A Majestic Rare Black Leopard Was Photographed In Africa For The First Time In 100 Years And It Looks Metal AF

Standard
Cat is standing and watching with omly one eye

iStockphoto / Mateja Gornik

An extremely rare black leopard was photographed underneath the full moon in Laikipia Wilderness Camp in Kenya by wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas. These creatures are so rare at this point that they’ve achieved an almost mythical status in Africa. One hadn’t been properly photographed in 100 years until now.

The black coat is caused by melanism, the opposite of albinism, and unlike albinism that leaves an animal exposed to predators 24/7/365 because it doesn’t have any natural camouflage, melanism and the dark coat actually makes these some of the best predators on the planet because they can navigate the night virtually undetected.

Black leopards haven’t been unseen in Africa for 100 years, there just hasn’t been a photographer lucky enough to capture a proper photograph of them in a century. After reports that several were spotted in Kenya’s Laikipia area, photographer Will Burrard-Lucas set up his an expedition, according to the Daily Mail. What resulted was these absolutely stunning photographs.

By setting up a motion-activated camera underneath the full moonlight the photographer was able to capture the first photographs of a black leopard in 100 years and they are truly stunning. The eyes on this creature are enormous and set to full-alert for prey.

Instagram Photo

Instagram Photo

Instagram Photo

Instagram Photo

He also captured this stunning image of a normal leopard.

Instagram Photo

Previous photographs of any black leopards in Africa were either extremely grainy or caught the animal in motion. Similar to pictures you’d expect to see of a Yeti or Chupacabra. This is the first time in a century that a photographer managed to capture hi-res close-up photos of a black leopard.

According to the Daily Mail, Burrard-Lucas installed the DSLR ‘camera traps’ while working with biologists from the San Diego Zoo who were working in the area and helped the photographer map out the best locations to ‘catch’ the majestic predator based on reports of where it had been seen.

Burrard-Lucas documented his expedition on a blog post on his website which you can check out by clicking that link but I think his site’s down at the moment from receiving too much traffic because I can’t seem to get the post to load.

from BroBible.com http://bit.ly/2IeoLbc
via IFTTT

Xnor’s saltine-sized, solar-powered AI hardware redefines the edge

Standard

“If AI is so easy, why isn’t there any in this room?” asks Ali Farhadi, founder and CEO of Xnor, gesturing around the conference room overlooking Lake Union in Seattle. And it’s true — despite a handful of displays, phones and other gadgets, the only things really capable of doing any kind of AI-type work are the phones each of us have set on the table. Yet we are always hearing about how AI is so accessible now, so flexible, so ubiquitous.

And in many cases, even those devices that can aren’t employing machine learning techniques themselves, but rather sending data off to the cloud where it can be done more efficiently. Because the processes that make up “AI” are often resource-intensive, sucking up CPU time and battery power.

That’s the problem Xnor aimed to solve, or at least mitigate, when it spun off from the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence in 2017. Its breakthrough was to make the execution of deep learning models on edge devices so efficient that a $5 Raspberry Pi Zero could perform state of the art computer vision processes nearly as well as a supercomputer.

The team achieved that, and Xnor’s hyper-efficient ML models are now integrated into a variety of devices and businesses. As a follow-up, the team set their sights higher — or lower, depending on your perspective.

Answering his own question on the dearth of AI-enabled devices, Farhadi pointed to the battery pack in the demo gadget they made to show off the Pi Zero platform and explained: “This thing right here. Power.”

Power was the bottleneck they overcame to get AI onto CPU- and power-limited devices like phones and the Pi Zero. So the team came up with a crazy goal: Why not make an AI platform that doesn’t need a battery at all? Less than a year later, they’d done it.

That thing right there performs a serious computer vision task in real time: It can detect in a fraction of a second whether and where a person, or car, or bird, or whatever, is in its field of view, and relay that information wirelessly. And it does this using the kind of power usually associated with solar-powered calculators.

The device Farhadi and hardware engineering head Saman Naderiparizi showed me is very simple — and necessarily so. A tiny camera with a 320×240 resolution, an FPGA loaded with the object recognition model, a bit of memory to handle the image and camera software and a small solar cell. A very simple wireless setup lets it send and receive data at a very modest rate.

“This thing has no power. It’s a two-dollar computer with an uber-crappy camera, and it can run state of the art object recognition,” enthused Farhadi, clearly more than pleased with what the Xnor team has created.

For reference, this video from the company’s debut shows the kind of work it’s doing inside:

As long as the cell is in any kind of significant light, it will power the image processor and object recognition algorithm. It needs about a hundred millivolts coming in to work, though at lower levels it could just snap images less often.

It can run on that current alone, but of course it’s impractical to not have some kind of energy storage; to that end this demo device has a supercapacitor that stores enough energy to keep it going all night, or just when its light source is obscured.

As a demonstration of its efficiency, let’s say you did decide to equip it with, say, a watch battery. Naderiparizi said it could probably run on that at one frame per second for more than 30 years.

Not a product

Of course the breakthrough isn’t really that there’s now a solar-powered smart camera. That could be useful, sure, but it’s not really what’s worth crowing about here. It’s the fact that a sophisticated deep learning model can run on a computer that costs pennies and uses less power than your phone does when it’s asleep.

“This isn’t a product,” Farhadi said of the tiny hardware platform. “It’s an enabler.”

The energy necessary for performing inference processes such as facial recognition, natural language processing and so on put hard limits on what can be done with them. A smart light bulb that turns on when you ask it to isn’t really a smart light bulb. It’s a board in a light bulb enclosure that relays your voice to a hub and probably a data center somewhere, which analyzes what you say and returns a result, turning the light on.

That’s not only convoluted, but it introduces latency and a whole spectrum of places where the process could break or be attacked. And meanwhile it requires a constant source of power or a battery!

On the other hand, imagine a camera you stick into a house plant’s pot, or stick to a wall, or set on top of the bookcase, or anything. This camera requires no more power than some light shining on it; it can recognize voice commands and analyze imagery without touching the cloud at all; it can’t really be hacked because it barely has an input at all; and its components cost maybe $10.

