From the monthly archives: juin 2013

Haha, this is really kicked off my weekend to a good start!

Enjoy Mr Obama singing Daft Punk Get Lucky.

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Noooooo leave us alooooone!

« Hipsters are a subculture of men and women typically in their 20′s and 30′s that value independent thinking, counter-culture » (Urban Dictionnary)

 

28-year-old photographer Leo Caillard‘s latest project, called “Hipster in Stone”, combines his photography and Photoshoppin’ skills, imagining what it would be like if ancient Greek sculpture were hipsters. The project started when Leo saw at the Louvre some nude statues representing the ideal body figures, and he wondered, “but what were the Greeks wearing when they weren’t posing for sculptors?”

Enjoy some of his pictures and below a video of the making of!

And here’s a look at how the Photoshop editing is done:

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David Fisher Architect (Florence – Italy) is an Italian-Israeli architect based in Florence; he is known for designing the Dynamic Tower, a rotating skyscraper proposed for construction in Dubai (although the basic concept has precedents, especially the 2001 Suite Vollard in Brazil with independently rotating floors).

« Since the dawn of humanity man has seeked to exceed the limits of previous generations. The achievement of new limits in Architecture has been written in history as a reminder to new generations: humanity has to pursue virtue and knowledge. New limits and prospects are now opened: buildings are now able to change their shape and be part of environment. This is the era of Dynamic Architecture »

Here is the video presenting his Dynamic Tower, and some explanation by David Fisher himself about the birth of the idea and the science behind it. I have been delving a little further to know more about Fisher and the tower itself, and stumbled upon a surprisingly witty Wikipedia article questioning Fisher’s credentials and honesty… Not sure what/who to believe but nobody can contest that the video and project are impressive.


Dynamic space – The birth of the idea.

The idea was somehow part of my architectural beliefs following years of research on technology of construction, human and social aspects. « Architecture part of nature » is a concept that I always carried with me: Buildings that adjust to life, to our needs, to our moods. The inspiration, however, arrived at a precise moment in December 2004, when I was watching the view from the Olympic Tower in NYC, on 51st and 5th. I noticed that from a certain spot you could see the East River and the Hudson River, both sides of Manhattan… That is when I thought to myself: « Why don’t we rotate the entire floor? That way, everybody can see both the East River and the Hudson River, as well as Saint Patrick’s Cathedral! ».

That is how I got inspired to create the building that changes its shape continuously.

But it really all started during my childhood, when I used to watch every evening the sun set over the Mediterranean. (I like the guy, who could not like a Mediterranean aficionado?!) The huge red sun would slowly fall into the water, signalling that one day was over and another was about to begin. This aspect of motion and its relation to the dimension of time always intrigued me.

When I grew up and became an architect I understood that an architect should design buildings that adjust to life. They should adapt to our space, our functionalities and our needs that change continuously – and even to our sense of beauty, itself in continuous motion.

These are the first buildings to have a fourth dimension: Time. This is the new philosophy of dynamic buildings, adjusting to sunrise and sunset, to the wind and to the view – thus becoming part of nature. I call these buildings « Designed by Time, Shaped by Life ».

 

More on Dynamic Architecture, thanks Philou for sharing!

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Currently in the process of re-writing my resume, I find myself struggling with a terrible dilemma: which font? More specifically, which family font?

So, I did what everybody does nowadays and popped the question to my good friend Google, and stumbled upon this very nice infographic by Visual.ly

(And yes, I am still struggling, Times New Roman or Calibri?)

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Instauré sous sa forme actuelle par Napoléon Bonaparte, le baccalauréat a vu passer des dizaines de générations d’élèves anxieux. Un stress qui a parfois poussé les candidats à prendre des décisions absurdes.

Le baccalauréat commence aujourd’hui avec l’épreuve de Philosophie, et pour bien démarrer la semaine, retour sur cinq histoires insolites qui, de mémoire de surveillants, ont marqué en profondeur les annales du pire du bac.

2004, une année à marquer au fer rouge…

… ou à l’encre de Chine. Lors de cette session, dans l’académie de Marseille, un candidat a eu l’idée pour le moins marquante de se faire tatouer une partie de son cours de physique-chimie sur l’avant-bras.

Malheureusement pour lui, le surveillant a découvert la supercherie. Il sera interdit d’examen pendant cinq ans, et passera le reste de sa vie avec des formules abstraites inscrites sur le corps.

20/20 pour tout le monde

Il faisait bon de passer son bac en 1982 en Haute-Normandie. Onze professeurs en colère ont décidé d’accorder la note maximale à tous leurs élèves. Par ce geste, ils entendaient dénoncer les excès du jury de l’année précédente qui attribué de si mauvaises notes que la moitié des copies dont il avait la charge ne dépassait pas 6/20. Malheureusement, leur coup de force n’a pas fonctionné: les copies ont été corrigés par d’autres correcteurs et les élèves ont attendu leurs notes plus longtemps que leurs camarades.

