Magnifying Temporal Variation in Video — Our goal is to reveal temporal variations in videos that are difficult or impossible to see with the naked eye and display them in an indicative manner. Our method, which we call Eulerian Video Magnification, takes a standard video sequence as input, and applies spatial decomposition, followed by temporal filtering to the frames. The resulting signal is then amplified to reveal hidden information. Using our method, we are able to visualize the flow of blood as it fills the face and also to amplify and reveal small motions. Our technique can run in real time to show phenomena occurring at temporal frequencies selected by the user. This is amazing: track the pulse in your face from a few frames. (via Hacker News)
How to Start a Think Tank (Guardian) — The answer to the looming crisis of legitimacy we’re facing is greater openness – not just regarding who met who at what Christmas party, but on the substance of policy. The best way to re-engage people in politics is to change how politics works – in the case of our project, to develop a more direct way for the people who use and provide public and voluntary services to create better social policy. Hear, hear. People seize on the little stuff because you haven’t given them a way to focus something big with you.
Australian NSA Forces National Broadband Network to Dump Huawei — Australia’s government security organization knocked Huawei out of the eligible bidding list. “It’s the exact area where we have been the sole supplier in the United Kingdom for the past six years,” Huawei’s director of corporate and public affairs, Jeremy Mitchell, told the Financial Review. Governments ask themselves how to be assured of information security when routers, firewalls, etc. are made in countries that have fostered attacks against other states and corporations.
How to See Around Corners (Nature) — love the production of the demo video, but interesting to see how computation is becoming integral to vision apps. (via Ed Yong)
Are Undergraduates Actually Learning Anything? (Chronicle of Higher Ed) — Growing numbers of students are sent to college at increasingly higher costs, but for a large proportion of them the gains in critical thinking, complex reasoning, and written communication are either exceedingly small or empirically nonexistent. At least 45 percent of students in our sample did not demonstrate any statistically significant improvement in Collegiate Learning Assessment [CLA] performance during the first two years of college. [Further study has indicated that 36 percent of students did not show any significant improvement over four years.] Why your graduate intake feels disappointing: it is. (via Counterpunch)
Soundbite — dialogue search for Apple’s Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro. Boris Soundbite quickly and accurately finds any word or phrase spoken in recorded media. Shoot squirrels with computer vision, search audio with computer hearing. We live in the future, people. (via Andy Baio)
Why Finish Books? (NY Review of Books) — the more bad books you finish, the fewer good ones you”ll have time to start. Applying this to the rest of life is left as an exercise for the reader.
Fragmentation is Not The End of Android — full of trenchant insights, this post considers the many implications of the Android value chain. Only Apple directly profits from being an OS provider in the mobile ecosystem. For Google it is a cost center particularly struck me. Anyone know whether Google offers to (for money) maintain branded carrier- and/or device-specific versions of Android? Seems like a natural business model given their development pipeline and desire to ensure availability of updates. (via John Gruber)
Muststache — fun Chrome extension using face recognition to add mustaches to faces in pictures. Ten years ago, almost every kind of face recognition was a dark art requiring many computrons. Today it’s a toy.
Stamen’s 2011 — frankly astonishing year of beautiful and meaningful visualizations and design. They continue to provide the benchmarks for designing with data.
Conditioning Company Culture (Bryce Roberts) — a short read but thought-provoking. It’s easy to create mindless mantras, but I’ve seen the technique that Bryce describes and (when done well) it’s highly effective.
hydrat (Google Code) — a declarative framework for text classification tasks.
Dynamic Face Substitution (FlowingData) — Kyle McDonald and Arturo Castro play around with a face tracker and color interpolation to replace their own faces, in real-time, with celebrities such as that of Brad Pitt and Paris Hilton. Awesome. And creepy. Amen.
See the World as a Colour-Blind Person Would — filters that let you see images as protanopes, deuteranopes, and even tritanopes would see them. I am protanoptic (if that’s a word) and I can vouch that the “after” pix look the same as “before” to me. Care, because about 8% of men have some form of colourblindness and hate you and your “red is bad, green is good” visual cues. (via Flowing Data)
Waffles — seeks to be the world’s most comprehensive collection of command-line tools for machine learning and data mining.
Massive Wikimedia Donation — I missed it when it happened, but the State Library of Queensland made the 4th largest ever donation of high-resolution out-of-copyright images to the Wikimedia Foundation. The image metadata are available through Wikimedia under liberal licensing terms, too. This is what your national and state libraries should be doing!
Face-Tracking KiddyZoom Video Cam (YouTube) — I’m always startled most when the future turns up in kids’ toys. Tablets and face-tracking? Soon it’ll be face recognition (“hello mommy!” says the doll), brainwave-triggered activity, and 3D printers. (via BERG London)
Science Hack Day SF Videos (justin.tv) — the demos from Science Hack Day SF. The journey of a thousand miles starts with a Hack Day.
A Cross-Sectional Study of Canine Tail-Chasing and Human Responses to It, Using a Free Video-Sharing Website (PLoSone) — Approximately one third of tail-chasing dogs showed clinical signs, including habitual (daily or “all the time”) or perseverative (difficult to distract) performance of the behaviour. These signs were observed across diverse breeds. Clinical signs appeared virtually unrecognised by the video owners and commenting viewers; laughter was recorded in 55% of videos, encouragement in 43%, and the commonest viewer descriptors were that the behaviour was “funny” (46%) or “cute” (42%).
RSS Died For Your Sins (Danny O’Brien) — if you have seven thousand people following you, a good six thousand of those are going to be people you don’t particularly like. The problem, as ever, is—how do you pick out the other thousand? Especially when they keep changing? I firmly believe that one of the pressing unsolved technological problems of the modern age is getting safely away from people you don’t like, without actually throttling them to death beforehand, nor somehow coming to the conclusion that they don’t exist, nor ending up turning yourself into a hateful monster.
Generating Text from Functional Brain Images (Frontiers in Human Neuroscience) — We built a model of the mental semantic representation of concrete concepts from text data and learned to map aspects of such representation to patterns of activation in the corresponding brain image. Turns out that the clustering of concepts in Wikipedia is similar to how they’re clustered in the brain. They found clusters in Wikipedia, mapped to the brain activity for known words, and then used that mapping to find words for new images of brain activity. (via The Economist)
Personal Best (New Yorker) — excellent Atul Gawande column on coaching which has me wondering how to open up different aspects of my life to improvement. Interesting to me because, behind every continuous- or self-improvement technique are the questions: “do you want to get better?” and “if so, how far will you go in pursuit of that goal?”.
CyberTracker — tool for non-profits tracking things in the real world. Used around the world for ecology, disaster recovery, even crime-fighting. Brings geospatial data capture and analytics to environmental orgs who otherwise could never afford it.
Eye-Tracking in Painting Restoration — The consequence of the different gaze pattern is that when asked to describe the content of the painting, viewers of the unreconstructed version did not realise it was a painting of an erupting volcano. The painting had lost its meaning and viewers could not view it as originally intended by Martin. (via Ed Yong)
The Era of Objects (PDF) — a collection of essays around the future of networked objects, from a Blowup event on that topic. Writings from Bruce Sterling, Julian Bleecker, and others.