Only one of these things can be truly ubiquitous. Only the latter can scale to billions of devices without requiring immense investment in infrastructure.

And honestly, the latter sounds like a better bet for a ton of applications where there’s a question of privacy or latency. Would you rather have a baby monitor that streams its images to a cloud server where it’s monitored for movement? Or a baby monitor that absent an internet connection can still tell you if the kid is up and about? If they both work pretty well, the latter seems like the obvious choice. And that’s the case for numerous consumer applications.

Amazingly, the power cost of the platform isn’t anywhere near bottoming out. The FPGA used to do the computing on this demo unit isn’t particularly efficient for the processing power it provides. If they had a custom chip baked in, they could get another order of magnitude or two out of it, lowering the work cost for inference to the level of microjoules. The size is more limited by the optics of the camera and the size of the antenna, which must have certain dimensions to transmit and receive radio signals.

And again, this isn’t about selling a million of these particular little widgets. As Xnor has done already with its clients, the platform and software that runs on it can be customized for individual projects or hardware. One even wanted a model to run on MIPS — so now it does.

By drastically lowering the power and space required to run a self-contained inference engine, entirely new product categories can be created. Will they be creepy? Probably. But at least they won’t have to phone home.

from TechCrunch https://tcrn.ch/2DIMCKK
via IFTTT

Opportunity Mars rover goes to its last rest after extraordinary 14-year mission

Standard

Opportunity, one of two rovers sent to Mars in 2004, is officially offline for good, NASA and JPL officials announced today at a special press conference. “I declare the Opportunity mission as complete, and with it the Mars Exploration Rover mission as complete,” said NASA’s Thomas Zurbuchen.

The cause of Opportunity’s demise was a planet-scale sandstorm that obscured its solar panels too completely, and for too long, for its onboard power supply to survive and keep even its most elementary components running. It last communicated on June 10, 2018, but could easily have lasted a few months more as its batteries ran down — a sad picture to be sure. Even a rover designed for the harsh Martian climate can’t handle being trapped under a cake of dust at -100 degrees Celsius for long.

The team has been trying to reach it for months, employing a variety of increasingly desperate techniques to get the rover to at least respond; even if its memory had been wiped clean or instruments knocked out, it could be reprogrammed and refreshed to continue service if only they could set up a bit of radio rapport. But every attempt, from ordinary contact methods to “sweep and beep” ploys, was met with silence. The final transmission from mission control was last night.

Spirit and Opportunity, known together as the Mars Exploration Rovers mission, were launched individually in the summer of 2003 and touched down in January of 2004 — 15 years ago! — in different regions of the planet.

Each was equipped with a panoramic camera, a macro camera, spectrometers for identifying rocks and minerals and a little drill for taking samples. The goal was to operate for 90 days, traveling about 40 meters each day and ultimately covering about a kilometer. Both exceeded those goals by incredible amounts.

Spirit ended up traveling about 7.7 kilometers and lasting about 7 years. But Opportunity outshone its twin, going some 45 kilometers over 14 years — well over a marathon.

And of course both rovers contributed immensely to our knowledge of the Red Planet. It was experiments by these guys that really established a past when Mars not only had water, but bio-friendly liquid water that might have supported life.

Opportunity did a lot of science but always had time for a selfie, such as this one at the edge of Erebus Crater.

It’s always sad when a hard-working craft or robot finally shuts down for good, especially when it’s one that’s been as successful as “Oppy.” The Cassini probe went out in a blaze of glory, and Kepler has quietly gone to sleep. But ultimately these platforms are instruments of science and we should celebrate their extraordinary success as well as mourn their inevitable final days.

“Spirit and Opportunity may be gone, but they leave us a legacy — a new paradigm for solar system exploration,” said JPL head Michael Watkins. “That legacy continues not just in the Curiosity rover, which is currently operating healthily after about 2,300 days on the surface of Mars. But also in our new 2020 rover, which is under construction here at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.”

“But Spirit and Opportunity did something more than that,” he continued. “They energized the public about the spirit of robotic Mars exploration. The infectious energy and electricity that this mission created was obvious to the public.”

Mars of course is not suddenly without a tenant. The Insight lander touched down last year and has been meticulously setting up its little laboratory and testing its systems. And the Mars 2020 rover is well on its way to launch. It’s a popular planet.

Perhaps some day we’ll scoop up these faithful servants and put them in a Martian museum. For now, let’s look forward to the next mission.

from TechCrunch https://tcrn.ch/2BB6v5Q
via IFTTT

Ending my fastlane chapter

Standard

I’ve built and published iOS apps for over 8 years now. Back then the App Store review times were over 2 weeks, iTunes Connect would allow only uploads of a single screenshot at a time, there was no CocoaPods… and code signing was pretty much the same as it is today.

In 2014, I sat in my dorm room and started working on a tool to solve some of the challenges I faced as an iOS developer. It started out by just automating the upload of screenshots and binaries to iTunes Connect. After publishing the initial version in November 2014, the iOS community seemed excited about it. It slowly went from just deliver, to more tools like snapshot to generate the screenshots and pem to automate iOS push notifications.

Fast-forward to today, I’m so humbled by what fastlane has grown to be. It has changed the way large iOS teams work every day, how they release their app updates, and how code signing works. It even enabled founders to start new businesses using fastlane as their core foundation.

I’m so proud to see how the community has grown around it. When fastlane initially launched, it supported only 10 integrations. Today there are over 570 different integrations, from code coverage reports, beta testing services to build version management. All of this wouldn’t have been possible without the all the 922 contributors of the fastlane main code base, all the authors of the 355 third party plugins, as well as the fastlane core contributor team.

It was great to see fastlane evolving from a small side project, into a stable, self-sustainable open source project with a strong community of contributors around it. I have no doubts that fastlane will continue growing stronger in the next years, with the support of Google, as well as other companies and individual contributors.

