Flower

Courtship dance

Nature has famously inspired martial arts schools. It is a pity it did not inspire dance schools as much, or at least that nature themed dance fights have not become popular.

If you wanted to start your own school, this would be a good starting material.

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Loose ends

Current Biology has made available the column that Sydney Brenner kept as a pdf

It was an interesting read and gave an idea of science in the pre-genomics era. It was great to get a glimpse into how a great mind works.

In particular the following essays stood out for me (pages refer to pdf)

Page 22 on how to correspond with crackpots, or deal with colleagues’ letters. It is a pity the advice will not work as well with electronic communication.

Page 39 on God’s explanation to Francisco Crick on how imaginal disks work.

Page 42 on performance evaluation.

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Technical photography issues explained

I recently came across the channel of Gerald Undone who has very succinct but detailed explanations of complex technical issues in photography. If you don't understand them after watching his videos, you are probably beyond salvation.

I have selected some, and there are probably more in his channel.

I was particularly intrigued by the depth of field explanation, which says that it is the same regardless of focal length, but the bokeh looks more pleasing in high focal length lenses because they also magnify the out of focus area in the photo, along with the subject.

The one about crop lenses was also enlightening, and it explains how speed boosters work.

And finally here is one on white balance. It allows you to detect the photographers who really care about it, because they wear something grey on their wrists.

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Glitter bomb

Just in time for xmas, here is a video that went quite viral. An engineer who had his packages stolen made a special package for the thief, that, among other things, shoots glitter and video that eventually makes it to youtube. The action starts at 5:45.

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Electric hurdy gurdy

I recently had the pleasure of hearing Guilhem Desq perform live.

Here is an example of the amazing sounds he can produce.

And here is a much softer song, about a dragonfly falling in love with a tree.

What is nice about the videos is that they show the complexity of the instrument, which has a dragon on one side.

You can listen to more of his songs from the soundcloud addon on his website.

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Fitbit heart data

You probably know someone using a fitness tracker. Recent models track daily heart rate and sleep. With just a few years of such models in the market, the companies collecting these data anonymously can provide insights that we simply did not have the data for just 5 years ago.

Here is such a summary from fitbit data.

Among the highlights are that 7 and a bit hours of sleep seem optimal for having a low standing heart rate, that Italians have a very low resting heart rate after controlling for daily activity while Indians have a very high, and life events (like surgeries or family gatherings) can be identified by looking at resting heart rate variation throughout the year.

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