Thinking about how nice it would be to have stronger text-to-speech transcriptions for podcasts. I was mentioned briefly in this podcast for having bookmarked an article earlier in the week. Webmentions for audio don’t (can’t?) exist, but a transcription would have included my name (and in this case even my URL) which potentially could have sent me a webmention of the fact.
You know Borat. You know Bruno. You know Ali G. But you probably don’t know much about Sacha Baron Cohen. The man himself sits down with Marc in the garage to talk about what goes into bringing such rich comedic characters to life, why he was drawn to comedy in the first place, and what’s next, with his new movie The Brothers Grimsby on the horizon.
I haven’t heard or seen any extended interviews with Sacha Baron Cohen. While this one goes a bit overboard on some of the making of his antics and films, there is some great personal background about how he got into comedy. Interestingly, he gets into an extended conversation about the theory of bouffon and clowning. It would have been nice if they detoured into 16th century commedia dell’arte, but you can’t have everything now can you?
In 2005, Teri Knight drove 650 miles on midwestern roads through Ohio, Indiana, Iowa and Illinois, pleading with the public to help her do what law enforcement and the FBI had not been able to: find the remains of her children Sarah and Philip Gehring. An Ohio woman read about Teri Knight’s search in her local paper, and decided she would try to help.
A short, but mildly odd drama. You know in advance how the story is sure to turn out because someone is bothering to tell it, but it’s just tenuous enough to make you wonder if that’s where it’s really going…
South By Southwest news from Austin local Stacey Higginbotham. 100 announcements from Google Cloud Next. Can Google fix its "one true answer" problem? U.S. charges 4 Russians with Yahoo Hack. The best iPhone case ever.
Danny's Article: Your guide to using Google Assistant and the Google search app on Android & iPhone
Stacey's Thing: Lutron LZL-4B-WH-L01 Connected Bulb Remote
The Google search issue that’s discussed reminds me of the problems in World War I in which larger guns and more automatic guns rose to prominence and gave one side an edge over the other. The solution sadly becomes arming the other side similarly, but who will do that and how is that going to occur?
After the end, I’m more tempted than usual to go out and do some home automation…
Google's Algorithm is lying to you about Obama, women, and onions. All the News from the Google Cloud Next Conference. Wikileaks' CIA hacking tools and their funny names. Mark Zuckerberg finally gets a Harvard degree. Twitch's new Twitter killing app. Nest's secretive upcoming projects. The MIT Media Lab Disobedience Award.<br><br>
Stacey's Thing: Fujifilm Instax Mini 8<br>
Jeff's Number: Top Google Play downloads over 5 years<br>
Leo's Tool: Adobe Lightroom for Pixel
No more Pixel laptops. Google's confusing Android Messages strategy hinges on RCS. Uber sued by Waymo and women, and yelled at by its own drivers. Amazon S3 outage. Is posting on Facebook a Constitutional right? YouTube's streaming TV service. Boston Dynamics' Handle robot, robot-made pizza, and Pizza Hut-ordering shoes.
Stacey's Thing: Bond IR appliance controller
Jeff's Number: YouTube streams more than 1 billion hours of video every day
Leo's Pick: Bill Gates' David S. Pumpkins-esqu Reddit AMA announcement
How have I missed David S. Pumpkins all this time?
Perhaps you've heard about IBM's giant Watson computer, which dispenses ingredient advice and novel recipes. Jaan Altosaar, a PhD candidate at Princeton University, is working on a recipe recommendation engine that anyone can use.
I found the article in it so interesting, there was some brief conversation around it and I thought to recommend it to my then new friend Jeremy Cherfas, whose Eat This Podcast I had just recently started to enjoy. Mostly I thought he would find it as interesting as I, though I hardly expected he’d turn it into a podcast episode. Though I’ve been plowing through back episodes in his catalog, fortunately this morning I ran out of downloaded episodes in the car so I started streaming the most recent one to find a lovely surprise: a podcast produced on a tip I made.
