Posted Sun Feb 23 08:03:46 2014 Tags:
  • This device (check out the GIFs!), called the Organ Care System, extends the life of organ transplants by providing an environment for the organ by keeping warm blood flowing while it is in transport. There are other systems that do the same, but this looks more portable.

  • This Python with Braces project seems cool. Don't know if it's a joke or not, but they forked the CPython code (via Evan Lee).

  • Engineering Map of America from PBS' American Experience

  • I saw this article about how one of the people promoting people to learn to code doesn't actually know how to code. This isn't actually that big a problem. The actual problem is that too many people think that computer science is about programming computers. Ostensibly, yes, that is what you do when you program, but really, what you want to do when you program is to learn about algorithmic thinking. You want to be able to think about logic and control flow and state. Those skills can be learned without a computer. Many of the most prolific computer scientists did not need computers to do computer science. This is why I like the CS Unplugged materials. You really need to check out their videos on YouTube.

  • DeepField is a company that does big data analysis on cloud infrastructure (via this article about may have more traffic than Facebook).

  • Some more info on the Marvel Comics API from last time: apparently they use a graph DB which makes sense for what they are doing. There is a video from the GraphConnect New York conference here. This other video is mainly the same but there is a QA session at the end (@ 34:40).

  • Two links on DIY tooling. Pat Delany has been working on making open-source machine tools for cheap. His work on the MultiMachine is driven by a desire to make toolmaking tools available to anyone around the world:

    It’s strange, but at my advanced age I realize that machine tools are about all that I believe in. The lathe, shaper, and mill built the foundation of our current standard of living and there is no reason why a cheap and easy-to-build multipurpose tool could not help the 500 million people that need simple water pumps or the billion people who live on a dollar a day or less. Thanks for getting a crazy old man started.

    Here's another cheap tool: Mini circular bench saw from scrap.

  • I got quoted in this newspaper article about UH's startup accelerator, RED Labs. As I said in the article, I would really like to see more CS, engineering, and tech-related students join the program and get involved. The Computer Science Entrepreneurship Workshop+Startup Lab - RED Labs was a good start for reaching out to the CS students and there are more initiatives underway for the next semester, but we need to grow a passion for creating new things — I know it's there, but we need more expression and drive.

  • This article titled Girls and Software, while written about the gender problem faced in the software industry, had a different effect on me. It reminded me why I love the Internet and online communities. When you can "hide" your AFK identity behind a pseudonym, people don't treat you with the same AFK prejudices. I remember that I was able to converse with people much older than me and they didn't know they were talking to a 12-year-old. This was quite a freeing feeling as I could push myself to do things that you wouldn't expect from someone so young.

  • Music video: Sinine - All The Same (instrumental) (via And it's award-winning. :-)

  • I read this article by Peter Seibel about code reading a few weeks ago. I love the idea of literate programming, but often you can't code that way because there is too much clutter. Short pieces of code like Backbone are easier to read from beginning-to-end. A comment by dmunoz on a Hacker News post about a 55-line Python task queue (thread) really sums up the sentiment nicely:

    Absolutely. I'm always pleased when documentation includes some pseudocode for what the system generally does, without the overhead of configuration, exceptional control flow, etc. It's not always possible with large systems, but makes it a lot easier to see the forest, not the trees, in even mid-sized code bases.

    (via Which code to read?)

  • This video of an autonomous boat demonstrates mapping and path planning on water. Now I'm wondering if the open-source vehicle I shared last time could be augmented with drive-by-wire to make a cheap driverless car testing platform! (via Evan Lee)

Posted Thu Feb 13 02:56:17 2014 Tags:
  • I was looking at parsing of HTML1 and came across a paper on parsing XML with regex titled REX: XML Shallow Parsing with Regular Expressions. But what's even more interesting is a project by the author called Parabix which implements parallel text processing.

  • Tethne looks like a neat Python tool for bibliographic network analysis.

  • I was reading a blog post about how horribly one-sided the Terms of Service for the Marvel API are and I came across the Swedish API License which attempts to create a license that doesn't just force developers to give up many of their rights to the API providers.

  • OpenCatalog is a list of open source projects that are funded in part by DARPA.

  • I saw this open-source car and was reminded of how I've wanted to build my own car for quite a while. Imagine the learning possibilities! There is actually a high school team in Philadelphia that works on designing and racing hybrid cars. Here's an article in IEEE Spectrum and a video from PBS Frontline. That is way cool.

  • Bioimaging consortium that connects academic and industrial partners: Cyttron.

  • I love backing up design with numbers and this user study on how people hold their mobile devices makes me happy.

  • I came across the book CMDAS: Knowledge-Based Programming for Music Research while in freenode's ##prolog. Algorithmic composition with Prolog!

  • GitHub Education is a very good idea. More students need to learn about version control and testing while in school.

