Jet Trail

Image: Jet Trail, this photo is available to licence on EyeEm.

#156

Friday, April 26, 2019

In This Edition:
Climate Change, Brave browser, Dadabots, software estimation, facial recognition boarding, Mark McMenamin's Code Breaker and David Attenborough!

This edition marks the three year anniversary of Found This Week! Thank you lovely readers for showing interest in my ramblings and collection of things over the past 156 weeks.

This week climate change is on my mind. Climate Change - The Facts (see item below) was on TV, the amazing Greta Thunberg was in the UK & I had some interesting climate change discussions with friends. If you haven't watched the BBC programme yet, I highly recommend it. It's easy to think that individuals can't make a difference, but we need to leverage small changes at scale to have a chance of reaching net zero emissions by 2050.

The image above, as majestic as air travel is to behold, is one of the contributors to emissions (14%), but not the main one. Fossil fuel energy and agriculture and much big emitters, and these are things we can affect by changing our habits and diets.

Brave Browser

Image: brave.com

Brave is a new browser built on Chromium that claims 2x to 8x speed increases over regular browsers. It also focusses on ad tracking privacy by blocking all third party ad tracking. On top of this, using the Basic Attention Token, users can opt-in to Brave Rewards allowing for the collection and donation of BATs directly with content creators and publishers. You can earn yourself some BATs now on Coinbase Earn by watching a few videos about Brave.

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Dadabots

Image: YouTube, Dadabots

Want some endlessly streaming AI generated technical death metal? Then checkout Dadabots by CJ Carr and Zack Zuckowski, who work on creating recurrent neural networks trained on datasets from specific musical genres. Their latest project Relentless Doppleganger was trained on a dataset of Canadian technical death metal band Archspire and is streaming on YouTube.

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Software Estimation

Image: erikbern.com

Erik Bernhardsson takes an interesting look at software estimation with some statistics. He looks at how estimating the median time of a task seems to be easier for developers than estimating the mean average, and he investigates plotting the blow-up factor (actual vs estimate time).

 

Facial Recognition Boarding

Image: Robin Lubbock/WBUR

JetBlue Airways in the U.S. have rolled out a facial recognition boarding system called Biometric Exit that allows passengers to look at a camera at the boarding gate without having to present a boarding pass or passport. IFL Science have highlighted a twitter conversation between a privacy concerned passenger and Jet Blue about the system. By the looks of it (ba-dum tsch), the system uses data from Homeland Security to match your face, and is consent opt-out.

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Book Review: Code Breaker - Mark McMenamin

Image: Gill Books

The cover of Code Breaker did its job in Easons at Christmas and the back cover made my purchasing decision easy. An Irish polymath librarian versus a Nazi spy that infiltrated Ireland during World War II, of course I wanted to read about that! :-)
I recently finished reading Code Breaker and I can recommend it.

Even though the cover and back-cover slightly over-sell the book, it is a fascinating account of the work of Richard Hayes and G2 Irish Army Intelligence during World War II, as well as the numerous, and sometimes hilarious, attempts by the Abwehr and the Nazis at infiltrating Ireland using undercover spies. While the book is titled towards the story of Ireland's code breaker, it is much more than that and gives a wide overview of the activities of German spies in Ireland in collaboration with former and current republicans, Richard Hayes' and the Irish Authorities' attempts at detecting, capturing and interrogating them, and how this all affected the delicate balance of Irish neutrality during The Emergency.

You can order the book from O'Mahony's here.

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Climate Change - The Facts

Image: BBC

This week Climate Change - The Facts with David Attenborough aired on BBC. The one hour documentary examines and explains the facts of climate change. The current effects, the causes, the predictions and the solutions are all presented. In order to halt climate change warming at 1.5 degrees, we need to halve CO2 emissions by 2030 and get to net zero emissions by 2050. The programme describes what needs to be done by governments, industries and by us individuals. To meet the targets, everyone needs to work on not wasting food, avoiding air freighted food by buying local and reducing meat & dairy consumption (especially from ruminating cattle & sheep). We need to buy less physical products and make the things we have last longer, make our homes more energy efficient and stop burning fossil fuels.

If the targets are not met, sea levels will rise, ice lakes will melt and release huge amounts of trapped methane, temperatures will rise on land and in the oceans, and we risk activating irreversible tipping points which could turn rainforests into deserts or completely melt the ice at the poles. The documentary is so informative and a must watch in my view.

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See you next week!

See you next week :-)

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About Found This Week

Found This Week is a curated blog of interesting posts, articles, links and stories in the world of technology, science and life in general.
Each edition is curated by Daryl Feehely every Friday and highlights cool stuff found each week.
The first 104 editions were published on Medium before this site was created, check out the archive here.

Daryl Feehely

I’m a web consultant, contract web developer, technical project manager & photographer originally from Cork, now based in Scotland. I offer my clients strategy, planning & technical delivery services, remotely & in person. I also offer freelance CTO services to companies in need of technical bootstrapping or reinvention. If you think I can help you in your business, check out my details on http://darylfeehely.com