While he surely must have been producing the episode for some time before I started supporting the podcast on Patreon last week, I must say that having an episode made from one of my tips is the best backer thank you I’ve ever received from a crowd funded project.
Needless to say, I obviously found the subject fascinating. In part it did remind me of a section of Herve This’ book The Science of the Oven (eventually I’ll get around to posting a review with more thoughts) and some of his prior research which I was apparently reading on Christmas Day this past year. On page 118 of the text This discusses the classic French sauces of Escoffier’s students Louis Saulnier and Theodore Gringoire  and that a physical chemical analysis of them shows there to be only twenty-three kinds. He continues on:
A system that I introduced during the European Conference on Colloids and Interfaces in 2002  offers a new classification, based on the physical chemical structure of the sauce. In it, G indicates a gas, E an aqueous solution, H a fat in the liquid state, and S a solid. These “phases” can be dispersed (symbol /), mixed (symbol +), superimposed (symbol θ), included (symbol @). Thus, veal stock is a solution, which is designated E. Bound veal stock, composed of starch granules swelled by the water they have absorbed, dispersed in an aqueous solution, is thus described by the formula (E/S)/E.
This goes on to describe in a bit more detail how the scientist-cook could then create a vector space of all combinations of foods from a physical state perspective. A classification system like this could be expanded and bolted on top of the database created by Jaan Altosaar and improved to provide even more actual realistic recipes of the type discussed in the podcast. The combinatorics of the problem are incredibly large, but my guess is that the constraints on the space of possible solutions is brought down incredibly in actual practice. It’s somewhat like the huge numbers of combinations the A, C, T, and Gs in our DNA that could be imagined, yet only an incredibly much smaller subset of that larger set could be found in a living human being.
The additional byproduct of catching this episode was that it finally reminded me why I had thought the name Jaan Altosaar was so familiar to me when I read his article. It turns out I know Jaan and some of his previous work. Sometime back in 2014 I had corresponded with him regarding his fantastic science news site Useful Science which was just then starting. While I was digging up the connection I realized that my old friend Sol Golomb had also referenced Jaan to me via Mark Wilde for some papers he suggested I read.
T. Gringoire and L. Saulnier, Le répertoire de la cuisine. Dupont et Malgat, 1914.
I love that Jeremy raises the question of preparation time in discussing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). It’s something that doesn’t seem most people would consider, but which in the modern world has become a major consideration. To some extent a lot of the growth of obesity in the U.S. is as a result of people going to restaurants and eating less healthy food out, but justifying it for the savings in time and the general convenience.
As I’m listening, I’m curious what these types of programs look like in other countries? How does the U.S. compare? Do those countries leverage the same types of research and come up with similar plans or are they drastically different? I’m thrilled that in the very last line of the episode, Jeremy indicates that he may explore this in the future.
I’ll also guiltily admit that while listening to this episode, I was snacking on M&M chocolate candies while drinking a sugary supplemented beverage. Perhaps I’ll pay my penance later by baking a fresh loaf of bread.
Interesting to think about the shifts of food stuffs between the upper and lower classes over time.
I half expected some discussion of dentition and bone studies, but this was a bit more broadly historical in scope. I always loved the studies of civilizations around 12,000 years ago at the dawn of the agricultural age and the apparently terrible ravaging effects of settling down and living off of of agriculture rather than hunting and gathering.
Henry Hobhouse’s book Seeds of Change: Five Plants That Transformed Mankind (now six, with the addition of cacao) contains the remarkable fact that at the height of the slave trade a single teaspoon of sugar cost six minutes of a man’s life to produce. Reason enough to cheer the abolition of slavery, I suppose. But that doesn’t mean that everything is sweetness and light in the business of sugar. Or salt. A photo gallery in The Big Picture made that very clear, and inspired Rachel Laudan, a food historian, to write in praise of industrial salt and sugar.
