Tag Archives: youtube

The Pros and Cons of Police Sketches Science, Technology & Curiosity 13 SEP 2016

We tend to see facial composite or police sketch images in the news a lot. They’ve been around forever, and are essentially a graphical representation of an eyewitness’ memory of a face, as recorded by a composite (police sketch) artist. These are used pretty much exclusively by police as an aid in the investigation of serious crimes, though they are also sometimes used to reconstruct a victim’s face in hope of identifying them.

police-sketch-criminal-face

Therein lies the inherent problem however. Although there is a small success rate linked to the used of these identikits, this usually relies on the perpetrator having a really distinctive facial appearance. Human brains tend to process faces holistically, meaning that our ability to actually see (and remember) parts of the face when looking at a person and then recalling those pieces is not particularly great (never mind the fact that our recall of detail from memory is fallible to say the least!).

Vox had a look at this issue can produced a pretty good video around the topic:

As highlighted towards the end of the view, newer evolutionary systems based on full face recognition (like EvoFIT from the UK and ID from the University of Cape Town, South Africa) appear to hold a lot of promise going forward. Give it a couple of years and perhaps we may finally find it time to retire the venerable position of the police sketch artist?

Related Link: Vox | YouTube

The Origins of the Comic Book Font Science, Technology & Curiosity 02 SEP 2016

The basic font used in comic books is almost universally recognised – which is weird when you consider that there is no one comic book font.

Instead, fonts used in comic books generally all have the same look and feel, but for a very good reason – it all stems from the past where comic books were hand lettered, with the aim of getting as much information crammed into as small a space as possible, while at the same time keeping it legible enough despite the poor quality (read “super cheap”) of both paper and printing equipment of those early days.

comic book display

Vox’s Phil Edwards looked into it, and the result is this very slick video giving us a bit more information and history around the non-existent, yet universally recognised “comic book font”:

So, do you have a modern letterer whose comic book work you rather enjoy?

(I might not have a favourite, but I do know what I hate – the use of decorative cursive text in comic books. Those speech bubbles are pretty much entirely unreadable!)

Related Link: Vox | YouTube | Comicraft Fonts

Pills: Prescription Drug Ads on American TV Science, Technology & Curiosity 01 SEP 2016

One of the things that surprised me while I was over in the United States (California) this year was the sheer number and never ending stream of advertisements for prescription medicine on both television and radio.

It’s a ridiculous amount of hard, direct to consumer advertising that basically tells you if you feel something is slightly wrong, you should definitely see your doctor and ask him for drug X. (Thankfully though, the adverts are all forced to list major side effects of the advertised medicine as well, leading to quite interesting adverts where you learn that you can cure an upset stomach at the potential cost of developing low blood pressure).

medicinal-pills

Apparently in most parts of the world, this direct advertisement of prescription medicine to the public is deemed illegal, and I’m not sure as to whether or not that applies here in South Africa – but I do know that we don’t see half as many of these adverts as what the poor Americans are forced to sit through.

The team over at Vox had a look at this issue, weighing in on both the positive and negative impact that this massive surge in prescription medicine advertising on TV has on Americans:

A difficult one for sure. I suspect that I’m a bit on the fence here: I get the being better informed part definitely, but the concern of people pressuring doctors to prescribe medicine when it isn’t really necessary – that’s a bit worrying, isn’t it?

That said, this is America we are talking about. Rampant capitalism and all that…

Related Link: Vox | YouTube

How to Choose Your Sunscreen Science, Technology & Curiosity 31 AUG 2016

Skin cancer really is no joke, and now that we the general public are much better informed about the risks of staying out in the sun for extended periods of time, we tend to do a much better job of protecting ourselves.

However, the question still remains – which sunscreen should you choose?

Sun protection

Broadly speaking, the higher the SPF factor, the better the protection from the harmful UVA and UVB rays that penetrate the skin, damaging DNA and promoting cancer cell growth in the process. SPF30 is a good starting point, as it can block up to 97% of the harmful rays.

The next thing to consider then is whether to go for mineral or carbon-based solutions. Although thicker to apply than carbon-based solutions, mineral based sunscreens are usually less of a skin irritant if you have sensitive skin, and surprisingly have less of an environmental effect on the water in which you might be swimming.

Oh, and if you use the spray, make sure that you actually spray enough to form a thick (in other words useful) barrier!

Narrated by Julianna Zarzycki, Mary Poffenroth joins forces with TED-Ed to bring us this nicely animated explainer video:

Related Link: TED-Ed | YouTube

Gorilla Glass vs Sapphire Glass in Touchscreens Science, Technology & Curiosity 30 AUG 2016

Most of us are pretty familiar with the term “gorilla glass” when it comes to selecting which phone we need to next buy, but did you know just why gorilla glass is so tough? (Hint, it is strong on a molecular basis!)

gorilla kissing glass with reflection

And then there is the new kid on the block known as sapphire glass, which is more or less made from, well sapphire.

