Twitter Tuesday – Tweets Of The Week

Twitter Tuesday – Tweets Of The Week

Twitter Tuesday – Tweets Of The Week

Twitter Tuesday – Tweets Of The Week

Tweets from the Week Ending 05.26.23

My activity on Twitter from the week ending 05.26.23, just in case you may be interested.

A Deep Analysis of How to Eat Oreos

A bucket full of Oreos.

File this under information and analysis you didn’t know you needed, via Yahoo and The Independent:

Crystal Owens, a PhD candidate in MIT’s mechanical engineering department, spoke about her and her team’s study, in which they examine the fan-favourite snack, during a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal. In their work, which was published in the Physics of Fluids journal last year, these scientists studied the equal distribution of an Oreo’s creme, in which it ends up on both side of the wafer when the cookie is broken apart.

Speaking to WSJ, Owens went on to explain her team’s method: putting the cookie between two counter-rotating plates, through a device called a rheometer. She said also said that when they glued different Oreo flavours to the rheometer, it would twist the cookie open at different speeds.

However, after placing over 1,000 Oreos on to that device, these MIT scientists still found that nearly 80 per cent of the creme stuck to only one side of the wafer. Owens went on to note that regardless of how fast or slow the rheometers opened the Oreo, the results didn’t change.

“We also tested the cookies by hand—twisting, peeling, pressing, sliding and doing other basic motions to get an Oreo apart,” she said. “There was no combination of anything that we could do by hand or in the rheometer that changed anything in our result.”

The Independent

And at the very bottom of the cited article is a great YouTube video demonstrating an amazing Oreo hack. Take some milk from a straw and ‘blow’ it into the creme filling of your Oreo and doing that creates a ‘creme infused filling’ in your cookie! Wow!! Must try this next time!!

h/t: Dave Pell and Next Draft

AI Is Freaking People Out

The release of Chat GPT by Open AI has struck a nerve with just about everyone. Even Google is freaking out, going so far as bringing in their founders to review all of Google’s AI projects

Last month, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google’s founders, held several meetings with company executives. The topic: a rival’s new chatbot, a clever A.I. product that looked as if it could be the first notable threat in decades to Google’s $149 billion search business.

Mr. Page and Mr. Brin, who had not spent much time at Google since they left their daily roles with the company in 2019, reviewed Google’s artificial intelligence product strategy, according to two people with knowledge of the meetings who were not allowed to discuss them. They approved plans and pitched ideas to put more chatbot features into Google’s search engine. And they offered advice to company leaders, who have put A.I. front and center in their plans.

The re-engagement of Google’s founders, at the invitation of the company’s current chief executive, Sundar Pichai, emphasized the urgency felt among many Google executives about artificial intelligence and that chatbot, ChatGPT.

NY Times

It is not just Google who are realizing how transformative and ‘cage rattling’ tools like Chat GPT. Universities and colleges all around the world are freaking out about how Chat GPT can spit out a well written dissertation about just about anything, raising alarm bells of how students could rely on such technology to help them get their homework done.

Even beyond text, AI is creating art, visuals and virtual worlds that just don’t exist. Check out this Instagram called The Visual Dome. None of it is real.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CnjNnnYvSeg/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

The irony is that people have been interacting with AI technology for years – think about how you have interacted with most big banks or other companies when you call their Customer Service systems. They have been using AI generated capabilities to handle a wide range of inquiries from people before ever reaching a human representative.

I’ve seen several articles cite technology and business leaders cite the time they first saw and interacted with distinctive and game changing technologies that have fundamentally altered the world – Netscape Navigator, and the iPhone being two of them – and they have all said that Chat GPT is another one of those game changers. The future is the present, folks.

Photos From World Cup Finals

The first World Cup in Uruguay – 1930. Image: BBC

On the eve of the 2022 World Cup, thought I would share an amazing gallery the BBC published detailing photos from World Cup finals of the past, dating all the way back to the first World Cup final that took place in 1930 in Uruguay.

Over the past 92 years photographers have been in attendance at 21 finals to record what they witness – the colour, the excitement, the goals and the glamour. BBC Sport has partnered with Getty Images to bring you the best photos.

The 1930 showdown was between the hosts and Argentina in a rematch of the gold-medal game at the 1928 Olympics, which was won by Uruguay.

Thirteen teams took part in the inaugural tournament. Four arrived from Europe on the same boat, training on the top deck as they travelled.

BBC
England’s only World Cup victory – 1960. Image: BBC

A Generous Gift

Yesterday, I was working from home and my wife texted me that a fairly large package had been delivered (I was on a Zoom call). I pondered this for a second and wondered if I was expecting anything of any significance and thought nothing much of it at the time. Later, when I was free, she brought the box down to the basement where my office/den/”man-cave” is. And again, I was still befuddled as to what this could be.