Ca vole bas

En juin 2009, quelques jours avant le début des épreuves, trois élèves de terminale du lycée Romain-Rolland à Argenteuil (Val d’Oise) se lancent dans une expédition nocturne avec pour objectif de dérober les sujets du bac qu’ils pensent être dans le bureau de la proviseure.

Manque de chance, les sujets ne s’y trouvent pas. Cerise sur le gâteau, nos trois cambrioleurs en herbe se font repérer par la gardienne de l’établissement, ce qui leur vaudra un passage en garde à vue. Et le droit de ne plus recommencer.

Les profs aussi trichent

Les résultats au bac ne sont pas attendus avec fébrilité uniquement par les élèves. Les chefs d’établissements et les professeurs scrutent également attentivement les moyennes. Parfois un peu trop. En 2002, la hausse spectaculaire des résultats de la filière S d’un lycée parisien intrigue les autorités. De 20% de réussite en 2000, ils passent à 57% en 2001 et à 75% en 2002. Une hausse qui correspond au passage de l’établissement en centre d’examen.

Après enquête, la direction du lycée reconnaît avoir ouvert les sujets avant le jour des épreuves « pour voir s’il n’y avait pas d’erreur ». Une pratique strictement interdite. Dans le rapport de l’inspection académique, on rapporte aussi que des cours supplémentaires ont été dispensés quelques jours avant les épreuves de math et de physique.

Usurpation volontaire d’identité

Qui n’a jamais rêvé d’envoyer un crack en maths ou un philosophe dans l’âme à sa place pour éviter le gadin? C’est ce qu’a tenté de faire Karim, lycéen au Sacré Coeur de Rouen, le 21 juin 2012. Il a envoyé son ami Jamel, diplômé d’un master en maths, à sa place. Mais la supercherie a rapidement été repérée par le surveillant qui a noté que la carte d’identité ne correspondait pas au candidat.

Une fois repéré, l’usurpateur volontaire s’est enfermé dans les toilettes de l’établissement avant de se faire déloger par les autorités. Jugés en septembre dernier pour usurpation d’identité, les deux compères sont condamnés à 105 heures de travaux d’intérêt général pour Jamel et trois mois de prison avec sursis pour Karim.

Merci l’Express!

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If you thought your week was off to a wrong start, this might cheer you up a little (worked for me!). There, enjoy this picture of a random guy… chilling with a glass of rosé, while walking his crab.

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En attendant le concert mercredi au Grand Palais…!

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When TED asked Bill Gates to curate a list of his favorite talks, his first response was “there are too many to pick, really.”

However, he’s whittled it down to 13 essentials and here is the first of them, by Hans Rosling.

You’ve never seen data presented like this.

With the drama and urgency of a sportscaster, the statistics guru debunks myths about the so-called « developing world. »

 Stats that reshape your worldview

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Stephen L. Carter (born October 26, 1954) is an American law professor, legal- and social-policy writer, columnist, and best-selling novelist.

He recently published this article relating to privacy and the Google glasses, which I found very interesting, and which says in very accurate words what I think and would have never been able to express so well, so this is total ‘plagiat’ but to my defense here is a link to Stephen Carter’s blog and and books!

Privacy looks different through Google Glass, by Stephen L. Carter

No sooner had Google Inc. yielded to popular pressure to bar facial-recognition applications from Google Glass than techies split into two factions: those who called the ban an outrage that would hurt law enforcement and medical care, and those who said the ban would make no difference because sooner or later the wall was bound to fall.

The original concern rested on the notion that wearable facial-recognition technology would constitute a threat to privacy — the privacy, for example, of those who would prefer to walk the streets unrecognized. Google’s position continues to be that privacy concerns about Glass are overblown. I think the long run will prove Google right, for reasons less technological than generational.

Glass is essentially eyewear connected to a processor and the Internet, with an interior display that looks to the wearer like a television screen. This sounds so cool and space-agey that it’s at first hard to see how the privacy issues arise.

Certainly the claim that the famous have a “right” to wander the streets incognito seems thin, and Google initially seemed inclined to ignore it, preferring to tout the obvious utility for, say, police officers able to identify suspects at a glance. The company might never have done its about-face had not the disclosure of the scope of National Security Agency’s data- mining program (and Google’s own unclear participation therein) brought privacy to the forefront of public conversation.

But there are other privacy issues. For example, Nick Bilton of the New York Times was startled to encounter Google Glass wearers in the men’s room, immediately after being reminded that “one of the gadget’s greatest features is the ability to snap a photo with a wink.”

