GeekSpeak for 2017-06-30

Hamilton Sizes up Interactive Luggage

Teaser medium

Gmail stops scanning email, neural networks provide ancient wisdom, 4×4′s don’t measure up, branching narratives, unstable rolling luggage, and the geeks throw away their shot.

Google will stop scanning your Gmail messages to sell targeted ads - The Verge

Green wrote in today’s blog post. “Consumer Gmail content will not be used or scanned for any ads personalization after this change. This decision brings Gmail ads in line with how we personalize ads for other Google products.”

“4x4s” Aren’t Actually 4"×4"

Talk to any contractor or carpenter — or most people who are reasonably familiar with home construction and repair — and they’ll tell you that a “4×4” piece of lumber is not actually four inches by four inches, and that it hasn’t been that way in any of our lifetimes. Yet some Home Depot and Menards customers are — literally — making a federal case out of this discrepancy, accusing the retailers of false advertising.

Terabyte - Wikipedia

The terabyte is a multiple of the unit byte for digital information. The prefix tera represents the fourth power of 1000, and means 1012 in the International System of Units (SI), and therefore one terabyte is one trillion (short scale) bytes. The unit symbol for the terabyte is TB.
1 TB = 1000000000000bytes = 10^12bytes = 1000gigabytes.
A related unit, the tebibyte (TiB), using a binary prefix, is equal to 10244 bytes. One terabyte is about 0.9095 TiB. Despite the introduction of these standardized binary prefixes, the terabyte is still also commonly used in some computer operating systems, primarily Microsoft Windows, to denote 1099511627776 (10244 or 240) bytes for disk drive capacity.

Lumber - Wikipedia

Dimensional lumber is lumber that is cut to standardized width and depth, specified in inches. Carpenters extensively use dimensional lumber in framing wooden buildings. Common sizes include 2×4 (pictured) (also two-by-four and other variants, such as four-by-two in the Australia, New Zealand, and the UK), 2×6, and 4×4. The length of a board is usually specified separately from the width and depth. It is thus possible to find 2×4s that are four, eight, and twelve feet in length. In Canada and the United States, the standard lengths of lumber are 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22 and 24 feet (1.83, 2.44, 3.05, 3.66, 4.27, 4.88, 5.49, 6.10, 6.71 and 7.32 meters). For wall framing, “stud” or “precut” sizes are available, and are commonly used. For an eight-, nine-, or ten-foot ceiling height, studs are available in 92 5⁄8 inches (235 cm), 104 5⁄8 inches (266 cm), and 116 5⁄8 inches (296 cm). The term “stud” is used inconsistently to specify length; where the exact length matters, one must specify the length explicitly.

Letting neural networks be weird • Ancient wisdom from the neural network

By examining a dataset, it learns to formulate its own rules about it, and can use these rules to generate new text that – according to the neural network – resembles the dataset. But since the neural network is doing all this without cultural context, or any knowledge of what the words really mean, the results are often a bit bizarre.

Recurrent Neural Networks on Linear Digressions

Listen to Linear Digressions for a crash course in recurrent neural networks—what the structural pieces are that make a neural net recurrent, how that structure helps RNNs solve certain time series problems, and the importance of forgetfulness in RNNs.

These Maps Reveal the Hidden Structures of 'Choose Your Own Adventure' Books - Atlas Obscura

The last installment of the original “Choose Your Own Adventure” series came out in 1998, but since 2004, Chooseco, founded by one of the series’ original authors, R.A. Montgomery, has been republishing classic volumes, as well as new riffs on the form of interactive fiction that seemed ubiquitous in the 1980s and ’90s. The new editions also carry an additional feature—maps of the hidden structure of each book.

Netflix launches new 'interactive shows' that let viewers dictate the story

Today [Netflix] announced that it’s launching an all-new interactive format that ultimately turns viewers into legitimate storytellers. In comparison to standard television, these so-called interactive shows put the viewers in charge, letting them dictate each choice and direction the story takes.

Rocking and rolling: how to stop luggage toppling on the race through the airport

Half a century after the American businessman Bernard D Sadow shocked travellers with the invention of “rolling luggage”, scientists have worked out why suitcases tend to to rock violently from one wheel to the other until they overturn on the race through the airport.