→ Dreams of neural networks

Google fed their image recognition neural network images and instructed them to enhance whatever objects were recognised in the picture, resulting in some pretty weird stuff. Then they just started just inputting random noise and feeding the result back into the system over and over, ending up with some really interesting images.

Site merge and refresh

Just a quick note to let everyone know that I’ve merged my blog from nmecdesign.com to here at jwarren.co.uk. The blog archives for each are all still available and everything should redirect to the new domain, including the RSS feed.

The site has also been freshened up with a new theme, it’s quite pared back at the moment but I plan to add a few more things in the future. You’ll also notice that the site is served completely over SSL now, the site to runs through CloudFlare, which provides a number of cool things, including SSL, SPDY and IPv6 support.

Please let me know if you find anything broken – there may be a few old links that still need updating.

‘Flight rules’

I recently came across the concept of Flight rules which is summarised thus:

Flight Rules are the hard-earned body of knowledge recorded in manuals that list, step-by-step, what to do if X occurs, and why. Essentially, they are extremely detailed, scenario-specific standard operating procedures. […]

NASA has been capturing our missteps, disasters and solutions since the early 1960s, when Mercury-era ground teams first started gathering “lessons learned” into a compendium that now lists thousands of problematic situations, from engine failure to busted hatch handles to computer glitches, and their solutions.

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life – Chris Hadfield

Which brought me to a 1974 report from the Apollo program containing this little nugget:

Throughout the Apollo Program, approximately 80 percent of all problems encountered in flight, both large and small, had been analyzed previously and a course of action documented before the flight. This analysis allowed the choice of a best course of action subsequent to most failures to be essentially automatic.

Apollo Experience Report: The role of Flight Mission Rules in mission preparation and conduct – Larry W. Keyser

Well worth a read.

Querying remote APIs with RethinkDB

The latest version of RethinkDB has a pretty nifty new feature that allows you to make requests to remote APIs and query the result directly from the database server:

r.http('https://api.github.com/repos/rethinkdb/rethinkdb/stargazers')
    .pluck('login', 'id')
    .orderBy('id')

It includes parameters for authentication and pagination as well. This is really handy for ad-hoc analysis of API data, something I’ve used it for previously. I wrote a simple app that would request some data, insert it into the DB, then pull it back out according to my query. With this new method there would be a lot less back and forth.

You can learn more about r.http in the RethinkDB docs.