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November 22, 2023

My dead hand has an increasingly long reach

Screenshot 2023-11-22 at 8.47.38 AM

Notice anything odd about the photo above?

Check out the date: February 1, 2024.

That's ten weeks — 70 days — from today.

And yet, it exists, waiting for our time continuum to arrive early next year.

What's this all about, joe?

Constant readers will recall my long-standing fascination with the Dead Hand — also known as Perimeter (RussianСистема «Периметр»romanized) — of Soviet Union Cold War-era nuclear weapons strategy.

For newbies, here's the Dead Hand in a nutshell:

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I love the fact that if I drop dead immediately after uploading this post, boj will continue to publish on its thrice-daily regular schedule through 8:01 am Thursday, February 1, 2024.

After that, you're on your own.

November 22, 2023 at 04:22 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Screenshot 2023-11-22 at 8.32.29 AM

Clive Thompson titled his analysis "When AI-Photo-Stitching Goes Wrong."

What he wrote:

As Tessa Coates writes on her Instagram photo here, "I went wedding dress shopping and the fabric of reality crumbled."

At first glance, the photo might seem fine — until you realize her hands are in different positions in the two mirrors, neither of which match what her hands are doing in reality.

This isn't a photoshop; it's how the iPhone took the picture. What went wrong?

She consulted with an Apple Genius bar employee who said it's a wild example of the iPhone's photo software, which often uses several takes of a picture to stitch one final image together.

As he said ...

... mobile phones are essentially miniature computers with camera functions, and even when the live photo setting isn't enabled, they automatically capture a sequence of images from left to right. 

Furthermore, he elaborated that at the precise moment when the camera moved behind Tessa's back, she must have inadvertently raised her hands, resulting in an "artificial intelligence decision" creating a completely distinct set of images on the other side.

Given that iPhones are in such common use — as well as Pixel phones, which ship with similar software — I wonder what implication this will have for the forensic use of everyday smartphone photos in court.

November 22, 2023 at 12:22 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Cork Remover for Old Wine


You know how sometimes an old cork can disintegrate into a great bottle of wine, destroying it?

You do?

Well, I don't but I'll take your word for it.

For those readers who from time to time are vexed by this unfortunate possibility there's this tool, reviewed by Eric Asimov in the New York Times:

No moment produces as much as much anxiety for wine lovers as pulling a cork on a precious old bottle.

A cracked, deteriorated cork can crumble into the wine, marring what should be a joyous moment.

Enter the Durand, an ingenious device constructed specifically for older bottles: it can remove even the most fragile corks without incident.

And it will pay for itself if one cherished bottle is preserved.



November 22, 2023 at 08:22 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

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