Categories
psychology

The McGurk Effect

Recently a Tik-tok video has been making the rounds that highlights a phenomena called the McGurk effect.

From Wikipedia:

“The McGurk effect is a perceptual phenomenon that demonstrates an interaction between hearing and vision in speech perception. The illusion occurs when the auditory component of one sound is paired with the visual component of another sound, leading to the perception of a third sound.”

It stands to reason that this is what is happening when one is primed to listen to the backwards “backmasking lyrics” like the ones on my backmasking page.

How many of these can you hear?

  • 94
  • 49
  • iPhone
  • fortnight
  • nice one
  • night fall
  • throw a knife
  • eye for an eye

And here’s the explainer video put out by the BBC.

(via ATP)

Categories
Apple

One More Thing…

Yesterday, Apple held their third major event this fall and it’s the one I’ve been waiting for to FINALLY upgrade Andrea’s eight year old computer. If you haven’t been paying attention, the biggest thing about these new MacBooks is that they are running on Apple Silicon, which reports indicate are both faster and more power efficient than almost every other chip on the market by a huge margin. The M1 chip announced at this event outperforms every Mac ever made in single-core performance.1

The M1 appears to be a reworking of the A14 Bionic and is included in the new MacBook Air, MacBook Pro 13″, and Mac Mini. We decided to go with the MacBook Air because the drawbacks appear to be slim compared with the MacBook Pro. Sure there is no fan which might mean some thermal throttling if things get too hot and no Touch Bar but for the price difference, I think it’s worth it. It ships in 1 to 2 weeks and I think it’s safe to say I’m even more excited than she is. I’m holding out for the MacBook Pro 16″ with Apple Silicon which, Apple says, will arrive within the next two years.

1. Not including truly industry level performance from discrete GPUs on Mac Pros.

Categories
Art entertainment

Just One More Thing…

Joe Dator’s short, sweet comic in The New Yorker shines light on Columbo’s renewed popularity and what made the show so special.

(via MetaFilter)

Categories
Politics

President Biden

We were listening to CBC Radio 2 on the HomePod this morning when the news broke. After four long years, our worldwide nightmare is officially coming to an end.

Trump, while golfing, tweeted out that he’s not going to accept the results.

Categories
Apple

Apple Q4 2020 Results

The quick take-away from Apple’s Q4 earrings is: record Mac revenue while iPhone revenue is down 20%.

Jason Snell:

Despite the tough iPhone quarter, revenue was a record for the company’s fourth fiscal quarter, at $64.7B. iPhone revenue was $26.8B, down 20% year over year. Mac revenue was $9B, up 29%. iPad revenue was $6.8B, up 46%. Services revenue was $14.5B, up 16%. And Wearables revenue was $7.9B, up 20.8%.

Obviously the huge wave of workers staying home to work during the pandemic has been a boon to Apple’s bottom line. It’s also so interesting to see the huge growth in Apple services — 14 and a half billion is significant by any metric.

John Gruber:

Lastly, it shows how diversified Apple’s financials are getting that iPhone revenue could be down 20 percent year-over-year but the company had record revenue for the quarter overall. A few years ago that was unimaginable.

Check out the charts at Six Colors.

Categories
bad review revue

The Bad Review Revue

The Lie: “The actual lie is that anyone will find this entertaining.” — Brian Tallerico, The Playlist

Lost Girls & Love Hotels: “One could look at it as a PSA against self-loathing, but mostly it’s just a really bad movie.” — Eric Eisenberg, CinemaBlend

Antebellum: “The realization of what’s going on dawns on you in waves, and it’s fun to watch as they crash on the shore. But once the water recedes, the rest of the movie goes out to sea along with it.” — David Ehrlich, indieWire

The New Mutants: “It finally arrives more than two years after its original planned release date and at times it’s hard not to stifle the unkind thought: ‘Why so soon?'” — Philip De Semlyen, Time Out

The War with Grandpa: “It depends on your tolerance for watching Robert De Niro flash people.” — Amy Nicholson, Film Week

Categories
Apple

Apple Special Event “Hi, Speed”

Today Apple announced four new phones: iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max and a new HomePad Mini.

