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May 11, 2021

Picasso Bug

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From Wikipedia:

Sphaerocoris annulus — common names Picasso Bug or Zulu Hud Bug — is a species of shield-backed bugs of the family Scutelleridae.

Sphaerocoris annulus can reach a length of about 8 millimeters (0.31 inches).

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The basic color is green, with eleven ring-shaped spots on the elytra.

The colors and the design of these bugs represent a warning to predators.

They also emit a noxious odour when disturbed.

This species reproduces at the beginning of the dry season (November-December).

Full development lasts 56 days.

This species is present in tropical and subtropical Africa (Benin, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

May 11, 2021 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Sound of Ingenuity on Mars

A solar system exclusive, brought to us by NASA from Jezero Crater on Mars, where the Ingenuity helicopter has been strutting its stuff.

From the Verge:

Watch — and hear — NASA's Ingenuity copter zip around on Mars

The mini helicopter's companion rover, Perseverance, captured video and the first audio of Ingenuity's flight

NASA just released video and audio of its mini Mars helicopter, Ingenuity, flying around the Martian surface during its fourth flight test, as captured by the craft's robotic partner Perseverance from nearly a football field's distance away.

The footage, combining audio and video of an Ingenuity flight test for the first time, starts off with the soft, rumbling hum of the Martian wind.

Ingenuity can be seen stationary on the surface in the right-hand corner of the frame before taking off for flight.

When the copter ascends, the ambient hum intensifies; the faint, muffled sound of Ingenuity's twin rotor blades spinning at 2,537 RPM picks up and it eventually zips across the frame.

Perseverance's Mastcam-Z device captured the video, a sequence of hundreds of images compiled at six frames per second.

That camera has returned stunning images and video of Ingenuity in the past, but those views were never synced with audio until now.

The audio was recorded using Perseverance's SuperCam laser instrument, a device that zaps Mars rocks with a laser beam and records the zapping sounds with an onboard microphone.

While a spectrometer visually analyzes the makeup of the dust kicked up by the laser, the microphone captures audio to help scientists get an aural idea of how hard the rock is.

That microphone worked overtime last Friday to bring us the first AV experience of Ingenuity's fourth flight in its legendary test campaign.

David Mimoun, science lead for SuperCam's microphone, said in a statement that prior tests on Earth indicated the device would barely be able to hear Ingenuity's flight.

But hearing the gentle hum of the helicopter's blades on Mars was "a very good surprise," he said. "This recording will be a gold mine for our understanding of the Martian atmosphere."

The four-pound helicopter arrived on Mars nestled inside NASA's Perseverance rover on February 18th and was deployed on the surface on April 4th.

Its first flight on April 19th made history as the first to take place on another world.

Initially, engineers planned to conduct just five flight demonstration tests with Ingenuity inside a 31-day window so Perseverance — working as both a photographer and communications hub for Ingenuity — can carry on with its primary mission of hunting for signs of ancient life.

But engineers, impressed with the helicopter's performance, gave Ingenuity another 31-day mission to carry out a few more flights while Perseverance begins its hunt nearby.

May 11, 2021 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Is it me — or is it Sudowrite?

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Long story short: Sudowrite is an AI application, currently in beta, which uses GPT-3, a deep-learning neural network that can auto-generate text.

It can generate language in styles indistinguishable from those of authors it seeks to mimic.

Amit Gupta, one of Sudowrite's founders, envisions the product turning into a resource that writers will pay five to ten dollars per month to use.

Apply within.

[via Stephen Marche's "The Computers are Getting Better at Writing," which appeared in the April 30, 2021 issue of the New Yorker.]

May 11, 2021 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

What does 72.11.3 signify?

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Answer here this time tomorrow.

Hint: not an IP address.

Another: it's intangible.

A third: not non-fungible.

May 11, 2021 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Live Feed Bird Feeder

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From the website:

This cleverly designed bird feeder provides endless entertainment for you and your pets.

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The acrylic feeder measures 8.5" x 3.5" x 5" and sticks to your window for a strong, secure hold.

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Includes 2 suction cups.

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$30.

May 11, 2021 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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