5 Intriguing Things: Wednesday, 1/8

Movie code, when radio was king, Afrofuturism, accidental drone art, and a ship that transforms into a buoy.

 

1. A site that catalogs the code that appears in movies and on TV, then explains what it really is. The lesson? Most code on the screen is gibberish.

"The whole intro to the Doctor Who episode The Bells of Saint John is filled with things like 'add tooltip', find unordered list elements, if browser is IE than connect (ha! as if that would support whatever they are doing), location protocol checking, Google Analytics and etc.

Looks like someone copied the source of a random web page."

 

2. Scholar Susan Douglas reminds us that the media landscape before World War II was defined by radio, yet the nature of the medium makes that difficult to portray.

"So we see World War II through news-reels and think of it as a visual war, when this was, first and foremost, a radio war that millions listened to and imagined. Or we read books about the 1930s and the word radio isn't even in the index, even though 40 million people might have listened simultaneously to the same show on a given night." 

 

3. A quick introduction to Afrofuturism touching on George Schuyler, Octavia Butler, Sun Ra, and the Mothership Connection.

"Afrofuturism creates a space for those from the Black Diaspora to explore issues in the present and how they will manifest in the future. As Michah Yongo points out, just as the language used in Orwell’s 1984 has been used to frame the debate around increasing government surveillance, black science fiction can provide a new language to address the increasingly complicated frameworks of discrimination. If we are able to name these frameworks in the same way we recognise Big Brother when we see him, it is the first step in being able to dismantle them. In this sense, Afrofuturism provides a lot more to the black experience than simple escapism, silver Dashikis and pyramid-shaped spaceships, although I will always have time for that too."

Bonus: Follow @MCBookClub on Twitter, a book club in London for Black people interested in Speculative Fiction.

 

2013/2014 Sorghum from UAV (Ben Boughton)

4. The accidental art of drone-assisted farming

"There are many companies that are focusing on developing UAVs for the ag industry that fulfill many of the components of the aUAV Solution including AG-WingAgEagle and PrecisionHawkGet your link here.

You can buy a calibrated, tested, ready to fly system built from budget readily available components and open source autopilot. For example Event38 and Flight Riot.

The third option is to go fully DIY. I have tried this using a Finwing Penguin fixed wing platform, APM:Plane autopilot, ordinary Canon digital camera as sensor. I am yet to process any images into geo-referenced datasets. I will post more about this soon. Here is an image from one of my first flights."

 

5. The US Navy's Floating Instrument Platform stabilizes itself by transforming from a traditional ship to a buoy.

"Commonly referred to as the FLIP ship, it is actually a 355ft long, spoon-shaped buoy which can be flipped from horizontal to a vertical position by pumping 700t of seawater into the 'handle' end whilst flooding air into the 'cradle', causing it to rise up out of the sea.

Once the 28 minute transformation from horizontal to vertical has taken place, 300m of the buoy are submerged underwater, keeping the 700 long-ton mass steady and making it perfect for researching wave height, acoustic signals, water temperature and density, and for the collection of meteorological data.

FLIP was created in 1962 by scientists Dr Fred Fisher and Dr Fred Spiess, who wanted a more stable space than a conventional research ship to study wave forms."

 

Your 1957 American English Usage Tip:

affinity properly describes a reciprocal relation only. The prepositions normally used are, according to context, between & withThe spiritual affinity between themThe sound of every instrument bears a perfect affinity with the rest. When the sense is less relationship or likeness than attraction or liking, to or for are sometimes used instead of with; this should not be done. In places where with is felt to be inappropriate, the truth is that affinity has been used of a one-sided relation & should itself be replaced by another word. Cf. sympathy with & for.

I know, I know. I can hardly believe that if you have an affinity for this newsletter, you're doing it wrong. Who is this Margaret Nicholson, a mad woman? Luckily, we love you back, so you can have an affinity with 5IT.

 

Two programming notes: 1) If you're a new subscriber and you don't know here these English usage tips are coming from, check out this post. The short answer is Margaret Nicholson's A Dictionary of American-English Usage, published by Oxford University Press in 1957. 2) Don't forget to send me your projects, your tabs, your favorites. I'm always looking for more stuff, help a brother out.

 

Thanks, Tim M!

 

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