Kurt Grandis needed to fight the squirrels in his backyard bird-feeder. So he turret-mounted a Super-Soaker, rigged for computer-control, and used python to program it to detect squirrels (distinguishing them from other critters, such as birds), target them, and squirt them. In this 26 minute technical presentation from Pycon US, he explains how to teach a computer to answer the question, "What is squirrelness?" and to camp on the feeder and target them. The amazing thing is how it takes the infinite patience of a computer to outlast the persistence of a squirrel. Jump to 15:45 for about a minute and a half of pure gold squirrel warfare, complete with Wacky Sax.
Militarizing Your Backyard with Python: Computer Vision and the Squirrel Hordes
(via Naked Capitalism)
The first time Merle Rasmussen played Dungeons & Dragons, he thought it was a Halloween game.
“It was October 1975, and I was an 18-year-old freshman at Iowa State University. My roommate got this game filled with skeletons and undead monsters. I had no idea.” The role-playing bug had bitten him, but fantasy wasn’t his genre. So that same year, he started writing a game set in a modern world, the spy game that would become Top Secret.
Janelle Shane trained a recurrent neural network with a data-set of more than 2000 ancient proverbs and asked it to think up its own: “A fox smells it better than a fool’s for a day.”
Jeff writes, “7 years after ‘grassroots mapping’ the BP spill when journalists were denied access, the open source community Public Lab is back with an even more accessible Do-It-Yourself way to take aerial photos: the Mini Balloon and Kite Mapping Kits.”
Although flagship smartphones are unlikely to adopt heavy-duty outer casing anytime soon, you can always prepare your device for the outdoors with a beefy case and and an external battery like this Nomad Tile Trackable PowerPack, available in the Boing Boing Store for $119.95.The Nomad Tile can fully recharge an iPhone 7 over three times […]
Even though credit cards now feature an EMV chip for securing transactions, they still have to include the magnetic strip for compatibility with older point of sale systems. Because of this, there’s no way for the chip’s new security capabilities to protect against card skimmers in the wild.How do you protect yourself from legacy-technology-induced fraud? […]
As the old saying goes, “You should sit in meditation for 30 minutes every day. Unless you are too busy, in which case you should meditate for an hour.” Since most of us have an endless list of things to do and people to see, carving out quiet time can feel impossible, especially when most […]