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Chris Dolan
Worked at Sony Creative Software
Attended University of Wisconsin-Madison
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Chris Dolan

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Today was my last day working at Sony Creative Software. I left on good terms, and I wish all of my former co-workers the very best. There are some cool projects going on at Sony (some I've already talked about and some I can't talk about) so I believe they have an interesting future.

I'm starting a new job in January that I'm very excited about, but I'll wait to talk about that later. For today, I'll just cheer for Sony and thank them for being a fun and rewarding and educational place to work.
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P.S. I may continue to post notes about Sony in the future, but I can stop qualifying my comments with things like "(I work for Sony, but have no affiliation with the X division)" :-)
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This video is awesome!
 
"Let's make the facts louder than the opinions." 
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it's amazing really 
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Cephalopods only have one kind of receptor in their eyes, so their vision should be just black and white. But their weird pupil shapes introduce chromatic aberration so they detect color via spatial shifts on their retina. So they effectively have spectrographs for eyes!
 
Cephalopod Pupils

Octopus and other cephalopods seem to use colour, including in some cases to match their skin colour and pattern to their backgrounds, and yet they only have a single-type of monochromatic photoreceptor in their retina. Other animals, like us, perceive colour thanks to photoreceptors tuned to different frequency ranges of light. In the past researchers have proposed that mechanisms in the skin of cephalopods may detect colours, but only one type of opsin has been found in the skin, even via the recent octopus genetic sequencing effort, nor has a method of filtering that single known opsin response been found.

UC Berkeley graduate student Alexander Stubbs and others believe that they have a possible answer; the strange dumbbell, u- and w-shaped pupils of cephalopods may be used to allow light to reach multiple areas of the retina simultaneously, to create a blurred image with chromatic aberration or colour fringes which can be interpreted by the cephalopod to perceive colour at the expense of sharpness.

“We propose that these creatures might exploit a ubiquitous source of image degradation in animal eyes, turning a bug into a feature,” Stubbs said. “While most organisms evolve ways to minimize this effect, the U-shaped pupils of octopus and their squid and cuttlefish relatives actually maximize this imperfection in their visual system while minimizing other sources of image error, blurring their view of the world but in a color-dependent way and opening the possibility for them to obtain color information.”

More here (press release): https://goo.gl/KklcYo

Video (YT ~4 mins.): https://goo.gl/7QeiyC

[...]
As a specific example, we constructed a computer model of the visual system of cephalopods (octopus, squid, and cuttlefish) that have a single unfiltered photoreceptor type. We compute a quantitative image quality budget for this visual system and show how chromatic blurring dominates the visual acuity in these animals in shallow water. We quantitatively show, through numerical simulations, how chromatic aberration can be exploited to obtain spectral information, especially through nonaxial pupils that are characteristic of coleoid cephalopods.
[...]

More here (paper open): https://goo.gl/gNV60Z

Image: https://goo.gl/OsFAFP
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Does they have any effect.... 
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That's a very cool ad, much better than any of Google's Android ads in my opinion.

(I work for Sony, but have no affiliation with the mobile division)
 
Sony releases Xperia Android Nougat highlight video http://bit.ly/2gPTigC
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I continue to be astonished by the discoveries about Pluto in the last year or so. I really expected we'd find a simple dead rock, like Mercury or the Moon (with more ice). But an active, wobbly, wet world? I never dreamed it.
And what it found was a world swimming, literally, with possibilities.
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lol,really.

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It's not a big surprise that our bodies are deeply adapted to operating in gravity. The subtle effects of zero-g make sense in retrospect, but it's interesting how few were known in advance. (or maybe they were predicted but not popularized??)
 
Astronauts who return to Earth after long-duration space missions suffer from untreatable nearsightedness. Scientists have now isolated the cause, but finding a solution to the problem will prove easier said than done.
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+eko aguspian that's right
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dinosaur feathers in amber! w00t!
 
What you see in the picture below are dinosaur feathers.

This is a part of the tail of a young coelurosaur, a member of the group of dinosaurs including both modern birds and T. Rex. It lived in the mid-Cretaceous, around 99 million years ago, in what is today northern Myanmar; the fine structures you see in this picture (and which you can see in more detail at the link below, and even more in the paper) are early feathers, chestnut-brown on the top and white on the underside. These early feathers (and the tail going with them) would not have allowed flight; they may have been used as plumage, or for temperature regulation (like fur).

