compulsion for mass suicide.
An investigation in 1983 found that the lemmings were thrown off the cliff by Disney filmmakers and their numbers and movement exaggerated using the use of a snow covered turntable.

 

 

The History of Super Mario Bros Level 4-2

Image: Youtube, Summoning Salt

Speedrunning is the act of playing of a video game with the goal of completing it as fast as possible. Super Mario is a popular franchised in which speedrunners attempt to out-play each other, with the latest world record set just 22 days ago on May 25th 2018. This video describes in detail the history of Super Mario Bros Level 4-2, a notoriously difficult level to speedrun through apparently. What surprises me about this video is that gamers are still finding hacks and glitches in the game, 30 years after it was released.

The Rise Of USSD Apps In Africa

Image: Quartz. Bwenzi Lathu, a USSD app used by African women to track their fertility windows for family planning.

Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) is a protocol of the GSM standard form 1997, mostly used to allow simple queries to be sent and received to and from the mobile network, like requesting your account balance. The advent of mobile internet and smartphones have largely decimated the use of USSD in developed markets. However in Africa, where there is only 18% internet penetration, there is over 80% penetration of GSM mobile phones. As a result, developers have started using USSD as a widespread delivery mechanism for apps from banking to fertility tracking. Here is an interesting article in Quartz about the use USSD in Africa.

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The Reason You Procrastinate

Image: Youtube, Mel Robbins

This is a profound 4 minute video of Mel Robbins dropping a wisdom bomb about why analytically minded people suffer from procrastination and how to overcome it.
This is one of those "Of course, that's so obvious, why didn't I think of that!" videos.

Cool Thing Of The Week: Sterling Secrets

Image: Twitter, Xavier Katana

See you next week!

See you next week :-)

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About Found This Week

Found This Week is a curated blog of interesting posts, articles, links and stories in the world of technology, science and life in general.
Each edition is curated by Daryl Feehely every Friday and highlights cool stuff found each week.
The first 104 editions were published on Medium before this site was created, check out the archive here.

Daryl Feehely

I’m a web consultant, contract web developer, technical project manager & photographer originally from Cork, now based in Swansea. I offer my clients strategy, planning & technical delivery services, remotely & in person. I also offer freelance CTO services to companies in need of technical bootstrapping or reinvention. If you think I can help you in your business, check out my details on http://darylfeehely.com