Editing spherical videos with GoPro Max and GoPro Quik

🎥 GoPro Max (360) has this easy to use editor that lets me create dynamic flat videos from spherical videos ☺️

The way it is shot is a fixed sphere that moves with me as I move. Then while the video is playing in the editor I can “point” the 2D viewpoint to any part of the sphere at different points in the timeline and also zoom in and out. Then the software “tweens” the frames in between to make it look like there’s a rotating camera in my hand when in reality we just shot a whole 360 sphere at once and the movement was added in post processing.

In Hindi, the word for tomorrow is the same as yesterday, something pointed to by Physics

Modern Physics continues to ask whether time even has a direction and wondering if it’s something that exists entirely in our heads.

In most Indian languages, the word for yesterday is the same as the word for tomorrow. Due to this, additional qualifiers have to be added to explicitly clarify if we are talking about the past or the future.

There are two core words used to define time and the passing of time:

  • Kal (hindi) – yesterday or tomorrow
  • Pal (hindi) – a moment

To add direction to the words above, we say:

  • Aanewala Kal (hindi) – the tomorrow/yesterday that is yet to come
  • Guzra Kal (hindi) – the tomorrow/yesterday that has passed
  • Aanewala Pal (hindi) – the moment that is yet to come
  • Guzra Pal (hindi) – the moment that has passed
Source: Filmy Quotes

There’s a classic bollywood song from the 70s that captures how time has to be qualified further to clarify if we are talking about the past or the future. The interesting part is that this is actually a hilarious comedy movie, and it just casually slides into being deeply philosophical in the songs in between.

Source: Gaane Sune Ansune

How a phishing attack for Coinbase almost got me with an ‘ạ’ instead of an ‘a’

Early morning I got the following text message on my phone. I had not tried logging in to Coinbase so was surprised to see this message.

Luckily, I didn’t kick on the link. Instead I opened a browser window and manually typed coinbase.com and navigated to it. And I tried signing in and didn’t notice anything off.

So then I went back to the text message. Copied the link, and thenpasted it into the browser. Only then I realized that the ‘a’ in the URL was actualy an ‘ạ’ !

And once it loaded it redirected to a different URL which also had a HTTPS certificate, but by then it was very obvious that this was not legit at all.

Be careful out there! Here are some tips on how to protect from phishing.

Supporting decentralized production and distribution by canceling Amazon Prime

The subscription service is Amazon’s greatest—and most terrifying—invention. Image source: Getty; The Atlantic.

Amazon is not to be blamed here. It is giving us exactly what we want. For me, however, I canceled prime and stopped using Amazon over 2 years ago because I couldn’t trust myself. In the past I used to end up with things I didn’t really need. Without prime, with the extra friction, my discipline kicks in, and is able to help me from buying things I don’t really need.

I instead try and support local and brick and mortar stores because I want to vote with my money to manifest what I value more. Being able to get anything I want in a day is nice, but it’s no longer something I value for every single thing. Instead, having decentralized production, distribution and delivery systems also is something I desire and does require me to align my buying practices with it.

Small hair changes can lead to big outcomes. This is one habit I have changed for me.

Deepening geographical understanding through language

Wrocław, Poland

Jenna was asking me to remind her the name of a city in Poland that she had been planning to go for a conference. After I helped her pronounce Wrocław correctly (and was surprised at myself that I remembered it so well) she said something very interesting:

“I think it should be part of geography to also learn some parts of languages.”

I realize that lonely planet and guides will get into pronunciations. But what this made me notice is that when I was specifically studying geography, so much of the context was just entirely lost when it wasn’t coupled with a slightly deeper / local understanding. Not sure how curriculum has kept up, maybe it’s more common now.

But culture and geography are so intertwined, and connections and isolation between people have so little to do with political boundaries, it took me a lot of years after school to finally feel like I have a better sense of the world. It made me sad to realize how little I knew despite thinking all along that I knew and understood a lot more.

I got vaccinated!

It’s amazing to reflect on how much effort and ingenuity has gone into making this possible. I really hope more people around the world can benefit from this as soon as possible.

My vaccination was delivered by UC Davis Health. It was a very well run experience and I was very impressed with the way the logistics and process was handled. And I loved the bandage 🩹 with the UC Davis logo on it 🙂

Pandemic check-in 2021

When this started last year, I was on the early side on anticipating what was coming and I started making adjustments early on to accommodate what I thought was how things were going to play out. I was prepared for what was coming, and had made peace with how different things were going to be. I even blogged about it last year detailing that once we have vaccines we will be on a different trajectory. It seems like forever ago, but this time last year we all had some idea of what we were getting into. A few months. A year. But as we hit May of 2021 coming soon, it just feels like wait what? what is this new normal? the world has changed. We are still seeing outbreaks and shutdowns. We are still trying to stay on top of this thing. And this holding position we have all collectively been in, it’s tiring. We are all at the end of the rope and it still feels like we don’t know what to expect. The last year has been so hard on everyone. We have all been deeply impacted and affected by what is happening. There’s this shared trauma that we are all experiencing collectively. And we are still in the middle of it. There’s a lot of hope on the horizon. There’s a lot of progress being made everywhere. Things will indeed get better. But right here, right now, it really sucks. Wanted to share this thought with everyone, have no intention or consequence in mind. Take care all! 🤗

Does money make you mean?

When we look around us, if we see human beings who are wealthy, remember that science proves that there is a strong bias that they are going to be selfish, mean, and be some level of a jerk. Then we should look for what are the things they do that compensate for that scientifically proven bias. If we can’t find any compensatory behavior, which is often they case when work is all they focus on for example, then it is easy to conclude they really might be jerks.

Here’s a very good video they summarizes some amazing research on how you and me are all subject to these biases depending on the context we find ourselves in.

The Fascinating Evidence Showing Plants Have Human Level Intelligence, Feelings, Pain and More

I know many of us have very strong opinions on this so would appreciate thoughtful comments.

Because we can’t relate to the sentience of plants, does eating them make it less cruel than creatures whose sentience we can relate to? Is cruelty an objective standard or an emotional lens?

Plant Perception: New Research Shows Plants Can Feel and Think Like Humans
research into plant perception is showing that plants have feelings, they are sentient, they communicate with each other, feel pain and they can plan into the future.

Some plants, such as sundew, are so sensitive to touch, for example, that they can detect a strand of hair weighing less than one microgram (one millionth of a gram) to which they then respond. But what is more revealing is that they can determine with great specificity what is touching them—that is the plants can feel their environment. Raindrops, a common experience in the wild, produce no response. This kind of mechanosensitivity, which is, in plants, similar to what we call our felt sense of touch, is used much as we use our own: The plants consciously analyze what is touching them, determine its meaning, and craft a response. And that response many times involves rapid changes in their genetics, phenotype, and subsequent physical form. As McCormack et al. comment, “Plants intelligently perceive much more of their environment than is often apparent to the casual observer. Touch can induce profound rapid responses… in Arabidopsis changes in gene expression can be seen within minutes after the plant feels touch, and over 700 genes have altered transcript levels within 30 minutes.” Plants, in fact, possess a highly sophisticated neural system and while it does not look like our “brain,” it really is, in actuality, a brain. In fact, once you get over brain chauvinism, it’s not all that different from our own.

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