Are you spending a lot of time trying to find free high quality photos online? Let me help you spend a lot less time.
The heading sounds like SPAM, but this is a legitimate post. Honestly. A couple of years ago, I started adding featured images to my posts. The featured image is the one you see on top of every post. I used to take a few of them myself, and back in the days I was an avid amateur photographer. I even took a proper photography course once. You’re probably not that impressed, but it’s one of the few times I’ve paid someone else out of my own pocket to have them teach me about a hobby. My photography interest has faded, though, and my trusty 300D, and lens collection is silently collecting dust in the basement.
So now the majority of the featured images you see are shot by someone else. Finding photos online is pretty damn easy, since every major search engine has an image search feature. So any joker can just lift a photo from another site online, and use it. But most of the photos you find through search engines are copyrighted. Someone else owns them. And you wouldn’t steal a photo, would you? Or perhaps you put yourself above the law? Then you’re an idiot. If you are, now is your chance to stop being an idiot: I’ve found put together a collection of sites that offer free high quality pictures with no copyright attached.
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Here’s some good news for you: Google had decided not to renew their controversial Project Maven contract with the Pentagon.
You might remember Project Maven, an AI partnership between Google and the Pentagon, where Google is providing Pentagon with access to TensorFlow. TensorFlow is a software library for machine learning applications such as neural networks. Pentagon uses it to help military analysts detect objects in images. It’s also great for training autonomous, armed UAVs. I wrote about Project Maven in the post You Might Be Helping Pentagon Train Killer Drones. Google’s AI flirt with the Pentagon warmongers was also a reason why I decided to increase my effort to stop using Google services entirely. This endeavor is described in detail in the post Dump Google.
When details of of Project Maven surfaced, it did not sit well will many Google employees. Several thousand signed a petition demanding that their employer stopped dicking around with weaponized AI. About a dozen employees even resigned over the issue.
Now looks like Google is having seconds thoughts about their questionable partnership with the Pentagon. Gizmondo recently reported that Google will not be renewing the Project Maven contract in 2019. It would have been even better if they just pulled out, but I guess that would be wishful thinking.
If this means Google will not start similar projects in the future remains to be seen. Perhaps they’ll just get better at keeping it under the radar.
Why do some people think that rules and regulations don’t apply to them?
In May this year, we got some unusually hot weather in the South of Norway. Temperatures rose over 30 degrees Celsius, which is not only uncommon for May; it’s not even temperatures we associate with an ordinary Norwegian summer. The hot weather, combined with almost no rain, naturally had some consequences. People migrated en masse to the nearest beach, the use of disposable grills skyrocketed, the forest fire hazard quickly rose to bright red, and the water levels in local drinking water reservoirs sank like a stone.
One of the popular locations to cool down in the Norwegian capital Oslo when it’s hot, is Sørenga. Most people go there by bike or foot, and the shortest way is by crossing a floating bridge. On a good day, thirty thousand people use the bridge to get to and from Sørenga. In May, however, the bridge started to show serious signs of decay, and Five-O temporary closed the bridge with police tape to prevent more people to cross it in case the bridge should collapse into the water. A lot of people didn’t give a flying fuck, though, ignored the police tape, and continued to cross the bridge.
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It’s only two days left until the 2018 FIFA World Cup kicks off. I planned to use the championship to get rich quick, but Norwegian law (and perhaps President Vladimir Putin himself) is fighting against me.
To prevent the entire nation from turning into compulsive gamblers, The Man has changed the law since I last gambled two years ago. Now you can’t use Norwegian credit or debit cards to deposit money to international gambling sites. It doesn’t matter if it’s a MasterCard or Visa card. As long as it’s issued by a Norwegian bank, no serious gambling site will accept it. Everything’s all fine and dandy if you want to use the national, state-owned lottery company, though. Then you can use any Norwegian credit and debit card. Because when you use the state-owned lottery, you don’t run the risk of getting a gambling problem, right? Riiight…
There are good intentions behind the no-international-gambling-allowed-laws, but do they actually help? I’ve not bothered to do any research, but I honestly doubt it, since the laws don’t really make a big difference. They don’t make it impossible for Norwegians to gamble on international gambling sites, it just makes it a little bit harder.
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What happens when a design studio decides they want to take a stab at making a computer game? You get Block’hood.
The Plethora Project (or perhaps it’s “Plethora-Project”, they can’t make up their mind, and that annoys me), is a “design studio with a mission to accelerate computational literacy in the frame of Architecture and Design.” In 2017, they released Block’hood, a city building simulator video game that focuses on ideas of ecology, interdependence and decay. From the screenshots, it might resemble a tower building game, but it’s not. In Block’hood, you don’t create towers, but entire create ecosystems, called hoods, with the goal of making them self-sufficient.
I really like the premise of the game. It reminds me a lot of The Settlers series, of which I played a few of the titles for hours on end. The ecosystems in The Settlers are pretty basic compared to those in Block’hood, though. In The Settlers, you would plant some wheat, harvest, make flour at the mill, then a baker would make bread from one part flour, and one part water. An equivalent ecosystem in Block’hood would be similar, but involve a lot more components, or “blocks” as they are called in the game, and be more complex. Blocks in a Block’hood ecosystem more often than need several inputs to function, and produce both products and bi-products.
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