Creepy Glasses

Creepy indeed. But privacy as traditionally understood encompasses far more than photographs in the bathroom or recognition on the street. Privacy is fundamental to life in liberal society, where, as the philosopher Judith Shklar argued, our fear of abuse of authority should lead us to establish constraints on both government and private power — so that we are free, in almost everything we do, to make our choices without worrying about retaliation.

Ten years ago, in a report titled “Bigger Monster, Weaker Chains: The Growth of an American Surveillance Society,” the American Civil Liberties Union gave an example of privacy in this traditional sense: “A woman who leaves her house, drives to a store, meets a friend for coffee, visits a museum, and then returns home may be in public all day, but her life is still private in that she is the only one who has an overall view of how she spent her day. In America, she does not expect that her activities are being watched or tracked in any systematic way — she expects to be left alone.”

That familiar cultural understanding has been upended — not all at once by post-Sept. 11 anti-terror measures, but gradually, as more and more of our lives are lived out digitally. The woman in the ACLU’s example might use GPS, thus revealing her location as she drives. Perhaps she talks on her mobile phone, stops to buy gas or pays for coffee with a credit card. All of these activities leave digital traces. To imagine that those traces simply vanish, unrecorded, is no longer reasonable.

And reasonableness is very much the word to think about. When we conceptualize privacy as a right, our thoughts turn naturally to the Constitution. According to the judges, the measure of what is private turns on what a reasonable person would expect to be private. But the reasonable person is a shifting target, her expectations informed by culture and mores and actual practice.

Once everybody knows what so many already suspected — that the federal government eavesdrops extensively on the people it purports to represent — our expectations suddenly shift. One might be a passionate opponent of the programs, or one might accept their grim necessity; either way, the reality of their existence necessarily changes the way we think.

Cool Glasses

How much has the digital world changed the conception of privacy? A recent study by the Annenberg Center for the Digital Future at the University of Southern California concluded that the so-called millennials — those ages 18-34 — don’t share the fears of their elders about online privacy. In particular, the rising generation seems willing to trade privacy for other gains. They are, for example, “more receptive than older users to accepting targeted advertising when their personal information is required.”

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has been widely criticized for making essentially this very point, but the data suggest he is right. The millennials do indeed tend to have a different view of where one draws the privacy border. As a headline several years ago in New York magazine declared: “The future belongs to the uninhibited.”

A recent Washington Post-Pew Research Center survey purports to show that those ages 18 to 39 are slightly more worried than their elders about the NSA program. But the same poll indicates that this group is far less likely to have paid close attention to the story. The episode seems to be rolling off their backs, perhaps because the young always assumed that somebody was cataloguing their telephone calls, Internet searches and credit-card transactions.

According to the companies that market to them, millennials are quite sophisticated in using privacy controls to limit access to their online data. But they seem to worry a lot more about keeping their online activities from parents and teachers than from corporations and government.

The point is that the reasonable person and her expectation of privacy are reconstructed in every generation. Criticizing Google for supplying what is certain to be heavy demand for so cool an advance as Glass is no way to hold a serious conversation. And a serious conversation is what will be needed — not among us Baby Boomers, but among those who follow us.

That will be an intriguing challenge. It’s important for members of the rising generation to be active in shaping their expectation of privacy, and so demand law and practices that strike a reasonable balance. The alternative is to drift along, allowing their expectations to continue to be shaped for them, by the twin determinisms of technology and security.

Stephen Carter’s blog and and books

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Etant moi même une inconsidérable fan d’Excel, et l’utilisant non seulement tous les jours mais quasiment toutes les heures, je reconnais que Tatsuo Horiuchi fait ici preuve d’une imagination débordante, sur un logiciel dont je pensais déjà exploiter un bonne majorité des capacités!

Adieu tableaux croisés dynamiques, listes triées, graphiques en batons et VBA, bonjour motifs japonais, fleurs traditionnelles et paysages de rêves!

A 73 ans, cela fait maintenant une décennie que Tatsuo Horiuchi à élu Excel comme outil de création; il s’est ainsi imposé comme artiste numérique « digital artist » et présente ses oeuvres à travers plusieurs expositions.

Vous pouvez aller sur son blog (qui est en japonais, donc on ouvre avec Chrome et on utilise le super plugin permettant de traduire la page en anglais, ce n’est pas trop mal traduit!) ou il y présente ses oeuvres et quelques techniques de réalisations!

Chapeau bas :)

Thanks to T.S.H for sharing! 

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Allez, un peu de maths et quelques vieux souvenirs émus. Le Théorème Central Limite établit la convergence en loi de la somme d’une suite de variables aléatoires vers la loi normale. Intuitivement, ce résultat affirme que toute somme de variables aléatoires indépendantes et identiquement distribuées tend vers une variable aléatoire gaussienne.

