You can now watch every Marvel movie scene in chronological order, starting in 2987 BC

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Marvel Studios has made it a selling point that every frame it produces lives in the same continuous universe. So what if you wanted to watch it in order? Not based on release dates but the narrative itself — from a 2987 BC flashback in Thor: The Dark World through the Battle of New York in The Avengers?

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Statistical Modelling and Analysis of Big Data

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There is a one day work­shop on this topic on 23 Feb­ru­ary 2015 at QUT in Bris­bane. I will be speak­ing on “Visu­al­iz­ing and fore­cast­ing big time series data”.
OVERVIEW

Big data is now endemic in busi­ness, indus­try, gov­ern­ment, envi­ron­men­tal man­age­ment, med­ical sci­ence, social research and so on. One of the com­men­su­rate chal­lenges…

Xiaomi’s Apple-inspired gadgets have made it a $46 billion company

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After raising $1.1 billion in new capital, Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has been valued at $46 billion. This means it’s worth more in the eyes of investors than even over-performing Uber (currently valued at $41 billion) and is now the most valuable ventured-backed tech startup in the world. That’s not only testament to the company’s growth — sales are up by 300 percent year on year — but it even managed to produce a small profit of $56 million last year. Dedicated apps have kept customers loyal (and offered alternatives to Google services blocked in China) while its online-only sales approach has created hype and saved money on stores. There’s just one element of Xiaomi’s business that will never be acknowledged: its debt to Apple.

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Biz2Credit Gets $250 Million Commitment

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Screen Shot 2014-12-29 at 12.08.04 PM Lending startups are en vogue this year, with LendingClub and OnDeck planting the flag for the industry in public markets (and offering healthy returns to investors). But there’s a crop of other lenders and service providers waiting in the wings, like Biz2Credit, which just received a $250 million commitment from investment firm Direct Lending Investments. Read More

Microsoft reportedly working on brand new web browser for Windows 10

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Microsoft is said to be at work on an all new web browser, codenamed Spartan, that could officially move the company away from Internet Explorer upon the launch of Windows 10. ZDNet reports that the new app is not Internet Explorer 12, the next iteration of Microsoft’s longtime browser that we’d typically expect alongside another major Windows release.

Instead, it seems that the company is planning to start anew with a web browser that looks and feels “more like Chrome and Firefox” according to ZDNet. But despite a new appearance (and perks like extensions), this new browser would retain the foundations of Microsoft’s current web technology. The new software will continue to utilize the Chakra JavaScript engine and Trident rendering…

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Take a look at polaroids from the set of Star Wars IV: A New Hope

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With enough time, the most ordinary objects can become extraordinary. These polaroids, on display through January 4th, 2015 at the British Film Institute Southbank as part of an exhibition of materials from the set of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, were taken by crew member Ann Skinner. She’s credited for continuity, also known as script supervisor. It was typical in that time for script supervisors to use instant photographs to supplement quickly written documentation of a scene’s set-up. Was Darth Vader facing left or right? Was Princess Leia wearing a bracelet in this scene? And at which point did Luke Skywalker lift his lightsaber? Here’s an example of Skinner’s notated script:

The job is incredibly stressful, requiring a…

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Reading Excel Spreadsheets with Python and xlrd

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Previously, we looked at how to create Microsoft Excel (i.e. *.xls) files using the xlwt package. Today we will be looking at how we can read an *.xls/*.xlsx file using a package called xlrd. The xlrd package can be run on Linux and Mac as well as Windows. This is great when you need to process an Excel file on a Linux server.

We will start out by reading the first Excel file we created in our…

Uber to improve driver screening in Delhi as it looks to resume operations

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Uber says that it will take additional steps to screen drivers in Delhi as it petitions the city’s government to allow it to resume operations. The new security measures come following the alleged rape of an Uber passenger by one of its drivers, which led to the service being banned under taxi regulations. Uber now says that it will hire a “local team of specially-trained safety experts” to ensure that its drivers aren’t using forged documents. It also intends to implement some type of background screenings, though it does not say what those will be yet. The new measures appear, in part, to respond to criticisms that surfaced in a Fortune article discussing issues with police verification and forged documents in Delhi. Uber also intends…

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The year’s best newscast bloopers will make you glad you don’t work on camera

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Every year hundreds of newscasters try to bring the public the most important events on the global, national, and local scale, and ever year things go terribly wrong and someone ends up making an awful double entendre or getting hit by a skateboard. The annual collection of best news bloopers is online. Watch it with your teeth cringed and your hands covering your face, knowing if your job were on camera this would be you.

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