Monthly Archives: July 2015

Internet Findings of the Week for July 17, 2015

This has been a very entertaining week, both comedy-wise and science/technology-wise.

Web series of the week

One Year in Space

I’m intrigued by anything to do with the International Space Station (ISS), and now a new webseries on Time.com is following an astronaut who is spending a whole year on the ISS. I first became interested in the ISS because of astronaut Chris Hadfield. He took beautiful photos of the earth, and made awesome short videos about life in space. Now astronaut Scott Kelly is going to be the first person to spend a whole year in space. The documentary will follow his flight, plus his relationships with family on earth.

YouTube Channel of the Week

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

I absolutely love the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, he is always hilarious and always has brilliant guests. But this past week it was better than ever! After two weeks off because he somehow severed his finger with his wedding ring, Jimmy came back with a roar and the best guests ever! I was almost falling off my chair with laughter watching his interview with Amy Schumer. She is usually funny, but paired with Jimmy, wow! But how could this get much better? Well then he has my other two favorite comedians on TOGETHER – Tina Fey and Amy Poehler! Comedy overload is an understatement. Then he has the wonderful Ian McKellen come on! He is one of my favorite actors. And there were plenty of other awesome guests this week including the cute, charismatic and enviably talented Cara Delevigne, and the always charming and comical Paul Rudd. Please subscribe to this channel and watch the above videos! (No I don’t work for NBC.)

Article of the week

A Robot Has Passed the Self-Awareness Test

Gif by MG via Wikimedia Commons

Reading this headline, you’re probably thinking, is this the beginning of the robo-apocalypse? I am so interested in artificial intelligence, partly because it’s exciting, and partly because I’m extremely worried that robots are going to take over. I saw the fantastic and chilling movie Ex Machina a few months ago and that got me thinking about how quickly artificial intelligence is developing. This article highlights how robots can now be aware of themselves, which is one of the first steps towards being artificially intelligent. But in a (most likely) illogical way after watching Ex Machina, I can’t help thinking that once robots are self-aware, they could become self-absorbed and selfish. I’m sure (and I hope that) in the onward development of AI, scientists will make sure they can safely guide AI so that it develops in a way favorable to human life.

Internet Findings of the Week for July 10, 2015

This week I’m celebrating communities coming together to help out others, historical technology, bridging the gender-pay gap and NYC subway trains!

Video of the week

3D Printed Arms Changing Kids’ Lives

I love it when technology, ingenuity and generosity come together to help people. A global community is making awesome 3D-printed prosthetic hands for a fraction of the price of traditional prosthetics, and distributing them to children around the world. Anyone who has a 3D printer can get involved by visiting e-Nable and signing up to become a hand builder. And anyone who needs a hand can apply to get one custom made. The hands come in cool colors and kind of look like Lego!

Photos of the week

An Abandoned Soviet Space Shuttle

A Russian space shuttle. Photo by Dave Casey via Wikimedia Commons

It’s hard to believe that such high-tech, and historical machinery like a space shuttle could be left to decay for 20 years, instead of being preserved or put into a museum. An inquisitive photographer found exactly that in an abandoned hangar at a Russian space launch base in Kazakhstan. He took some amazing photos of this state-of-the-art facility, and even got inside the old space shuttle to find that much of the expensive equipment is still there. (Disclaimer: I have no way of verifying how or when these photos were taken, but they are interesting nonetheless.)

Initiative of the week

NY Bar Tackles Gender Pay Gap

This Brooklyn bar (not far from our place) had an awesome idea to help make it up to women for the gender pay inequality. Since women on average make only 77% of what men make, the owners of this bar decided that on July 7 (7/7) women only had to pay 77% of the drinks prices. I’ve heard this place also has good live music so I’m definitely going to check it out soon!

 

App of the week

Subway Cars Field Guide

I use the subway almost every day and often notice subtle differences between the trains. They have different seating layouts, different carriage/car widths, and different color schemes. But I had no idea about the different ages of all the subway trains. Who knew some of them are more than 50 years old! And that’s why some of them are more likely to have the heating or AC break down. Try this awesome guide from WNYC for yourself to find out how old your usual subway trains are.

Internet Findings of the Week for July 3, 2015

This week I was surprised to be convinced by a new anti-aging serum, I became concerned about the treatment of transgender people in our society, and I enjoyed reading a comedian’s autobiography.

Article of the Week

Kiwi-developed “breakthrough” anti-ageing serum

Copper peptides structure via Wikimedia Commons.

I always hear about the latest “anti-wrinkle” or “anti-aging” creams and ointments that are out there. I usually ignore them and think they must be some sort of placebo effect, or just very luxurious moisturizers. But this anti-ageing product was researched and produced over four years by scientists at the University of Auckland’s School of Pharmacy (the university I went to). And it’s not just for anti-aging, they also hope to use the same technology as a new way to deliver vaccinations without needles. The product uses nanotechnology to deliver drugs (copper peptides) through the skin, into the body’s cells. So for the first time I’m wondering if it could actually be the real thing. I (hope I) don’t need anti-wrinkle cream just yet, but it is pretty convincing to hear a rigorous study of this product in Germany “found that in wrinkle volume reduction the serum performed at levels 31.6 percent above Strivectin, a recognised market leader in the anti-ageing skincare category in the United States”.

Videos of the week

John Oliver on Transgender Rights

This is a very topical subject, as marriage equality became legal across the whole USA last week. I went to the fantastic NYC Pride Parade last Sunday, and felt the excitement the LGBTQ community is feeling about finally being accepted in society. But John Oliver points out that the way society treats transgender people is still not acceptable. I agree with him that it is inappropriate to ask someone you don’t know very well (he shows the example of TV interviewers and interviewees) about what their genitals look like. He also highlights the issue of transgender people being restricted from using the public bathroom they feel most comfortable using. It is also interesting, and sort of sad, to hear about a transgender person who feels more comfortable and accepted as a man with his army deployment in Afghanistan, than he does back home with his family and friends.

Rebirth of a Transgender Teen

Keeping with the theme, this is a New York Times Documentary about a teenager who recently had gender-reassignment surgery. For anyone who wants to better understand how transgender people feel about being the wrong gender, this is a great video to watch. Kat explains how paralysing it felt being a boy, and how liberated she feels now she is a girl.

Ebook of the Week

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

www.amysaysyesplease.com

This is the autobiography of comedian and actress Amy Poehler, which I’m 72% through on my iPad. I wanted to read it because I recently did an improv class, and she started the improv theater UCB in NYC. It is laugh-out-loud funny, and very inspiring to hear about her slightly disorganised and hurdled path to success. She has been on Saturday Night Live (which I love) and Parks and Recreation (which I badly want to watch), so it’s intriguing to hear an insider’s behind-the-scenes account of what it’s like to work in that world. But she also candidly and refreshingly discusses her personal life, such as her divorce, and having children. And there are photos! I love it when autobiographies have photos!