Now, as visitors to this site may know, I have a hobby of creating device/computer Desktop Wallpapers – something that started several years ago when I thought it would be cool to design backgrounds for English Premier League teams that matched their kit/jersey designs. Since then, I regularly get ‘special requests’ from people all across the internet that I do my best to fulfill. And on each of the Wallpaper pages on my site, I include some links to give people the opportunity to donate to me as a recognition of the time and effort it takes to make these items. One of the links I include is to my Amazon Wish List. And on my Wishlist, one of the items that I had innocently added was the Webaround Big Shot, a large green screen background that you can attach to the back of your desk chair in order to have a cleaner display of the background when on a Zoom call. So instead of having my basement showing behind me when on said Zoom call, I could have something like Coruscant (Star Wars) or hipster lofts or the skyline of NYC.

Of all the items on my Wishlist, this was the item that some anonymous person took the time, money and effort to order for me as a gift. I am assuming it is a gift from one of the many ‘regulars’ that solicit Wallpapers from me however I am not at all sure to be honest, as Amazon does not reveal who purchases things from your Wishlist. What I do know is that this person could easily have chosen from a long list of other items on my Wishlist that were far cheaper than what this item cost. I’m somewhat fascinated and intrigued as to why they chose this item compared to the others on my list. No matter, the generosity is noted!

So, whoever the individual is out there on the Internet who purchased this wonderful Webaround Big Shot green screen background that mounts on the back of my desk chair – I would like to send to you a hearty THANK YOU and a note that your gift is recognized and appreciated!!

Peak Snooker

Ronnie Sullivan clears the table in 5 minutes.

I don’t know all the rules of Snooker. Heck, I may not know all the rules about traditional eight ball pool. But what I can surmise from watching this 6 and a half minute video of Ronnie O’Sullivan clear the table in a Snooker World Championship match from 1997 is that this guy is damn good at what he does. This is a masterclass in billiards and how to set yourself up for the next shot.

Get Me My McFlurry

From NPR:

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, the Federal Trade Commission contacted McDonald’s franchise owners over the summer looking for information about the broken ice-cream machines.

McDonald’s franchisees have long griped about the machines, the newspaper reported, which require a nightly cleaning cycle that can fail and require a technician to fix.

The Biden administration is looking more closely at manufacturers

The move comes as the Biden administration looks broadly at whether manufacturers have been blocking owners from fixing broken products themselves, the newspaper said. Advocates of the “right to repair” movement say companies should not make it nearly impossible for users and independent technicians to repair modern products, particularly consumer electronics.

I commend the administration for prioritizing this. ;)

GameStop Getting Played

Over the past few days, but really over the past few weeks, GameStop’s stock price has been on a rocket ship ride. It all started when a bunch of folks on the Reddit board WallStreetBets observed that several large institutional investors had shorted GameStop’s stock. So over the past month or so, all of those private investors who follow that Reddit board started buying GME’s stock to drive its value up, thus driving huge possible losses for those institutional investors who bet against the retailer. From the CNBC article:

GameStop has rallied more than 680% in January alone as an army of retail investors marshaled against short sellers in online chat rooms, encouraging each other to pile on and keep pushing the stock higher. Short sellers have amassed a mark-to-market loss of more than $5 billion year to date in the stock, including a loss of $917 million on Monday and $1.6 billion on Friday, according to data from S3 Partners.

This activity was then sent into overdrive when Elon Musk tweeted about it.

Those are some big numbers pointing in the wrong direction. As noted when chatting with a friend today about this, someone is going to be holding the bag on this and it will not be pretty.

Asleep At the Computer

From the NY Times on the recent hack of pretty much every security department system in the US Government:

Over the past few years, the United States government has spent tens of billions of dollars on cyberoffensive abilities, building a giant war room at Fort Meade, Md., for United States Cyber Command, while installing defensive sensors all around the country — a system named Einstein to give it an air of genius — to deter the nation’s enemies from picking its networks clean, again.

It now is clear that the broad Russian espionage attack on the United States government and private companies, underway since spring and detected by the private sector only a few weeks ago, ranks among the greatest intelligence failures of modern times.

Einstein missed it — because the Russian hackers brilliantly designed their attack to avoid setting it off. The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security were looking elsewhere, understandably focused on protecting the 2020 election.

NY Times

Once again, while the US Government is playing checkers, our adversaries are playing chess when it comes to cyber-security. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that even as the US Government has spent billions to set up their ironically named “Einstein” cyber-security system, it wasn’t that system that detected the hack. It was a private company – the US Government vendor FireEye – that actually detected it and alerted US authorities.

Who are we?

From Frank Bruni at The NY Times:

Opinion: “Trump snuffed out my confidence, flickering but real, that we could go only so low and forgive only so much. With him we went lower — or at least a damningly large percentage of us did. In him we forgave florid cruelty, overt racism, rampant corruption, exultant indecency, the coddling of murderous despots, the alienation of true friends, the alienation of truth itself, the disparagement of invaluable institutions, the degradation of essential democratic traditions.

He played Russian roulette with Americans’ lives. He played Russian roulette with his own aides’ lives. In a sane and civil country, of the kind I long thought I lived in, his favorability ratings would have fallen to negative integers, a mathematical impossibility but a moral imperative. In this one, they never changed all that much.