Linus Sebastian’s team at Techquickie have put together a great little video explaining Touchscreen Glass as fast as possible:

Not that you need it for smartphones as such, but if you are looking for glass resistant to thermal shock, then there is always Borosilicate glass to be considered…

The science of glass – who knew? ;)

Related Link: Techquickie YouTube | Gorilla Glass | Sapphire Glass

Netflix Worthwhile Watch: Apex: The Story of the Hypercar Fast Cars | Live-Action 12 AUG 2016

There is a lot of varied content on Netflix, which is great because you can pretty much always find something to watch which you haven’t seen before. I tend to favour watching documentaries on the odd occasion that I do find myself in front of the television, and one of the most interesting ones that I recently caught is definitely well worth the watch – particularly if you love beautiful fast cars!

mclaren p1 hypercar

APEX: The Story of the Hypercar is a slickly put together documentary detailing the rise of the hypercar, a class of car that is so exotic, so beautiful, so rare and so unobtainable!

The current era of the hypercar (essentially supercars that are elevated to even higher levels of perfomance, perfection and price) is exciting for any petrolhead, and APEX (which was put together over a period of 3 years by a team lead by directors Josh Vietze, J.F. Musial) stitches interviews with car journalists and car creators together with jaw dropping footage of these cars in action against a variety of exquisite backdrops all across the world.

All the big names seem to be chasing the move to electric/petrol hybrids, with the result being a stunning subset of cars that include the likes of the Porsche 918, McLaren P1, Ferrari LaFerrari, and now the Koenigsegg One:1 (on which the film does focus quite a bit).

Also featured is the Pagani Huayra and the nod of the head to the original hypercar, the Bugatti Veyron.

Pulse pounding stuff!

Related Link: Apex Website | Trailer

East West: South Africans Zabroad travel to Thailand Travel Attractions 08 AUG 2016

Following the launch of their great East West: South Africans Zabroad YouTube travel show, the husband and wife team of Retha and Miguel Sanchez have since followed up their initial South Korea exploration with a move of focus to Thailand, where they interviewed South Africans living and working in both Phuket and Bangkok.

moored boat in crystal clear water on a beach at phuket, thailand

As per usual, it’s pretty interesting to hear how fellow South Africans are adapting to and enjoying the new culture and norms, but of course it is the stunning visuals accompanying these interviews that are the real stars of this show!

Episode 4 jumps to Phuket, where property owner Gert Loubser, holiday makers Nox & Fumane, and Justin & Reinhardt share their impressions and tips on making your Thailand experience unforgettable.

Next up, episode 5 then concludes the Phuket leg of the show, featuring interviews with Louis Baartman, Paul & Nadia, and Tieka van Rensburg. There are also beach excursions and a visit to rural Phuket – as well as a braai!

Leaving the beaches of Phuket behind, episode 6 next explores Bangkok’s temples and floating markets, with South Africans Sally, Matt & Dan thrown in the mix:

Finally, episode 7 sees the second part of the team’s Bangkok visit, interviewing Marce, Mandi & Krige in the process. They take a stroll down Khao San Road, see 1600 pandas and enjoy fancy cocktails at the Sky Bar!

Thailand is a pretty popular holiday destination for South Africans given our relatively weak currency (in other words, it is a more affordable overseas holiday than most!), but having seen all this, I have to say, I wouldn’t mind going for a break there either!

thailand elephant spraying man with water

The team has since taken a short break to walk the famous Camino de Santiago in Spain (which went very well based on their Instagram account – and Chantelle’s Whatsapp chats with Retha!),  and with East West now based in Spain for the next short while, we can definitely look forward to some “South Africans in Europe” tales hitting YouTube pretty soon!

Related Link: East West | YouTube

How does Garlic Grow? Science, Technology & Curiosity 06 AUG 2016

It is no surprise that Garlic is considered a super food these days, with this plant having been used both for food flavouring and traditional medicine for thousands of years now. Native to central Asia, Garlic has of course traversed the world and garlic crops can be found pretty much anywhere these days.

garlic field being picked

Nicole Cotroneo Jolly and her team over at How Does it Grow? put together a fantastically slick video showing us just how garlic is grown and farmed on a commercial scale in the USA:

Next up, the New Zealand team at POD Gardening show us just how to go about planting our own garlic, with the big things to take away from the process being to make sure that you have the soil well prepared and getting the garlic cloves the right distance away from one another as well as below the soil (Oh, and pointy end up!):

Related Link: Garlic | YouTube | How Does it Grow? | POD Gardening

How do Peanuts Grow? Science, Technology & Curiosity 03 AUG 2016

Peanuts do not grow on trees. In fact, peanut pods develop under the ground, which is relatively unusual when it comes to crop plants. This nutritious little snack is in fact not a nut but a legume, and is apparently a relatively easy to grow plant that tends to be great for the soil thanks the symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria that hang about the root nodules.

hand holding peanut plant

I’ve rooted around and dug up three nice YouTube videos that tells us a bit more about how peanuts are grown, as well as the interesting way in which they get mechanically harvested these days.

First up is Maddie Moate, a British Television Presenter, Writer and YouTube “Edutainer”:

Next up is a video by Pilgrim Prepper, who shows us a peanut plant crop, as well as a quick introduction to the harvesting process:

Finally, we have a video from msfirefighter662, showing us how a peanut crop is mechanically harvested and giving a good explanation of all the machinery used in the process. Interesting fact, peanuts are quite a big crop in the USA, with a lot of them being grown in the Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina areas:

Kind of makes me want to plant peanuts in my garden (read soil patch) now.

Related Link: Peanut | Maddie Moate | Pilgrim Prepper | msfirefighter662