Category Archives: Interesting

Vinyl Making a Comeback ….


For the 11th time since its conception in 2008, the world will celebrate Record Store Day this Saturday in honor of independently-owned record stores around the globe. Time for us to look at a format that is closely tied to record store culture and has made a surprise comeback in the United States and internationally: the vinyl LP. In 2017, 14 million LPs were sold in the United States, up more than 1,000 percent from 10 years earlier. But how big is vinyl’s comeback really? Should we all dust off our old record players to prepare for the future of music?

Not really. According to Nielsen’s 2017 year-end music report, LPs accounted for no more (but also no less) than 8.5 percent of album sales in the United States. When accounting for streaming and downloads of single tracks, that number drops to 2.5 percent of total music consumption – not exactly the lion’s share.

Infographic: The Surprising Comeback of Vinyl Records | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista


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Multi-Print Erasable Paper

A team of researchers with Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications, Nanjing Tech University and Northwestern Polytechnical University, all in China, has developed a new type of paper that can be erased and printed on multiple times. In their paper published in the journal Nature Communications, the group explains how they made their paper, how well it works and the ways they are looking to improve it.

Read more at:

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Judging a book through its cover | MIT News

MIT researchers and their colleagues are designing an imaging system that can read closed books.

In the latest issue of Nature Communications, the researchers describe a prototype of the system, which they tested on a stack of papers, each with one letter printed on it. The system was able to correctly identify the letters on the top nine sheets.

“The Metropolitan Museum in New York showed a lot of interest in this, because they want to, for example, look into some antique books that they don’t even want to touch,” says Barmak Heshmat, a research scientist at the MIT Media Lab and corresponding author on the new paper. He adds that the system could be used to analyze any materials organized in thin layers, such as coatings on machine parts or pharmaceuticals.

Source: Judging a book through its cover | MIT News

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Which Generation Are You ?

These are Western Cultural Generations. Japan and Asia and portions of Europe will have their own generational definitions based on major cultural, political, and economic influences.

Generation Name Births
Age Today*
Oldest Age
The Lost Generation –
The Generation of 1914
1890 1915 101 126
The Interbellum Generation 1901 1913 103 115
The Greatest Generation 1910 1925 91 106
The Silent Generation 1923 1944 72 93
Baby Boomer Generation 1945 1964 52 71
Generation X 1961 1981 35 55
Generation Y –
The Millennial –
Gen Next
1975 1995 21 41
Generation Z 1995 2015 1 21










(*if still alive today)

Note: Dates are approximate and there is some overlap because there are no standard definitions for when a generation begins and ends.


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These 10 units of measurement have fascinating roots – Business Insider

We see the world in units of measurement. You’re this many feet tall and this many years old, and you weigh this many pounds. You have this many minutes left in your work day and your home is that many miles away. But not everything can be measured in miles, pounds, and minutes. Over the course of history, we’ve had to come up with some pretty unique ways to measure things. Check out some units of measurement that have fascinating histories below:

Source: These 10 units of measurement have fascinating roots – Business Insider

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Twilio Code Jam: Kenny Polcari – Business Insider

When cloud communications service Twilio held its mega-hot IPO in late June, it did something a little unusual.

It held a “Code Jam” on the New York Stock Exchange floor, which was basically a jam session for coders. A trio of developers set up shop and programmed whatever struck their fancy, app after app, and streamed it all live to the internet via Amazon’s Twitch.

But Kenny Polcari, a 55-year-old stockbroker who’s been with the NYSE for the past 35 years, didn’t know any of that, he tells Business Insider. He just knew that there was some kind of tech IPO that day, and that three people were setting up computers on the trading floor for some reason.

“What’s the investment thesis, what [does Twilio] even do?” Polcari remembers wondering.

Before the opening bell rang, Polcari decided to indulge his curiosity, and wandered over to the trio to investigate. Twilio developer evangelist Rob Spectre explained that they were there to show off the company’s voice and text technology — and, seeing Polcari’s interest, offered to teach him how to code, once the Code Jam was officially underway.

Source: Twilio Code Jam: Kenny Polcari – Business Insider

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Tesla Becomes Google’s Biggest Threat For Mapping Data 05/31/2016

TeslaTesla racks up about one million miles of driving data every 10 hours, adding to the 780 million miles of driving data stored in the past 18 months.

Sterling Anderson, director of Tesla’s Autopilot program, recently told attendees at the MIT Technology Review EmTech Digital conference that the company can pull data from the sensors inside its customers’ vehicles to see howpeople drive and the road and traffic conditions they experience.

“Today, we pull in 2.6 million miles of data per day from our cars,” he said, admitting that it allows the company to seethings like the position of the car and what lane it drive in. Tesla uses that data to test self-driving features, and even secretly tests new autonomous software by remotely installing it oncustomer vehicles so it can react to real road and traffic conditions, without controlling the vehicle, according to one report.

Telsa is adding autonomous drivingcapabilities to about 70,000 privately owned vehicles without asking permission by updating the software remotely. The driver must opt-in to the updates. The platform, Autopilot, aims to”accelerate the world’s tradition to sustainable transportation” by making transportation resources more efficient and making more effective use of the transportation resources, per Anderson.Google can pull data from its prototypes and General Motors can pull data from cars equipped with OnStar, but Telsa actively continues to build a development hub from its data infrastructure totest and develop technology. Google uses that data to support its self-driving cars as well as its mapping services that now serve a variety of local advertisements.

