RIP Jusuf Nurki?

LeBron is 33 years old. He’s played in 1,345 NBA games in his career. His raw athleticism – at this point of his career – is completely absurd.


Citizen scientists discovered a new aurora. They called it “Steve”.

Steve, left. (Krista Trinder)

The Atlantic:

This new feature differs from the long-studied “classical” aurora in several ways. It can be seen from much closer to the equator than its more famous twin, and it emanates from a spot twice as high in the sky. It was also first described and studied not by cultivated researchers—like those who coined the moniker aurora borealis—but by devoted amateurs. They were among the first to photograph the ethereal streak of purple light, and they were the first to give it a name.

That name is Steve.



Using only the Pixel 2 XL to photograph the Geneva Motor Show

Vlad Savov left his DSLR at home and relied solely on his Pixel for the entire show.

I literally flew in to Geneva with a Google Pixel 2 XL, my laptop, and the hope that my high esteem for Google’s camera wasn’t misguided. After taking more than 2,000 shots, publishing 303 of them (so far), and then collecting compliments rather than complaints about my photos, I can say that this experiment has been a resounding success.

Amazing results.

Photo: Vlad Savov / The Verge

Other Places 2013-2017

Other Places is/was a short film series by Andy “ultrabrilliant” Kelly. Over 4 years, Kelly published over 75 videos showcasing the gorgeous landscapes, cityscapes, vistas and horizons he experienced in videos games.

Watch all the videos on YouTube, or peruse the full list of featured games.

I watched them, Andy. I watched them.

Steve Francis: I Got a Story to Tell

Steve Francis writing for The Players’ Tribune:

I still live in Houston to this day, and I can walk around this city and no matter what, people got my back. Even when I was going through some dark times the past few years, and I got locked up, everybody in Houston still had my back. How many guys who only played in a city for five years, and only made the playoffs once, get that much love?

I think it’s because of the energy in the city when me and Yao were together. That was my guy. When he came to Houston, we were some Odd Couple motherfuckers, man. A dude from China and a dude from D.C., and it wasn’t even language that was the problem. That was just a part of it. I’m partially deaf in my left ear, and Yao is partially deaf in his right ear, and we’re trying to speak to one another in basic English.

He’s turning his head, Huh?

I’m turning my head, What? Huh?

A genuinely entertaining and well written short-form memoir by Steve Francis covering what amounts to his whole life – from the death of his mother and step father, dealing drugs and visiting prisons to Hakeem, Yao, Gary Payton and Shawn Marion.

A must read for any NBA fan.

Alexa Devices Are Laughing Spontaneously


Owners of Amazon Echo devices with the voice-enabled assistant Alexa have been pretty much creeped out of their damn minds recently. People are reporting that the bot sometimes spontaneously starts laughing — which is basically a bloodcurdling nightmare.

2018 being pretty 2018 on this one.

Machine learning wrote a punk album

Music was generated autoregressively with SampleRNN, a recurrent neural network [Soroush Mehri et al. 2017], trained on raw audio from the album Punk in Drublic. The machine listened to Punk in Drublic 26 times over several days. The machine generated 900 minutes of audio. A human listened to the machine audio, chose sections from varied evolution points, and taped them together into a 20 minute album.

I’d pay real money to see someone attempt to annotate this on Genius.

More madness at

Via The Outline


RIP Wes Johnson

There’s a moment – after the step back, after the look down… just the briefest of moments – when Harden relaxes his shoulders even more and spins the ball before bombing the three. That is cold blooded.

Ends and means

Jeremy Keith:

I remember feeling very heartened to see WikiPedia, Google and others take a stand on January 18th, 2012. But I also remember feeling uneasy. In this particular case, companies were lobbying for a cause I agreed with. But what if they were lobbying for a cause I didn’t agree with? Large corporations using their power to influence politics seems like a very bad idea. Isn’t it still a bad idea, even if I happen to agree with the cause?

There’s an uncomfortable tension here. When do the ends justify the means? Isn’t the whole point of having principles that they hold true even in the direst circumstances? Why even claim that corporations shouldn’t influence politics if you’re going to make an exception for net neutrality? Why even claim that free speech is sacrosanct if you make an exception for nazi scum?

Those two examples are pretty extreme and I can easily justify the exceptions to myself. Net neutrality is too important. Stopping fascism is too important. But where do I draw the line? At what point does something become “too important?”

There are more subtle examples of corporations wielding their power. Google are constantly using their monopoly position in search and browser marketshare to exert influence over website-builders. In theory, that’s bad. But in practice, I find myself agreeing with specific instances. Prioritising mobile-friendly sites? Sounds good to me. Penalising intrusive ads? Again, that seems okey-dokey to me. But surely that’s not the point. So what if I happen to agree with the ends being pursued? The fact that a company the size and power of Google is using their monopoly for any influence is worrying, regardless of whether I agree with the specific instances.

Google’s handling of HTTPS and AMP is fascinating to watch. It seems that really smart people are worried about how this will all end up. I find myself identifying strongly with the above. Read the whole piece.

Daily Links

A Data Scientist Was Sick of Seeing Spam on His Facebook so He Built a Fake News Detector

A Data Scientist Was Sick of Seeing Spam on His Facebook so He Built a Fake News Detector

“I see my friends post, sometimes, complete garbage or articles recommended to me that are complete garbage.”

4G found on Moon

4G found on Moon

Vodafone’s network will be used to set up the Moon’s first 4G network, connecting two Audi Lunar Quattro rovers to a base station in the Autonomous Landing and Navigation Module.


Daily Links

“The Newsroom Feels Embarrassed”: Inside The New York Times Op-Ed Crisis

“The Newsroom Feels Embarrassed”: Inside The New York Times Op-Ed Crisis

A yoga-pants refusenik, a climate-science skeptic, and a tech writer with a neo-Nazi pal have put James Bennet in the crosshairs.

KFC Responds to U.K. Chicken Shortage Scandal With a Timely ‘FCK, We’re Sorry’

Sucuri WebSite Firewall – Access Denied

KFC went through a highly publicized, somewhat bizarre crisis in the U.K. this week: The fast food joint known for its fried chicken ran out of chicken. Now, KFC is apologizing with a creative stunt: rearranging its name to spell “FCK.” pulls out of France due to ‘mass destruction’ of its dockless bike fleet pulls out of France due to ‘mass destruction’ of its dockless bike fleet

Thousands of its bikes have been stolen or damaged, says company that had 150,000 users across the country

Torching the Modern-Day Library of Alexandria

James Somers writing for The Atlantic:

Google’s secret effort to scan every book in the world, codenamed “Project Ocean,” began in earnest in 2002 when Larry Page and Marissa Mayer sat down in the office together with a 300-page book and a metronome. Page wanted to know how long it would take to scan more than a hundred-million books, so he started with one that was lying around. Using the metronome to keep a steady pace, he and Mayer paged through the book cover-to-cover. It took them 40 minutes.

With that 40-minute number in mind, Page approached the University of Michigan, his alma mater and a world leader in book scanning, to find out what the state of the art in mass digitization looked like. Michigan told him that at the current pace, digitizing their entire collection—7 million volumes—was going to take about a thousand years. Page, who’d by now given the problem some thought, replied that he thought Google could do it in six.

An absolutely fascinating dive into the history of Project Ocean, covering how it started at Google, how Google scanned the books (camera arrays, clever algorithms and human page turners), and the years-long legal wrangle between Google, the Authors Guild and the DOJ.

It’s there. The books are there. People have been trying to build a library like this for ages—to do so, they’ve said, would be to erect one of the great humanitarian artifacts of all time—and here we’ve done the work to make it real and we were about to give it to the world and now, instead, it’s 50 or 60 petabytes on disk, and the only people who can see it are half a dozen engineers on the project who happen to have access because they’re the ones responsible for locking it up.

Interestingly Page later opined during a Q&A that maybe it would be a good idea to “set aside a part of the world” to try out some “exciting things you could do that are illegal or not allowed by regulation.” He was roundly criticised for being an annoying, out-of-touch billionaire at the time, but perhaps he was just being wistful.