The U.S. Is Getting Shorter, as Mapmakers Race to Keep Up
> Scientists are hard at work recalibrating where and how the nation physically sits on the planet. It’s not shrinkage — it’s “height modernization.”
> The grand recalibration, called “height modernization,” is part of a broader effort within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, to establish more accurately where and how the United States physically sits on the planet. This new National Spatial Reference System, encompassing height, latitude, longitude and time, is expected to be rolled out in late 2022 or 2023, Ms. Blackwell said. It will replace reference systems from the 1980s that are slightly askew, having been derived from calculations that were done before the advent of supercomputers or global navigation satellite systems such as GPS.
Animation of the SHA-256 hash function in your terminal
Animated optical illusions. These are very nice.
Coronavirus Mutations Map the Global Outbreak
> For the first time during a global outbreak, scientists have been able to use genomic data in real time to track how a virus is traveling around the world, revealing sources of outbreaks and shedding light on cases with unknown origins.
> By identifying mutations in the genetic sequence of samples of the coronavirus, which are markers for various strains, researchers have offered clues to whether some cases came from a local source or elsewhere in the world.
Forecasting s-curves is hard
> S-curves have only three parameters, and so it is perhaps impressive that they fit a variety of systems so well. Broadly, the three parameters describe the initial growth rate, the level-off rate, and the value at which it levels-off. Therefore, if you can estimate these three numbers, then you have the trend curve. Many of us will have learnt in school that if there are three parameters to be found, you need three data points to define the function. This would suggest that you could perfectly predict the level-off point based on only three observations (spoiler: you can’t).
Bilinear texture filtering – artifacts, alternatives, and frequency domain analysis
> In this post we will look at one of the staples of real-time computer graphics – bilinear texture filtering. To catch your interest, I will start with focusing on something that is often referred to as “bilinear artifacts”, trapezoid/star-shaped artifact of bilinear interpolation – what causes them? I will discuss briefly some common bilinear filtering alternatives and how they fix those, link a few of my favorite papers on (fast) image interpolation, and analyze the frequency response of common cheap filters.
This Goes to Eleven - Decimating Array.Sort with AVX2
> Let’s get in the ring and show what AVX/AVX2 intrinsics can really do for a non-trivial problem, and even discuss potential improvements that future CoreCLR versions could bring to the table.
> Everyone needs to sort arrays, once in a while, and many algorithms we take for granted rely on doing so. We think of it as a solved problem and that nothing can be further done about it in 2020, except for waiting for newer, marginally faster machines to pop-up. However, that is not the case, and while I’m not the first to have thoughts about it; or the best at implementing it, if you join me in this rather long journey, we’ll end up with a replacement function for Array.Sort, written in pure C# that outperforms CoreCLR’s C++2 code by a factor north of 10x on most modern Intel CPUs, and north of 11x on my laptop. Sounds interesting? If so, down the rabbit hole we go…
Very well done.
Analysing .NET start-up time with Flamegraphs
> Recently I gave a talk at the NYAN Conference called ‘From ‘dotnet run’ to ‘hello world’: In the talk I demonstrate how you can use PerfView to analyse where the .NET Runtime is spending it’s time during start-up:
David Rumsey Historical Map Collection
> The David Rumsey Map Collection was started over 30 years ago and contains more than 150,000 maps. The collection focuses on rare 16th through 21st century maps of North and South America, as well as maps of the World, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Oceania. The collection includes atlases, wall maps, globes, school geographies, pocket maps, books of exploration, maritime charts, and a variety of cartographic materials including pocket, wall, children’s, and manuscript maps. Items range in date from about 1550 to the present.
This is fantastic.
> In this blog post I’d like to look at these simple machines up close. I’ll explain how gears affect the properties of rotational motion and how the shape of their teeth is way more sophisticated than it may initially seem.
> Movement is important in this article so most of the visualizations are animated – you can play and pause them by tapping on the button in their bottom left corner. By default the animations are enabled, but if you find them distracting, or you want to save power, you can globally pause all animations, just make sure to unpause them as needed.
This is very neat.
OldNYC: Mapping Historical Photographs
George III's collection of military maps
> George III’s collection of military maps comprises some 3,000 maps, views and prints ranging from the disposition of Charles V’s armies at Vienna in 1532 to the Battle of Waterloo (1815).
> Most notable among these are the military maps, prints and drawings collected by his uncle, William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland (1721–65), particularly during his period as Captain General of the British army during the War of the Austrian Succession (1743–8) and the Seven Years War (1756–63).
> The second major collection, bought by George III in 1763, was that of the military prints collected by the Italian art patron, Cassiano dal Pozzo (1588–1657). In addition to these, George III acquired hundreds of maps of contemporary conflicts, such as the American War of Independence (1775–83), and the French and Napoleonic Wars (1792–1815).
Twelve Million Phones, One Dataset, Zero Privacy
> Every minute of every day, everywhere on the planet, dozens of companies — largely unregulated, little scrutinized — are logging the movements of tens of millions of people with mobile phones and storing the information in gigantic data files. The Times Privacy Project obtained one such file, by far the largest and most sensitive ever to be reviewed by journalists. It holds more than 50 billion location pings from the phones of more than 12 million Americans as they moved through several major cities, including Washington, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.
> Each piece of information in this file represents the precise location of a single smartphone over a period of several months in 2016 and 2017. The data was provided to Times Opinion by sources who asked to remain anonymous because they were not authorized to share it and could face severe penalties for doing so. The sources of the information said they had grown alarmed about how it might be abused and urgently wanted to inform the public and lawmakers.
A Decade of ‘Unicorns’ Ends With a Little Less Magic
> Despite their growing numbers and valuations, the performance of unicorns has been a mixed bag. On the whole, an investor in the second half of the decade was likelier to have put money into a unicorn that was unprofitable and whose value has dropped as a public company than an investor in the decade’s first half, The Wall Street Journal found.
The Deep Sea
Takes a lot of scrolling to get to the bottom.
The New York City Subway Map as You’ve Never Seen It Before
The three ins of web design: interesting and infuriatingly interactive.
Writing a Texture Painter: Part #1
> Many programmers appreciate being able to see their code render something interesting to the screen. For a while I’ve wanted to write a texture painter, where I can import a model, paint colors on it, and then export those textures back to a file. I’m using OpenGL in my code, but I’ll focus on the actual mechanics and less on the language or code.
The Berlin Wall Fell 30 Years Ago. Where Did It Go?
Evolution of the Scrollbar
And the Verge review: https://www.theverge.com/2019/11/1/20943552/scroll-bar-visual-history-30-years
> Sébastien Matos has built a fantastic interactive trip through the history of one of the most important UI elements we encounter every day: the scroll bar. He’s recreated, as faithfully as possible, 30 years of scroll bars from some of the top desktop platforms of their day, from Xerox Star to Windows 10.
> Take a minute out of your busy day to enjoy the zen of playing with old UI design. Then come back here and read The Verge’s very serious review of scroll bars through history.