Updates to iPhone are incremental in nature and can be expected yearly with each new iteration being only slightly faster, more efficient, and more capable. This year’s new set of phones are no exception. Unless you call 50% faster “only slightly”, which is one reason why the title of today’s event is, “Hi, Speed”.

Here are some highlights from today’s event.

iPhone 12

All four versions of the new iPhones contain Apple’s proprietary A14 chip. With circuitry separated by a mere 5 nanometers and 11.8 billion transistors, the performance and efficiency of this chip is the fastest cpu in any smart phone. The only chip even close is last year’s A13 chip.

iPhone 12 Pro back camera

The main reason to want such crazy fast speed is machine learning. It’s the key to computational photography and in turn that’s what makes such great photos from iPhone 12 possible. The iPhone 11 Pro has eight dedicated machine learning cores and this year that number grows to 16. Apple’s new flagship phones are now capable of 11 trillion operations per second up from last year’s paltry 6 trillion.

A14 Bionic is the first 5-nanometer chip in the industry, with advanced components literally atoms wide. Forty percent more transistors rev up speeds while increasing efficiency for great battery life. And a new ISP powers Dolby Vision recording — something no pro movie camera, let alone any other phone, can do.

Also interesting is the inclusion of MagSafe technology for phone charging and accessories. No more worrying about whether your phone is placed on its wireless charging pad correctly because the magnet will straighten itself. I’m also intrigued by the idea of paring down to just the leather wallet attachment shown below with built-in magnetic action.

iPhone 12 MagSafe and wallet

HomePad Mini
Apple HomePod Mini stock photo

It’s been long speculated that Apple needed a HomePod Mini in order to compete in the smart speaker market against lower cost smart speakers from Google and Amazon. It remains to be seen how the sound quality of the HomePod mini stands up to the original but I’ve always wanted to add a second HomePod for the bedroom where the heavy bass isn’t so important, so I’m tempted.

And, as for rumours that the free year of Apple TV+, is going away, it appears to still be on offer that, “For a limited time, eligible customers who purchase a new iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV, or Mac can enjoy one year of Apple TV+ for free and three months of Apple Arcade for free.”

Here’s Apple’s 51 Second summary of the event:

Categories
pandemic

Trump Tests Positive

Last night the news broke that Hope Hicks, one of President Trump’s senior advisors tested positive for the coronavirus. This morning it was announced that Trump himself has the virus.

From the New York Times:

Mr. Trump, who for months has played down the seriousness of the virus and hours earlier on Thursday night told an audience that “the end of the pandemic is in sight,” will quarantine in the White House for an unspecified period of time, forcing him to withdraw at least temporarily from the campaign trail only 32 days before the election on Nov. 3.

As far as an October surprise is supposed to be unpredictable, this one is very surprising.

Categories
Art psychology technology

Pareidolia on Grains of Sand

I came across a site tonight that hits on a lot of my interests. It’s got a nice mixture of art, technology, with just a hint of psychology.

I’ve been interested in pareidolia since I first learned about it years ago. It is, as wikipedia defines it, “the tendency for incorrect perception of a stimulus as an object, pattern or meaning known to the observer, such as seeing shapes in clouds, seeing faces in inanimate objects or abstract patterns, or hearing hidden messages in music.”

In this particular case, the objects are grains of sand and the incorrect perception is that they look like faces.

In the artwork Pareidolia* facial detection is applied to grains of sand. A fully automated robot search engine examines the grains of sand in situ. When the machine finds a face in one of the grains, the portrait is photographed and displayed on a large screen.

Check out Pareidolia, face detection on grains of sand.

(via Waxy)

Categories
pandemic work

Alberta Parents’ Guide to Returning to School

The Alberta government today released their parents guide for the 2020-2021 school year.

“Your child may feel nervous about what school will be like. While there will be changes, the key school experience will be the same as before—they will learn in class with their teacher and see friends.”

Parents’ Guide 2020-2021 School Year PDF