Autopilot — which launched in 2014 –is not fully autonomous, but it uses 12 ultrasonic sensors that provides a good view of hard and soft objects; radar and four-facing cameras to steer, change lanes and avoid collisions. The sensorsand signals provide Tesla to pull high-resolution data and update the software over the air. Tesla says Autopilot is the predecessor to automation the company plans to release in 2018.

Source: Tesla Becomes Google’s Biggest Threat For Mapping Data 05/31/2016

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Why some countries don’t smile – Business Insider

It’s just that grinning without cause is not a skill Russians possess or feel compelled to cultivate. There’s even a Russian proverb that translates, roughly, to “laughing for no reason is a sign of stupidity.”

Russians’ fondness for the gentle scowl seems even more unusual to expats than its actual, climatic cold. And the cultural difference cuts both ways: Newcomers to America often remark on the novelty of being smiled at by strangers.

So why is this? Why do some societies not encourage casual smiling? I got my answer, or at least part of one, when I stumbled across a new paper by Kuba Krys, a psychologist at the Polish Academy of Sciences. In some countries, smiling might not be a sign of warmth or even respect. It’s evidence that you’re a fool—a tricky fool.

Krys focused on a cultural phenomenon called “uncertainty avoidance.” Cultures that are low on this scale tend to have social systems—courts, health-care systems, safety nets, and so forth—that are unstable. Therefore, people there view the future as unpredictable and uncontrollable.

Smiling is a sign of certainty and confidence, so when people in those countries smile, they might seem odd. Why would you smile when fate is an invisible wolf waiting to shred you? You might, in those “low-UA” countries, even be considered stupid for smiling.Krys also hypothesized that smiling in corrupt countries would be, um, frowned upon.

When everyone’s trying to pull one over on each other, you don’t know if someone’s smiling with good intentions, or because they’re trying to trick you.Journal of Nonverbal BehaviorTo test this theory, Krys had thousands of people in 44 different countries judge a series of eight smiling and non-smiling faces on a scale of honesty and intelligence. He compared their answers to the country’s rankings of uncertainty avoidance from a 2004 study of 62 societies and ratings of corruption.He found that in countries like Germany, Switzerland, China, and Malaysia, smiling faces were rated as significantly more intelligent than non-smiling people. But in Japan, India, Iran, South Korea, and—you guessed it—Russia, the smiling faces were considered significantly less intelligent.

Even after controlling for other factors, like the economy, there was a strong correlation between how unpredictable a society was and the likelihood they would consider smiling unintelligent.

Source: Why some countries don’t smile – Business Insider

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How To Understand And Target Reader Behavior 05/26/2016

In my previous post, I complained about the fact that online publishers show absolutely norestraint in where and when they shove ads in the reader’s face. Rather than continuing my diatribe, let me offer an idea that some publishers may actually find worth pursuing.

Online publishers capture amazing amounts of data about their readers. As a student of consumer behavior, I see a great opportunity to use the data in a novel way: try to identify and categorizepatterns of behaviors, and then use a combination of performance data and possibly some neuromarketing experiments to figure out when and where readers are most likely to be receptive toadvertising.

Before half of you jump up to say that, duh, this is already done and it’s called behavioral targeting, let me clarify the difference in what I am proposing. To myknowledge, the majority of behavioral targeting is data-driven, meaning that it is based on slicing and dicing data to look for patterns. I am proposing a model-driven approach,which begins with a principled description of the moment-by-moment behaviors of readers, and uses this information to guide data collection and analysis.

Consider the following example: ReaderR is in his office and has a short window of time to clean up his inbox. As he skims some newsletters to which he subscribes, he clicks a link to an article whose title he finds interesting, whichtakes him to website W. Later that morning, he is sitting at the dentist’s office, bored out of his mind as he waits to be called in. He has already read every issue of Field &Stream and Car and Driver, and doesn’t care for Better Homes & Gardens, so he whips out his smartphone and surfs over to website W just to see if anything elseinteresting catches his eye.

It is my opinion that Reader R is more likely to be receptive to ads in the second scenario, but most data-driven approaches would miss that. A behavior-basedanalysis of this situation might suggest that if you are visiting a website by clicking a link in an email, your behavior is very different than if you check out the URL in the browser.

Source: How To Understand And Target Reader Behavior 05/26/2016

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Canadian researchers create first holographic, flexible smartphone – Converting Quarterly | Fort Mill, SC

Researchers at the Human Media Lab at Queen’s University (Kingston, ON, Canada) have reportedly developed the world’s first holographic flexible smartphone. The device, dubbed HoloFlex, is capable of rendering 3D images with motion parallax and stereoscopy to multiple simultaneous users without head tracking or glasses.

“HoloFlex offers a completely new way of interacting with your smartphone. It allows for glasses-free interactions with 3D video and images in a way that does not encumber the user.” says Dr. Vertegaal.

HoloFlex features a 1920×1080 full high-definition Flexible Organic Light Emitting Diode (FOLED) touchscreen display. Images are rendered into 12-pixel wide circular blocks rendering the full view of the 3D object from a particular viewpoint. These pixel blocks project through a 3D printed flexible microlens array consisting of over 16,000 fisheye lenses. The resulting 160×104 resolution image allows users to inspect a 3D object from any angle simply by rotating the phone.

Source: Canadian researchers create first holographic, flexible smartphone – Converting Quarterly | Fort Mill, SC

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