Watch how machine learning can enhance low-light images

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At this year’s Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, researcher Chen Chen presented a cool project that vastly improves the quality of images captured in low-light conditions.

Via his presentation:

Imaging in low light is challenging due to low photon count and low SNR. Short-exposure images suffer from noise, while long exposure can induce blur and is often impractical. A variety of denoising, deblurring, and enhancement techniques have been proposed, but their effectiveness is limited in extreme conditions, such as video-rate imaging at night. To support the development of learning-based pipelines for low-light image processing, we introduce a dataset of raw short-exposure low-light images, with corresponding long-exposure reference images. Using the presented dataset, we develop a pipeline for processing low-light images, based on end-to-end training of a fully-convolutional network. The network operates directly on raw sensor data and replaces much of the traditional image processing pipeline, which tends to perform poorly on such data. We report promising results on the new dataset, analyze factors that affect performance, and highlight opportunities for future work.

Here’s the full project page for more information.

Let’s enhance!

• CVPR 2018: Learning to See in the Dark (YouTube / Chen Chen)

There’s going to be scratch-and-sniff postage stamps this summer

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On June 20, the U.S. Postal Service will roll out Frozen Treats, the first ever scratch-and-sniff stamps. Artist Margaret Berg of Santa Monica, California created the watercolored illustrations of ice pops featured on these special First-Class Mail Forever postage stamps.

The stamps feature illustrations of frosty, colorful, icy pops on a stick. Today, Americans love cool, refreshing ice pops on a hot summer day. The tasty, sweet confections come in a variety of shapes and flavors.
Ice pops are made by large manufacturers, home cooks and artisanal shops. In recent years, frozen treats containing fresh fruit such as kiwi, watermelon, blueberries, oranges and strawberries have become more common. In addition, flavors such as chocolate, root beer and cola are also popular. Some frozen treats even have two sticks, making them perfect for sharing.

The stamps are available for pre-order now.

How Wim Hof, “The Iceman,” withstands such extreme temperatures

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Dutch extreme athlete Wim Hof is known for chilly feats like the world’s longest ice bath and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in just a pair of shorts. (Hof is the subject of the recent New York Times bestseller “What Doesn’t Kill Us: How Freezing Water, Extreme Altitude, and Environmental Conditioning Will Renew Our Lost Evolutionary Strength” by Scott Carney.) Now, researchers from Wayne State University’s School of Medicine recently used an MRI scanner to explore the science behind Hof’s dangerous stunts. From Smithsonian:

Hof attributes his success to what he has dubbed the Wim Hof Method, a type of conditioning that involves a series of breathing exercises he says anyone can replicate. Rather than by luck or accident, Hof says he learned his technique by trial and error while going out into nature: “I had to find the interconnection of my brain together with my physiology….”

Musik found that, when exposed to cold, Hof activates a part of the brain that releases opioids and cannabinoids into the body. These components can inhibit the signals responsible for telling your body you are feeling pain or cold, and trigger the release of dopamine and serotonin. The result, Musik says, is a kind of euphoric effect on the body that lasts for several minutes.

“Your brain has the power to modify your pain perception,” he says, adding that this mechanism is particularly important for human survival. Pain, and the feeling of cold, are basically your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. Since humans instinctively look to remove the source of pain or alleviate any sensation of cold, feeling hurt can help us survive.

Brain over body”–A study on the willful regulation of autonomic function during cold exposure(NeuroImage)

Peter Egan talks about his 1976 BMW R90 S and some other bike

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Without question the 1976 BMW R90s is the high watermark of motorcycle design and engineering. I absolutely love mine. Listening to Peter Egan, a legendary motorcycle journalist, talk about his and some other bike he compares it to, is a lot of fun.

If Egan had a Daytona Orange model no one would have noticed the other bike. Daytona Orange is not only faster, it handles better.

Free pulp sci-fi, mystery, crime and fantasy magazines? Yes please!

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I love low-rent pulp magazines from the 1920s right through to the early 1980s. Trashy, flashy and a constant pleasure to read, I used to own a ton of the things in varying conditions. If I saw it and it was still in a condition where I could read it, I’d fork over folding money for the privilege of inhaling the smell of rotting, low quality paper and the sweet sense of abuse one can enjoy at the mercy of ham-handed prose. Unfortunately, I had to unload my collection a few years back: there was just no room for it in the nomadic lifestyle that my wife and I are currently living—paying for a storage space to keep stuff I just don’t need is an entanglement that I’m not OK with.

Thankfully, the good people at Open Culture discovered that a cache of over 11,000 pulp magazines has been digitized and posted online where pulp geeks like me can access them for the low, low price of free.

The Pulp Magazine Archive contains treasures printed on low-quality paper that have publication dates ranging from the late 1800s through to the 1950s. Each magazine in the Archive can be viewed online using the website or downloaded in a number of formats to be read offline, including options for use with tablets, Kindle and Kobo e-readers.

I don’t know about you, but my downtime for the next few years is spoken for.

Image via The Pulp Magazine Archive

Fascinated woodpecker pecks all around a Tesla Model 3 while the nervous owner tells it to stop

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This curious woodpecker is captivated by a Tesla Model 3, which is parked at a campsite in Yosemite. The bird checks out the entire car, pecking at the metal and glass as it moves from the passenger side to the front of the car and then on to the driver’s side.

You can hear an amused yet nervous man’s voice in the background: “What are you doing to my car? You better not crack my glass. Nope..Hey! What are you doing?!” In the end, the woodpecker decides a tree is more interesting.

Couple suing overgrown 30-year-old son for not moving out of their house

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A couple in Syracuse, New York have a 30-year-old son, Michael Rotondo, who is an unwanted guest in their house. He doesn’t pay rent or any house expenses, he doesn’t help out with the house chores, and he won’t respond to five written requests from his parents to please move the fuck out already. They’ve even offered to help him out as he gets his new start, but he won’t budge. So, at their wits’ end, the parents are suing the boy.

And it sounds like the millennial isn’t just stubborn, he’s a snot about it too.

According to Mashable, he responded to the parents’ reasons for suing (not doing chores or paying rent) with: “Under this legal reasoning, my parents probably should have sued me when I was a kid.”

They will all go to court later this month, about seven weeks before Mikey’s 31st birthday.

Image: Martin Taras. – DVD “Super Clásicos Infantiles”., Public Domain, Link

Publix censors graduation cake to remove the cum from “Summa Cum Laude”

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Cara Koscinksi ordered a graduation cake from the John’s Island Publix, requesting the phrase “Congrats Jacob! Summa Cum Laude Class of 2018”. Publix ruined the order by removing “cum”, because “cum” is “profane.”

A $70 cake!! He earned a 4.79 GPA. Publix refused to write the words Summa Cum Laude because I was using ‘profanity!’ They put three dashes instead of the word!

How utterly ridiculous and I will be speaking to a manager for a refund. Shame on you Publix for turning an innocent

Latin phrase into a total embarrassment for having to explain to my son and others (including my 70 year old mother) about this joke of a cake. My son was humiliated!!! I seriously couldn’t make this crap up!!!!

What better day to explain “cum” to great grandma?

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