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Photography #175

A few of these are from the drive from VA to Alabama. They’re all taken from the car so it’s basically reverse sports photography. They’re also taken with the 85mm fixed lens which means no zooming to compensate for slow reflexes at 70mph.1 It does make the trip go much faster when you’re playing this game. 1 That’s either bragging or excuse making for less than perfect images.

Screenshot of a design context website where the weather data is being pulled via API.

PHP Middleware for Keeping Your JS API Secrets Secret

Origin Story We were looking to pull in live weather data for a eco-related design contest that VCU Qatar is hosting. I found a free API for weather but wanted a way to use it via javascript and not expose any secrets. That led to the script below. Many APIs have query strings that require app IDs or other authentication elements you’d rather not have exposed to the public. Even if you can restrict access to your own sites, you might still want a bit more privacy. In this scenario PHP acts as middleware and only returns the public data while hiding all the secrets. Line #1 tells us which API endpoint and parameters we’re using. Line #2 gets the data from our API with our fully authenticated URL. Line #3 tells the browser that the page we’re making is JSON and it should treat it accordingly. Line #4 lets other sites access the data. You can learn more about some CORS options over here. Line #5 spits the data back out.

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Weekly Web Harvest for 2020-01-05

daviddao/awful-ai: ?Awful AI is a curated list to track current scary usages of AI – hoping to raise awarenessAwful AI is a curated list to track current scary usages of AI – hoping to raise awareness to its misuses in society Wireheading: when machine learning systems jolt their reward centers by cheating / Boing Boing these systems (AI) achieve their notional goals while subverting their own purpose, with names like “model stealing, rewarding hacking and poisoning attacks.” — so just like what happens with people and data . . . 10 Reasons Why You Should NOT Get your MLS (Master of Lighthouse Science) – McSweeney’s Internet TendencyToo many waves? Want to tone down that Nor’easter? Ghost pirates stepped out of the fog again and created hazardous working conditions? Hah. Good luck getting the ocean to respond to that email. –and the last one re online edu . . . Can I realistically avoid services that are part of my education? : privacyh/t Doug Levin on Twitter The 100 Worst Ed-Tech Debacles of the DecadeSteve Jobs wouldn’t let his kids have iPads. Bill Gates wouldn’t let his kids have cellphones. Again and again, the media told stories — wildly popular stories, apparently — about how technology industry executives refuse to allow their own children to use the very products they were […]

A guinea fowl.

Photography #174

We went to explore the headwaters of the Chickahominy River which is not far from our house. The skimboard attempts were semi-successful. I remain fascinated with these trees. Tried drinking their sap one time. It was not maple syrup. The reverse of sports photography is trying to take pictures while driving down the road at 70 mph (112 kph). These shots are on the return trip from Alabama. Darkness called an end to the attempts at some point. I’ll make another post with the shots coming from VA to Alabama. I love this building. Someday I will stop and go take proper photographs. It looks like it’s close enough to Ruby Falls to justify doing that before the building gets torn down. I have photographs of it going back a number of years so who knows how much longer I can delay.Time slips away and leaves you with nothing mister but boring pictures of strip malls. I repeat that doing this with an 85mm lens from the car is an interesting challenge. You do see so many more things if you look. Dystopian roadside. That color water always reminds me of Alabama. The Birmingham Zoo was mediocre. I was chastised for being less wary of a cassowary than they desired. Wildness remains strictly controlled. One piece of pine straw . […]

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Weekly Web Harvest for 2019-12-29

How one astronomer hears the UniverseI presented users with simulated data of astronomical spectra and asked them to look for a characteristic double peak that indicates a black hole. We had people try to identify signals that were masked by noise by using vision only, by combining visual interaction and sound, and by using audio only. We found that when you combine audio with visual interaction, your sensitivity to the signal improves. That tells us we need to focus on a transition to studying how these methods can benefit everyone, not only visually impaired people. Thank You For Joining Our Gym and Thereby Helping Us Avoid a Devastating Legal Battle With The Producers of the Hit History Channel Show, Vikings – McSweeney’s Internet Tendency“Maybe I don’t want to transform my body,” you might say. “Maybe my body is fine just as it is!” Let’s be clear: Your body is not fine as it is. Your body is weak, fleshy, and wholly unable to plunder a Scandinavian village with brutal efficiency.