For the first time ever, scientists have captured an image of a black hole. The black hole chosen is a supermassive black hole at the center of the Messier 87 galaxy, 55 million light-years away from Earth. This is huge news, since before this we only had theoretical proofs of black holes with no direct evidence.
I’ve come to learn that I really enjoy working in environments with only natural lighting. At my job, I work in a large open room with about 50 people. Many of them are artists who need to minimize the glare on their screens, so the great big windows covering the walls of our room are always covered with blinds, and we instead have fluorescent lights turned on (these do cause glare too, but at least they are more predictable so people can tilt their screens to minimize it).
But every once in a while, I’ll be in the office on a weekend, or early in the morning, and I’ll have the room to myself. The lights stay off, the blinds come down, and I immediately feel peaceful and refreshed. I’m noticeably happier and feel great while I’m working. At home too, I’ve set up my desk next to the window and I love the light that comes in from outside. Now that I’m aware that this is something that has a big impact on me, I’ll do my best to seek out environments with natural lighting in the future.
This blog has an intentionally simple design, but lately I’ve been thinking that it needs more color. A lot of the posts don’t have images and are just text, so large areas of the page are black and white with nothing visually interesting. That said, trying to include an image with every post is a pain. I would probably spend more time browsing stock images than actually writing the posts.
Picular was a big inspiration. Generating colors from text by searching for images is a great idea, and I decided to automatically get a set of colors based on each post’s title. Picular doesn’t have an API that I could use, so I wrote a quick script that does something similar. Unless I’ve changed things since I published this post, there should now be a row of colors next to each post’s title.
Remove.bg is a great service that makes it easy for anyone to remove the background of a photo. You can use it with small images for free, and pricing for HD photos seems very fair: you can pay $2 per image, or get a subscription starting at $9 per month.
10 years ago, I was fresh out of college and encountered Paul Graham’s essay about the maker’s schedule, and wrote a response disagreeing with the spirit of the article. While I knew and understood that programmers could be much more productive in one 10 hour chunk than in five 2 hour chunks, I felt like rearranging a business’s operations based on these preferences was going overboard. The typical programmer as described seemed undisciplined, and I wrote that programmers needed to find ways to work around distractions, which are simply a fact of life.
As expected the post got a lot of negative feedback, but it was all very informative. Rather than just telling me to shut up, many people shared their own views and explained where my reasoning might be shortsighted. One person said they would be interested in seeing how I would react to my own post in about 10 years time, so here I am.
During my last year at university, I decided to learn to swim. I was reasonably confident in my ability to stay afloat in deep water and not die, but it wasn’t what you could call swimming. Luckily, two of my close friends were excellent swimmers and they agreed to work with me in the mornings before class.
As an aside, I did take swimming lessons on and off for a few years when I was a kid, but apparently I retained nothing from those classes. Maybe I was just a terrible swimmer the entire time? Possibly related, I have very few memories from my elementary and middle school years, so I have a suspicion that I didn’t do a whole lot of thinking when I was a kid. In any case, I was essentially a total beginner to swimming when we started. I knew that you kicked your legs and paddled with your arms to go forward, but that was about it.
One Cut of the Dead (カメラを止めるな！) is a low budget Japanese zombie movie that became hugely popular here. I just watched it over the weekend and it was wonderful. The writing is very funny and very clever, and when it was over I found myself immediately wanting to watch it a second time.
One Cut of the Dead was made for 3 million Japanese Yen (approximately $25,000 in US Dollars at the time) with a cast of unknown actors. It was made in eight days after director Shinichiro Ueda participated in workshops for actors and filmmakers at the Enbu Seminar drama school in Tokyo
One Cut of the Dead opened in Japan in an 84-seat Tokyo art house theater with an initial theatrical run of six days. It was showing at around 200 screens in Japan by March 2018 where it had officially grossed 800 million yen ($7.3 million)
The Torre Girona Chapel was deconsecrated in the 70s, and now houses the MareNostrum supercomputer.
“We were in need of hundreds of square meters without columns and the capacity to support 44.5 tons of weight,” Maspoch told me in an email. “At the time there was not much available space at the university and the only room that satisfied our requirements was the Torre Girona chapel. We did not doubt it for a moment and we installed a supercomputer in it. ”
A robot arm dips a pipette into a dish and transfers a tiny amount of bright liquid into one of many receptacles sitting in front of another machine. When all the samples are ready, the second machine tests their optical properties, and the results are fed to a computer that controls the arm. Software analyzes the results of these experiments, formulates a few hypotheses, and then starts the process over again. Humans are barely required.
The setup, developed by a startup called Kebotix, hints at how machine learning and robotic automation may be poised to revolutionize materials science in coming years. The company believes it may find new compounds that could, among other things, absorb pollution, combat drug-resistant fungal infections, and serve as more efficient optoelectronic components.
This sounds like a perfect application for machine learning. It’s a great combination of smart design and brute force effort.
For a long time I thought I didn’t like carbonara because the few I tried were too creamy and eggy. Recently I gave it another try because the picture in the menu looked delicious. It was excellent, and I decided I wanted to learn how to make it myself. I needed some practice before I felt comfortable with the timings, but overall it’s a pretty simple recipe that wasn’t hard to learn.