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This Isn’t The End Of Printed Photos, It’s The Golden Age

As a society, we now produce more photographs than ever before, and the total number is becoming difficult to fathom. This year, it is estimated that billions of humans armed with smartphones will take some 1.2 trillion pictures.

Many of them will be shared on social media, but many more will simply be forgotten. A few good selfies will flash before your eyes as you swipe left or right on them, late some Friday night.

But hardly any will make the transition into the physical world, bits becoming blots of ink that coalesce into an image on a piece of paper, canvas, wood, or metal — a print.

The reasons for this are rational, and there’s no point fighting progress, but nor should we ignore the value of a print. We may no longer print every photo by default, but this can actually be a good thing for printing.

It is now about quality rather than quantity, and the pictures we choose to print deserve the best treatment.

Honestly, there has never been a better time to print than now, thanks to technological advances in both digital cameras and inkjet printers.

If you haven’t yet tried your hand at photo printing, you owe it to yourself to do so, even if you’re just a casual photographer.




Print isn’t dead — it’s better than ever

It’s a common refrain in the digital age, and not just in reference to photography. Print is dead, or at least dying, right? In truth, a certain type of print has certainly declined, but this isn’t a tragedy.

Prints used to be the only way we had to view our photos. We’d drop our film off at the drugstore and pick it up 24 hours later not because it was a better system, but because it was all we had.

We tend to romanticize the print, but when printing was the norm, many photos were still lost and forgotten (and some were found again).

Most were destined for photo albums or shoeboxes that would sit around and collect dust until moving day. If fewer were forgotten, it was because fewer were made.

Far fewer, in fact — in 2000, Kodak announced 80 billion pictures had been taken that year.

Sure, that sounds like a lot (it was a new milestone at the time), but for those who think of such large numbers as vague clouds of zeros, consider that 80 billion is still 1.12 trillion shy of 2017’s 1.2 trillion photos.

For the mathematically disinclined, let’s put it another way: Subtracting the total number of photos made in the year 2000 from those made in 2017 would have no effect on the number of shirtless mirror selfies posted by lonely men on Tinder.

With so many photos being taken, it’s no wonder so relatively few are being printed. Every print costs money, after all, so of course people aren’t going to print 1.3 trillion photos.

What’s more, the point of printing (often the point of taking a photo in the first place) was to share your memory with someone else.

Now that we don’t need prints to do that, it makes sense that people are choosing not to spend money on them, especially when electronically sharing images also happens to be much more convenient.

But people still love prints. Even the “low end” of printing is alive and well as instant photography has seen a huge resurgence in recent years.

Polaroid Originals has built an entire brand around it, and Fujifilm Instax cameras and film packs made up six of the top ten best selling photography products on Amazon last holiday season.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

How To Keep Your Sensitive Files Safe In The Cloud

As some starlets found out the hard way over the weekend, just because you upload private files to the cloud it doesn’t mean they’re safe.

Computer systems can (and will) be broken into, and that cool, convenient cloud can quickly become the storm that rains on your parade.

Everyone has sensitive files they’d like to keep private: medical records, love letters, tax documents, and, yes, maybe even the occasional image of you or a loved one au naturale.




The problem is, once you upload files to the cloud, you give up some control over who can see them.

But there are some steps you can take to keep your most private data safe from prying eyes. All it requires a little diligence and time.

Check your phone’s settings

If you have cloud apps installed on your phone, there’s a good chance they are automatically uploading every photo you take to the cloud. Dropbox, Google+, and iCloud do this by default.

That sounds scary, but it’s actually meant to be a convenience: If your phone gets wiped, destroyed, or stolen, you still have the photos online.

But this means you really have to think before you take each shot. If the subject matter of your images isn’t something you’d share, open your app settings, look for automatic photo upload, and toggle it off.

 

And remember deleting an image from your phone doesn’t necessarily mean it’s gone from the cloud, too.