Et comme nous, les Francais, sommes très fort pour dire d’une façon complexe ce qui pourrait être exprimée plus simplement, voila la définition anglaise que je trouve plus straightforward:

« In probability theory, the Central Limit Theorem states that, given certain conditions, the mean of a sufficiently large number of independent random variables, each with a well-defined mean and well-defined variance, will be approximately normally distributed. »

Victor Powell montre dans une animation la distribution d’une variable aléatoire qui tombent sur des triangles dans une distribution normale, vous pouvez jouer avec le nombres de triangles et la vitesse de distribution et voir la distribution gaussienne se constituer:

Cliquez sur l’image pour accéder à l’animation!

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Probablement le pire clip de l’histoire de la musique.

Je pleure de rire as we speak.

En-joy.

Vous avez reconnu la chanson? Regardez les sous-titres…

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An interesting article from the Harvard Business Review, about life, work, and how combining both actually improves both.

Climbing the organizational ladder often requires employees to work long hours and deal with difficult and complex issues. Some days on the job are likely fun and positive and other days are tension-filled and stressful. A common dilemma for many people is how they manage all of the competing demands in work and life and avoid letting any negative effects of work spill over into their personal lives.

Research has in fact shown that employees who believe they do not have time for the personal life feel drained and distracted while they are at work. In addition, the spillover of negative aspect of work into an employee’s personal life can lead to job exhaustion, disruption of relationships with family and friends, loss of enjoyment, and increased stress.

However, some people appear to manage career success and a positive private life with ease. Here are a few pointers:

1. Strive for work-life effectiveness—not balance.
The term work-life balance implies that one dedicates an equal portion of time to work and life. Catalyst, a research firm focused on women in business, uses the phrase work-life effectiveness, and suggests striving for a situation where work fits with other aspects of your life. Researchers Jeffrey Greenhaus and Gary Powell expand on this concept and recommend that work and personal life should be allies and that participation in multiple roles, such as parent, partner, friend, employee, can actually enhance physical and psychological well-being — especially when all of the roles are high quality and managed together.

Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, came under scrutiny when she returned to work soon after the birth of her son. She managed being a mom and a CEO in a way that was personally right for her. Like Mayer, one should take a holistic perspective, thinking of one’s career as an integral part of life, rather than a separate and obligatory activity. To help eliminate ‘negative spillover’ from work into home life or vice-versa, we should put everything in the same container and create a coherent narrative — doing so can reduce work-life separation. Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Airlines, has noted that some of his best ideas have come from engaging his children in conversations about work. Even in the busiest of schedules, the most practical and effective way we can live is by aligning our personal priorities of work, family, health, and well-being. Such realignment can bring huge gains in emotional and physical energy, not to mention greater clarity and focus at work.

2. Define success in all categories of your life.
Every person needs to define success on his or her own terms. Ultimately, for both men and women, the definition of success is deeply personal. At the end of each person’s life, only he or she can look back and say, « I was successful. » It is also important to realize that what constitutes success to one person may not constitute success to another. Ryan Smith, co-founder of Qualtrics, manages his success by doing the following: « Each week, I examine the categories of my life — father, husband, CEO, self — and identify the specific actions that help me feel successful and fulfilled in these capacities. This weekly ritual helps me feel like I’m doing everything in my power to address my needs and the needs of those around me. This is important because I can’t lose sight of the business agenda, and we’ve all seen or read about what it looks like when you lose sight of your family’s needs. » As Smith suggests, consider sharing your priorities and ideas of success with important stakeholders in your life. By doing so, you will gain valuable perspective and, perhaps, buy-in to your work and life goals.

3. Maintain control.
Researchers suggest that people may experience high stress when they feel out of control. So, take control of your career — explore your own history, biases, motivation and preferences. As an example, many people enjoy spending a lot of time at work because they like what they do. Thus, long work hours are not necessarily burdensome to them. Each of us should take the time to find a job that ‘fits’ us. When possible, we should set our own boundaries. Many successful executives who work long hours suggest that they put parameters and limits on work. The CEO of Starwood Hotels, Frits van Paasschen, in a recent Wall Street Journal interview, noted, « It’s important not to be so immersed in your work that there isn’t anything else. Taking care of your body and your mindset, carving out time to be with your family, doing things that recharge you — these all make you more productive in the end. » We should also proactively manage the direction and meaning of our work.

As Anna Quindlen observed, « If your success is not on your own terms, if it looks good to the world but does not feel good in your heart, it is not success at all. »

Work-Life « Balance » Isn’t the Point by Christine M. Riordan on HBR.com

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When you focus on all the small events and decisions that happen throughout a single day, those 24 hours can seem like an eternity.

Graphic designer Luke Twyman turned that around in Here is Today.

It’s a straightforward interactive that places one day in the context of all days ever.

You start at today, and as you move forward, the days before this one appear, until today is reduced to a one-pixel sliver on the screen and doesn’t seem like much at all.

Puts things into perspective huh!?

 

Read on Flowing Data

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