Mel Wells:

Wow Samsung. When you get a brand new phone and go to take a selfie and realise that the default setting on the front camera is automatically on “Beauty level 8” which evidently means: seriously airbrushed face. This means everyone who gets a new Samsung phone and flicks the front camera on is automatically being told “Hi, we’re Samsung and we think you look way better when we automatically airbrush your selfies for you

Not surprising, but still somewhat disturbing that it’s the default setting.

Rain Noe:

Over the weekend Anton Yelchin, the 27-year-old actor known for playing Chekov in the recent Star Trek movies, was killed in what was referred to as “a freak accident” in his Los Angeles driveway. But was it really “freak?” It seems to us that lousy design may have played a role.

Yelchin was found crushed between his car, a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee, and the security gate at the end of his driveway. It appears that Yelchin had exited his car and walked behind it, perhaps to close the gate, and apparently believed the transmission was in “Park.” Instead it appears it was actually in “Reverse” or “Neutral” and the car rolled down his steep driveway, killing him.

Watch the video. It’s insane how much more effort is required for the shifter. Let alone the dramatic lack of precision and feedback.

Great Article by iA on icons and their widespread use and misuse. Loved this quote in particular:

Design is not a natural science. It’s a practice that benefits from science and measurement, yet the full quality of a design cannot be objectively assessed in theory. User tests and analytics do not replace your designers, but verify their assumptions. There is more in a product than the designer can premeditate and there is more in a design than we can measure. This “more” can only be reached when we talk to humans working with it.

NASA:

Analysis was performed on the Kepler space telescope’s July 2015 planet candidate catalog, which identified 4,302 potential planets. For 1,284 of the candidates, the probability of being a planet is greater than 99 percent – the minimum required to earn the status of “planet.” An additional 1,327 candidates are more likely than not to be actual planets, but they do not meet the 99 percent threshold and will require additional study. The remaining 707 are more likely to be some other astrophysical phenomena. This analysis also validated 984 candidates previously verified by other techniques.

“Before the Kepler space telescope launched, we did not know whether exoplanets were rare or common in the galaxy. Thanks to Kepler and the research community, we now know there could be more planets than stars,” said Paul Hertz, Astrophysics Division director at NASA Headquarters. “This knowledge informs the future missions that are needed to take us ever-closer to finding out whether we are alone in the universe.”

Nuts

Guy 3D prints his own teeth alignment molds:

As far as I know, I’m the first person to have tried DIY-ing plastic aligners. They’re much more comfortable than braces, and fit my teeth quite well. I was pleased to find, when I put the first one on, that it only seemed to put any noticeable pressure on the teeth that I planned to move- a success! I’ve been wearing them all day and all night for 16 weeks, only taking them out to eat. I’m planning on fabricating a bunch of retainers for the current position, which I can use – till I die – at night. They also happen to work very well as perfectly fitting whitening trays, when trimmed down a tiny bit. They’re also fantastic night guards- they’ve been protecting my teeth from nighttime grinding, without being bulky.

And, most importantly, I feel like I can freely smile again. That’s what’s most important.

Impressive.

Territory Studio created hundreds of screen graphics for the motion picture The Martian and they’re great:

As a story that is mediated by technology, hundreds of screens are employed across eight key sets, forming the lens through which the drama unfolds.

Working closely with NASA, Territory developed a series of deft and elegant concepts that combine factual integrity and filmic narrative, yet are forward looking and pushing NASA’s current UI conventions as much as possible.

Awesome.

Extreme Tech:

Back in 1999, scientists slowed light down to just 17 meters per second, and then two years later the same research group stopped light entirely — but only for a few fractions of a second. Earlier this year, the Georgia Institute of Technology stopped light for 16 seconds — and now, the University of Darmstadt has stopped light for a whole minute.

Fascinating article by Ben Popper on MLB’s Advanced Media division:

The latest expression of this boundless initiative is Statcast, a big data approach to sports that only a major league nerd could love. High-speed cameras and radar installed in every stadium capture the game in three dimensions and allow for real-time tracking and tabulation of each motion a player makes on the field. Fans watching an amazing replay of a diving catch can learn exactly how fast that outfielder’s first step was, if he broke in the right direction, and how that compares to his historical average.

Baseball has always had a strong statistical element to it. This just takes it one step further.

Great excerpt from a LWN.com article:

Krekel quoted former Facebook researcher Jeff Hammerbacher, who said: “The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads. That Sucks.” Instead of spending time on “getting us into space, flying cars, or whatever”, the best minds in IT are focused on how to get people to click more ads.

Web advertising has become invasive and hostile regardless of the platform. The advertising-driven business models have put reputable sites in a bad position, they either make less money or provide a better experience. This plus the above note make me think that this topic isn’t getting the attention it deserves.