📯 After 4.5 years it’s time for me to step away from fastlane, and with that leave Google.

As for what’s next, I don’t have any specific plans yet. I’ll be taking a vacation and then figuring out what problem I’m excited to solve next 🙂

As always, you can stay in touch on Twitter and Instagram.

What does it mean for fastlane?

Google will keep investing in fastlane. There will be no changes to fastlane and its support system. To get help with fastlane, submit an issue on GitHub. At the same time, we will continue accepting new fastlane core contributors, meaning you can get full push access to the fastlane code base.

Thank you

I’d like to thank everyone from the Twitter Fabric, Firebase and Google Cloud teams for taking fastlane where it is today. I’d like to specifically call out all the contributors and the iOS community for welcoming fastlane and continuing to support it. In particular Hemal who believed in my vision and helped me grow personally and professionally.

from Felix Krause http://bit.ly/2N3eeyn
via IFTTT

Opportunity rover’s last picture is as grim as it is dark

Standard

A mighty dust storm swirled around the Opportunity rover on June 10, 2018, forcing the robot to shut itself off and conserve power. The dust blocked out nearly all the sunlight, turning day to night. 

Opportunity would never awake. On Wednesday, NASA announced that they would no longer attempt to revive the 15-year-old machine, formally ending the legendary extraterrestrial mission. 

But on that dark June day, just before Opportunity went silent, the rover took one final picture:

Opportunity's final picture.

Opportunity’s final picture.

The image captured a Martian world shrouded in darkness by the dust storm. 

“This was the last image we ever took,” Bill Nelson, chief of the Opportunity mission’s engineering team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in an interview just after NASA declared the mission over. 

“We are looking at an incredibly small amount of sunlight — .002 percent of the normal sunlight that we would expect to see,” said Nelson. “If you were there, it would be late twilight. Your human eye would still be able to make out some features, but it would be very dark.”

But in this final image, no Martian features are visible.

In the picture, the white static amid the black is just image noise the camera picked up in the darkened setting (“It’s kind of like the image you get on your phone in a very dark environment,” said Nelson). The thick black bar at the bottom of the picture is data that never arrived back to Earth — as if Opportunity’s message was cut off mid-sentence.

If the rover had not been caught in such a dust storm, it would have taken a picture down a channel, about 20-feet across, as Opportunity peered down a valley, said Nelson.

So-called “Perseverance Valley” became Opportunity’s final resting spot. 

Six days earlier, Opportunity captured the following picture of the wide, sloping environment.

Perseverance Valley, taken in early June 2018.

Perseverance Valley, taken in early June 2018.

Over the course of Opportunity’s life, the rover shot well over 200,000 images and sent them back to Earth. 

One of Nelson’s favorites came just 180 Martian days, or sols, into Opportunity’s exploration of the red planet. With the sun shining behind the rover, Opportunity captured an image of its long shadow.

Opportunity's shadow taken on July 27, 2004.

Opportunity’s shadow taken on July 27, 2004.

“It’s very evocative of the status of that rover,” said Nelson. “Here we are, with one tiny rover on this foreign, alien planet all by itself.”

Now, the 400-pound robot will spend millennia getting shrouded in red dust, and NASA engineers like Nelson will move on to other extraterrestrial projects, as will his entire NASA exploration team.

“It’s bittersweet,” said Nelson, noting how proud he is to have worked with engineers and scientists that directed Opportunity for some 15 years. “Now, our teams are going to sort of scatter to the winds.”

from Mashable! http://bit.ly/2GIziZI
via IFTTT

Romance scams cost more money than any other type of consumer fraud, says the Federal Trade Commission

Standard

The Federal Trade Commission has released data that shows romance scams cost more money than other types of consumer fraud reported to the agency last year—and the problem is getting worse. Romance scammers target people through dating sites and apps or social media, often using fake profiles and sob stories to convince victims to send them large amounts of money.

The number of romance scams reported to the FTC increased from 8,500 in 2015 to 21,000 last year. Reported losses from these scams grew more than four times, from $33 million in 2015 to $143 million last year. The figures for 2018 are based on 21,368 reports submitted to FTC’s Consumer Sentinel, a database of consumer complaints.

Romance scams were particularly costly for individual victims. The median loss reported by romance scam victims was $2,600, or seven times higher than the median loss across other types of fraud. People between the ages of 40 to 69 reported losing money to romance scams at twice the rate of people in their 20s, but the elderly lost larger amounts, with victims aged 70 and over reporting the biggest median losses at $10,000.

The FTC says the majority of victims were asked to wire money, while the second largest group were asked to use gift or reload cards like Moneypak, which are all methods that are quick, usually difficult to reverse, and allow recipients to remain anonymous. Romance scammers often claim they need money for medical and other emergencies, and come up with excuses about why they can’t meet with their targets in person, for example claiming to be in the military and stationed abroad or not having enough funds to travel.

To prevent being victimized, the FTC suggests doing a reverse image search of profile photos to check if a profile is fake, not sending money to people you haven’t met in person, and being open with family and friends about online relationships.

from TechCrunch https://tcrn.ch/2Swz5QH
via IFTTT

How to Deal With Going Gray

Standard

Six years ago, I was 30 and had a healthy, thick, wavy black mane.

Today I’m 36 and half my hair is gray and wiry.

My son, Gus, was looking at a picture of me from when I was 30 and asked: “Dad, how did you get so old, so fast?”

Great question, son.

Going gray didn’t happen overnight. I remember spotting a few gray strands in my late twenties. A few years later, I saw some more. Then one day I woke up, looked in the mirror, and saw as much salt as pepper.

I’ve never freaked out about going gray and have never thought about dyeing my hair back to its youthful color. Even in high school my friends described me as grandpa-like, and I actually always looked forward to getting older.

But while I’ve never worried about going gray, I have been curious about it.

What caused me to go gray at such a relatively young age? Was it stress? Genetics? A combination of both?

And now that I have gray hair, do I need to do anything different with my hair care and grooming to make it look its best?

