Tag Archives: canadian

UPDATE: Doing things a little different.

3 May

This week there will be no .:today:. posts. Mon-Fri will be a bit more personal than usual.


29 Apr

And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.


28 Apr

Today we’re featuring Sir Isaac Newton and his heretic ways! WOOOH!

So along with being on the absolute top of scientific knowledge and discovery to this day and being only likened to everyone’s favorite mathematician Albert Einstein, Isaac was how should I put it? Oh, that’s right. Stark raving mad. Now I know every genius that ever walked this planet had a “thing”, Van Gough had his cousin/manic depression, and Mozart had family issues (to say the least). But Issac had a bit of an obsession with Gods coded message in the bible concerning the Apocalypse. Yeah that’s right, Mr. Newton was a closet Christian fanatic. He spent the better part of his career secretly discovering the date of the end of days. He died never telling a documented soul about his discovery, experts are convinced he meant for our generation to find his secret work and prepare ourselves for the end of time which Newton predicted would be approximately 2060. So now if we survive 2012, we get to worry for another 58 years about the possible end of our existence as the unwashed unsaved and down right asshole masses.

I’m rooting on 1012.

Oh good now lets chuck them all over the place!

28 Apr

We’ve all heard the plastic bag horror stories—the billions of bags discarded every year that wind up polluting oceans, killing wildlife and getting dumped in landfills where they take up to 1,000 years to decompose. Researchers have been wracking their brains for years to figure out a solution. But leave it to a Canadian high school student to leave them all in the dust. Daniel Burd, an 11th grader at Waterloo Collegiate Institute, has discovered a way to make plastic bags degrade in as little as three months—a finding that won him first prize at the Canada-Wide Science Fair, a $20,000 scholarship, and a chance to revolutionize a major environmental issue.

Burd’s strategy was simple: Since plastic does eventually degrade, it must be eaten by microorganisms. If those microorganisms, as well as the optimal conditions for their growth, could be identified, we could put them to work eating the plastic much faster than under normal conditions.

With this goal in mind, he ground plastic bags into a powder and concocted a solution of household chemicals, yeast and tap water to encourage microbe growth. Then he added the plastic powder and let the microbes work their magic for three months. Finally, he tested the resulting bacterial culture on plastic bags, exposing one plastic sample to dead bacteria as a control.

Sure enough, the plastic exposed to the live bacteria was 17 percent lighter than the control after six weeks. Once Burd examined the most effective strains of bacteria, he was able to isolate two types—Sphingomonas and Pseudomonas—as the plastic munchers. At 37 degrees and optimal bacterial concentration, the microbes had consumed 43 percent of a plastic sample within six weeks.

Next up, maybe it’s time to put him to work on this whole carbon emissions thing.


28 Apr


27 Apr

Freelance Whales


How to Fool Face Recognition Systems With Make Up!

24 Apr

How to Fool Face Recognition Systems With  Make UpThe next time you see someone with a make up style that puts David Bowie to shame, don’t laugh too much. He or she may be cleverly fooling face recognition and detection systems with a crazy or asymmetrical design.

It’s generally not easy to avoid being spotted by face recognition and detection systems because they use a rather solid algorithm to identify faces:

Based on the so-called Viola-Jones method, the algorithm examines the spatial relationships of an object captured in an image and looks for features commonly found in faces. Most faces have a dark region just above the eyes, while the cheek bones and nose bridge will appear lighter. When the algorithm detects enough such attributes, it guesses the object is a face. The method is generally regarded as effective. Errors are in favor of false positives, making it hard for unobstructed faces to escape notice when they aren’t captured at an angle.

While the algorithm is effective, it can be fooled with make up applied to “alter the contrasts the technology looks for.” Adam Harvey, a student at New York University, has discovered that “dark patterns applied around eyes and cheek bones” do this trick quite well by “throwing of the symmetry” and making you look silly.

While Harvey’s approach isn’t foolproof, it shows that face recognition and detection systems aren’t perfect either. That and the fact that Mr. Bowie might’ve been on to something.