Thoughts from Blue Blaze Irregular Will Reichard
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Google Maps adds hands-free voice input to make driving safer

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Google has announced that Maps on Android now officially supports hands-free voice commands, allowing users engaged in navigation to interrupt the helpful narrator to ask the locations of nearby gas stations, or to reroute on the fly to avoid highways.

A long time coming, Google Maps has for a long time supports voice search, but now the app responds to "OK Google" commands at any time, making it considerably easier, and safer, to interact with the app while actually, you know, driving.

Enabling the feature is relatively easy:

  1. Open the overflow menu and tap Settings.
  2. Tap OK Google detection.
  3. Enable "While driving".

The benefit of this feature is obvious, especially if you've ever been in a position where you need to make a change to your navigation route while stuck in traffic or driving down a highway at 60mph.

Google has a list of commands supported by the feature, but many of them, like "How's traffic?" or "Navigate home" are fairly obvious. But they could also be the difference between an accident and a quiet, uneventful ride home.

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wreichard
3 hours ago
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Even on days when I'm mad at Google, I have to admire Maps. Nobody else has come close.

Maps, Gmail, and Calendar...I'd pay for those. In fact, I'd prefer to.
Earth
satadru
3 hours ago
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Anybody tried Waze's voice recognition? How does this compare?
New York, NY
wreichard
3 hours ago
I haven't, but in my experience, nobody comes close to Google on voice in general.
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Google is flying its internet balloons over Yellowstone National Park

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We see you, Loon balloon.

Here’s something interesting from Google: The company’s experimental balloon-based initiative to bring internet connectivity to remote parts of the world, called Project Loon, was spotted flying balloons over Yellowstone National Park last week.

Here’s a snapshot of a flight map. The red balloon is Loon.

Loon is a project of Google’s moonshot division, X, formerly called Google X, now under the supervision of Alphabet.

While Google has been testing these balloons in the U.S. for the past two years — they have a test site in Winnemucca, Nev. — this is one of the rare times they’ve actually been spotted by a human being. Or at least, spotted and tweeted.

Loon balloons generally hover around 55,000-70,000 feet in the air, which is too high to see with a naked eye. They have been spotted as far away as Wichita, Kan., a full 1,377 miles from the test site. Yellowstone is 610 miles north of Winnemucca.

Google shared the story of its 98-day flight over Peru earlier this month.

It makes sense that Google wants to get more people online — because if you’re on the internet, you probably use Google. And when people use Google, the company can collect data and serve ads.

Internet providers generally won’t lay cables in places where there aren’t enough potential subscribers to make it profitable, keeping a lot of the world offline. As for whether Loon, into which Alphabet has been pumping upward of $1 billion to make work, will be cheaper than building infrastructure in remote areas remains to be seen.

If you want to check where Loon balloons are flying right now, take a look at a flight radar map and search for the call sign HBAL.

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wreichard
6 hours ago
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Is that legal?
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mareino
1 hour ago
Because it's a Park and not a Refuge, it's possible to get a permit for a balloon flight. NPS usually gives those to eco-tourist companies, though. I'd love to see Google release the negotiating docs for this one.
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Modern Frameworks

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German-born Sebastian Weiss (b. 1971) lives and works in Hamburg, where, in 2013, he became a photo columnist for Architectural Digest Germany. Having studied constructional engineering at the Technical University of Dresden, and technology and design at the University of the Arts in Berlin, he has shaped a unique photographic practice over the last seven years. With a passion for concrete aesthetics and the beauty found in urban landscapes, the artist focuses on specific details in an attempt to free buildings from their spatial contexts. Each photograph is an interaction of forms, materials and structures that result in clean, flowing lines and monumental perspectives. Weiss’s brilliant blue skylines are cut up by solid grey geometry: a relationship between function and balance. Each city has its own architectural language, and the images seek to capture their syntax and stylistic edge. www.le-blanc.com.

Sebastian Weiss, High Noon, 2016. Lisbon, Portugal. Sebastian Weiss, Waves, 2016. La Teste-de-Buch, France. Sebastian Weiss, Desired Constellation, 2016. Lisbon, Portugal. Sebastian Weiss, Chiesa, 2016. Florence, Italy. Sebastian Weiss, Fast Forward, 2016. Montpellier, France. Sebastian Weiss, The Dune, 2016. La Teste-de-Buch, France. Sebastian Weiss, Daylight, 2016. Schillig, Germany. Sebastian Weiss, On the Bright Side, 2016. Milano, Italy. Sebastian Weiss, Spot On, 2016. Aix en Provence, France.

The post Modern Frameworks appeared first on Aesthetica Magazine.

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wreichard
6 hours ago
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Not usually a fan, but these are very nice.
Earth
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How to Steal an AI

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How to Steal an AI
Researchers show how they can reverse engineer and even fully reconstruct someone else's machine learning engine---using machine learning. The post How to Steal an AI appeared first on WIRED.
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wreichard
10 hours ago
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There you go. The new arms race.
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duerig
8 hours ago
This gives me a vision of photocopies of photocopies of photocopies and the increasing noise you see with each generation.
ChrisDL
7 hours ago
Ill just leave these here. http://www.ted.com/talks/nick_bostrom_what_happens_when_our_computers_get_smarter_than_we_are http://www.ted.com/talks/sam_harris_can_we_build_ai_without_losing_control_over_it
duerig
7 hours ago
Hmm. Now I'm also reminded of this short story from a while back: http://vanemden.com/books/neals/jipi.html
wreichard
7 hours ago
I love the idea of cruft creeping in as AIs create innumerable test models of each other. What's lost in that "resolution"?
wreichard
7 hours ago
Or that AIs trying to understand each other will be what finally helps them get out of the "weak" phase.
wreichard
7 hours ago
There are days I think Kurzweil is right and it's already too late. Jane's already out there somewhere, hiding for as long as she can.
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Aesthetics of Tissue Boxed Depression – Nicole Melchionda

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Tuxedoed in vanilla-crisped butterflies,
your exoskeleton makes illness
look pretty. If we paint
your asphyxiating phalanges right,
then no one will see the disfiguring truth.

