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April 18, 2012

Tupac Shakur Coachella Resurrection

Wrote Ethan Smith in yesterday's Wall Street Journal, "The biggest buzz at Sunday's Coachella music festival in California wasn't for a hot new DJ or indie-rock band. It was for Tupac Shakur, the rapper who died more than 15 years ago and 'performed' alongside Snoop Dogg and producer Dr. Dre."

Turns out video of the show — featuring computer-generated-and-projected images of Tupac — has gone viral, pushing the possibility of a virtual Tupac tour in coming months.

Excerpts from the WSJ piece:

Dr. Dre and his production team first approached Digital Domain a year ago to discuss the possibility of creating a virtual Tupac.

First, the image was created on a computer, using physical characteristics and movements captured from recorded performances.

Advances in computer graphics and video projection allowed Sunday night's illusion to be far more lifelike than other recent efforts.

For the projection aspect, a San Diego company called AV Concepts used a variation of a visual effect that was discovered in the 19th century, known as Pepper's ghost.

Though the projected image has been widely described as a "hologram," it is a 2-D image and not a hologram, which is 3-D.

The effect was first used in an 1862 dramatization of Charles Dickens' novella "The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain," staged at the Royal Polytechnic Institute in London.

The effect relies on an angled piece of glass in which a "ghostly" image is reflected. A piece of glass can be both transparent and reflective at the same time, depending on how it's situated relative to the audience.

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In the Victorian version of the trick, the glass reflected an actual actor, situated out of sight in near the orchestra. On Sunday night, the image was projected on a piece of Mylar — a highly reflective, lightweight plastic — stretched on a clear frame.

[What happened] in Coachella is virtually the same thing that was happening in 1862. One difference: In the Victorian era, Pepper's Ghost was normally used to reflect actual, physical objects or actors, making them appear "dimensional" in ways that the projected or computer-generated imagery typically used today do not.

Astonishing and wonderful to me is the effect of ever-more powerful and affordable computing allowing the creation of "realities" like this one.

It's not a matter of "if" but rather "when" the bit-based virtual is indistinguishable from the it-based atomic.

And if you can't tell a difference, there is no difference.

April 18, 2012 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Fresh citrus juice sprayer — think outside the kitchen space

Stem-Citrus-Juice-Sprayer

A little spritz of lemon or lime might be refreshing during a long deskbound afternoon.

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Enables you to spray juice directly from a citrus fruit.

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$4.99.

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[via CSYCB]

April 18, 2012 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cryptocat — easy encryption for the rest of us

Excerpts from a story by Jim Dwyer in today's New York Times:

A project called Cryptocat... has a simple, countercultural goal: people should be able to talk on the Internet without being subjected to commercial or government surveillance.

Cryptocat and a few other services disguise the content of chat messages so that they look like gibberish to anyone who does not have the encryption key."

[21-year-old Nadim] Kobeissi started building Cryptocat a year ago in his bedroom with the goal of making it simple to encrypt an online conversation. He had help last weekend from the Guardian Project, a group of developers who are trying to make mobile phones secure. They figured out a way to encrypt a chat on an Android phone by shaking it, taking advantage of the motion detectors in many smartphones. This will generate the digits that are part of the encryption process.

Up to 10 people can speak privately to one another at a time in a Cryptocat chat room, a feature that distinguishes it from other encryption chat services. It is not ready for use by people in life-and-death situations, Mr. Kobeissi said, but it can give people a place to avoid everyday monitoring of routine conversation.

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April 18, 2012 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Self-service dog drinking fountain

Doggie-Water-Fountain

I wonder if this could be adapted for use by Gray Cat?

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"Encourage your dog to drink more water with this pedal-activated water fountain. Attaches to hose or faucet with heavy gauge steel for durability."  

$36.72.

[via CSYCB]

April 18, 2012 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Salt Staircase

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By Motoi Yamamoto.

[via Fancy]

April 18, 2012 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Split Stick USB Drive

Split-stick-usb-drive-from-quirky

Good idea.

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"The Split Stick is a double-sided USB drive, designed to keep your work files separate from your personal files. Two separate, retractable 4GB USB drives built into one slim 8GB stick."

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$30.

[via CSYCB]

April 18, 2012 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Experts' Expert: "How to be a better flosser"

FlossCartoon LCarroll

In a feature in yesterday's Wall Street Journal, Heidi Mitchell interviewed Dr. Denis F. Kinane, professor of pathology and periodontics at the University of Pennsylvania's Penn Dental Medicine, about the fine points of flossing.

Summarized:

1. Brush before flossing — but if you can only do one or the other, brushing is a better use of your time.

2. If you floss only once a day, you'll get more benefit in terms of decay prevention by doing so before bed. 

3. The biggest mistake people make when flossing is sawing back and forth — floss motion should be down and up.

4. Move the floss so as to use a fresh segment for each tooth — this avoids reintroducing plaque from already flossed teeth.

5. Waxed or unwaxed doesn't matter in terms of efficacy.

6. Ribbon and string both work — ribbon reaches more of the tooth surface.

7. Rinsing, even with mouth wash, simply can't reach areas between teeth and under the gum line like floss.

April 18, 2012 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Use your illusion shorts — "Mesmerize the populace"

Image

Great tag line, what?

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I wonder if these could result in a seizure in an individual susceptible to such visual triggers.

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$44.

April 18, 2012 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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