Monday, September 27, 2010
I was impressed when I saw a picture of a female taking on a giant wave a few weeks ago, and once again these women of the water have me in awe. Here we have another sexy female putting her talents on display, but this time there is no wave needed. Just a sexy body that can bend in ways most men could only imagine. Think of the possibilities!
I guess you could say she would bend over backwards in order to impress us all.
Click here for the Entire Gallery: http://triggerpit.com/
The keyboard works with the iPhone as a Bluetooth input device, which means no alterations to the phone are required for the keyboard to work, although use does mean tapping a little extra battery power to keep Bluetooth running. As a standard input device, the keypad should work with any installed iPhone application or service, including email, text messaging, social clients, Web browsers, and more. A magnetic clasp holds the keypad open or closed, and the keyboard itself is powered by a rechargeable battery: pop the device onto a USB port to recharge. ThinkGeek is offering separate models for the iPhone 4 and 3GS, owing to the devices’ different sizes. The case is not compatible with the iPhone 3G or original iPhone.
The ThinkGeek TK-421 case will be available in late November for $49.99.
Click here for the Whole Gallery: http://photoity.com/excellent-long-exposure-photography-by-yury-prokopenko/
Passive-Aggressive, Green and Very Hungry!
by M. Christian and A. Abrams
You have to admit, it does make a kind of twisted sense: After all, we've been feasting on their fibrous, nutrition-packed stems, leaves, tubers, and fruits since we began to actually eat the salad that came with our steaks so, naturally, there must have been a certain ... well, 'desire' for reciprocity. In other words if we eat them why shouldn't they want to eat us?
For all you geeks out there – and, yes, we know who you are – it's commonly thought that the first depiction of a salad making a meal out of a man comes from Dr. Carl Liche, writing in 1881. J.W. Buel echoed the idea in his Land and Sea in 1887 (see below). Unluckily for Liche and Buel they've been since exposed as 'imaginative' instead of 'accurate.' ("The Day of the Triffids" by John Wyndham also deserves a mention). Hate to disappoint but true man-eating plants are a total myth:
(image via, click to enlarge)
But that doesn't mean that the next time you sit down to feast on a supposedly defenseless potato there aren't other forms of plant life that are also having a tasty meal of, while not us humans, then most definitely other animals – and sometimes rather large animals.
(images credit: Barry Rice, 2)
The poster-plant for botanical carnivores has got to be the legendary Venus Flytrap. A resident of swamps and bogs, the flytrap has evolved a dramatic solution to its lack-of-nutrient diet: it catches flies – and pretty much anything big enough to get caught. What's amazing about this plant is its mechanism. Anything that happens to stumble between the two halves of its unique mechanism will find itself in caught in a quickly-snapping-shut botanical bear trap. What's even worse is that after being caught the Venus then fuses those leaves together, turning them into a kind of stomach to digest its prey. What's extra-fascinating is that the trap has two triggers, and that both of them have to be tripped for the leaves to snap shut, to avoid misfires.
Alluring Perfume in a Deadly Pitcher
While the flytrap looks like something out of a monster movie it rarely grows to any really impressive size – unless you happen to be a housefly. But one carnivorous plant that really is impressive, and recently discovered, is what's called a passive hunter. Instead of using snapping traps its family instead has evolved fluid-filled pitfalls lined with very slippery sides, and baited with a very alluring perfume.
(right: Sarracenia hybrid - images credit: Helene Schmitz, National Geographic)
Pitcher plants come in a wide variety of shapes, types, and sizes – including a special one native to the Philippines. Most pitchers feast on bugs and sometimes small lizards: pretty much whatever's unfortunate enough to get seduced by the plant's alluring smells and is small enough to fit down its leafy throat. While its mechanism is similar to its smaller kin, nepenthes attenboroughii (named after journalist and TV presenter David Attenborough), has traps that are large enough to catch not only bugs, lizards, and – what's more than a bit scary – rats (more info).
(images via 1, 2)
(image credit: Caroling)
(images credit: Shatalkin)
A Cobra Lily
"A pale green butterfly senses nectar and alights on a rare California pitcher plant. Also called a cobra lily for its bulbous head, forked tongue, and long tubular pitcher, it grows in mountainous parts of the West Coast and is an oddity among its kind. Although it traps prey in a manner similar to other pitcher plants, its leaves contain no digestive enzymes. Instead, it relies on symbiotic bacteria to turn captured insects into usable nutrients." (see the whole gallery).
(left: Cobra Lily; right: Nepenthes lowii - images credit: Helene Schmitz, National Geographic)
(image credit: Noah Elhardt)
Pretty, Pretty Sundew
Another device carnivorous plants use is to make its prey stick around long enough to be digested. The sundew, for instance, has leaves covered with dozens of tiny stalks, and each stalk is covered with very, very, very sticky stuff. When a bug happens to walk across these leaves it gets – you guessed it – very, very, very stuck. What's more, though, is that the plant then contracts, bringing more and more of those stalks into contact with its prey, completely trapping and then digesting it:
(images credit: Helene Schmitz, National Geographic)
(images via 1, 2)
Here is a great video depicting the "War between Carnivorous Plants and Herbivorous insects" - YouTube link.