We had some of the PCWorld staff test various services, and Google+ kept a photo in the cloud even after it was deleted from the phone’s gallery.

If you want that photo to be gone for good, be sure to log into the cloud service and check manually. As a wise Marine sergeant once said to me: Inspect, don’t expect.

And while you’re at it, encrypt your phone’s storage so that if it’s stolen, the data stored on it stays private.

Encrypt your sensitive files

Sure, you could keep all your files locally, but sometimes you have to share them or otherwise make them available online. Encryption offers the best protection when you do.

There are many ways to encrypt files nowadays, but I’ve got the three methods you should be aware of. Each has its own features, uses, and limitations.

Easy mode: 7-Zip

7-Zip is a quick-and-dirty way to encrypt your files in an archive. The 7z format supports AES 256-bit encryption, which is plenty strong for most purposes. The files in the archive are encrypted using a passphrase.

For Windows, download the 7-Zip software from the project’s website. The installation should only take a few seconds.

Once installed, Windows’ File Explorer (Windows Explorer for Windows 7 users) will have a 7-Zip submenu added to the context menu.

Keeping your digital life private isn’t that hard, but it does take a little effort. If you use good judgement, keep aware of your device settings, and follow the security measures outlined here, you won’t get caught with your pants down.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

Ditching Microbeads: The Search For Sustainable Skincare

Is smoother skin worth more than having potable water or edible fish?

For years, research has shown that beauty products made with tiny microbeads, gritty cleansers that scrub off dead skin cells, have been damaging water supplies, marine life and the ecological balance of the planet.

Beat the Microbead, an international campaign to ban the plastic beads, reports that marine species are unable to distinguish between food and microbeads.

According to the campaign, “over 663 different species were negatively impacted by marine debris with approximately 11% of reported cases specifically related to the ingestion of microplastics“.

To make things worse, microbeads can act like tiny sponges, absorbing several other dangerous chemicals, including pesticides and flame retardants. As they ingest microbeads, marine animals also consume these other poisons.




The obvious solution to the microbead problem is to cut it off at the source.

But while major cosmetic companies like Johnson & Johnson, Unilever, and Procter & Gamble have pledged to phase out the use of microbeads in favor of natural alternatives, they also say that the shift could take several years.

And as more research is done, it appears that microbead replacements may come with dangers of their own.

Some of the natural replacements for microbeads also have negative consequences.

Greg Boyer, chair of the chemistry department at SUNY-College of Environmental Science and Forestry, says a possible negative consequence is with degrading sugars that biochemically “burn” the sugar for energy.

A variety of biodegradable ingredients are available to developers.

Victoria Fantauzzi, co-founder of Chicago-based La Bella Figura Beauty, says that her company recently released a facial cleanser that uses enzymes found in papaya and pineapple, ingredients known to effectively exfoliate skin cells.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

The Secret To A Longer Life? Stop Eating!

The first 50 people to sign up will get $50 off your first two weeks of Blue Apron! Click here: https://cook.ba/2r7wbCf

Studies on fasting have shown significant evidence that it not only helps with weight loss, but has all kinds of benefits from mental sharpness to anti-aging and life extension and even prevention of diseases like cancer and alzheimers.

This has led many to try intermittent fasting, which combines the benefits of fasting with a more convenient lifestyle. Here I talk about the benefits of intermittent fasting, how it works, and my own personal experience with it.

How To Throw The Perfect Punch

If you’re lucky, you’ll never have to defend yourself through physical violence. But if that time ever comes, or if you’re ever enrolled in a Fight Club against your will, would you know what to do?

You’ve seen punches thrown on TV plenty of times, but do you actually know how to throw one correctly?

We’ve asked a few experts to help us learn the proper method of punching.

Our pros will show you the right way of making a fist, the proper way of orienting your wrist, what part of the person you should hit and what you should do after the punch.

The goal is to throw an effective punch without injuring yourself in the process.

When you’re punching, the fundamental thing you should know is that your thumb needs to be on the outside of your fist, between your first and second knuckles on your index and middle finger.




