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July 23, 2020

Helpful Hints from joeeze: How to deep clean an area rug

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Wrote Dave Swanson in Reviewed:

I've never been much of a fan of wall-to-wall carpeting.

Give me a nice tile or hardwood floor and robe it in a colorful Oriental, Persian, or Turkish wool rug — that’s how to dress a living area.

Not only that, but an area rug is easier to clean, meaning my home is probably cleaner than those with fixed carpeting.

Or so I thought!

While showing off my recently refinished hardwood floors, a friend told me of a trick for getting the most dirt out of an area rug.

It's surprisingly simple: You just turn the entire rug over and lay it flat.

Run your vacuum cleaner over the underside of the rug, using the beater bar or rotating brush. The vibration will loosen dirt trapped deep inside the carpet's fibers, my friend explained, shaking it out onto the floor below.

So I flipped over one of my area rugs and started vacuuming.

When I rolled the carpet back a few minutes later, I was astonished to see a layer of fine, dark grey dust coating my floor.

It looked like someone had sprinkled gunpowder all over the place.

I ran the vacuum cleaner over the hardwood, but the debris was so fine that I had to follow that up with a brush and dustpan.

It was disgusting!

Note that the suction function on most vacuum cleaners is sufficient for removing the majority of surface debris from your rugs.

The beater bar on a typical vacuum cleaner works great on the back side of quality or vintage woven rugs, but it's too harsh for the more delicate top surface — in time, it will damage the rug's pile and fibers.

And even if you find this trick works for you, experts say that a professional cleaning is worth springing for every few years — especially if you have a rug that sees a lot of traffic.

Personally, I think I'll establish a "no footwear" rule for the house.

But I still haven’t figured out how to handle the paw-wear.

July 23, 2020 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Do Neural Networks Dream of Psychedelic Screwhorn Antelope?

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Above, a photo processed by a Google neural network's AI.

From Google's AI Blog:

Instead of exactly prescribing which feature we want the network to amplify, we can also let the network make that decision.

In this case we simply feed the network an arbitrary image or photo and let the network analyze the picture.

We then pick a layer and ask the network to enhance whatever it detected.

Each layer of the network deals with features at a different level of abstraction, so the complexity of features we generate depends on which layer we choose to enhance.

For example, lower layers tend to produce strokes or simple ornament-like patterns, because those layers are sensitive to basic features such as edges and their orientations.

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Above, the original photo.

July 23, 2020 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

boj simultaneously #1 and #2 on Hacker News homepage

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Hacker News is my favorite website, even more so than the formidable and absorbing New York Times.

That's because HN is the Forrest Gump of the internet: you just never know what you'll find there.

I contribute many times a day.

Never, though, had my contributions occupied both the #1 and #2 spots simultaneously until last Sunday afternoon around 5:15 p.m.

w00t!

July 23, 2020 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

GoPro for beetles

From websites:

If you've ever wanted a "bugs" eye view of the world, researchers at the University of Washington are doing just that by developing a tiny wireless camera that can ride on board an insect, such a beetle.

Researchers say the camera streams black and white video to a smartphone at a rate of 1-5 frames per second on board a mechanical arm that can swing 60 degrees.
 
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The camera is small and light enough that it only weighs about the tenth of the weight of a playing card.
 
"We have created a low-power, low-weight, wireless camera system that can capture a first-creature view of what's happening from an actual live insect or create vision for small robots," senior author Shyam Gollakota, a UW associate professor in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, said in a press release announcing the invention.
 
The camera and arm are controlled by a smartphone via a Bluetooth connection.
 
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They've found two types of beetles strong enough to host the camera.

"They were able to navigate freely across gravel, up a slope, and even climb trees," said co-lead author Ali Najafi, a UW doctoral student in electrical and computer engineering.

"There are so many questions you could explore, such as how does the beetle respond to different stimuli that it sees in the environment?" Iyer said. "But also, insects can traverse rocky environments, which is really challenging for robots to do at this scale. So this system can also help us out by letting us see or collect samples from hard-to-navigate spaces."

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The team says it hopes future models of the camera will require even less power to run or even perhaps become solar powered.

July 23, 2020 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Generic Playing Cards

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From the website:

You're not the kind of person who needs fancy playing cards with all those unnecessary flourishes and geegaws.

These cards have the bare minimum they need to be useful, with generic text labeling each card and a black and white back identifying them as "playing cards."

Beyond that, this is a traditional 52-card deck, 2-1/2" x 3-1/2", with two "Jokers."

Comes in modestly illustrated tin.

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$6.95 (all possible winning hands included).

July 23, 2020 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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