Discover more from 10+1 THINGS
10 Hacks, How to Be Interesting, Lensless Camera & Thirsty AI
#45 of 10+1 Things|📍Delhi | 31° C
⚡ Welcome to #45 of 10+1 Things!
Here are 10+1 Things that I thought were worth sharing this week:
💡 10 Life Hacks
During the late 1880s, cigarette manufacturers began inserting stiffening cards in their packs to reinforce them. They soon realized the potential to include artwork, trivia, famous figures, and attractive women on these cards, creating collectable series. In the 1910s, Gallaher Ltd and Ogden's Branch printed "How-To" series on their cigarette cards, offering clever tips for various situations, from removing splinters to dealing with a mad dog, providing practical advice for everyday and emergency scenarios. I really loved these 'how-to' series and wished more products had these quirky items these days. Apart from the splinter one, I loved 'How to Stop a mad dog' and 'How to Make a fire extinguisher'. All of these cards are available in New York Public Library's digital collections.
❓ How to be Interesting
I read this interesting piece by Barry Fralick on how to be an interesting person. In a nutshell, to become an interesting person, you need to do interesting things. Building identity capital, which refers to a unique set of skills, experiences, and personality traits, is a good starting point. Being mysterious by not divulging your life story to every person you meet certainly piques people's curiosity about you. Additionally, developing a personal style, travelling the world, finding intriguing work, and being exceptional are factors that contribute to making you an interesting individual.
💦 Thirsty AI
With more and more people rushing to use AI tools like ChatGPT, the time has come to research extensively on the environmental impacts of these AI technologies. A recent study by researchers from the University of California and the University of Texas shed some light on the water footprint of OpenAI's GPT-3 and GPT-4. These AI language models are computationally heavy and require water to remove the heat produced during computation at data centres. For perspective, training GPT-3 at Microsoft's data centres required approximately 700,000 litres of water. This is equivalent to the water that can fill a cooling tower of a nuclear reactor or the water required to produce 370 BMW/320 Tesla cars. With freshwater scarcity becoming one of the pressing challenges of the 21st century, the water footprint of technologies like ChatGPT is very concerning. As these AI models evolve over generations, the water footprint will only increase with larger datasets used for training.
🌱 Self-Burying Seeds
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, have developed a biodegradable seed carrier called E-seed, inspired by the self-burying mechanism of Erodium plants. Erodium seeds, carried inside a tightly wound stalk, unfurl and twist into the soil during rain or high humidity, ensuring safe implantation and protection from birds and harsh conditions. Mimicking this process from nature, the researchers created this seed carrier using thin wooden strips. This innovative solution enables aerial seeding in challenging areas and can be adapted to various environments. The E-seed carrier not only presents opportunities for reforestation, agriculture, and environmental monitoring but also demonstrates the power of nature-inspired design.
🎛 Browser Music 101
Ableton, the German software music company, has created an excellent online resource on the basics of music making. No prior experience or software is required, and you can learn how to make music through your browser. There are multiple chapters on various important components of music, such as beats, notes & scales, chords, melodies, structure, and more. No sign-up is required for the service, and you can even export the music you have created externally. If you want to take your learning further, there is even an advanced section that deals with additional topics, allowing you to experiment further with the playground section. Personally, I had some fun creating beats after spending some time with it!
👥The Passion Discussion
I somehow came across this interesting discussion on Hackernews where people were commenting on what they were currently passionate about. With online interactions shifting away from forums to meaningless social media platforms, it was quite delightful to witness some intriguing interactions. Some of the interesting things people were passionate about were:
Creating a community for unusual sports like hurling, axe throwing, dodgeball, etc.
Studying a course by California Emergency Services for searching lost individuals.
Creating 3D maps using 3D printing for blind people.
It's a lengthy discussion, but it's fascinating to observe the diverse range of activities in which people are engaged. I was also surprised to see many people interested in farming and growing their own food!