To answer those questions, as well as get the scoop on dyeing your hair for those men who’ve considered it, I did some research and talked to Thad Forrester, owner of Hudson Hawk Barber Shops.

Why Does Hair Go Gray?

Each one of your hairs grows out of a hair follicle, and each follicle contains cells called melanocytes. Melanocytes produce two types of pigments, or colors: eumelanin, which is dark brown or black, and pheomelanin, which is reddish yellow. Eumelanin and pheomelanin blend together to give you your hair color. (Dermatologists will often refer to eumelanin and pheomelanin simply as “melanin.”)

When melanocytes in the hair follicle start to die, the strand of hair gets less melanin as it grows and takes on a more transparent color. Gray hair is hair that’s still getting a bit of melanin, but not enough to lend the hair its youthful hue. White hair is hair that’s not getting any melanin at all. Once a melanocyte cell dies, there’s no resurrecting it — it’s dead forever, and it will never produce melanin again. Barring some breakthrough in bioengineering (or dyeing your hair), once hair goes gray, it’s gray for good.

Besides giving hair its color, melanin also helps make hair smooth and lush. Consequently, gray, melanin-deprived hair often gets a wiry or coarse texture and it becomes increasingly difficult to style and manage.

So that’s the mechanism behind hair going gray — its pigment-producing cells die. But what causes those melanin cells to expire in the first place?

Scientists don’t really know.

Age certainly plays a factor and is of course why we associate going gray with getting old. As you get older, all of your body’s cells start to die and malfunction, including the cells that make hair color.

But some people go gray sooner and some people keep their color well into old age.

What gives?

There’s a popular theory that stress causes people to go gray. To bolster this argument, you’ll often see side-by-side pictures of American presidents the day they started their term and the day they ended their term. The President of the United States is arguably one of the most stressful jobs a person could have, so if a man grays considerably during his administration, we figure it was the stress that caused it, right?

Well, maybe. And maybe not. While there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that stress causes people to go gray, scientific studies that have looked into the matter have been mixed. There’s some evidence to suggest that stress hormones could disrupt melanin being delivered to your hair strands, which would cause it to go gray, but again, it’s not conclusive. With the graying of presidents’ hair, it could just be a function of getting older; 8 years is a fairly long time, after all.

So stress may or may not play a role in when you go gray. The most significant factor, according to science, is likely your genetics. If your parents went gray at a young age, then the chances of you going gray young are increased.

So what do you do when you start going gray yourself? Should you dye your hair? If you don’t dye it, do you have to change anything with your hair care? Let’s explore those questions. 

Should You Dye Your Gray Hair?

To dye or not to dye. That is the question.

Graying hair is less disconcerting to men than losing hair, and unlike Western women, who are pressured to maintain their youthful looks, and hair color, for as long as possible, we males generally have the luxury of letting the aging process take its natural course. Gray hair is distinguished on a man. It makes him look wise, seasoned, and sometimes even sexy.  

But if you’re in your 20s and 30s, gray hair can feel like it’s prematurely taking the sheen off this last season of youthful virility. And an older man who works in a youth-driven industry, or is back on the dating scene after being divorced or widowed, may also feel pressure to look less stodgy. If you fall into these categories and/or simply feel the desire to dye your hair, keep the following considerations in mind:

If there are just a few spots of gray on your head — like at your temples — you might consider dyeing only those patches with something like Just for Men AutoStop. With this kind of product, you don’t have to dye all of your hair (though you can), just the parts that are going gray. It’s relatively easy to use (you just comb it in and let it sit for 10 minutes before you shower), and it lasts for up to 8 weeks.

If you’re already pretty salt and peppery and you want to color all of your hair, do so gradually. If you go from George Clooney to Keanu Reeves overnight, people are going to notice. To gradually color your hair back to a more youthful color, try something like Just for Men Control GX which is hair dye in a shampoo; as you use it over the course of a month, more and more of your gray is colored, and you can stop once you’ve achieved the desired effect.

A lot of men’s drugstore/DIY hair dyes don’t actually cover all of your gray, and that’s okay; it can look more natural to still have some showing.

The downside of off-the-shelf/DIY hair coloring products, especially if you’re dyeing all your hair and want close to 100% gray coverage, is that you’re limited in the colors you can choose from. As Thad explains, “Natural hair colors and tones are extremely varied, but [men’s] color dyeing products give you like four color options to choose from — black, dark brown, light brown, and blonde. If you color with a product like that, it’s not going to match your natural hair color and things are going to look off.” When your hair’s a monotone color, it looks flat and fake, like you rubbed your hair with shoe polish.

Thad says if you truly want a better-looking end result, you need to visit a professional who specializes in hair color: “The reason women look great when they color their hair and men typically look bad is because women pay a professional a lot of of money to make it look as natural as possible, while a man will typically opt for the DIY approach. Professional hair colorers can do a better job of matching natural hair color compared to what you can get out of a box.” Traditional barbers typically aren’t trained in hair coloring, so you’ll need to visit a salon.

But before you book an appointment with a hairdresser or pick up a box of Just for Men, consider the many downsides of coloring your hair (always thoroughly read through the Amazon reviews for dyes to understand what you’re getting yourself into):

1. You have to dye your hair every 3-8 weeks. Every month and half or so (depending on how fast your hair grows, how often you get your haircut, and how frequently a particular formula of dye is applied), you’re either going to have to visit a hairdresser to dye it, a process that can take up to an hour, or go through the rigmarole of dyeing your hair at home (which is considerable: you’ve got to apply vaseline around your hairline to keep it from staining your skin, clean up stains on your countertops and hands, and so on).

2. You have to keep dyeing it for-ev-ver (or until your age surpasses your vanity). To keep your hair colored, you’ll have to keep up the dye jobs indefinitely. Once you stop, your hair, especially if it’s gone predominantly gray, will look funny growing back. Before you start dyeing, imagine yourself signing a contract with Just for Men, agreeing to use their product until 2050. As that’s essentially what you’re doing, if you’re not comfortable with that commitment, think twice about starting to color your hair.