(image credit: Olga Sytina)
Enter the Kudzilla!
But then there's the other, the monster, the beast, the chlorophyll creature that could – if any plant could be – considered a bona fide killer. Innocently imported to the US in 1876 from its native Japan, it was sold as a botanical miracle: ink, paper, jelly, tea, you name it and you could make it from this wonderful plant. But what no one could expect that this so-called marvel would have darker roots.
(image credit: MissyPrince)
(image credit: Patrick Walker)
Kudzu is its name and right now it covers – in some cases quite literally – a huge part of the Southeastern United States. While bamboo is a racehorse at two foot a day, Kudzu is hardly a slacker at covering half that distance in the same amount of time. In the South there are homes, cars, houses and entire communities that have been hungrily, potentially, covered – and subsequently strangled – by this ferociously determined plant.
(images via 1, 2, 3, 4)
(image credit: Kyle Telechan)
Sure, kudzu may not be carnivorous, but it's green infestation, it's emerald conquest, it's verdant domination is definitely worth a mention – and maybe a serious shudder of fear. Or, as they sometime say in the South: "A cow won't eat kudzu, but kudzu will definitely eat a cow."
Many of us are prone to using the Shazam music-identification service whenever we encounter unfamiliar songs. After all, it's just so easy to whip out our phones, open an app, and know everything about a mystery song in seconds. But how does Shazam gives us all this information so quickly?
There is a cool service called Shazam, which take a short sample of music, and identifies the song. There are couple ways to use it, but one of the more convenient is to install their free app onto an iPhone. Just hit the "tag now" button, hold the phone's mic up to a speaker, and it will usually identify the song and provide artist information, as well as a link to purchase the album.
What is so remarkable about the service, is that it works on very obscure songs and will do so even with extraneous background noise. I've gotten it to work sitting down in a crowded coffee shop and pizzeria.
So I was curious how it worked, and luckily there is a paper written by one of the developers explaining just that. Of course they leave out some of the details, but the basic idea is exactly what you would expect: it relies on fingerprinting music based on the spectrogram.
Here are the basic steps:
1. Beforehand, Shazam fingerprints a comprehensive catalog of music, and stores the fingerprints in a database.
2. A user "tags" a song they hear, which fingerprints a 10 second sample of audio.
3. The Shazam app uploads the fingerprint to Shazam's service, which runs a search for a matching fingerprint in their database.
4. If a match is found, the song info is returned to the user, otherwise an error is returned.
Here's how the fingerprinting works:
You can think of any piece of music as a time-frequency graph called a spectrogram. On one axis is time, on another is frequency, and on the 3rd is intensity. Each point on the graph represents the intensity of a given frequency at a specific point in time. Assuming time is on the x-axis and frequency is on the y-axis, a horizontal line would represent a continuous pure tone and a vertical line would represent an instantaneous burst of white noise. Here's one example of how a song might look:
Spectrogram of a song sample with peak intensities marked in red. Wang, Avery Li-Chun. An Industrial-Strength Audio Search Algorithm. Shazam Entertainment, 2003. Fig. 1A,B.
The Shazam algorithm fingerprints a song by generating this 3d graph, and identifying frequencies of "peak intensity." For each of these peak points it keeps track of the frequency and the amount of time from the beginning of the track. Based on the paper's examples, I'm guessing they find about 3 of these points per second. [Update: A commenter below notes that in his own implementation he needed more like 30 points/sec.] So an example of a fingerprint for a 10 seconds sample might be:
Shazam builds their fingerprint catalog out as a hash table, where the key is the frequency. When Shazam receives a fingerprint like the one above, it uses the first key (in this case 823.44), and it searches for all matching songs. Their hash table might look like the following:
[Some extra detail: They do not just mark a single point in the spectrogram, rather they mark a pair of points: the "peak intensity" plus a second "anchor point". So their key is not just a single frequency, it is a hash of the frequencies of both points. This leads to less hash collisions which in turn speeds up catalog searching by several orders of magnitude by allowing them to take greater advantage of the table's constant (O(1)) look-up time. There's many interesting things to say about hashing, but I'm not going to go into them here, so just read around the links in this paragraph if you're interested.]
Top graph: Songs and sample have many frequency matches, but they do not align in time, so there is no match. Bottom Graph: frequency matches occur at the same time, so the song and sample are a match. Wang, Avery Li-Chun. An Industrial-Strength Audio Search Algorithm. Shazam Entertainment, 2003. Fig. 2B.
If a specific song is hit multiple times (based on examples in the paper I think it needs about 1 frequency hit per second), it then checks to see if these frequencies correspond in time. They actually have a clever way of doing this They create a 2d plot of frequency hits, on one axis is the time from the beginning of the track those frequencies appear in the song, on the other axis is the time those frequencies appear in the sample. If there is a temporal relation between the sets of points, then the points will align along a diagonal. They use another signal processing method to find this line, and if it exists with some certainty, then they label the song a match.
Top image via NextWeb
Posted by gjblass at 11:11 AM