Removing the polarization filter from an iPhone so only you can see the screen

August 7, 2020

This is a video of somebody removing the second polarization filter from their iPhone and attaching it to a pair of glasses so that the screen can only be seen with the polarized glasses. The result is like something out of James Bond, though it wouldn't be practical in the wild because you'd lose the ability to look at your phone in landscape mode (not to mention if you lost your glasses). Privacy is cool and all, but so is the ability to watch Netflix.

(via Thund3rbolt)

Using internet photos to create 3D reconstructions

August 7, 2020


Researchers have developed a system for taking photo collections from the internet and turning them into 3D reconstructions. They call it NeRF-W, which stands for Neural Radiance Fields which they're applying to "in-the-wild" photos found on the internet. According to the researchers:

NeRF-W captures lighting and photometric post-processing in a low-dimensional latent embedding space. Interpolating between two embeddings smoothly captures variation in appearance without affecting 3D geometry.

With enough time and computing power they could effectively crowdsource creating a 3D model of the entire world. Which would be great for me, since I haven't been outside in over eight years. Is that burning ball of fire still in the sky?

Keep going for a video explaining the process and demonstrating the mind-boggling results.

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This guy walked around Shibuya like he's in a video game

August 7, 2020


This is a video of a Japanese YouTuber walking around Shibuya like he's in Grand Theft Auto. He absolutely nails the motion, and my favorite moment from the whole thing might be at 2:10 when he collides with the subway car. It's probably the least exciting thing that happens in the video but it looks and feels perfect. The whole video is like watching 11 minutes of somebody playing Grand Theft Auto in Japan, but without running anybody over or beating any hookers with bats. So really, it's nothing like Grand Theft Auto.

Keep going for the full video, though you can skip the intro and go to the actual "gameplay" at 1:30.

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Three men rescued from tiny island after writing 'SOS' in the sand

August 6, 2020


Proving once and for all the things you learn in cartoons are actually useful in real life, three men were rescued from a tiny Pacific island after writing a giant SOS sign in the sand that was spotted from above. The AP reports:

The men had been missing in the Micronesia archipelago for nearly three days when their distress signal was spotted Sunday on uninhabited Pikelot Island by searchers on Australian and U.S. aircraft, the Australian defense department said Monday.

The men had apparently set out from Pulawat atoll in a 7-meter (23-foot) boat on July 30 and had intended to travel about 43 kilometers (27 miles) to Pulap atoll when they sailed off course and ran out of fuel, the department said.

I wonder if they debated building a coconut radio before settling on writing the SOS sign. Also, I can't help but be reminded about this Far Side strip:


Keep going for a few more pictures and a really poor quality video of the rescue.

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Upscaling the oldest recorded video using neural networks

August 6, 2020


Using an ensemble of neural networks, YouTuber Denis Shiryaev upscaled the oldest recorded video: Louis Le Prince's Roundhay Garden Scene which was shot in October of 1888. His source wasn't even a video, but this glass copy negative he pulled from the Science Museum Group website:

Glass-copy negative-of Roundhay-Garden-Scene.jpg

There are a lot of weird artifacts, but the results are pretty damn impressive considering the source was just a single image of 20 frames. At this rate eventually you'll be able to pull three images off somebody's Facebook page and let computers spit out a feature length film. And in my case the film would be about a man's love affair with store-bought frozen pizzas. Where do I collect my Academy Award?

Keep going for the full video which includes an explanation of Denis' process.

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'Harry Potter' but every wand is replaced with a gun

August 5, 2020


Quarantine does weird things to people, and in this case a digital artist decided to replace every wand in Harry Potter with a gun. From the creator:

Why? WHY?! Why would you do this?! you may yell at the screen. Rest assured, I understand your excitement. But just take a deep breath and accept this is a post modern world. Nothing is sacred; not books, not images, not news, not stories. Mix and match is the new medium. Work with video like clay. Change it after the fact; after you've baked it. Erase, paint over, restructure. Re-present in a new light. I am not alone in editing guns into Harry Potter footage (though this project was conceived prior to knowledge of the existence such similar videos). It was surprising how easy it was to interchange magic with guns. Obviously it isn't always realistic; it's a farcical parody joke movie.

A feature-length parody joke Hollywood movie that took roughly 5 years to finish.

Though this project started as a tasteless joke, in the wake of mass shootings and other daily horrors, we have to ask ourselves if Hollywood pushes guns too hard. If gun owners in our society really value guns for their use, or just for their sexiness. There is no doubt a fascination with the firearm, just as there is an interest with war or death or serial killers. It reminds us of our mortality. It should make us respect every moment we have on this Earth and make it a better place for everyone. But I guess we love killing a bunch? And so we've glorified it in our media. We've made it cool to pull out a gun and empty a clip real quick, or reload in slow-motion. But at the end of the day, sexy or not, a gun is a machine designed to kill. It has one purpose: murder.

Okay, fine, so this wasn't the product of quarantine, but the deliberate work of somebody making a statement about America's gun culture. It was funnier when I thought the creator had simply lost their mind while isolated, but the results are still equally great. I mean, skip to 1:45 and tell me this isn't some of the greatest cinema you've ever seen.

Keep going for the trailer or you can download the entire movie here.

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SpaceX successfully hops their Starship SN5

August 5, 2020


In another incredible achievement for Elon Musk, SpaceX successfully "hopped" their Starship SN5 150 m (490 ft) yesterday. This comes after the successful hop of their Starhopper back in September, which was retired after that launch to pave the way for this guy.

The SN5 is part of SpaceX's reusable Starship concept and would serve as the upper stage for the launch vehicle. They've already managed to land the first stage (the Falcon 9) and the fruition for the Starship would be the ability to land both the first and second stages. Before this, NASA was just letting their rockets fall back to Earth and blow up, which seems like an awful waste of $500 million.

It's hard to fully grasp the scale of this thing, but the hull is 9 m (30 ft) in diameter and 50 m (160 ft) high. They basically launched a 15-story building 150 meters and then landed it. Which is only slightly more impressive than the time I flipped a water bottle and it landed upright. My friends were super impressed and I got some high fives out of it.

Keep going for the full video which is so well executed it almost looks fake, as well as the Starhopper launch from last year.

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This German guy made a piano out of sausages

August 4, 2020


No, the title isn't a typo. This is a video of a sausage piano made by a German guy because of course a German would make a piano out of sausage. Actually, I'm not even sure they're speaking German. I just assumed they were because it's a damn sausage piano. According to the uploader:

This is just a quick test of my brand new Bockwurst piano.

Would I assume a sushi piano was made by a Japanese person and a taco piano made by a Mexican? Of course. I'm racist like that, and you should be too. If you see somebody making a piano out of maple syrup it's perfectly reasonable to assume they're Canadian.

Keep going for the video of the piano in action. I don't speak German, but I'm assuming it's using the conductivity of his fingers to activate each key.

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