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Building a robot boyfriend

When it comes to robots and love, the concept typically deteriorates to subservient tools to satisfy male fantasies. Creative technologist Fei Lu aims for a more complex relationship with Gabriel2052: Creating Gabriel2052 is obviously technically challenging, but it’s ultimately a process within my control. He will become something—someone—I can form a lifelong bond with. Through...

Get all caught up with The Avengers using this timeline

It’s been a decade since the first Iron Man movie, and some 30 superhero characters later, we arrive at a two-parter Avengers finale. But maybe you lost track of everything that happened leading up to this point. Sonia Rao and Shelly Tan for the Washington Post got you covered with a filterable timeline. Focus on specific stories, characters, and franchises. Select “block spoilers” in case you still plan to watch...

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Building a robot boyfriend

When it comes to robots and love, the concept typically deteriorates to subservient tools to satisfy male fantasies. Creative technologist Fei Lu aims for a more complex relationship with Gabriel2052: Creating Gabriel2052 is obviously technically challenging, but it’s ultimately a process within my control. He will become something—someone—I can form a lifelong bond with. Through bringing Gabriel2052 to life, I am investigating and confronting the ways in which technology and...

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Waiting Game, through the steps of asylum seekers

Sisi Wei for ProPublica and Nick Fortugno of Playmatics made a game to provide a feeling of what it’s like for someone who needs escape from their home. Based on the real case files of five asylum seekers from five countries and interviews with the medical and legal professionals who evaluate and represent them, The Waiting Game is an experimental news game that lets you walk in the shoes of...

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Knitters and the neural network-trained machine

Janelle Shane, who likes to play with output from neural networks, teamed up with knitters in a discussion forum to produce abstract designs. Shane generates the kitting patterns, and the knitters bring the computer output to life. She calls the project SkyKnit. The neural network produces slightly flawed instructions, but the knitters can figure things out: Knitters are very good at debugging patterns, as it turns out. Not only are...

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Beauty is in the eyes of the fishes

Reader Patrick S. sent in this old gem from Germany. He said: It displays the change in numbers of visitors to public pools in the German city of Hanover. The invisible y-axis seems to be, um, nonlinear, but at least it's monotonic, in contrast to the invisible x-axis. There's a nice touch, though: The eyes of the fish are pie charts. Black: outdoor pools, white: indoor pools (as explained in...

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Ten 3 Metre Interactive Data-Visualizations in our First Digital Exhibition

We were honoured to be invited to provide an interactive data-exhibition for the recently opened, Rem Koolhaas-designed Qatar National Library. Simultaneously a public, academic and research library, QNL is a beautiful, light-drenched arena dedicated to knowledge and information from all cultures and all ages. We created ten interactive data-visualizations to run on a series of 3-metre touchscreen totems, two-sided, one face in English, the other Arabic. The exhibition is a...

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Here’s what you get when you cross dinosaurs and flowers with deep learning

Neural networks have shown usefulness with a number of things, but here is an especially practical use case. Chris Rodley used neural networks to create a hybrid of a dinosaur book and a flower book. The world may never be the same again. Tags: dinosaurs, flowers, neural network

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Umpire strike zone changes to finish game earlier

When watching baseball on television, we get the benefit of seeing whether a pitch entered the strike zone or not. Umpires go by eye, and intentional or not, they tend towards finishing a game over extra innings. Michael Lopez, Brian Mills, and Gus Wezerek for FiveThirtyEight: The left panel shows the comparative rate of strike calls when, in the bottom of an inning in extras, the batting team is positioned...

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Playfulness in data visualization

The Newslab project takes aggregate data from Google's various services and finds imaginative ways to enliven the data. The Beautiful in English project makes a strong case for adding playfulness to your data visualization. The data came from Google Translate. The authors look at 10 languages, and the top 10 words users ask to translate from those languages into English. The first chart focuses on the most popular word for...

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Abstract: The Art of Design, with Christoph Niemann

Abstract: The Art of Design kept popping up on my Netflix recommendations list for the past several months. I ignored it though, because I’m tired of the heavy-handed design shows talking about how design is life and life is design, etc. Also, I probably spend more time flipping through what I can watch than actually watching anything. In any case, for some reason I hit play and was happy to...

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