Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Friday, April 09, 2021

The ability to predict individual and group tendencies via credit card use and other electronic transactions is (or should be) old news by now. The fun comes in seeing how all that seemingly-disparate data interlocks, as Hunch, an algorithm-based recommendation site, reveals:

Hunch then looks for statistical correlations between the information that all of its users provide, revealing fascinating links between people’s seemingly unrelated preferences. For instance, Hunch has revealed that people who enjoy dancing are more apt to want to buy a Mac, that people who like The Count on “Sesame Street” tend to support legalizing marijuana, that pug owners are often fans of The Shawshank Redemption, and that users who prefer aisle seats on planes “spend more money on other people than themselves.”

There’s no accounting for taste, much less tangential taste. Your only hope of preserving anonymity is to be a contrarian oddball — which beats being a predictable consumer, I guess.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 04/09/2021 02:11 PM
Category: Business, Internet, Science, Society
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What’s 3 nanometers big and can switch on/off in a nanosecond? A memristor, the next stage of microchip development:

The researchers previously reported in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that they had devised a new method for storing and retrieving information from a vast three-dimensional array of memristors. The scheme could potentially free designers to stack thousands of switches in a high-rise fashion, permitting a new class of ultradense computing devices even after two-dimensional scaling reaches fundamental limits.

Memristor-based systems also hold out the prospect of fashioning analog computing systems that function more like biological brains, [electrical engineer Dr. Leon O.] Chua said.

“Our brains are made of memristors,” he said, referring to the function of biological synapses. “We have the right stuff now to build real brains.”

As I’m understanding this, these memristors (or “memory resistor”) supplant transistors, on the strength of physical space-saving. The result is more and faster memory functions, so that things like Flash drives are overtaken. Good news, considering how much of our data — both institutional knowledge, and even transitory information like daily communications — are increasingly being outsources out of our heads and into digital media.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 04/09/2021 12:02 PM
Category: Science, Tech
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block-rockin' beatdown
In the grand tradition of Hollywood’s spectacularly-destructive edifice envy, New York City gets an 8-bit beatdown in Patrick Jean’s short film, “Pixels”:

The old coin-op characters never looked so good. I particularly liked how the Tetris blocks conspired to drop-wedge onto the skyscrapers, destroying them floor-by-floor via the game’s horizontal-row completion. My second-favorite is the Breakout paddle pulverizing the Brooklyn Bridge, appropriately brick-by-brick. And I was glad to see representation by Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, and Space Invaders in this playful carnage. Bonus image: A flyby view, about 1:21 in, of the Atari logo on one of the buildings in the Manhattan skyline.

I just wanna know who was holding the joystick while this videogamed assault was running wild. And what his/her final high score was.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 04/09/2021 10:36 AM
Category: Creative, Movies, New Yorkin', Videogames
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