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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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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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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Visualizing Differences

Focus on finding or displaying contrasting points, and some visual methods are more helpful than others. A guide. Read More

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Shapes we make, seen from the sky

Look from the above at the shapes and geometry we use for cities, blocks, roads, fields, and the like, and you start to get the repeating patterns. Páraic McGloughlin and Pearse McGloughlin highlight these patterns and their connectedness in Arena by stringing together Google Earth images. Tags: geometry, Google, satellite

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Algorithms drawn as IKEA furniture instructions

Learning algorithm steps can be a challenge when viewed only through code or words. So Sándor P. Fekete, Sebastian Morr, and Sebastian Stiller put together IDEA. The collection of illustrations describes common programming algorithms, such as Quicksort, in the style of IKEA furniture assembly instructions. Allen wrench not required. [via kottke] Tags: algorithm, humor, IKEA

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