3. It costs $$$. Getting your hair colored at a salon can cost $25-$100. That’s really going to add up over time, which again, can be decades.

4. Dyes can be harsh on hair. Hair dye contains chemicals that can sometimes make your hair fall out. Gray hair ages you, but so does thin hair.

5. No matter how natural the hair color, dyed hair never looks completely natural on a man. No hair dye — even those created by a salon — completely matches your original hair color, and even when it’s close, it still doesn’t look quite right, at least on older guys: our brains are used to seeing older women with colored hair, but don’t expect to see older men with such, so when you see a guy with a 50-year-old face, but completely jet black hair, it just registers as being a little off. You realize he dyes his hair, calling attention to it, and his age, and making him seem a little vain and insecure — the very opposite effect from what he’s looking for!

For these reasons, Thad and most male barbers recommend that men who are starting to go gray just let the process take its course. “It’s just easier to manage than dyeing your hair, [and] it looks good, and shows a lot of confidence in a guy,” Thad said.

Embracing the Silver Fox: How to Take Care of Gray Hair

As mentioned above, gray hair is caused by a reduction in melanin. Besides causing your hair to turn gray, a decrease in melanin also makes your hair wiry and harder to manage. So if you decide to embrace your gray hair, there are some changes you’ll need to make to your grooming routine to ensure your new silver mane looks its best:

1. Opt for a shorter haircut. If your hair is still thick, despite the fact it’s going gray, Thad says you still have a lot of options on how to cut and style it. “There are a lot of men with longer gray hair that look good.” (Paging Sam Elliott.) If you’re going to go longer with your gray mane, ask for a cut with more texture. A textured cut involves the barber cutting your hair at an angle which gives it some volume and movement compared to cutting your hair straight across.

While it’s possible to go long with gray hair, Thad likes to steer men with graying locks to cuts that are short on the sides and a little longer on the top (think Clooney). “I like to use clippers on the sides and the back and use some textured cuts on the top,” he said. “A short haircut lets you hide or blend the gray more compared to longer haircuts. Short gray hair is also easier to manage and style than long gray hair. Also, there’s something about a short haircut that takes the years off of a man’s face, so if you’re worried about gray hair making you look old, a shorter haircut can counteract that.”

2. Use a product with a bit of shine. As gray hair loses its natural shine (thanks to the lack of melanin), Thad recommends avoiding completely matte hair products when styling: “Matte products make your hair look a bit dull which is something you don’t want to do when you have gray hair because gray hair is already dull.”

Thad likes semi-matte hair products for gray hair, which have some shine, but not so much that it looks unnatural. A couple specific recommendations from Thad were Cardinal Atlas texturing clay and Firsthand Supply texturing clay.

One product that I’ve had success with on my gray hair is Mitch Construction Paste. It holds my hair without getting crunchy, has a bit, but not too much, shine, and includes conditioning ingredients to reduce some of the wiry-ness of my grays.

3. Don’t shampoo your hair as frequently. Thad told me that most men, including men with no gray hair, shampoo their hair way more than they need to. But shampooing your hair less frequently is even more important when you have gray hair. “Every time you shampoo your hair, you’re washing away your hair’s natural oils. You only need to shampoo your hair a few times a week. This is especially true for men with gray hair since gray hair is already naturally drier,” he said.

Instead of shampooing every time you shower, do it every other day or so.

4. Consider a hair oil. To tame the wirey-ness of your gray hair, try a hair oil, which softens and moisturizes the hair. If you’re having trouble with the coarseness of your gray hair, Thad recommends rubbing in a few drops after you shower.

5. Consider using shampoo and conditioner made especially for gray hair. Once a week use what’s called a “purple shampoo.” It’s called a purple shampoo because it’s, well, purple. They’re designed to make your gray hair look bright and vibrant rather than dull and yellow. Thad recommends talking to someone who specializes in hair color before you start using a “purple shampoo,” though, because while “They can help remove brassy tones from your hair over time . . . it’s possible to overdo it with these shampoos.”

If you reduce how often you shampoo, and use the right hair product and perhaps a hair oil, your gray hair will be in good shape, and you can confidently step into your maturity and enjoy your status as a silver fox.

______________________________________________________________

Thanks to Thad from Hudson Hawk Barber Shops (locations in Springfield, Columbia, and Kansas City, Mo, and Betonville, AR) for his tips.

Further Resources:

The post How to Deal With Going Gray appeared first on The Art of Manliness.

from The Art of Manliness http://bit.ly/2BzHLLt
via IFTTT

How to Survive Your Friends Breaking Up With Each Other

Standard

Late one night last year, I was sitting in my apartment doing some work when my phone rang. It was my close friend, Alex*. Alex was dating another one of my good friends, Sonia, and she had brought him up to Michigan to meet her family. I assumed they were together and wanted to say hi, but I was immersed in what I was doing and ignored the call.

Just when the missed call had registered on my phone, the screen lit up again—this time, it was Sonia. “They must really love me,” I gloated to myself, and decided to answer. I was busy, but then again, I was the reason they knew each other. Couldn’t I spare a minute to indulge my friends, who probably just wanted to shower me with heartfelt thanks for introducing them?

I shouldn’t have answered. Turns out things were not going well up in Michigan, and the two had decided to split. What transpired next was several days of fielding enraged calls from both parties, each looking for confirmation that the other was a pig goblin. I felt blindsided, and moreover, unsure what to say to keep the situation from getting worse. After a few days of back-and-forth, I finally told them each that I couldn’t talk with them about the other person anymore; that I would be more than happy to talk about potting soil or car parts or our favorite sizes of measuring cup, but not the other person.

There are tons of circumstances in which you might find yourself in the middle of a breakup. Maybe, as in my case, you all belonged to the same friend group, and two members of that group started dating. Another possible situation is that your friend starts dating someone with whom you also eventually become close—after all, part of a good relationship is involving your significant other in your social life.