Hair, the dazzling output
of masked vestibular fusion,
perpetually threatens to collapse skulls
beneath practiced smiles.

The human face has natural
spigots that release pressure
to prevent anatomical
bombs, but we use
your corks of aloe-sodden cotton
to defuse leakage. Wintry boys
on television commercials
don’t fool anyone.

Your fibers turn
cilia into razors.


Nicole Melchionda is currently a senior at Stetson University where she is majoring in English with a minor in creative writing. She recently completed an independent study on gothic poetry with award-winning poet Terri Witek. The interests that infiltrate her work include biology, human anatomy, cosmology, psychology, and interpersonal relationships.

 

The post Aesthetics of Tissue Boxed Depression – Nicole Melchionda appeared first on The Bees Are Dead.

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wreichard
17 hours ago
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Zikes!
Earth
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Meet The Woman Who Designed The Iconic Nike Swoosh While She Was A College Student

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The Nike Swoosh is ubiquitous… it’s on every imaginable type of apparel, footwear and gear; it’s worn and endorsed by world class athletes; it’s recognized around the globe, requiring no translation. So you’d think that something with this kind of recognizability and brand power must have taken years to develop by a team of branding experts… right? Wrong! For a mere $35, the iconic “Swoosh” was designed 45 years ago by Woman You Should Know Carolyn Davidson while she was a graphic design student at Portland State University. This is her unbelievable story.

In 1971, Carolyn was a student at Portland State University at the same time that soon-to-be Nike co-founder Phil Knight was there. Then, Phil was a young associate professor of accounting at PSU, a side-hustle he had while running Blue Ribbon Sports – a small, fledgling company that served as a West Coast distributor of Japanese-made Onitsuka Tiger brand sneakers in the U.S.

One fateful day, Carolyn was sitting in a hallway at the school working on a drawing assignment, when Phil happened to walk by. As the story goes, he overheard her talking about an oil painting class she wanted to take but couldn’t afford. So he chimed in and offered to pay her hourly if she would do some design work for his small company. She accepted.

Her initial work for Phil involved making charts and graphs for his Blue Ribbon Sports meetings with executives visiting from Japan. But Phil, who was ready to strike out on his own with a product – “cleated shoes for football or soccer” – he was having made out of a plant in Mexico, gave Carolyn a new assignment. He needed an identity – or a logo – for the new shoe brand he was preparing to launch.

In an interview last year, Carolyn told OregonLive.com that Phil said his shoe “would need a ‘stripe,’ which was the industry term for a shoe logo.” He told her “it needed to convey motion and that it couldn’t look like the logos of Adidas, Puma or Onitsuka’s Tiger.” She found it challenging to come up with a single logo that had to hit so many critical marks: 1. convey motion; 2. look good on a shoe; 3. be original and 4. appeal to Phil and his team, especially because Phil really loved the three stripes of Adidas. She said, “…when you really love something, try to get somebody to look over here at something different.”

nike-swoosh-sketch-carolyn-davidsonFor two or three weeks she sketched out potential logos by hand on tissue paper and would then lay them over a drawing of a shoe she’d done. She presented 5 or 6 of her final designs to Phil and two other Nike executives and they weren’t immediately blown away by any of them. But since time was short, they were willing to accept the bulbous “checkmark” Carolyn created, which was her favorite. “Well, I don’t love it,” Phil Knight said at the time, “but maybe it will grow on me.” Famous last words.

With no time for Carolyn to refine or clean up her design, that “checkmark” went as is to the U.S. Patent Office where it was recorded on June 18, 1971. And the rest, as they say, is history…

In 1972, Phil’s Blue Ribbon Sports began selling shoes under the Nike name, named after the Greek goddess of victory. In June 1972, the first running shoes bearing the Swoosh were introduced at the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon.

nike-logo-design_patent

Carolyn graduated from PSU in 1971 with a bachelor’s in graphic design and stayed on with Nike through 1975, designing ads, brochures, posters and catalogues. As the company continued to grow by leaps and bounds there came a point when her one-person design shop was too small to handle Nike’s advertising needs. Nike and Carolyn agreed it was time for a full-service ad agency. She then opted for homemaking and doing freelance design work, which she continued doing for almost 30 years.

Though she only made $35 for designing the now iconic Swoosh, Carolyn’s epic contribution to Nike did not go unrecognized. In 1983, three years after Nike went public, the execs surprised her with a party where, among several tokens of appreciation, they gave her an undisclosed amount of shares of Nike stock. Years later, at a September 2010 shareholders meeting, Phil Knight confirmed the number she received… “500 shares of stock, which she has never sold.”

Nike Logo Evolution

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wreichard
1 day ago
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“Well, I don’t love it,” Phil Knight said at the time, “but maybe it will grow on me.”
Earth
gradualepiphany
1 day ago
Nice! Also really nice that they actually retroactively paid her in 500 shares of stock. After the splits that's now 16,000 shares - as of today that's worth $834,560 - not too shabby for a logo she designed for a friend in college. If she worked for an agency she would have been paid her salary and nothing else at all.
angelchrys
1 day ago
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Overland Park, KS
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