It has occurred to me that one of the crucial elements of the early internet was the feeling that there was somebody out there, somewhere on the globe, that was actually responding to that particular thing you were putting out there. It was a special feeling because it was a sense of connection. Just being online and being part of the few select communities that existed back then was a commitment, and I believe that's in part what made it feel special.
🗺 The US Advantage
I've been reading about economics lately, and it's fascinating to discover why the United States, with less than 5% of the world's population, has become the world's largest economy. I came across this interesting chart and article that sheds light on how its abundant natural resources give the US an economic advantage no other country has. These include a vast landmass, two extensive coastlines, fertile land, abundant freshwater sources, significant reserves of oil and coal, and a diverse population. The large landmass provides economies of scale, while the coastline contributes to the economy by facilitating trade through exports and imports. Fertile lands promote agriculture, which is further enhanced by the availability of abundant water resources for irrigation. The reserves of fossil fuels have played a significant role in driving the country's development, particularly during the industrial revolution. Additionally, the unique labour force consisting of immigrants has fueled innovation within the country.
📚 I Hate Running and You Can Too
I've been running consistently lately and I've enjoyed reading this short book(<160p) titled 'I Hate Running and You Can Too' by Brendan Leonard. For runners struggling with motivation, this book is a must-read. It provides practical guidance on the mental aspects of running and how to navigate its ups and downs. With valuable advice and strategies, it helps you stay motivated and push through challenges. Packed with wisdom, humour and some interesting charts, this is a must-read for all runners.
Out of all my highlights from the book, I guess this one is my favourite:
“Yes, I hate it most of the time, but maybe once during every run, I have a few seconds, or a minute or two, where I find myself thinking, “You know, this isn’t so bad.”
~ Resurfaced using Readwise, a FREE service for book highlights.
Last Week's Read: Lying
📷 Lensless Camera
This week, I'm exploring an interesting art/design project called 'Paragrahica' by Dutch designer Bjørn Karmann. Paragrahica is a lensless camera that utilizes location data and AI to visualize a photo of a specific place at a given moment. When pointed at a particular location, the camera's viewfinder displays real-time descriptions of the current location, including various parameters such as weather, temperature, date, nearby places of interest, etc. Upon clicking the shutter button, the aforementioned description is passed to a text-to-image AI model for processing, resulting in the capture of an image. The resulting photo is not a mere snapshot, but rather a data visualization generated by the AI model based on your location. I found this project truly intriguing as it showcases how photography and imaging techniques may evolve in the future. For some context, Samsung was recently caught faking zoom photos of the moon on its smartphones with the help of AI!
🎬 Most Inventive Clocks
This week I've enjoyed watching this video by Wired on these innovative clocks by clockmaker Rick Stanley. Rick uses all kinds of things such as bottles, ramps, shoes, and bicycles to make real clocks. Rick puts the concept of time into a unique perspective and brings true innovation into clock-making. His walking clock was my favourite from the video that walks back and forth once per minute clocking a distance of 3,000 miles in a year. Rick's innovation is not only limited to clock making and is quite evident from the cool workshop he has!
🌪 The Windsock Guide
This last section of the newsletter explores a thought I had, an idea I'm exploring, a dream I experienced or something interesting that I observed:
I've seen Windosocks in airports and other places, but never thought they can be used to determine the speed of wind until I came across it on Reddit. The stripes have a dual function: being visible from afar and providing a windspeed indication. When the wind stretches a stripe, it signifies an increase in windspeed, with each knot representing approximately 3 knots. Thus, the stripes serve both as eye-catching elements and as a handy tool for estimating wind intensity. I don't know how much this information is useful for you, but next time you see a windsock, remember that I told you this!
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That’s 10+1 Things for the week.
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See you next week!
“In this new world, it no longer makes sense to think of people as born with fixed reserves of potential; instead, the potential is an expandable vessel, shaped by the various things we do throughout our lives. Learning isn’t a way of reaching one’s potential but rather a way of developing it.”
~K. Anders Ericsson & Robert Pool