Go Topless Day, a Blatant Publicity Stunt By a UFO Cult, In Dolores Park Sunday _

It’s a yearly tradition like champagne on New Year’s Eve and vomit on New Year’s Day: This Sunday is “Go Topless Day,” to be celebrated locally at Dolores Park.

This is the point in the article we inform you that this display of bare female breasts is the most blatant of blatant publicity stunts for the nutty UFO cult calling itself the Raelians, the adherents of the charismatic French crackpot Rael, né Claude Vorilhan.

But everyone, and we do mean everyone, loves boobs. So this event elicits gawkers and unquestioning media coverage year in and year out.

Rael, to put it mildly, is a pip. In 2002, he claimed his group cloned a baby. This was never proven; would-be purchasers of the Brooklyn Bridge were likely miffed as well. He has, for decades, wheedled the public for funds, ostensibly to erect an intergalactic embassy in Jerusalem with which to serve our alien creators.

Race car driver, songwriter, prophet.

He also claims to be a top-notch race car driver, and, like a less buffoonish and more dangerous cult leader, is also a singer-songwriter. As we noted earlier, his tune Toutes Les Femmes (All the Women) is particularly apropos for Go Topless Day.

So, enjoy the view on Sunday. But, remember, it’s all in the name of spreading the word that humans are the spawn of extraterrestrials who have tasked Rael with disseminating their message.

And boobs.

(Link)

Posted in Culture, Current Events, San Francisco | Leave a comment

This Artist Paints With Ice-Cream Instead Of Paint _

Othman Toma, an artist from Baghdad, Iraq, has put his watercolor skills to the test by painting with a very unusual “paint”- melted ice-cream.
The ice-cream isn’t too far from Toma’s usual work – he usually paints with watercolors or draws with pencils. Some have raised doubts about whether he really could have gotten the colors that he did with ice-cream, but if his claims are true, his paintings prove that art can be made with just about anything

(Link)

Posted in Art, Design, Food | Leave a comment

Secret Life of Cats_

Swim, Swim, Swim_

Posted in Cats, gifT, Video | Leave a comment

Guy on Scooter Races His Macaw Parrot _

Filmed near Kolimbithres beach in Paros, Greece_

Posted in Animals, Video | Leave a comment

How Much Do Average Tech Workers Make?

A lot of people assume that tech workers make bank, but have you ever wondered exactly how much we’re really talking about? SFGate reports that commercial real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle has compiled data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that helps shed some light on the wages of people working in tech. In 2013, the average wages of high-tech workers in SF was $156,518, which includes the value of stock options and other employee perks like meals. Interestingly, the average high-tech wages south of our fair city in San Mateo County were $291,497 (the highest average in the US).

The 2013 averages for other cities were $125,555 in Manhattan, $143,597 in Seattle-Bellevue, and $81,520 in Detroit. San Francisco’s average might not seem that much higher than some of these other cities but it did have the highest wage growth (almost 19%) from 2012 to 2013 and SFGate says the reason is not Twitter’s IPO, but demand for skilled workers. Averages in a numbers game like this one can get wonky because these figures include stock options, and they can also be skewed by people like founders profiting immensely when they do cash in their stocks, but overall they give a fuzzy idea of tech workers’ wages.

(Link)

Posted in Culture, Current Events, Information, San Francisco, Social | Leave a comment

A Fourth of Americans Think They Will Contract Ebola in the Next Year, Are Wrong_

As we are won’t to do, Americans have managed to make this whole Ebola thing all about us, with pundits and politicians constantly worrying about when the virus will make its way to the country. That fear mongering is working, apparently: Roughly a quarter of Americans think they or an immediate family member will contract the disease within the next calendar year.

That’s a fairly ridiculous notion, considering, well, everything we know about the disease. Ebola is spread through bodily fluids, much like HIV. But, unlike HIV, Ebola causes your skin to break out in lesions. That makes it considerably easier to spread bodily fluids, but it also makes it really, really easy to tell if someone actually has the disease.

Unless the virus mutates to be spread airborne, and there’s no reason to think that it will, health experts say that there’s no chance the disease becomes even a remote threat in the United States.

