‘Russia isn’t only pursuing its territorial ambitions in Ukraine and other former Soviet states. It’s particularly active in the Arctic Circle, and, until recently, these efforts engendered international cooperation, not conflict. But the Crimean crisis has complicated matters.’ – Uri Friedman (The Atlantic).
‘Like the proverbial crook who returns to the scene of the crime, the architects of the Bush administration’s torture program are suddenly ubiquitous in its defense. Oddly enough, it doesn’t seem to be a coordinated effort. It’s just coincidence, mixed with the understandable belief that no negative repercussions will follow from doing so.’ (The Wire).
‘One of the upsides to the seemingly endless winter of 2014 was that you had time to think. And to ask futuristic questions, such as: What will the American Winter of 2114 be like?’ (The Protojournalist : NPR).
’13 “Top 100 Books” lists combined and condensed into one master list, for the benefit of your reading pleasure. 623 books in all — can you collect them all?’ (A List of Books)
‘Here’s a good deed you can do without parting with a single thing. Synthetic voices for people who have lost the ability to speak only come in generic types—think of Stephen Hawking‘s voice—but one fascinating project wants to build custom voices for each person. To do that they need your help: specifically, a recording of your voice.
VocalID is the brainchild of two speech scientists, who are turning their research into a much larger project. Voice is intensely personal and, like a prosthetic leg or arm, it makes sense it should be customized to each person.
Here’s how it works—and don’t worry, this does not mean someone will be walking around with the same voice as you out there:
After recording a couple hours of audio in, say, a quiet room with an iPhone, you send it to VocalID, where a program called ModelTalker chops it up into the basic units of speech that can be recombined as novel words and sentences. In that same step, characteristics of the patient’s voice—based on what limited sounds they can make—are blended in to the donor’s to create a whole new one. You can listen to how it works out on VocalID’s website.
VocalID is still in its beginning stages, and they’re looking for help from everyone including voice donors, financial support, and programmers. A priority is making voice donation even easier, cutting down recording time, especially for kids. But as it stands already, your voice is just about the easiest thing to donate.’ (Gizmodo)
‘A diagnosis of mental illness is more common than ever – did psychiatrists create the problem, or just recognise it?’ — Joseph Pierre, health sciences clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles, and co-chief of the Schizophrenia Treatment Unit at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center (Aeon).