Above the tail, you can see a Cretaceous ant, showing that some things never change.

If you want to learn more, you can read the entire paper at http://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(16)31193-9 , and the supplementary information at http://www.cell.com/cms/attachment/2075122016/2069586832/mmc1.pdf ; each of those contains many more pictures, together with all sorts of other things we have learned about this creature.

But yes, it is quite clear that (at least some) dinosaurs had feathers.

h/t +Kimberly Chapman
To scientists' delight, the incredible appendage from 99 million years ago is covered in feathers.
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Fantastique 
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I agree with this, but even more I think Google just needs a softer trigger name/phrase. I actually find "OK Google" difficult to enunciate clearly if I haven't spoken in a while. That guttural series of consonants disagrees with me, primarily because k and g are both velar stops (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Velar_stop).
 
I say "hey Google" which makes this less annoying for me. Of course if I got to name my assistant the name would give away a lot about me.

The person who says "hey mazikeen" is very different to the person who says "hey genie"
After one month, I give up. I just can't get over Google Home's biggest flaw.
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I'd like to be able to give my own artificial assistant (AA) his/her own name, and personality.
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This is an enlightening analysis of the Galaxy Note battery problems. I recommend reading the original report (https://www.instrumental.ai/blog/2016/12/1/aggressive-design-caused-samsung-galaxy-note-7-battery-explosions) which is not much longer or more complicated than the Android Central summary :-)
 
A new report claims Galaxy Note 7 batteries exploded because they were too big for their own good
*Instrumental* report says there wasn't sufficient clearance between the battery and its enclosure, and manufacturing tolerances led to the battery being squeezed.
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This is a fantastic article, very readable if you know TCP. It delves into the latency vs. bandwidth issues very thoroughly and describes a new control algorithm that optimizes both without needing to be deployed everywhere to work.

My very favorite part is the explanation of their "uncertainty principle" -- you can't simultaneously measure ping time and bandwidth for a connection (RTT and bottleneck bandwidth really) because to measure maximum bandwidth you need to saturate the pipe which increases latency due to queuing and to measure minimum latency you need an empty queue because any non-empty queues increase the RTT (= round-trip time)

So, the BBR algorithm cycles through RTT-seeking, Bandwidth-seeking modes, and Normal modes. In RTT mode, it deliberately rate-limits the sender to let any queues drain a bit while in Bandwidth mode, it deliberately sends packets slightly faster than it thinks the pipe can handle to see if you get the expected latency increase or not. In normal mode, it uses the data collected in other modes to send packets at exactly the speed that maximizes bandwidth without increasing RTT.

Bravo +Neal Cardwell +Yuchung Cheng +Soheil Hassas Yeganeh et al!
 
Google's new TCP BBR congestion control algorithm paper is now fully available online. The title is both hysterical, and accurate: "Congestion based Congestion control" - http://queue.acm.org/detail.cfm?id=3022184

One more nail in the coffin of #bufferbloat .
Networks · Download PDF version of this article PDF. December 1, 2016. Volume 14, issue 5. BBR: Congestion-Based Congestion Control. Measuring bottleneck bandwidth and round-trip propagation time. Neal Cardwell, Yuchung Cheng, C. Stephen Gunn, Soheil Hassas Yeganeh, Van Jacobson.
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Wow, the frontend code for theguardian.com is all open source and on github. The bits I looked are all written in Scala, and the code is quite readable.
frontend - Source for theguardian.com
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This animations show the remarkably complex process of deploying the James Webb telescope. That sure looks like a lot of opportunities for failure...

h/t http://www.npr.org/2016/11/28/503166625/some-assembly-required-new-space-telescope-will-take-shape-after-launch
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Awesome
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Chris's Collections
Story
Tagline
programmer, cyclist, gamer, former astronomer
Bragging rights
#1 Google result for "constellations"; Toughest bicycle ride: 125 miles + 11,000 ft climbing
Education
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison
    Astronomy, PhD, 1994 - 2000
  • Cornell University
    Astronomy, 1990 - 1994
  • Derryfield School
    1986 - 1990
Work
Occupation
Programmer, software architect
Employment
  • Sony Creative Software
    Staff Software Engineer, 2012 - 2016
  • Avid Technology
    Sr Principal Software Engineer, 2007 - 2012
  • Clotho Advanced Media
    Sr Software Developer, 2001 - 2007
  • Univ Wisconsin, Astronomy Dept
    Research Assistant, 1994 - 2000