DeepMind learns to be aggressive as it gets smarter. Verizon reintroduces unlimited data. Leo reviews the Samsung Chromebook Plus. Amazon releases a Skype competitor called Chime. Space X will launch over 4,000 satellites to cover the world in broadband internet. Google Fiber is back. Bill Gates is the nicest man on Earth. Recorded February 15, 2017
Jeff's Number: 120 Million children's lives saved
Stacey's Thing: Pew report on Algorithms
Leo's Tool: Keybase Chat
The story about DeepMind learning to be aggressive as it gets smarter is quite interesting and could provide an interesting model of larger interconnected societies. Smaller groups require more civility while larger may not. The question is how to interconnect groups to help cut down on the aggressiveness. Perhaps some of the network ideas in the toy mathematical models from Stuart Kauffman could be useful here? This could be a very interesting problem to work on.
The LG Sport and Style, the first Android 2.0 watches, come out this week. ACLU Amazon Dash Button. Vizio TV settles with FTC for $2.2 million over secret viewer tracking. House passes email privacy act. Facebook filters fake news in France. Google and H&M team up to design dresses.
Stacey's Things: Sergeant Tabata and Logitec ZeroTouch with Alexa
Jeff's Number: 1003 #resist Meetups
Leo's Tool: Michael Bolton's Big, Sexy Valentine's Day Special on Netflix
Bacon reserves at a 50 year low. Our picks for the best tech billionaires' apocalypse bunker islands. Musical Trump tweets. Club Penguin shuts down. Super scary walking robots with wheels. Facebook de-verifies God. Google beats Q4 estimates; Facebook stomps all over them. Released: Feb 1st 2017
Jeff's Number: 97% of voice apps are used for one week
Stacey's Thing: Flash Forward Podcast
Leo's Tool: June Oven
Guests: Mathew Ingram
Trump's new Chairman of the FCC and the implications for net neutrality. Oscar nominations announced, a first for Amazon. Vine is dead, but you can still watch them. Google I/O and speculation about possible announcements. Dropcam's co-founder jumps ship and is headed to Apple. Elon Musk has a possible new venture. Samsung and LG report earnings. What phone does Trump use at night and how secure is it?
Jeff's Number: How Many Ads -- including for fake news -- Google killed in 2016
Stacy's Thing: Eve Light Switch
Matthew's Pick: 60DB
Playing a bit of catch up…
There’s a particularly nice discussion of the potential future of net neutrality here. Surprisingly Leo sounds hopeful about the whole thing.
I just ran across this podcast and it’s totally awesome!
I’ve been thinking a lot since just before IndieWebCamp LA of creating a podcast for the IndieWeb movement, but sadly haven’t been able to carve out the time to make it happen. Things have been coming to a proverbial boil lately as I’ve been thinking about podcasts/IndieWeb more and listening to back episodes of fellow IndieWebber Jeremy Cherfas‘ excellent food podcast Eat This Podcast. The trouble is that he makes doing fantastic little podcasts seem all too easy in part because of how effortless his seem to be while still maintaining a production quality level of major content producers like NPR.
I had imagined doing a short interview version with individual people in the IndieWeb world to see what they’ve been up to, what they’re working on, and examples of how they’ve gotten things working. In some sense I also wanted it to be a mini-history that highlights the personal stories of the people based movement. (If anyone is interested in being interviewed, let me know and perhaps it’ll motivate me, and possibly others, to get it off the ground.)
But the ever-resourceful Marty Mcguire has obviously been thinking about the intersection as well. His take revolves around the weekly IndieWeb newsletter [subscribe] and covers not only the highlights, but he delves into the seemingly inconsequential individual changes in the wiki and to an even greater level helps to uncover some of the most worthwhile gems hiding within the growing number of links. What a fantastic resource! It doesn’t seem like it’s got a dedicated, subscribe-able RSS feed (yet), but the page does have an h-feed and Marty helpfully tags them on his site. As Aaron Parecki points out, one can also use Huffduffer to create an RSS feed if necessary.