Interesting things I've bookmarked

Winners of the 2017 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year

The results of the 2017 National Geographic Travel Photographer of the Year Contest are now in, with grand-prize winner Sergio Tapiro Velasco set to receive a 10-day trip for two to the Galápagos Archipelago with National Geographic Expeditions, for his incredible shot of lightning striking the erupting Colima Volcano in Mexico. National Geographic was kind enough to allow me to share the winners and honorable mentions with you here, from three categories: Nature, Cities, and People. The photos and captions were written by the photographers, and lightly edited for style.

Building a Music Recommender with Deep Learning

So just as a quick recap – I started with 9,000 audio files, converted them into 9,000 spectrograms, split them up into 185,000 smaller spectrograms and trained a convolutional neural network on these images. I then extracted 185,000 feature vectors for all these images and calculated the average vector for each of the 9,000 original audio files.

At this point I had now extracted 128 features from the music files that identified different characteristics in the music. So in order to create recommendations of songs that shared similar characteristics, all I needed to find were the vectors that were most similar to one another. To do that, I calculated the cosine similarity between all 9,000 vectors.

The Turing Tumble

“Players add logic to the game board by placing six different types of parts onto the board. The ‘Bit’ is a particularly important one. Each time a ball runs over it, it flips to point the opposite direction. Pointing to the left is like a ‘0’, and pointing to the right is like a ‘1.’ Gear bits are the most interesting part, though. Gear bits are just like bits, except that they can be connected to one another so that when one is flipped, it flips the connected gear bits, too. It’s these parts that make the computer Turing-complete,” said Boswell.

William Gibson’s Never-Filmed 'Alien III' Script: A History

This is the alternate universe where legendary science-fiction writer William Gibson’s Alien III (that’s “III,” not “3”) screenplay was realized. It is, perhaps, a better world than ours. There would have been bold, weird, new ideas that pushed the series forward; ones that rethought what the aliens could be metaphors for — nuclear weapons, genetic intellectual property held by shadowy corporations, pandemics. Geeks would have gotten the thrill of seeing one of the all-time-great sci-fi concepts interpreted by one of the genre’s greatest scribes. And yet, not only was the script never produced, it’s largely been forgotten.

Glacier Change and Sea Level Rise

Earth scientist Alex Gardner reveals a world of rapid change as seen through the eyes of a NASA glaciologist. Glaciers and ice sheets hold massive amounts of freshwater locked up as ice. These stores of freshwater feed water supplies that support millions of people around the world, raise global sea levels, and can even change the rate of Earth’s rotation. It is now nearly certain that as Earth’s atmosphere and oceans warm over the coming centuries, glaciers and ice sheets will continue to retreat and sea levels will continue to rise. The big question now is at what rate and by how much?