Previously unseen footage of a Thylacine or Tasmanian Tiger; IEEE Spectrum's weekly selection of awesome robot videos; Microsoft announces the end of the line for the Visual Basic programming language; Researchers adapt flu prediction methods to the novel coronavirus; and a Steem essay describing the race to blanket the Earth in satellite-based Internet coverage
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Links and micro-summaries from my 1000+ daily headlines. I filter them so you don't have to.
public domain from wikimedia commons: source.
- Previously unseen thylacine footage unearthed - The Thylacine or Tasmanian Tiger was a carnivorous marsupial that was native to Tasmania, Australia, and New Guinea. It is believed to have been driven to extinction by human hunting practices in 1936, when the last known specimen died in captivity. There have been claimed sightings of the species in more recent times, but most experts are convinced that the animal is, indeed, extinct. Now, a never-before seen 7-second clip of the animal has been discovered and published on youtube by researchers from the Tasmanian Tiger Archives group on Facebook with assistance from staff at the State Library and Archive Service. The video is part of a 69 second clip that was recorded at the Hobart Zoo some time between 1933 and 1936. (Too bad the FB group doesn't have a Steem community, where they could get rewards from the blockchain for their efforts.)
Here is the video:
- Video Friday: Autonomous Security Robot Meets Self-Driving Tesla - This week, the weekly selection of awesome robot videos from IEEE Spectrum includes: A video showing how robots are beginning to use "hands" for dextrous work; Octobounce, a four-armed robot from Electron Dust that can balance a ball and keep it bouncing in a controlled fashion; D'Kitty, a robot that resembles a cat (vaguely) and explores different means of locomotion; Highlights from the "humans vs. robots" match at Robocub 2019; A drone that can drop darts for collecting soil samples in hard to reach locations and then retrieve the darts for analysis; and more.
Here is an autonomous quadroter drone that can land on a moving platform in turbulent conditions:
- Microsoft Plots the End of Visual Basic - In a recent blog post, Microsoft said,
Starting with .NET 5, Visual Basic will support Class Library, Console, Windows Forms, WPF, Worker Service, [and] ASP.NET Core Web API … to provide a good path forward for the existing VB customer who want [sic] to migrate their applications to .NET Core,and
Going forward, we do not plan to evolve Visual Basic as a language … The future of Visual Basic … will focus on stability, the application types listed above, and compatibility between the .NET Core and .NET Framework versions of Visual Basic.This is a good-news/bad-news announcements because it means that VB developers may be able to bring their apps forward to .Net Core and .Net 5.0, but it also means that Visual Basic is not going to receive new feature enhancements. -h/t OS news
- This is how the CDC is trying to forecast coronavirus’s spread - Once a year, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention holds a contest for researchers to forecast that year's flu epedemic. About a dozen of the teams who have participated in that challenge are now being tapped to forecast the spread of the coronavirus. One of the teams that has delivered the best results in recent years is from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh, PA. That team is led by Roni Rosenfeld. Rosenfeld admits that he was reluctant, at first, to participate in coronavirus forecasting because forecasting a novel virus is much harder than forecasting an annual flu cycle, and he was concerned that the team's forecast might not be useful. The method that the team uses involves three steps: (i) a nowcast which uses current data from CDC, Google, Twitter, and other web sources to estimate the current number of people who are infected; (ii) A forecast that's based on machine-learning; and (iii) A crowd-sourced prediction. The team is now undertaking the challenge of updating each of those techniques to take characteristics of the novel coronavirus into account. In particular, the flu follows a regular annual cycle, but it's not known whether the new virus will do the same thing, and the novel coronavirus is now a pandemic. As a result, Rosenfeld still expresses reservations about the ability to create reliable forecasts. Instead, the article quotes him as follows:
“We're not going to tell you what's going to happen,” he says. “What we tell you is what are the things that can happen and how likely is each one of them.”Here is a 2018 video from the CMU team:
On a side note, I have often noticed that Steem blockchain rewards might be a fantastic way for generating crowd-sourced predictions - the third step in their process. This is something that I attempted in Philadelphia Eagles vs. Seattle Seahawks - Crowd-source prediction effort. Unfortunately, that post didn't get much participation, but I still like the concept. It might need to wait until Steem gets more daily users, though.
- Steem @gbenga: The Business of Space internet and the Future of Internet Connection - In this post, the author briefly discusses the history and current state of satellite communications. According to the author, recent advances in technology - including 5G cellular data - are spurring new advances in space technology that can provide Internet connectivity around the globe. In the past, geostationary satellites orbited the earth at an altitude of 35,000 km. Newer satellites are much lower in altitude (500 km) and as a result they must change locations, relative to the Earth's surface. This means that many more satellites are needed in order to provide continuous coverage. Two firms who are rushing to fill this void include Elon Musk's StarLink and the lesser known company, OneWeb. One problem that emerges from the increase in satellites will be the accumulation of space debris. OneWeb plans to solve that through recycling, but the exact details of their plan are unknown.
Here is a March 6 video from the post, describing a vision for global connectivity from OneWeb:
(A 10% beneficiary has been applied to this post for @gbenga.)
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