The latter scenario is what happened to John, whose friend Scott had been dating a woman named Jen. Scott and Jen dated for around three years, and in that time, John and Jen became friends in their own right. But when Scott and Jen’s relationship eventually fell apart, John said he had every intention of remaining friends with Jen. “I can’t just turn off a friendship that I built with somebody because of the friend that I knew first,” he explained.

Advertisement

Breakups are hard on everyone, including the third parties who find themselves trapped in the middle. There are, however, steps you can take to ensure that everyone emerges as unscathed as possible.

Don’t feel obligated to take sides

In the aftermath of a breakup, it might seem that battle lines are being drawn. But assuming no one was grievously wronged, your friends should be mature enough that they don’t expect you to choose, said Shula Melamed, a relationship and wellbeing coach. If both parties are using you as a sounding board, it’s important to draw your own conclusions about the situation, and be cautious when it comes to committing your allegiance to one side or the other. After all, being friends with someone is very different than being in a relationship with them, and there are undoubtedly facets of your friends’ personalities that you know nothing about.

“When you’re in an emotional relationship, a sexual relationship, an intimate relationship with another person, it can really trigger other parts of your psychological profile,” Melamed said. “Things that as a friend, you might not ever be able to witness yourself because you don’t trigger that person in the same way that an intimate partner does.”

Another important component of remaining friends with both parties is transparency, said Elaine Swann, an etiquette expert and the founder of The Swann School of Protocol. She suggests starting by asking each friend how they feel about the fact that you intend to remain in contact with their now-ex.

“Maybe the person says, ‘Well, I know you’ve known [the other person] since childhood, and I’m okay with that, but I just don’t want to hear his name, ever,’” she said. Knowing how the other person feels about you keeping up with their ex will help you determine what you should and should not bring up in the future.

Advertisement

Be clear about boundaries

Getting caught in the middle of a breakup is a drag, but how it plays out depends on how communicative and mature the breakup-ees decide to be about it. Ideally, neither party will try to mine you for information about the other, but even if they don’t, it’s up to you to place limits on what you are and are not willing to talk about.

“The rule I keep for myself is, I try to kind of partition my relationship with both people, so I’m not going to talk about one person to the other person, or vice versa,” John said. “I don’t want to be involved in this picking at old wounds type of thing.”

In order to avoid getting pumped for info or dragged into placing blame, Melamed suggests steering the conversation back to the person you’re talking to.

“Ask them what they’ve been doing to take care of themselves throughout this process—how are they handling things? How are they doing? Just gently guiding the conversation back to their own process.” Breakups are incredibly painful, but they can also be a time of great self-discovery. Offer to take a class or do an activity with your friend—anything to help them move forward with their lives, and leave the past where it belongs.

Advertisement

If your friends are making unreasonable requests, like trying to prevent you from being friends with their now-ex, Swann recommends giving it some time and space. Particularly if the breakup is fresh, people can say and do things they won’t necessarily mean once the initial rawness has worn off. That said, if one party did something heinous to the other, it’s worth considering whether you even want that person in your life in the first place. “Birds of a feather flock together,” Swann points out. If someone cheats or acts in an abusive manner, do you really want to keep that person as a friend? “Definitely do that inventory check,” she said.

Don’t say anything you wouldn’t want repeated to the other friend

The truest line ever uttered by Jerry Seinfeld was this: “Elaine, breaking up is like knocking over a Coke machine. You can’t do it in one push. You gotta rock it back and forth a few times, and then it goes over.”

When it comes to amicable splits, very few people manage to make a clean break on their first try. This liminal stage is one that you, as a friend, need to be especially wary of. This is something that Katie experienced firsthand following the breakup of her friends, Elisa and Ryan. All three of them were part of the same friend group in college, but after a year of dating, the two decided to end it. But was it really that straightforward? Of course not.

“The thing that made it complicated was, you’ve got two very nice people, but they’re still hooking up randomly,” she said. “It wasn’t a clean breakup because there was still all this sex happening.” It being college, neither party was communicating effectively about what the sex meant: Elisa was convinced that the continued boning implied they’d be getting back together. Ryan thought no such thing.

“Elisa would often come to me and be upset, and so I’d listen to her a lot, and I did find myself getting kind of annoyed with Ryan, because he was allowing this to keep going,” Katie said.

Advertisement

While talking shit in this scenario might have provided temporary catharsis, it’s a good thing Katie didn’t. Because, surprise! A year later, Ryan and Elisa got back together; eventually, they married and had two kids. “They’re really happy together,” Katie confirmed.

In a situation like this, Melamed thinks that the safest bet is not to say anything you wouldn’t be comfortable with the other person hearing. “Think twice about what it is that you’re saying,” she said, because, “you don’t want to say something that you can never take back once they’re together again.”

When to keep your mouth shut, and when not to

Unless you’re dedicating a lot of time to strategically sparing your friends’ feelings, you’re probably going to wind up letting slip something that will touch a nerve. At one point after Scott and Jen broke up, John remembers telling Jen about a weekend trip he and several people—including Scott—had gone on together. “It’s a little weird that I’m hearing about a trip I would have been on if Scott and I been together,” Jen told him after.

Jen’s comment made John realize that even something as seemingly innocuous as recounting a fun weekend can sting, even if that wasn’t his intention. “I try to be conscientious of not trying to rub it in a person’s face that they clearly can’t come along on the group activities that they would have otherwise,” he said.

Katie said her rule of thumb is to be aware of her friends’ feelings, but not go overboard trying to avoid talking about the other person. When it comes to whether one person is moving on, “I try to be very mindful about not bringing that up, because it’s just not worth the headache,” she said.

Advertisement

While it’s definitely not necessary to mention every date a friend’s ex goes on, you also don’t want them to be the last person to know if they’re involved with someone else, Melamed said, since “you don’t want that person to feel like a fool.” Being the messenger of hurtful information is never fun, but being direct and leaving out unnecessarily details will hopefully blunt the trauma. “Be gentle with the information, but don’t lie to them,” she added. Sometimes, being a good friend means having to tell someone something you’d rather not. It sucks, but so do breakups. Be honest and mature, and don’t worry: The three of you will get through this.