Why? Because, unlike West Africa, America has first-class health facilities, the means to get information about the disease and outbreaks out to the people, and no language barriers between the populous. That means American families won’t refuse to get treatment for their hypothetical infected loved ones, and they won’t raid health clinics that are trying to help.

The countries where Ebola has become a problem “are very weak states where the government’s writ hardly runs,” John Campbell, a fellow at the Center for Foreign Relations said earlier this month. “All three have very very weak bureaucracies” where getting information out about the disease and quarantining those who are infected is difficult.

In other words, there’s no reason to worry that Ebola is going to become widespread in the United States. And yet, people are absolutely horrified of it coming stateside.

According to a new poll from Harvard’s School of Public Health, 26 percent of Americans are concerned that they or someone in their immediate family may get Ebola in the next year, and 39 percent are concerned there will be a large outbreak in the United States. Nearly 70 percent of people believe that Ebola “spreads easily,” which would explain the first two survey findings.

That flies right in the face of what the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and pretty much everyone else says about Ebola.

As my colleague Michael Byrne wrote earlier this month, poverty is the reason why Ebola is spreading so easily through Africa, not its transmissibility.

Unsurprisingly, this is an issue of education: Those with higher levels of education are much less likely to believe there will be an Ebola outbreak in the US.

Ebola spreads in poorly educated villages, urban slums, and makeshift health care settings. It doesn’t spread through suburbs with well-manicured lawns and city centers with top-notch hospitals. If Ebola comes stateside, and the method of transmission stays the same, it will be well managed, and it’ll be exceedingly rare.

(Link)

Posted in Culture, Current Events, Health, Information, Internet | Leave a comment

Finally, an Algorithm to Sort Your Beatles Albums_

If you’re a fan of the Beatles, you no doubt know that ["She Loves You"] came before ["All You Need Is Love"]. But what about ["Help!"] or ["Yellow Submarine"] or ["I am the Walrus"]?

You may not know which came first, but researchers from Lawrence Technological University in Michigan created an algorithm that does. By analyzing the evolving structure of the Beatles’ music, the computer program was able to correctly place the Fab Four’s albums in chronological order. The work is in the journal Pattern Recognition Letters. [Joe George, Lior Shamir: Computer analysis of similarities between albums in popular music]

The researchers initially produced the algorithm to catalogue whale songs. [whale sound] And they figured what worked for killer whales should also work for the lads from Liverpool.

The program converts audio data into a visual spectrogram, an image it then evaluates for texture, shape, and pattern. Based on this analysis, the algorithm could tell that ["Please Please Me"] was from the early days and ["She Came In through the Bathroom Window"] came near the end. It even correctly estimated that songs from Let It Be were recorded before those on Abbey Road, although Abbey Road was released first.

The algorithm also worked for the albums of Queen, U2, and ABBA. But the computer came up short on Taylor Swift, whose tunes thus far are too similar to sort. But her style could still change over time.

(Link)

Posted in Art, Information, Internet, Music, Social, Technology | Leave a comment

Man Arrested and Jailed Claimed to Be Scott Weiland, but Former Stone Temple Pilots Frontman Is Safe in the Studio_

First of all, Scott Weiland was in the studio tonight, not in jail—nor has he been in jail any time since July 26.

The rocker, flanked by the members of his band the Wildabouts, made a video late Thursday to assure fans that he most certainly had not been arrested for shoplifting and drug possession, as was first reported by TMZ and subsequently confirmed by the Beverly Hills Police Department.

“I’ve actually been touring, writing and recording my new album,” the former Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver frontman said. “In the studio we’re in right now. A Los Angeles studio. All I have to say to our fans is, whether you found it funny, or interesting or whether you were sad, don’t worry. Don’t fret.”

What ultimately happened, according to a “Celebrity Arrest Corrected Information” news release issued by the BHPD a few hours after Weiland posted his Facebook video, was that another man entirely had been busted and had identified himself as “former Stone Temple Pilots band member Scott Weiland.” He was entered into the system and a booking sheet was filed for a 46-year-old inmate named Scott Weiland.
The suspect has since been identified, per the release, as 44-year-old Jason Michael Hurley—and police are now requesting that he also be charged with furnishing false information to a peace officer, in addition to burglary and possession of a controlled substance for the July 26 incident.