If the thumb is on the inside upon hitting a hard target you WILL break your thumb,” says Aiman Farooq, a Martial Artist.

Keith Horan, also a Martial Artist recommends a linear punch, which most martial artists do, that looks like a “cross” punch in boxing.

Chris Waguespack, also a Martial Artist says that the main reason why people hurt their hands when they punch someone is “because they punch with the flats of their fingers instead of their knuckles.

When you see people shaking their hands after a punch, it is usually because they impacted, more often than not, with the wrong part of their hand. Many people think that you punch with your fist straight. The truth is, you aim to punch with the first two knuckles. In order to achieve this, you need to slightly tilt your wrist down (which actually strengthens your punch as well). By tilting your wrist down slightly, you put your knuckles in front of your fingers. You also align your wrist with your forearm, so you are less likely to bend your wrist back or down and break it.

Where should I aim?

Because you want the fight to end as quickly as possible—you’re not fighting just to fight—you want to incapacitate your opponent as quickly and efficiently as possible so you can escape. So where should you aim to do so?

Keith Horan says that, unlike what you might think, you should not punch the face. “You’ll either miss, or commonly punch wrong and hit the jaw and break your hand.

The punch for the beginner is best used on the body, towards the chest, or if you’re on the side, to the ribs.”

Pete Carvill suggests a slightly different tactic, but also advises against the head.

Warning: Although knowing the fundamentals of punching is useful, it’s also not enough to properly defend yourself without practicing. It’s definitely not for you to go out and pick fights, but you all should be smart enough to figure this out on your own.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

Where, When, And How To Perfectly Watch This Week’s Meteor shower

One of the last meteor showers of the year is happening this Friday. So, if you haven’t caught a meteor shower yet this year, this week is your chance.

Don’t miss out on this year’s Leonid meteor shower, which is expected to have ideal conditions for many parts of the US. Following is a transcript of the video.

The Leonid meteor shower is happening this week. The most meteors will happen on the evening of Nov. 17. Expect to see between 10-20 meteors an hour. Viewing conditions will be excellent this year.




The Moon will be a paper-thin crescent. So, the night sky will be especially dark to enjoy the show.

But watch out for the weather. Cloudy skies will cover some parts of the US. Here are the best and worst places to watch on Nov. 17.

Some of the first records of the Leonids date back to the 10th century. They’re famous for some of the most spectacular meteor showers.

In the past, the Leonids have produced 50,000 meteors per hour. For the best show, find a safe, dark place away from city lights.

Many meteors will appear to come from the constellation Leo. But experts advise looking away from Leo.

That way, you’ll spot the meteors with the longest tails. Happy meteor hunting!

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Pass it on: Popular Science

Amazon Shopping Link

Hey Guys,

Well, the redirect didn’t work after all. Sorry about that (maybe they don’t allow associate links or something).

Anyway, you can still get there by clicking on this link:

Happy shopping! And thanks!

Facial Recognition Software Can Now Identify People Even If Their Face Is Covered!

A facial recognition system can identify someone even if their face is covered up.

The Disguised Face Identification (DFI) system uses an AI network to map facial points and reveal the identity of people.

It could eventually help to pick out criminals, protesters, or anyone who hides their identity by covering themselves with masks, scarves or sunglasses.

The software could also see the end of public anonymity, sparking privacy concerns from one academic, who has labelled it ‘authoritarian‘.




This is very interesting for law enforcement and other organisations that want to capture criminals,” Amarjot Singh, a researcher at the University of Cambridge who worked on DIF.

The potential applications are beyond imagination.

Led by Mr Singh, the international team of scientists published their research on the pre-print server arXiv.

DFI uses a deep-learning AI neural network that the team trained by feeding it images of people using a variety of disguises to cover their faces.

The images had a mixture of complex and simple backgrounds to challenge the AI in a variety of scenarios.