*Some names have been changed to protect anonymity.

from Lifehacker http://bit.ly/2N0RGht
via IFTTT

How Brushless Motor and ESC Work

Standard

In this tutorial we will learn how brushless motor and ESC work. This article is the first part of the following video, where we will learn the working principle of a brushless DC motor and ESC (Electronic Speed Controller), and in the second part we will learn how to control BLDC motor using Arduino.

How It Works


A BLDC motor consist of two main parts, a stator and a rotor.  For this illustration the rotor is a permanent magnet with two poles, while the stator consists of coils arranged as shown in the picture below.

Brushless motor main parts - a stator and a rotor

We all know that if we apply current through a coil it will generate a magnetic field and the magnetic field lines or the poles depends on the current direction.

Magnetic field generated by current running through a coil

So if we apply the appropriate current, the coil will generate a magnetic field that will attract the rotors permanent magnet. Now if we activate each coil one after another the rotor will keep rotating because of the force interaction between permanent and the electromagnet.

Force interaction between permanent and electromagnet in BLDC Motor

In order to increase the efficiency of the motor we can wind two opposite coils as a single coil in way that will generate opposite poles to the rotors poles, thus we will get double attraction force.

Brushless motor coils electromagnets force interaction

With this configuration we can generate the six poles on the stator with just three coils or phase. We can further increase the efficiency by energizing two coils at the same time. In that way one coil will attract and the other coil will repel the rotor.

BLDC motor working principle

In order the rotor to make a full 360 degrees cycle, it need six steps or intervals.

BLDC Motor current waveform

If we take a look at the current waveform we can notice that in each interval there is one phase with positive current, one phase with negative current and the third phase is turned off. This gives the idea that we can connect the free end points of each of the three phases together and so we can share the current between them or use a single current to energize the two phases at the same time.

Here’s an example. If we pull up phase A High, or connect it to the positive DC voltage, with some kind of switch, for example a MOSFET, and on the other side, connect the phase B to ground, then the current will flow from VCC, through phase A, the neutral point and phase B, to ground. So, with just a single current flow we generated the four different poles which cause the rotor to move.

Generating 4 magnetic poles with just a single current flow - Brushless motor working principle

With this configuration we actually have a star connection of the motor phases, where the neutral point is internally connected and the other three ends of the phases come out of the motor and that’s why brushless motor have three wires coming out of it.

Brushless motor star connection

So, in order the rotor to make full cycle we just need to activate the correct two MOSFETS in each of the 6 interval and that’s what ESCs are actually all about.


 How a Stepper Motor Works

In this tutorial article you will learn how a stepper motor works. We will cover the basic working principles of stepper motors, their driving modes and… 


How does an ESC Work (Electronic Speed Controller)

An ESC or an Electronic Speed Controller controls the brushless motor movement or speed by activating the appropriate MOSFETs to create the rotating magnetic field so that the motor rotates. The higher the frequency or the quicker the ESC goes through the 6 intervals, the higher the speed of the motor will be.

How does an ESC Work - Electronic Speed Controller

However, here comes an important question, and that’s how do we know when to activate which phase. The answer is that we need to know the position of the rotor and there are two common methods used for determining the rotor position.

The first common method is by using Hall-effect sensors embedded in the stator, arranged equally 120 or 60 degrees from each other.

Brushless motor rotor position using Hall-effect sensors

As the rotors permanent magnets rotate the Hall-effect sensors sense the magnetic field and generate a logic “high” for one magnetic pole or logic “low” for the opposite pole. According to this information the ESC knows when to activate the next commutation sequence or interval.

The second common method used for determining the rotor position is through sensing the back electromotive force or back EMF. The back EMF occurs as a result of the exact opposite process of generating a magnetic field or when a moving or changing magnetic field pass through a coil it induces a current in the coil.

Back EMF in Brushless motor

So, when the moving magnetic field of the rotor pass through the free coil, or the one that’s not active, it will induce a current flow in coil and as result a voltage drop will occur in that coil. The ESC captures these voltage drops as they occur and based on them it predicts or calculates when the next interval should take place.

So that’s the basic working principle of brushless DC motors and ESCs and it’s the same even if we increase the number of poles of the both the rotor and the stator. We will still have a three-phase motor, only the number of intervals will increase in order to complete a full cycle.

Here we can also mention that BLDC motors can be inrunners or outrunners. An inrunner brushless motor has the permanent magnets inside the electromagnets, and vice versa, an outrunner motor has the permanent magnets outside the electromagnets. Again, they use the same working principle and each of them has its own strengths or weaknesses.

Inrunner vs outrunner brushless motor

 

Ok, that’s enough theory so now let’s demonstrate and see in real life what we explained above. For that purpose we will we connect the three phases of a brushless motor to an oscilloscope. I connected 3 resistors in a single point to make a virtual neutral point and on the other side I connected them to the three phases of the BLDC motor.

connecting a brushless motor to an oscilloscopeThe first thing that we can notice here are the three sine waves. These sine waves are actually the back EFM generated in the phases when they are not active.

BLDC motor Phases and Back EMF displayed on an Oscilloscope

We can see that as we change the RPM of the motor, the frequency of the sine waves changes and as well as their amplitude. The higher the RPM, the higher are the frequency and the amplitude of the back EMF sine waves. However, what drives the motor are actually these peaks, which are the active phases that generate the changing magnetic field.

BLDC motor phases activations displayed on a Rigol DS1054Z Oscilloscope

We can notice that at each interval, there are two active and one inactive phase. For example, here we have phase A and B active, while phase C is inactive. Then we have phase A and C active, while phase B is inactive, and so on.

Here I would like to give shout-out to Banggood.com for providing me this oscilloscope. It’s the Rigol DS1054Z and it’s one of the best entry-level oscilloscopes for its price point. It has four input channels, 50MHz bandwidth, which is hackable to 100MHz, it has a sampling rate of 1GSa/s and relatively large memory depth of 24Mpts.

