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.
POP-UP SHOPS: Need a real live shop for your startup business for one day to do market testing, promotional event, or sell merchandise? Welcome to the next stage of evolution after mobile food trucks. The “Clicks to Bricks” business model is innovative in a way, and that’s because you can now start a company on the Internet, and there’s this intermediate step between a brick-and-mortar where you pop up and have this tactile, real experience
Pop-up shops are temporary retail spaces that spring up in unused premises. Leases can last as short as a single day, when brands use the spaces for a promotional event instead of testing out a market.
The pop-up concept is proliferating in trendy, high-foot-traffic neighborhoods like SoHo. As long as you can change it back, you can do whatever you want with the space, says OpenHouse, a company that owns storefronts in the always fashion-forward SoHo neighborhood in New York.
Today, an old subway stop in SoHo is a place to get designer pants at 40% off. On other days, it’s a test kitchen and bar. Next week, it might host a press event. The one thing this place doesn’t do is anything permanent.
Customers can get a tactile experience trying on glasses at Warby Parker’s shop in New York City. (NPR)
NOTO LANGUAGE: Google is working on a font that aims to include “all the world’s languages” — every written language on Earth. “Tofu” is what the pros call those tiny, empty rectangles that show up when a script isn’t supported. This is where Google’s new font family, “Noto,” gets its name: “No Tofu.”
Right now, Noto includes a wide breadth of language scripts from all around the world — specifically, 100 scripts with 100,000 characters. That includes over 600 written languages.
This month, Google & Adobe has released a new set of Chinese-Japanese-Korean fonts — the latest in their effort to make the Internet more inclusive.
Even when more widely-spoken languages are supported, their scripts may not accurately reflect the culture within which they’re used. Urdu is one example. Nastaliq Urdu — ornate and calligraphic with distinctive hanging characters — is not supported
Google’s Noto font as it displays for Devanagari script, used to write Hindi. (Google)
MICRO-HOUSING: 144 square feet houses (~Chevrolet Suburban) for the poor like the Quixote Village was proposed for NYC. Construction can cost ~$19K per unit. Showers, laundry and a shared kitchen have been concentrated in a community center. The typical studio apartment for a homeless adult in western Washington costs between $200,000 and $250,000 to build.
Microapartment (Jeremy Bittermann, NYTIMES)
GOOGLE PROJECT TANGO: The prototype phone, a 5-inch device codenamed Project Tango. Its sensors can read a room by tracking the motion of the device itself and simultaneously mapping the environment around it. Uses include: (1) Shopping – indoor map of store or buying furniture for your house, (2) Directions, (3) Visual Impaired, (4) Emergency Response, (5) Augmented Reality Gaming.
GLASSHOLE: Google released do’s and don’ts on how not to be creepy with the Google Glass. “Standing alone in the corner of a room staring at people while recording them through Glass is not going to win you any friends.”
Zach Parise of the U.S. men’s hockey team (Ralph Lauren)
Celebrity Love: For many years, until I figured out the difference between love and fan worship, I was so dazzled by the stardust being sprinkled in my face, I couldn’t see straight. Actors are professional charmers. They also have a vested interest in making journalists like them. And to a young reporter starting out, and even to a seasoned veteran, it can be heady stuff, having a star flirt with you. Sometimes, that thin line can get awfully blurry.
U.S. Olympic Uniforms for Sochi 2014: Ralph Lauren’s uniforms for the United States Olympic team is a sweater that oddly combines hipster styling (that grandfatherly shawl collar), excessive sports graphics and homey patchwork, like what you might see in a traditional crazy quilt, that could almost be read as an abstraction of the American flag.