Polls from mid-October showed that about 44 percent of voters approved of Trump’s job performance — and this was after he’d concealed aspects of his coronavirus infection from the public, shrugged off the larger meaning of it, established the White House as its own superspreader environment and cavalierly marched on.

Forty-four percent. Who in God’s name are we?”

Don’t steal a Banksy

Via www.streetartbio.com/artists/banksy/

Most people familiar with the artist Banksy. He (or she. I will use ‘he/his’ moving forward) is known for not being known. And he is also known for his distinctive modern art that ‘pops up’ in unique spots all around the world. With the nature of Banksy’s art being so public and displayed in such public spaces, it is really interesting how he (or she) goes about distributing ‘Certificates of Authenticity’ to verify that the person who possess his art acquired it legitimately.

Banksy has established a virtual portal to authenticate whether specific works of his are both genuine and genuinely obtained — and, as the guy trying to get a painting valued admits, he’d visited the site and been told that the painting could not be validated because it was not obtained legally. 

Dubbed Pest Control, the service offers an easy-to-use interface to determine a particular work’s validity. Elsewhere on Pest Control’s site, they offer a more extensive explanation of what they do — namely, issue certificates of authenticity.

As for what that means, well — here’s what Pest Control themselves have to say: “The certificate of authenticity (COA) means you can buy, sell or insure a piece of art knowing it’s legitimate and the wheels won’t fall off,” they write. “Pest Control is the only source of COA’s for Banksy. We issue them for paintings, prints, sculptures and other attempts at creativity. We don’t issue them for things like stickers, posters, defaced currency or anything which wasn’t originally intended as a ‘work of art’.”

Pest Control also offers a “Keeping It Real” service, which lets prospective buyers of a work by Banksy confirm that the work is, in fact, legitimate. 

This situation came into full relief recently as someone who had ‘acquired’ an Banksy in Brighton UK had brought the piece onto Antiques Roadshow to get it appraised, only to be taken to the woodshed by the host, who chastised the person for not providing the ‘Certificate of Authenticity’.

I am a fan of Banksy’s work because of the way his art communicates a clear, many times withering, message about a topic, movement or circumstance that people need to pay attention to. What brings this home is not only the art itself, but the surface in which the art is painted and/or the environment surrounding the art. One of my favorite pieces that he has done was a mural on the corner of a garage in Port Talbot, Wales, UK. On one wall of the corner, it depicts a child in winter clothes with his arms outstretch and mouth open, seeming to be catching snowflakes with his tongue. If you look on the wall on the other side of the corner, you see that it is a burning garbage bin that is producing the flakes. The message he was sending had to do with the fact that Port Talbot is the home of one of the largest steel mills in the UK that produces immense pollution in and around that area. The accompanying video that he published on his Instagram account really brings the message home.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BrkqwhnlNjR/

Update: Maybe my observation that Banksy may be a woman wasn’t too far off! From an article on Bloomberg from 2014:

But what Banksy Does New York makes plain is that the artist known as Banksy is someone with a background in the art world. That someone is working with a committee of people to execute works that range in scale from simple stencil graffiti to elaborate theatrical conceits. The documentary shows that Banksy has a different understanding of the street than the artists, street-writers, and art dealers who steal Banksy’s shine by “spot-jocking” or straight-up pilfering her work—swagger-jackers who are invariably men in Banksy Does New York. All of which serves as evidence against the flimsy theory that Banksy is a man.

Voyeuristic Views of the World

With so many still under some form of quarantine as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to ‘virtually’ escape and go ‘visit’ other places around the world is obviously in demand.

In late June, a site called Window Swap was making the rounds. It is a site that has the simple premise of being able to share a photo or video of what the world looks like while looking out the window of your home. For example, how about having this view of the Egyptian Pyramids outside of your window. I’d never stop looking away.

Keeping with this trend, another neat site that takes this premise to the next level is Drive & Listen. What this site does is let you watch dashcam video from people driving in and around all sorts of great cities of the world, and ‘overlays’ it with radio broadcasts from that market. So for example, you can watch a video of someone driving around Rome, Italy during any normal day while listening to Italian radio. There is even a Drive & Listen Instagram account as well.

A ho hum day driving around Rome, Italy

For someone who loves to travel and is kinda frustrated to have to be at home for so long as our country deals with this pandemic, being able to see the nuances of many of the world’s great cities from my desktop computer is a pretty neat trick.

Photo realistic images of historic figures

From photographer Bas Uterwijk, some pretty authentic looking A.I. generated images of a few historical figures as if they were to pose for a modern portrait photo. To me, the two below of George Washington and Vincent Van Gogh are pretty stunning versions – especially George Washington’s eyes and the almost tired look of his face. You just feel like he’s going to command the room and not put up with any ‘red coat’ bs.

via Bas Uterwijk
via Bas Uterwijk

Twitter Tuesday – The Week In Tweets