Rigol DS1054Z SPI and I2C decoding

The display is 7 inches and it’s really nice and bright. It features various math functions, low pass and high pass filters, SPI and I2C decoding and much more. So again, big thanks to Banggood.com and make sure you check out this oscilloscope in their store.

Nevertheless, that’s the basic working principle of brushless motor. In case you want some more real live examples and learn how to control brusheless motors using Arduino you should check the part two of this tutorial.

Controlling brushless motor using Arduino and ESC

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and learned something new . Feel free to ask any question in the comments section below and don’t forget to check my collection of Arduino Projects.

The post How Brushless Motor and ESC Work appeared first on HowToMechatronics.

from HowToMechatronics http://bit.ly/2DrWHv6
via IFTTT

Burning Man nixes ‘Fyre Festival-style’ camp that charged up to $100,000

Standard

Burning Man, the annual weeklong arts and culture event in the Black Rock desert of Nevada, prides itself on the principle of “radical inclusion.” But that may no longer apply to exclusive camps for wealthy attendees that offer luxury amenities while fouling up the environment. 

In a blog post this weekend titled “Cultural Course Correcting,” Burning Man CEO Marian Goodell revealed a number of changes to ticket sales and camp placement for Burning Man 2019, to be held in August, that were widely praised by attendees. And for the first time in the event’s history, she publicly disinvited an entire camp.

That camp’s name was Humano the Tribe, one of the so-called “turnkey” or “plug and play” camps that caters to high-rolling attendees with prefab pads and personal “sherpas.” Some attendees have compared Humano’s presence to the Fyre Festival — both in terms of its audacious pricing and its incompetence.

A price list for Humano’s camp at Burning Man 2018, obtained by Mashable, shows accommodation starting at $25,000 for a 160 sq. ft. “Single Bedouin Tent” with minibar and AC. Prices go all the way up to $100,000 for a “Moon Village” with two bedrooms, a private bathroom, and “super-powerful AC.” That’s on top of a “tribal fee” of $2,000, the cost of “initiation.”

A 2018 Camp Humano brochure offers the "Maximum Comfort Arctic Cocoon," which reportedly costs $50,000 and was sold out at last year's event.

A 2018 Camp Humano brochure offers the “Maximum Comfort Arctic Cocoon,” which reportedly costs $50,000 and was sold out at last year’s event.

To put that in perspective, the price of a Burning Man ticket starts at $190 for low-income attendees and tops out at $1,200, a voluntary price for those who can afford it. “Main sale” tickets are $425. Median personal income for attendees in 2017, the latest year for which census data are available, was $60,000. 

Still, there has been an uptick in wealthy attendees in recent years, particularly those from Silicon Valley. Debate has raged for years about whether turnkey camps should be allowed, and the extent to which the rich are “participating” rather than “spectating” (spectators are a big Burning Man no-no). 

Humano, with its Facebook and Instagram pages full of models in basic Burner attire, and a camp layout that does not appear inviting to neighbors, would seem to be the poster child for everything that old-school Burners say has gone wrong with the event.

Humano did not respond to requests for comment. Reportedly the camp’s founders have claimed to the Burning Man organization that the price list is the work of a third-party concierge that added its own exorbitant fees. However, the price list document appears to have been created in the name of Humano co-founder and restaurant investor Santiago Gomez.

In any case, it was not the outrageous price list that was responsible for Humano’s de-invitation. It was the camp’s ignorance of the most sacred Burning Man tenet: Leave No Trace

Goodell described the camp as a “strain on resources” with multiple environmental citations from the BLM (Bureau of Land Management), which owns the land on which Burning Man is held, and multiple complaints from neighboring camps at the 2018 event.

What she didn’t mention, however, is that the camp was literally leaking toilet water. 

Humano's brochure

Humano’s brochure

Those private toilets were supposed to save $100,000-tier guests from the indignity of using the event’s many public Porta Potties. However, Burning Man sources say Humano arrived with PVC piping that did not properly connect to its toilets. Instead of fixing the problem with proper plumbing available 90 miles away in Reno, Humano simply duct-taped the piping. 

That led to what is euphemistically termed black water leaking onto the playa, which is about as much of a health hazard as you can get. Ironically, Humano’s brochure had promised a “green theme camp” with a workshop devoted to waste. 

The camp also had problems containing its post-washing grey water, and neglected to clean its dance floor of trash for several days after the organization inspected and requested it. Only a return visit with BLM rangers, who had local county sheriffs in tow, persuaded Humano to spring into action. 

Burning Man takes trash so seriously that it produces a “MOOP [matter out of place] map” every year, designed to shame camps that leave so much as a bottle cap. It is no spoiler for the as-yet-unreleased 2018 map to say that Humano’s location is deepest red.

The hits keep coming. Humano’s brochure claimed that its private chefs would focus on “raw and organic ingredients” from “local farms,” despite the fact that there are no farms local to the Black Rock Desert. Its art car vehicle, the “Tribe Car,” was said to be returning from a “one-year hibernation.” Left unsaid: that was because Burning Man’s own DMV (“Department of Mutant Vehicles) had banned it the previous year for various infractions. 

A lengthy Reddit thread devoted to Humano features various camp neighbors accusing them of “ruining multiple blocks” with MOOP and leaving trailers in areas zoned for other camps. There are also allegations that Humano’s packages were priced to include the companionship of multiple female models. 

Mashable was also shown unmet requests for refunds from Humano attendees who paid upwards of $130,000 for a stay in a luxury RV and didn’t get what they bargained for. 

And all this may be just the tip of the iceberg of bad camps. “There are a dozen other camps that have been sent warnings,” Goodell wrote. Those include one concierge-led group called China Village, and another called Pathogen Trackers

What remains to be seen is whether the organization can hold the worst excesses of such groups at bay before they destroy the host organism. 

from Mashable! http://bit.ly/2BvLtpe
via IFTTT