  1. without and with regex (for certain values of regular :-P) ↩

Posted Tue Feb 11 17:18:30 2014 Tags:
  • I was looking for a way to perform OCR on nutritional facts and I came across this handheld spectroscopy tool that gives you the content of food by measuring the chemical composition. Basically a tricorder?

  • Moravec's paradox

    "[I]t is comparatively easy to make computers exhibit adult level performance on intelligence tests or playing checkers, and difficult or impossible to give them the skills of a one-year-old when it comes to perception and mobility."

  • I was thinking about the nargout feature of MATLAB and wondering that was possible to do the same in Perl. Well, with the Want module, you can.

  • As part of my interest in mathematical expression recoginition from the previous linkdump, I came across this scan of the Handbook of Mathematical Functions with Formulas, Graphs, and Mathematical Tables that can be used as data for scientific document analysis.

    It's always fun to see names you recognise from elsewhere on the Internet as I did here

    Thanks to Bruce Miller of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, who sent me a clean new copy of the book for scanning.

    I recognise Bruce Miller from the LaTeXML project.

  • This is a neat book about OpenGL that spans many different techniques for visualisation with OpenGL. Code from the book is available here.

  • Using a Möbius strip as a track for a superconductor is brilliant idea:

  • GitHub released a view for looking at GeoJSON sometime last year, but now you can look at the history of a map: Diffable, more customizable maps.

  • The retinal implants used to address retinitis pigmentosa have passed FDA approval and now two surgeries have been performed on patients. I first heard about these when I was starting my biomedical engineering degree and I've found these kinds of prostheses really inspiring.

  • On a related note, I read this interview with Woz about innovation and here gives the example of about wearable computing:

    There are about 30 companies that seem to be doing the same thing. But nothing seems to be pointing to the right way," Woznak says. One reason is simple: "You tend to deal with the past," replicating what you know in a new form. Consider the notion of computing eyeware like Google Glass: "People have been marrying eyewear with TV inputs for 20 years."

    I later came across this article about how early developments in camera technology created new kinds of uses for the camera in society. Apparently Google Glass' photography is not that new. Instead of saying "OK, Glass", you would activate the camera with a cough :-P

    As Jarche recalled, bowlers and ‘Blocknotes' were indeed so common on the press benches that 'those of us in the know used to watch the hats rise slightly when anything happened'. 'At the same minute, there was certain to be a cough. Then we knew that some one had shot'. Yet this strategy could bring its own problems, for at one point during the Crippen trial in 1910 there was so much coughing from the press benches that the judge threatened to have them cleared.

Posted Sat Feb 8 03:45:02 2014 Tags:
  • VLFeat

    This computer vision library has a couple nice, readable implementations of features. It seems to have a C library component and a MATLAB component, but a number of the useful functions are only available from MATLAB. This would be useful to test out a MATLAB source-to-source compiler.

  • iOnRoad is a phone application that watches the road ahead of a driver and gives warnings. In the future, this is the sort of stuff that should probably be integrated into the cars themselves.

    Interesting use of computer vision. However, having it running for long periods of time might cause the phone to overheat and quickly drain the battery. Some sort of embedded FGPA coprocessor would be wonderful for dashcams.

  • I've been listening some more to Get 'Em Out by Friday by Genesis. Interesting comment in the Wikipedia article:

    The song uses elements of reality and science fiction as a means of social criticism on the corporate greed and oppression of the UK's private landlords in the 1960s and 1970s,

  • The recent GoldieBlox ad in the SuperBowl led me to thinking about other STEM toys and I was reminded of the build-it-yourself kits from companies like Heathkit. Apparently Heathkit is returning to making kits and ran this IAmA on reddit in December: IamA member of the Heath Company ("Heathkit") Board of Directors. AMA! : IAmA.

  • Fun set of images imagining a Bruce Lee action figure making breakfast.

  • Neat podcast about d3.js: Data Stories #22: NYT Graphics and D3 with Mike Bostock and Shan Carter - Data Stories

  • This morning I woke up to a resolved bug report that I filed not too long ago. Apparently the URI::Title package has a new maintainer. Awesome!

  • Mathematical Expression Recognition is a demonstration of a tool for recognising handwritten mathematical formulae online. Even though I'm using a mouse to draw things out, it's really good at picking up things such as fractions, summations, and integrals, but it can't do partial derivatives and matrices yet.

  • My friend Michael pointed me to a cool online game called ROBLOX that uses Lua to program an open-world. This reminds me of Second Life (which uses its own scripting language) which is interesting because one of the people at ROBLOX, Dylan Bromley, used to work at Linden Lab.

  • Pixel Shakers is an aggregator of several blogs on computer vision.

Posted Wed Feb 5 05:58:05 2014 Tags: