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Greg Lloyd

Greg Lloyd's Public Library

about 8 hours ago

24 Sep 2016: Evan Spiegel, CEO of renamed Snap Inc., calls the video-sharing sunglasses “a toy” but sees an upside to freeing his app from smartphone cameras

  • “You wanna see it?” he asks, grinning widely. There’s drama in this reveal: I’m about to join an exceedingly small circle of people whom Spiegel has shown the object to. As he lifts the towel, he breaks into a delighted laugh. “Boom!”
  • What initially appears to be a normal pair of sunglasses turns out to be Spectacles, the first hardware product from Snap Inc., as the firm has been newly christened (Spiegel is refreshing the company name because its offerings now go beyond the Snapchat app). When you slip Spectacles on and tap a button near the hinge, it records up to 10 seconds of video from your first-person vantage. Each new tap records another clip.
  • Why use a pair of video sunglasses—available this fall, by the way, one-size-fits-all in black, teal or coral—instead of holding up your smartphone like everyone else? Because, Spiegel says, the images that result are fundamentally different. Spectacles’ camera uses a 115-degree-angle lens, wider than a typical smartphone’s and much closer to the eyes’ natural field of view. The video it records is circular, more like human vision. (Spiegel argues that rectangles are an unnecessary vestige of printing photos on sheets of paper.) As you record, your hands are free to pet dogs, hug babies or flail around at a concert. You can reach your arms out to people you’re filming, instead of holding your phone up, as Spiegel describes it, “like a wall in front of your face.”

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about 11 hours ago

24 Sep 2016: LORD Percy of Newcastle, Britain’s minister of education in 1924-29, was no fan of the fad for happy-clappy “progressive” education that spread among the country’s schools on his watch. He declared that it was all nonsense: “a child ought to be brought up to expect unhappiness.” This columnist feels the same suspicion of the fashion for happy-clappy progressive management theory that is rushing through the world’s companies and even some governments.

  • The leading miscreant is Zappos, an online shoe shop. The firm expects its staff to be in a state of barely controlled delirium when they sell shoes. Pret A Manger, a British food chain, specialises in bubbly good humour as well as sandwiches. Air stewards are trained to sound mellifluous but those at Virgin Atlantic seem on the verge of breaking out into a song-and-dance routine. Google until recently had an in-house “jolly good fellow” to spread mindfulness and empathy.
  • A weird assortment of gurus and consultancies is pushing the cult of happiness. Shawn Achor, who has taught at Harvard University, now makes a living teaching big companies around the world how to turn contentment into a source of competitive advantage. One of his rules is to create “happiness hygiene”. Just as we brush our teeth every day, goes his theory, we should think positive thoughts and write positive e-mails.
  • Zappos is so happy with its work on joy that it has spun off a consultancy called Delivering Happiness. It has a chief happiness officer (CHO), a global happiness navigator, a happiness hustler, a happiness alchemist and, for philosophically minded customers, a happiness owl. Plasticity Labs, a technology firm which grew out of an earlier startup called the Smile Epidemic, says it is committed to supporting a billion people on their path to happiness in both their personal and professional lives.

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about 15 hours ago

23 Sep 2016: No matter how much restaurants have irrevocably changed over the years, there are still places that offer the simple joys of dining, just as they’ve done for decades. For the season-one finale of the Grub Street Podcast, Adam Platt and Alan Sytsma were looking for exactly that kind of spot. So: It was off to Gotham Bar & Grill, the downtown institution that’s been delivering this kind of experience, night in and night out, for more than 30 years. Join them, won’t you, as the show’s hosts sip their martinis, chat with Gotham’s legendary chef Alfred Portale, and just generally unwind after 20-plus episodes of truly grueling work.

  • Here at Grub Street, the focus is often on the new, the fresh, the best, the right now. But it’s true that there are nights when you don’t want that in a restaurant. When comfort, familiarity, and — sometimes — a certain sense of ceremony are all you really desire from a meal. Those moments might be celebratory (are you really going to take a chance on a hot new restaurant for a big birthday or anniversary?), or maybe you just want to eat at a place where they know you, and know what you like, and you can simply relax.
Sep 23, 16

23 Sep 2016: A sizeable section of the public ate up cheap books on saucers and devoured tales of visitors from beyond our planet, whether their intent was good or ill. Fortunately for anyone enamoured of American subcultures in all their garish glory, the speculative-fiction writer Jack Womack has amassed a huge collection of these books, from sex-obsessed adult novels to earnest pseudo-academic treatises. He reproduces many of these gems in his lavishly illustrated menagerie of the tracts, Flying Saucers Are Real.

  • They range from what Womack calls the “finest science fiction cover to ever appear on a non-science fiction book” (The Flying Saucers Are Real by Donald Keyhoe) to the mundane (Richard S. Shaver’s 1948 I Remember Lemuri
  • We learn of George Adamski, born in Poland in 1891, who ended up founding the “Royal Order of Tibet” in California (and co-writing the 1953 Flying Saucers Have Landed) before setting up an eatery. Adamski’s ‘close encounters’ include a man who claimed to be from Venus — evidenced by the fact that his “trousers were not like mine”. In Britain, Leonard G. Cramp’s 1966 UFOs and Anti-Gravity purported to lay bare the engineering of the flying saucer, complete with detailed blueprints, which he apparently thought revealed an anti-gravity system “similar to one of his own devising”.
  • Womack’s book can be as confusing to follow as the arguments of his UFO proponents. The typefaces switch to signal passages from source materials, and covers, photos and drawings abound. Following the huge numbers of authors mentioned and whether they are believers, hoaxers or fictional becomes something of a task. There is no clear logic to this collection of what science-fiction luminary William Gibson calls “testimonials to certain human needs” in the introduction.

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Sep 23, 16

Keep your iPhone 7 at the ready. This sturdy holster is made with smooth leather for a polished look.

Sep 23, 16

Keep your phone close and have one less thing in your pocket. We've redesigned our clip with a soft European leather exterior and universal compatibility. Its quick-release spring system makes it easy to answer calls with one hand. Adjusts 360-degrees for comfortable positioning on your belt.

Sep 23, 16

22 Sep 2016: As we pointed out last week, Apple’s new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus Leather Case now comes with machined aluminum buttons. As a result, the volume buttons and Sleep/Wake button now have a much more tactile feel that’s significantly more pleasing to use than before.

Sep 23, 16

22 Sep 2016 Abstract: During its two years mission around comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, ESA's Rosetta spacecraft had the unique opportunity to follow closely a comet in the most active part of its orbit. Many studies have presented the typical features associated to the activity of the nucleus, such as localized dust and gas jets. Here we report on series of more energetic transient events observed during the three months surrounding the comet's perihelion passage in August 2015. We detected and characterized 34 outbursts with the Rosetta cameras, one every 2.4 nucleus rotation. We identified 3 main dust plume morphologies associated to these events: a narrow jet, a broad fan, and more complex plumes featuring both previous types together. These plumes are comparable in scale and temporal variation to what has been observed on other comets. We present a map of the outbursts source locations, and discuss the associated topography. We find that the spatial distribution sources on the nucleus correlates well with morphological region boundaries, especially in areas marked by steep scarps or cliffs. Outbursts occur either in the early morning or shortly after the local noon, indicating two potential processes: Morning outbursts may be triggered by thermal stresses linked to the rapid change of temperature; afternoon events are most likely related to the diurnal or seasonal heat wave reaching volatiles buried under the first surface layer. In addition, we propose that some events can be the result of a completely different mechanism, in which most of the dust is released upon the collapse of a cliff.

Sep 22, 16

21 Sep 2016: As far as tracker blockers are concerned, it’s as close as you’ll get to a gold standard. The EFF has described it as a “strong option”, and “the most effective protection”. The New York Times has lauded it as “nuanced”, the “easiest to understand”, and their “anti-tracking tool of choice”.

Sep 22, 16

20 Sep 2016: Journalists are competing not only with celebrity news and Trump himself, but with other journalists. In an email, Roller says her tweet was not meant to criticize celebrity gossip, but to comment on “the flightiness of the news cycle”:

I was reading Twitter, and David Fahrenthold’s big scoop about Donald Trump’s shady spending of other people’s charitable donations broke. I follow a lot of political reporters on Twitter, and they all started to share David’s story. But … the Brangelina news broke at the same time, and like moths to a bug zapper, all these political reporters stopped talking about David’s story and started sharing Jennifer Aniston GIFs.

  • Frustrated by this dynamic, some journalists on Twitter have turned to a version of the bait-and-switch affectionately known as Rick-rolling. Indeed, Emma Roller, a freelancer and contributing writer for the New York Times opinion page, tweeted out the Post story story using the line, “wow, so THIS is why Angelina left.”
  • Roller didn’t expect her tweet to get so much attention (more than 4,000 retweets and likes as of Tuesday evening), but others soon followed, including Politico’s Hadas Gold, who retweeted Roller with an “OMG, read this.” In Gold’s tweets, unlike in Roller’s, the image and headline of Trump are not visible—perpetuating the misconception that Roller’s tweet was actually about Angelina.
  • One person responding on Twitter called it the “first documented case of responsible clickbait.” It is a journalist’s job to act responsibly in the public interest, but straight misrepresentation is not responsible. Tweeting out a link with misleading text—even as a joke—is the equivalent of changing a headline. The text of a tweet, from a trusted reporter, is the Twitter user’s path into an article; a journalist has a responsibility to accurately describe the piece.

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Sep 21, 16

You might think how does eating a piece of deep-fried pork in a back corner of a train station not count as junk food?, but as the handsome blond wood counters and careful service at Tonkatsu Suzuki demonstrate, this is a much deeper undertaking in Japan than in other parts of the world. You will always have a choice of cuts. There will always be rice, pickles, cabbage, and soup. Sauces will be brown and the mustard spicy. Where places set themselves apart is how they take that standardized set and do it a little differently. Suzuki is your primer on the format. Plus it is unassuming and never so busy that you must build your day around going there.

  • Tonkatsu Suzuki
  • First stop, Tokyo Station. Are you tired? Head thumping from whatever was going on in that seat behind you on the twelve-hour transpacific haul? And just why is the airport so far away from the city? After an hour on the train from Narita, you are now in Tokyo Station and you are hungry.
  • You might think how does eating a piece of deep-fried pork in a back corner of a train station not count as junk food?, but as the handsome blond wood counters and careful service at Tonkatsu Suzuki demonstrate, this is a much deeper undertaking in Japan than in other parts of the world. You will always have a choice of cuts. There will always be rice, pickles, cabbage, and soup. Sauces will be brown and the mustard spicy. Where places set themselves apart is how they take that standardized set and do it a little differently. Suzuki is your primer on the format. Plus it is unassuming and never so busy that you must build your day around going there.

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Sep 21, 16

21 Sep 2016: The Air Force’s latest high-tech bomber is officially called the B-21 Raider, but there were lots of options. The name was chosen from over 4,600 names submitted to the US Air Force earlier this year, and we now have the complete list of entries, including everything from “Americas Revenge” to the “Wobbly Goblin.” Oh, as well as “9/11 Cover-up” and “ISIS.”

  • The naming contest wasn’t open to the wider public, but that didn’t stop some really ridiculous names from being submitted. The naming contest was only open to US airmen and women and their families, along with Air Force retirees. Gizmodo tried to get the full list of submissions a few months ago, but our request was denied.
  • When we first submitted our request we speculated that Bomby McBomberface might be on the list, an homage to the crowdsourced naming disaster that was Boaty McBoatface. And indeed there were 16 versions of Bomby McBomerface submitted, depending on how you want to count names like “Bombie McBombface” and “Bombed McBombFace.” But we weren’t expecting Boaty McBoatface to get submitted. It was.
Sep 21, 16

20 Sep 2016: Apple's desktop operating system once again plays second fiddle to iOS.

Sep 21, 16

21 Sep 2016: I'd always figured fettuccine Alfredo was about as authentically Italian as an Ellio's frozen pizza; something concocted by the Olive Garden's chefs at their Tuscan cooking academy, perhaps. But it turns out that the dish has quite a lengthy history in Rome. Ever since the 15th century, Romans have been eating pasta with a simple, light cheese sauce, made directly in the pot with the pasta. Fettuccine alla romana, made by tossing fresh fettuccine with Parmesan cheese, is Alfredo's most direct ancestor. Spaghetti cacio e pepe—a late-night drunk-food staple for Romans, made by tossing spaghetti with Pecorino Romano, black pepper, and a touch of pasta water—is a very close cousin.

  • According to this 1981 New York Times article on the dish, the modern version—what we know in the States as fettuccine Alfredo—was invented by Alfredo di Lelio (yes, Alfredo was a real man!), who first put it on the menu at his Trattoria Alfredo sometime around 1914. His version of fettuccine alla romana added extra butter to the mix, though it wasn't until it reached the New World (and perhaps corporate mega-chain kitchens) that it became commonly known as fettuccine Alfredo. His extra-buttery version remains a far more popular dish stateside than it is in Italy, though you'll still find it on tourist menus near the big sights in Rome.
  • These days, most plates of fettuccine Alfredo come in all-you-can-eat portions, smothered in a heavily thickened, cream- and starch-fortified sauce flavored with dusty-tasting domestic faux-Parmesan cheese (perhaps with a side of endless breadsticks). Even recipes for the dish at home are made with an astonishing amount of butter and cream—a full cup of cream and a full stick of butter for a pound of pasta is not uncommon.
  • Now, don't get me wrong—I'm not a health nut or a calorie counter. But let's face it: The feeling you get after downing a bowl of creamy, cheesy fettuccine Alfredo ain't the best. Wouldn't it be great to have a quick and easy version that's just as good as these cream-packed renditions, but has a cleaner flavor and doesn't leave you in a food coma?

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Sep 20, 16

18 Sep 2016: Emacs 25.1 now lets you embed GTK+ user interface widgets, including WebKitGTK+, "a full-featured WebKit port that can allow you to browse the internet and watch YouTube inside Emacs." And it can also load shared/dynamic modules, meaning it can import the extra functionality seen in Emacs Lisp programs. This version also includes enhanced the network security, experimental support for Cairo drawing, and a new "switch-to-buffer-in-dedicated-window" mode.

  • Emacs 25.1 is available at the GNU FTP server, and since it's the 40th anniversary of Emacs, maybe it's a good time for a discussion about text editors in general. So leave your best tips in the comments -- along with your favorite stories about Emacs, Vim, or the text editor of your choice. What comes to your mind on the 40th anniversary of Emacs?
Sep 19, 16

17 Sep 2016: Apple's new iPhone 7 models introduce a new solid-state (non-mechanical) Home button which no longer physically depresses but instead is a software-driven sensor. That necessitates a new physical button sequence to hard-reset the device if it stops responding; that happens to be holding the Volume Down and Wake buttons for five seconds.

Sep 19, 16

16 Sep 2016: Where Google Glass failed, Hololens seems poised to succeed as a tool for the working man rather than a consumer headset for gamers.

  • Where Google Glass failed, Hololens seems poised to succeed as a tool for the working man rather than a consumer headset for gamers.
  • New York is home to a glut of devices that move us up and down: 71,000 in total. Half of those are more than 20 years old according to Shierenbeck. To keep them in working order, his company is developing software for the Microsoft Hololens that will both train elevator repairmen on how to work on different elements of an elevator and understand a variety of parts. The holographic training guide will also enable workers to reference tutorials in augmented reality on their headset while they’re simultaneously working on a broken elevator. Since the Hololens already connects to Skype, workers could also call various part manufacturers or a supervisor for guidance on implementation.
  • This example, elevator repair, represents the future of augmented reality—a field that Google tried to capitalize on with its innovative eyewear Google Glass. Where Google Glass failed and where Microsoft’s Hololens seems poised to succeed is the device’s use as a tool for the working man rather than a consumer headset for gamers.

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Sep 19, 16

Eater’s roving critic returns to Baltimore for his hometown's signature feast
by Bill Addison, September 15, 2016

  • Donald Trump is, at heart, a showman. He rose to national fame thanks to star turns on reality TV in which he played the tough-talking boss to a group of aspirants hoping to become as successful as he has been in business. His great gift is the ability to draw attention — and then use that attention for his own, usually commercial, purposes.
  • Donald Trump is, at heart, a showman. He rose to national fame thanks to star turns on reality TV in which he played the tough-talking boss to a group of aspirants hoping to become as successful as he has been in business. His great gift is the ability to draw attention — and then use that attention for his own, usually commercial, purposes.
  • It was a low moment for politics and political coverage. A nothing-burger filled with falsehoods covered as though it was the Super Bowl. But for Trump, it might have been his crowning achievement: All eyes on him with the chance to direct the play in whatever way he saw fit. The ringmaster — calling the shots in all three rings of the circus. It was peak Trump.
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