(Link)

Posted in Culture, Current Events, Health, Information, Social, Technology, Video | Leave a comment

Scientists Propose Using Lasers to Fight Global Warming From Space_

At the world’s first major geoengineering conference, two separate scientists put forward proposals to use lasers to modify the Earth’s climate and fight global warming, from space.

One suggested that a satellite equipped with a high-powered laser could grow clouds in the atmosphere below; the other proposed lasers that would blast greenhouse gases from orbit to effectively erase the agents of climate change.

The highly theoretical proposals are still in their early stages, and easily count as the more radically ambitious of the already radically ambitious climate engineering schemes discussed by scientists. These plans don’t concern gadgets that absorb carbon pollution or spreading particles in the sky, after all—we’re talking about space lasers powerful enough to alter the climate.

And European Space Agency fellow Isabelle Dicaire studies them full time. She traveled to Berlin this week to discuss how a satellite equipped with high-powered LIDAR lasers may prove useful for researching—and maybe eventually actually orchestrating—climate engineering.

LIDAR is remote sensing technology that blasts a laser at a target, then analyzes its reflection to accurately measure distances. It’s already widely used here on Earth (on things such as Google’s driverless car), and by NASA’s CALIPSO satellite. Dicaire is interested in what we could do with a much more powerful LIDAR positioned in space; theoretically, it should be able to better detect the movement of particles in clouds, and maybe even make new ones.

“This would be the first step if you’d like to do laser cloud seeding.”

Among the most widely discussed geoengineering ideas of recent years is so-called cloud-brightening. A cloud is just a mass of water vapor that’s condensed into droplets around particles floating in the air—and the more droplets in a cloud, the more sunlight gets bounced off of them.

So, geoengineers figure that if you can increase the surface area of clouds, or seed more of them altogether, you could begin to reflect back enough sunlight to cool the globe. Research into the subject has been limited, and Dicaire says a powerful LIDAR would help scientists better understand the science. Beyond that, it could be used to carry out the cloud-seeding itself.

“Another application is to use the effects that are happening inside the plasma filaments to do some exotic stuff. For instance, laser-based cloud seeding,” she said. Researchers at the University of Geneva, Dicaire says, have demonstrated that lasers can produce droplets.

“They are generating nano-sized water droplets from the laser,” she said. They’re doing it in a lab, though. “I’m monitoring the field to see what we could do from space.”

So, theoretically: “You can use the Earth Observation System to target or find where you have your clouds, what kind of clouds you would like to seed, and then from that, aim the beam towards these clouds.” Bear in mind that the idea ESA is examining here is entirely theoretical, and no laser even exists in orbit capable of performing such a feat. But it’s not unthinkable, technologically speaking—the political and economic hurdles are probably larger.

“So far you can only find these laser sources on the ground. Eventually, if someone would like to put them in a satellite, they would have to space qualify them. So this is something that some industries are looking into. And this would be the first step if you’d like to do laser cloud seeding.”

This would likely be a pretty expensive way to make clouds brighter—older proposals suggest using boats to spray seawater skyward—and you’d need an awful lot of cloud-growing laser satellites. But Dicaire, for now, is more interested in the underlying research LIDAR could help scientists perform.

(Link)

Posted in Culture, Current Events, Nature, Science, Social | Leave a comment

Motion Picture_

German iOS video app can display your recordings in a panoramic viewpoint, including direction and orientation.

[Google Translation:]

Motion Picture 2.0 represents a new type of video recording.
You can rotate, can change the ratio for viewing pictures and movies … the app also stores the camera movements when shooting.

The novelty of the videos in this app that they do not stand still fixed in a picture, on a screen or a screen during playback. The rectangular image section of your video moves when playing on a 360 ° screen from left to right, or from top to bottom, tilts and rotates around its own axis, depending on how you’ve moved on taking pictures.

(Link)

Posted in Art, Design, Technology, Video | Leave a comment