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Published March 9th 2018

More Tabs, Please #14: Neural Networks, Scientist Stories, and Longreads

Back again with more stuff to read and listen to. This week it's neural networks, crime prediction, and some podcasts about scientists.

Welcome, welcome, welcome. It’s Friday and, if you don’t have a life, today’s edition will get you through the weekend. Over in the UK the snow has gone and it’s nearing Bag of Cans Weather. Nice.

This week’s album, to get us prepared for cans of Zywiec and terrible BBQs on the beach is The Streets’ Original Pirate Material:

It’s all in the ears

Computers are getting better and better at everything. Even my phone can take a search term like “dogs”, go through my pictures, and offer some decent results based on the image alone. But how does something like that work?

The Building Blocks of Interpretability‘ is an interactive and well-designed article looking at the subject and how neural networks are used to tell animals apart by their ears.

Admittedly a lot of it was a bit beyond me, but with clear visualisations and use of dog and cat pictures, I know understand way more than I did before.

Chasing criminals before they become criminals

You know in Minority Report where they arrest people before they commit a crime and it seemed super-futuristic and really far off and terrifying? Well, good news! We’ve kind of got that already.

Palantir Has Secretly Been Using New Orleans to Test Its Predictive Policing Technology‘ looks at how a company, with the name of a supervillain organisation, has been working with the police to predict who is going to commit crimes before they even do it.

And just in case you were only a little bit worried, they did it all really secretly so that hardly anyone knew about. Sweet dreams.

Hire This Person

This week we’re featuring Rachel Suggs, an illustrator based in Baltimore, MD.

Her work is instantly eye-catching with an idiosyncratic style that is immediately obvious. A lot of her work sits on a line between realism and fantasy and her range of skill is evident, particularly in her animal and floral illustrations.

You can find her website here, while you can also check out her work on Twitter, Instagram, Behance, Tumblr, and Inprnt.

Taken From The Timeline

For the first time we’ve moved away from Twitter and taken something from the Instagram timeline (or feed, or whatever). We’re featuring Michelle Rial’s Real Life Charts.

Each Instagram post is a chart created using real life objects, such as coffee stains, candles or sweets. They’re funny and addictive. Go follow her here.

I’ve been pretty private about a chronic pain issue that’s been with me since 2011, when a (well-meaning?) yoga teacher lifted me into a headstand I wasn’t strong enough to sustain. I’ve lived with neck/shoulder/arm pain every single day since then. I also wasn’t really given a chance to heal initially --as a freelancer/contractor I needed to just Get Shit Done, and I had a bad ergonomic setup that I didn’t correct until things got much worse. Chairs are expensive! This was before ACA and my insurance was minimal, so I went to a Groupon chiropractor 😬 and my regular doctor was too busy pushing Gardasil to take me seriously. __ Before then, I’d been making the occasional chart. I fucking loooooved charts. I applied to jobs using infographics as cover letters. At Glamour, even though I was a producer/designer, I BEGGED them to let me “make content,” and they did, and I made charts. After the injury, complicated digital charts and infographics were hard on my body, but I loved making them. I later started making sets of simpler one-off charts for BuzzFeed and others (swipe the thing). __ Last year, things started to get worse and I had to get off the computer. I didn’t know if I was going to keep designing but I had to stop and figure out how to work in 2017 without relying on a computer (lol). __ In April I started making tiny analog charts, even though at the time it seemed like charts had already had their moment. After a while I started adding objects to make it even easier on me since drawing is still physically challenging. __ I got really into it thanks to #the100dayproject (🙏 @elleluna ) and have been trying to make it into a Thing since then. Despite some severe confidence challenges, I had a “chart show” in SF a few months later, and ANYWAY I’M SO EXCITED to now be making a book of charts (Am I Overthinking This?) for @chroniclebooks !!!! ☺️❤️✨

A post shared by Michelle Rial (@michellerial) on

You’re never going to read it are you?

More Tabs, Please has included a lot of very serious longreads so far, so it seems like a good time to take the mick out of that.

I Am The Very Important Long Read Everyone Is Talking About‘ comes in the form of a a piece of journalism personally mocking you for being lazy unlike your highbrow smart aleck friends.

Excellent piece if you feel like being berated by a fictional anthropomorphised essay.

That’s a strawman, you idiot

I’m not going to lie, when you’re having a pointless debate in a pub there’s nothing worse than someone breaking things up and going on about logical fallacies. I’m on my third pint of Stowford, let me ramble like an idiot, please.

But logical fallacies do have their place, and not just during a serious debate about what trousers Derrida preferred and if he thought they existed at all. They’re often good reminders to quickly question our own thoughts and opinions before we spiral off into conspiracy theories.

Rhetological Fallacies‘ is an interactive infographic that includes a list of fallacies by category. Even comes in a bunch of different languages too.

Watch And Listen

Recently myself and a coworker went to a Brighton podcast meetup with Dr Stuart G. Higgins as the guest. So, I thought it would be nice to feature his great podcast, Scientists not the Science.

The whole series consists of interviews with scientists, but with the topic of their actual work and discipline put aside. Instead Stuart wants to hear about their lives and their journey into science instead. As the site says, it’s about “what it means to be a scientist”.

It’s a great concept for a podcast and Stuart is an excellent interviewer. There’s a whole three seasons to get through. You can find the website here, and in the meantime, here’s one to get started with:

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