The AI identifies people by measuring the distances and angles between 14 facial points – ten for the eyes, three for the lips, and one for the nose.

It uses these readings to estimate the hidden facial structure, and then compares this with learned images to unveil the person’s true identity.

In early tests, the algorithm correctly identified people whose faces were covered by hats or scarves 56 per cent of the time.

This accuracy dropped to 43 per cent when the faces were also wearing glasses. The work is still in its early stages, and the algorithm needs to be fed more data before it can be brought into the field.

Despite these hurdles, Mr Singh told Inverse: “We’re close to implementing it practically.”

The DFI team have called on other researchers to help develop the technology using their datasets of covered and uncovered faces.

The research, which has not yet been peer reviewed and is still awaiting publication, has sparked controversy after some raised concerns over privacy rights.

Dr. Zeynep Tufekci, a sociologist at the University of North Carolina, posted the research to Twitter, claiming that the AI is ‘authoritarian’.

He tweeted: ‘The authors claim the system works about half the time even when people wear glasses. And this is just the beginning; first paper.

And this is maybe the third or fourth most worrying ML paper I’ve seen recently re: AI and emergent authoritarianism. Historical crossroads.”

Yes, we can & should nitpick this and all papers but the trend is clear. Ever-increasing new capability that will serve authoritarians well.

The DFI team will present their research at the IEEE International Conference on Computer Vision Workshop in Venice, Italy, next month.

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Pass it on: New Scientist

Rare Fossils Reveal New Species of Ancient Gliding Mammals

This week, paleontologists unveiled two remarkable new species of dainty gliding mammals that lived alongside dinosaurs nearly 160 million years ago.

While they are not the first mammalian gliders known from this time period, these specimens are unique because they have thin, furry membranes of skin attached to their front and back limbs that are clearly preserved in the rock.

It is pretty obvious from looking at these fossils that they are gliders, due to the carbonized skin,” says study coauthor David Grossnickle, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Chicago.

Named Maiopatagium furculiferum and Vilevolodon diplomyos, the two new species are offering clues to the ways various mammals have taken to the skies over evolutionary time scales.

Gliding is one of the cutest and one of the most striking locomotor adaptations,” says study coauthor Zhe-Xi Luo, a paleontologist at the University of Chicago.




Both of the new gliders were found in the Liaoning region of China, which is famous for its stunning power of preservation.

The Jurassic-era lake sediments have yielded some of the finest fossils in the world, including scads of feathered dinosaurs and a myriad of early mammals with carbonized fur and soft tissue.

Even without the conspicuously preserved skin, the newfound animals’ well-preserved skeletal structures give away their gliding ability, the team reports in a pair of papers published this week in the journal Nature.

Grossnickle notes that the limb proportions of gliding mammals are quite different from those that simply climb trees or walk on the ground, and the two new specimens have limb proportions that are similar to modern gliding mammals.

 

Both fossils also have notable hands and feet, says Jin Meng, a paleontologist at the American Museum of Natural History who was not involved in either study.

Our toes are very short because we have to walk on the ground,” he says. “These animals have much longer fingers, showing they have adaptations for grabbing on trees in the forest.

Grossnickle adds that in both fossils, the hands and feet are very similar to those on modern bats.

These things could be using all four limbs to roost like bats,” he says, and it’s even possible they spent time hanging upside-down from tree branches like modern flying lemurs.

The two new gliding mammals are among 10 similar species known to have lived in this area during the Jurassic, and that diversity means there were plenty of ecological niches for them to occupy.

Taken together, the traits of these fossil gliders seem to back up the hypothesis that different groups of mammals followed a similar evolutionary pattern of being land-based, then moving to tree-climbing, then to gliding.

Modern rodents and flying squirrels followed this pattern, along with Australian marsupials like sugar gliders.

In the Jurassic forests, this group independently evolved this kind of locomotion like other living mammals that also glide,” says Meng. “Mammals started experimenting with different locomotion types very early on.

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Pass it on: Popular Science