2017-03-12 (Sunday)

Today, I learned that:

Even if you loose your voice, there are now ever better means of communicating with other people. Of course you can write, if you are able, but you must agree with me that an audio is much easier to grasp than a text, one can continue with most other activities and still understand what is being said. (But take very much care, even if you use a handsfree mobile phone in your car, your attention to the ongoing call is often so high that you can be a menace to other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.)

Yesterday, I watched the 2014 movie about Stephen Hawking and his first wife Jane, “The Theory of Everything”. In the very moment when Stephen is first heard through his mechanical voice, Jane is pretty excited, but complains that the voice has an American accent. If that had happened today, the genius, who recently celebrated his 75th anniversary, could use his own voice, although generated artificially. More about the movie and Stephen Hawking can be found in references #1 and 2 below.

And now over to the story about Jason Liversidge and his new voice: Just like Stephen Hawking, Jason, who lives in Yorkshire in northeast England, suffers from the neurological disease called ALS. The first symptoms appeared almost 10 years ago, but it was only three years ago that he got the diagnosis of ALS. His own voice is still working, but sometimes he needs a backup voice, and then he can use his computer which generates sounds with the same accent as Jason’s, “not the posh English accent”. His artificial voice was created from a video recording of a speech he made some years ago, combined with speech from other men from Yorkshire. A research institute in Edinburgh, Scotland, were then able to recreate Jason’s voice synthetically. The proper Jason and his family recognize the similarity of both voices. Reference #3 appoints to the radio program from Radio Sweden (in Swedish) which tells the whole story.


Jason Liversidge from Yorkshire already has a sounds-alike backup to his voice when his own does not perform as desired. Photo by Stephanie Zakrisson/Sveriges Radio.

Exactly one year ago, 2016-03-12, I published a video showing Atlas, a robot from Boston Dynamics performing gracious movements. But it did not stop there, look at this video of its newest sibling, Handle, in reference # 4 below, SIMPLY AMAZING!


Ponte da Amizade (“Bridge of Friendship”) joining Foz do Iguaçu – PR, Brazil, where the photo was taken on 2017-01-26 by my daughter, with Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, in the left side.

The photo above shows another view of the Paraná River, this time from the Brazilian side, shot 200 km South of the photo from 2016-11-30. It shows the bridge interconnecting the Brazilian city of Foz do Iguaçu – PR, to the right, and the Paraguayan city of Ciudad del Este. Not long ago, this bridge used to be packed with people and cars returning to Brazil from a shopping spree in Paraguay, but the ongoing financial crisis has also here had a devasting effect. (I already published a photo from Foz do Iguaçu on 2016-01-28).

… That’s what I learned in school !

Do you need to TRANSLATE DOCUMENTS between ENGLISH, BRAZILIAN PORTUGUESE, and the SCANDINAVIAN (SWEDISH / DANISH / NORWEGIAN) languages? Contact “Byrån / The Taskforce” here !!!

1: The Theory of Everything

2: Stephen Hawking

3: Talsyntes på dialekt stärker identiteten

4: Introducing Handle

*: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-03-12 (Saturday)

Today, once more I learned that:

There are machines all around us, performing all kinds of tasks. Below are three interesting examples of their versatility.

Solution to Problem # 4, Drilling square holes, posted on 2016-03-06

The question was: How would you construct a tool to drill square holes? The solution can be found in the following drawing. See also the amazing video in reference # 1 below.

Corner mill

This drawing from the Japanese company Dijet show the principle of successive milling of the corners of the hole, which results in a square hole.

Update on AlphaGo vs. Lee Sedol

Just as we could expect, AlphaGo did it again, and won also the third game against Lee Sedol. There are still two more games to go, but the 3-0 lead that AlphaGo already has is of course sufficient to win the match. See the following images and reference #2 below.


Top: The result of the third game of the historic match between AlphaGo and Lee Sedol, played in Seoul 2016-03-09–12. Bottom: AlphaGo operator Aja Huang, Lee Sedol, and Google co-founder Sergey Brin, on a photo taken before the third game. Graphic and photo supplied by Google.

A robot I would not mind having as my partner

Here comes a perfect example of how advanced robots are today. It is the US company Boston Dynamics that has developed Atlas. How about teaming up AlphaGo and Atlas, thus forming the ultimate Go player? See the following photo and another fantastic video in reference #3 below.


Atlas lighting a box weighing 4,5 kg. I suggest that Google employs him together with AlphaGo to form an invincible Go player.

… That’s what I learned in school!


1: Square Hole Drill

2: AlphaGo’s ultimate challenge: a five-game match against the legendary Lee Sedol

3: Atlas, the next generation

+: What did you learn in school today ?