SMART SEARCH: Ask Google’s search app “What is the fastest bird on Earth?,” and it will tell you, “Peregrine falcon. According to YouTube, the peregrine falcon has a maximum recorded airspeed of 389 kilometers per hour.” Google’s search engine pinpoints a YouTube video describing the five fastest birds on the planet and then extracts just the information you’re looking for. It doesn’t mention those other four birds.
Deep neutral nets are pattern recognition systems that can learn to perform specific tasks by analyzing vast amounts of data. In this case, they’ve learned to take a long sentence or paragraph from a relevant page on the web and extract the upshot—the information you’re looking for.
GAB: Gab is a new social network built like a hybrid of Twitter and Reddit — posts are capped at 300 characters, and the crowd votes to boost or demote posts in the feed. Think of Gab as the Make America Great Again of social sites: It’s a throwback to the freewheeling norms of the old internet, before Twitter started cracking down on harassment and Reddit cleaned out its darkest corners.
Since its debut in August, it has emerged as a digital safe space for the far right, where white nationalists, conspiracy-theorist YouTubers, and minivan majority moms can gather without liberal interference.
2017 Pirelli Calendar: The calendar, a collector’s item that is produced annually and delivered free to a select group of high-powered clients and members of the fashion elite, is the second in the company’s history to subvert its decades-long tradition of displaying scantily clad models in campily suggestive poses.
For 2017, the calendar stepped up the game by concentrating more pointedly on age, and in the process flouting fashion’s last taboo. Evidently the bias against age, long endemic to Hollywood and the fashion runways, no longer applies to style marketing campaigns.
Helen Mirren peers imperiously from inside a high collar that lends her an aura of majesty. Nicole Kidman confronts the camera, her features slightly furrowed, her muscular arms hugging the back of a chair. Charlotte Rampling does each of those A-list stars one better, her pale skin and famously hooded eyes devoid of discernible makeup.
Julianne Moore. Credit: Peter Lindbergh
I LOVE NEW YORK: The bright placards were dreamed up and placed there by the state to promote tourism, each brandishing New York’s cheerful and familiar credo: “I Love N.Y.” But there is one problem: The federal government says the signs are illegal. The signs are out of compliance with signage rules because they are so big and crammed with words and information that they are dangerous distractions to drivers.
New York State Thruway sign. Credit: Mike Groll, AP
AMAZON’S SNOWMOBILE: Amazon’s new service makes Google Fiber seem slow. And it rides on 18 wheels. The tractor trailer will transport your data to Amazon’s own data centers. The Snowmobile is designed to shuttle as many as 100 petabytes–around 100,000 terabytes–per truck. That’s enough storage to hold five copies of the Internet Archive (a comprehensive backup of the web both present and past), which contains “only” about 18.5 petabytes of unique data. Snowmobile acts like a giant hard drive that comes to you.
"You might be bigger but I am smarter," said the Smart Car. "But I have more horsepower," the horse replied. https://t.co/90emh9rguE— NYPD 113th Precinct (@NYPD113Pct) July 11, 2016
NYPD’S SMART FLEET: Clown cars? Midget cars? The city cannot seem to get enough of the tiny, bean-shaped vehicles, which look like curiously shrunken cousins of the iconic New York Police Department patrol car. The two-seat Smart Fortwos are taking the place of three-wheeled scooters that for decades have had their own peculiar place in the city’s vast fleet of otherwise muscular police vehicles.
The Smart cars, though, are safer, cheaper and easier to operate. The officers appreciate the air-conditioning. There is also another unexpected benefit: As the Police Department has sought to project its friendlier side in an era of low crime, the Smart car has been an effective icebreaker.
Among the department’s fleet of thousands of vehicles, the Smart car is quite possibly the only one that has its picture routinely shared on social media, described as “adorable” or, in the case of one parked in the West Village, “Cuuuuuute.”
“It’s just so approachable,” said Robert S. Martinez, the deputy commissioner for support services, who oversees the department’s vehicles. “People want to take pictures with it. People want to hug it, they want to kiss it. It’s just amazing.”
WORLD’S HEALTHIEST CUISINE: It turns out that countries with big immigrant populations tend to have the greatest diversity—places like the U.S. and Australia, for example. These countries have the greatest number of ingredients and the biggest variation between dishes, too.
For example, about half the dishes from the Southeast Asian country of Laos have more than 15 ingredients, whereas half the dishes from Russia have fewer than seven. So the cuisine in Laos is significantly more complex than Russian cuisine.
Countries with large numbers of ingredients on offer tend to have the most complex dishes. Exceptions: Chinese and Indian cuisine both have relatively few ingredients to choose from, but these are used in relatively complex dishes. Perhaps, these countries had or have good chefs that could cook more complex foods with the available ingredients or the cuisine from older cultures in these countries is more complex because it has had longer to evolve.
Peng Chuang-kuei, creator of General Tso’s Chicken (WAPO)
GENERAL TSO:Peng Chang-kuei, a vaunted Hunanese chef was widely credited as the creator of General Tso’s chicken, a dish that evolved into the deep-fried, sticky and unabashedly inauthentic staple of the American Chinese take-out joint.
Mr. Peng said that he devised the recipe for a banquet in the 1950s. He named it in honor of Zuo Zongtang, a celebrated Hunanese general of the 19th century who helped crush the Taiping Rebellion, an uprising that cost tens of millions of lives.
In America, General Tso, like Colonel Sanders, is known for chicken, not war. In China, he is known for war, not chicken.
Mr. Peng’s original recipe called for chicken with bones and skin. The chicken was not fried, and it was served sans the piquantly sweet sauce, relying instead on garlic and soy sauce for flavor. It did have chilies, but no broccoli.
NORCIA BEER: After the Oct. 30 quake, one of the few things left standing at the monastery was a small brewery, where for the past four years the monks have been making Nursia, a beer named for Norcia’s ancient Latin appellation. Their brew may now be the salvation — symbolically, at least — not only of the monks’ sanctuary, but also of Norcia itself.
AMERICA’S HEARTLAND: Do big cities belong in the heartland? (If not, choose a map with “holes” in it.) Does the heartland rigidly follow state lines? Does it venture south into Texas, or east into Pennsylvania? (NYTIMES)
MEGA REGIONS: Mesmerizing commute maps reveal we all live in mega regions and not cities. (Wired)
CORPORAL PUNISHMENT STATES: 22 states still allow corporal punishment in school: 15 expressly permit it while another 7 do not prohibit it. Corporal punishment is “the intentional infliction of pain or discomfort and/or the use of physical force upon a student with the intention of causing the student to experience bodily pain so as to correct or punish the student’s behavior.” In the 2013-2014 school year, more than 110,000 students were physically punished. (NPR)