Rendering Synthetic Objects into Legacy Photographs

Or, "sudo make me a Utah Teapot."

"We propose a method to realistically insert synthetic objects into existing photographs without requiring access to the scene or any additional scene measurements. With a single image and a small amount of annotation, our method creates a physical model of the scene that is suitable for realistically rendering synthetic objects with diffuse, specular, and even glowing materials while accounting for lighting interactions between the objects and the scene."

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From the makers of. Previously. And more. Also, etc.

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DNA Lounge: Wherein we have Mayoral voting recommendations.

Did get your vote-by-mail packet yet? It's mayoral election time again!

DNA Lounge is endorsing:

  1. Bevan Dufty,
  2. Dennis Herrera, and
  3. Ed Lee, in that order.

(The Wikipedia article on instant runoff voting explains why you should vote for the candidate you really prefer in position #1, regardless of what you think their chances are. IRV makes "strategic" voting less necessary.)

Specifically, we implore you to vote for anyone whose name is not "David Chiu".

Chiu is the biggest enemy of nightlife in San Francisco politics, and allowing him to be elected mayor would be the worst possible outcome.

As I said of him during the last election:

He spent many months gunning to disband the Entertainment Commission (only reversing his position once he saw which way the political wind was blowing) and every time he makes a speech in public, he is still saying that "we have to do something about these clubs" because "people are getting shot at nightclubs once a month", which is demonstrably false. He keeps saying this in public even after having been called out on it, because that kind of "tough on crime" rhetoric is what sells. He was also strongly in favor of the (fortunately vetoed) alcohol tax, and that idiotic "promoter permit" idea.

Lately he has toned down his anti-nightlife rhetoric, presumably because while that played well for him in North Beach, it doesn't play as well in the city as a whole. But he has already shown his true colors, and having this man as mayor would be an unmitigated disaster for nightlife.

Whereas, Dufty is such a supporter of nightlife that he even uses the response, "I want bars to be open until 4AM!" to dodge other questions!

Here's Dufty's page on nightlife issues, and here's Herrera's, both of which sound good. Notably, Ed Lee doesn't have one. David Chiu kind-of has one, but while it talks a lot about "the arts" (by which he seems to mean "galleries"), all he has to say about nightlife is that "he passed several pieces of legislation to monitor and regulate nightclub violence."

Of course, it probably doesn't matter who we tell you to vote for, because Ed Lee's almost certainly going to win anyway, which is why we recommend him as your third-choice vote: as a safety vote against David Chiu.

The only reason the Board of Supervisors agreed to appoint Lee interim mayor was because he promised that he wouldn't run, so right out of the gate he's proven himself to be a liar. Aren't politicians supposed to be better than that at hiding their lies? But, he's owned by Rose Pak, the Vampire of Chinatown, so it's a done deal. As far as I can tell, she's been personally choosing San Francisco's mayor for decades, but was only dragged out of the shadows and into the press this year.

Politics! Ain't it grand?



Exhibit A:

Previously, previously, previously.

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Zombie in a Penguin Suit

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"That what Occupy Sesame Street about."

Cookie Monster says:

Yes, there always going to be rich and poor. But we used to live in country where rich owned factory and make 30 times what factory worker make. Now we live in country where rich make money by lying about value of derivative bonds and make 3000 times what factory worker would make if factories hadn't all moved to China. Capitalism great system. We won Cold War because people behind Iron Curtain look over wall, and see how much more plentiful and delicious cookies are in West, and how we have choice of different bakeries, not just state-owned one. It great system. It got us out of Depression, won WWII, built middle class, built country's infrastructure from highways to Hoover Dam to Oreo factory to electrifying rural South. It system that reward hard work and fair play, and everyone do fair share and everyone benefit. Rich get richer, poor get richer, everyone happy. It great system.

Then after Reagan, Republicans decide to make number one priority destroying that system. Now we have system where richest Americans ones who find ways to game system -- your friends on Wall Street -- and poorest Americans ones who thought working hard would get them American dream, when in fact it get them pink slip when job outsourced to 10-year-old in Mumbai slum. And corporations have more influence over government than people (or monsters).

It not about rich people having more money. It about how they got money. It about how they take opportunity away from rest of us, for sake of having more money. It how they willing to take risks that destroy economy -- knowing full well that what could and would happen -- putting millions out of work, while creating nothing of value, and all the while crowing that they John Galt, creating wealth for everyone.

That what the soul-searching about. When Liberals run country for 30 years following New Deal, American economy double in size, and wages double along with it. That fair. When Conservatives run country for 30 years following Reagan, American economy double again, and wages stay flat. What happen to our share of money? All of it go to richest 1%. That not "there always going to be rich people". That unfair system. That why we upset. That what Occupy Sesame Street about.

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It'll go great with your Harkonnen Chair

Philip Watts Design

Another. Previously, previously.
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DARPA solicits swarming robot space vampires

Phoenix seeks to repurpose retired satellite components through GEO servicing

More than $300 billion worth of satellites are estimated to be in the geosynchronous orbit. Many of these satellites have been retired due to normal end of useful life, obsolescence or failure; yet many still have valuable components, such as antennas, that could last much longer than the life of the satellite. [...] One of the primary drivers of the high launch costs is the weight and volume of antennas. The repurposing of existing, retired antennas from the graveyard represents a potential for significant cost savings.

"Satellites in GEO are not designed to be disassembled or repaired, so it's not a matter of simply removing some nuts and bolts," said David Barnhart, DARPA program manager. "This requires new remote imaging and robotics technology and special tools to grip, cut, and modify complex systems, since existing joints are usually molded or welded. Another challenge is developing new remote operating procedures to hold two parts together so a third robotic `hand' can join them with a third part, such as a fastener, all in zero gravity. [...]

Phoenix specifically seeks technologies for developing a new class of small "satlets," or nanosatellites, which can be sent more economically to the GEO region through existing ride-along services with commercial satellite launches and then robotically attached to the antenna of a nonfunctional cooperating satellite to essentially create a new space system.

This has been making the rounds lately with a lot of people reposting it as if this is a thing that is going to happen, but DARPA puts out these kinds of proposals all the time, sometimes for seriously wacky, probably-impossible things. What they're saying is, "Here's something we'd like, and if you figure out how to build it, we'll probably buy it."

Neat idea, though.

Previously, previously.

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The Zombie Brain: Impulsive-Reactive Aggression

Dr. Timothy Verstynen & Dr. Bradley Voytek of the Zombie Research Society are posting a series entitled The Living Dead Brain: What Forensic Neuroscience Can Tell Us about the Zombie Brain. I think you will find it relevant to your interests.

Part 2: Impulsive-Reactive Aggression

Given the impulsive and aggressive behavior exhibited by zombies, it's safe to say that they lack a properly functioning orbitofrontal cortex. So we've modeled the zombie brain such that the orbitofrontal cortex is more or less obliterated. As a result, the zombie amygdala, hypothalamus, and thalamus (specifically the bed nuclei of the stria terminalis) should be constantly overactive. These changes would easily produce a hair-trigger adrenal response unlike anything seen in normal humans!
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Are pingbacks worthwhile at all? I don't get very many, but at least half of them seem to be spam.

Akismet doesn't trap them nearly as well as comment spam, and sometimes it's even hard to tell manually whether they're spam, since the spam-blogs have gotten good at stealing plausible-sounding content. Most of the time it's only by the 3rd identical pingback from a different domain that I'm sure.

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  • Previously