Archive | 10:28 pm

Ever wonder why you look prettier in some photos and uglier in others, even with the same smile and the same lighting? It’s all about the camera lens.

7 Nov


It’s all about the lens distortion (which is also affected by the subject’s distance to the camera). Lenses make the world look different than it does through your eyes. They bend light rays, capturing the scene within a certain field of view into a limited bi-dimensional frame: the photograph. Depending on the lens’ focal length, the image will deform more or less, affecting how faces and objects look in photos.

You can see how the deformation works in this Eastwood’s series, who took the same photo with a wide range of optics, going from a 350mm to 19mm. Eastwood moved the camera to frame the subject in exactly the same position so you could clearly see the effect.

The shorter the focal length, the more field of you view you can capture. With something like a 15mm fish eye lens or the 19mm that Eastwood used, the effect is really obvious. Your face would be extremely deformed, like the rest of the environment. But as you go up, the distortion gets more subtle. Sometimes this distortion can make a face prettier than it actually is. Sometimes the effect makes a face uglier. Since this subtler distortion is not obvious, your mind just buys the image thinking that this is what the person looks like.

The same happens with larger focal lengths. At 350mm there’s also a distortion of reality: the face of the model becomes flatter and wider.

In theory, shooting with something like a 135mm would produce the best, most accurate results, but there’s no right or wrong here. It depends on your subject’s anatomy. That’s why some people are “photogenic” with certain cameras and at certain angles, and look horrible with others.

If you pay attention, you can really observe this effect in everyday photos taken with cellphones and compact cameras. You can even see it without even changing the lens focal length. While taking photos with my iPhone on a recent trip, placing some people on the center of the frame made them look better, especially from a distance. Then, as I moved them to the sides of the frame, they looked sightly different. The distortion is more obvious near the sides, and it was enough to make them less attractive. The funny thing is that the contrary happened with me: I looked better on the sides than on the center. Or maybe it was just that I had a horrible hangover the whole trip.

via This Image Shows How Camera Lenses Beautify or Uglify Your Pretty Face.

Gizmodo has updated its essential iPhone, iPad, Android, and Windows Phone 7 app list. These are must haves!

7 Nov

Gizmodo essential apps – Gizmodo.

First, a shout out to my friend, Kari, for finally updating her phone.

Smartphones >>> dumbphones.

So continue here to check out the apps you need for your new device!




Windows Phone 7

How They’ll Know if Justin Bieber Is a Baby Daddy, and How You Can Too.

7 Nov

How They’ll Know if Justin Bieber Is a Baby Daddy

I suspected Justin Bieber was no innocent when I saw him for the first time on television.

It was TMZ, and he must have been 15 at the time. He was being tailed by cameramen who were asking really smart questions like: “What’s the best thing about being Justin Bieber?” The tween heartthrob replied: “The girls,” like super soberly. It gave me shivers.

So when 20-year-old Mariah Yeater said The Bieb was her baby daddy, my ears perked up. She’s got Justin and his lawyer’s attention, too. He has agreed to undergo DNA testing, which will out the deceiver in this story: People might lie, but DNA doesn’t.

Unless someone mixes up the test tubes, a DNA test is pretty much guaranteed to tell you exactly who fathered a child, granted you’ve obtained a bit of saliva or blood from everyone involved. DNA paternity testing became available in 1988. Before that fatherhood was more suggested than proven using blood types (paternity could be excluded but not proven). It got a little more accurate in the ’70s and ’80s with electrophoresis, which could identify certain genetic markers, but not down to the letter like DNA testing can today.

If the paternity suit is bogus, here’s why Mariah Yeater is not, perhaps, the sharpest tool in the shed (besides that fact that she will have instigated her own statutory rape investigation). And if it is true, this is why The Biebs is F’d in more ways than one.

1. Pay for it
Mail order home tests cost as little as $79, others can cost between $400 and $2000, depending on how complicated the test is (Are you testing one or more kids? Are you also testing for maternity? How fast do you need it?). There’s some controversy over whether the home tests are as good as the in-person ones. We suggest you make certain the test is submissible in court if that’s what you need.

2. Get it
Paternity tests these days typically use a simple swab from inside the cheek of the potential family members: daddy, mommy, baby. Spit contains plenty of DNA, since a full complement of your genetic info is present in every cell in your body. Or they might sometimes use blood. You can go to a lab or mail-order your test—more on that below. If you’re in more of a hurry, you can test for paternity after the first trimester of pregnancy with amniocentesis or a technique calledchorionic villus sampling.

3. Got it
Each parent contributes half the DNA—23 chromosomes each—to their offspring’s genetic make up. DNA is made of the nucleic acids adenine, thymine, cytosine and guanine represented by the letters A, T, C and G. They travel in pairs (A binds with T and C binds with G), and together they create that double helix swirl you see in the media pretty much any time DNA is discussed.

4. Read it
Scientists read the story these letter tell using technology such as a polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, which amplifies the DNA into an amount they can more easily examine. First they identify the mother’s DNA and exclude that from the reading, which is easy because only women have mitochondrial DNA, A.K.A mtDNA. The father’s contribution is what’s left, but they don’t study his entire genome. That would take too long and be way expensive. Instead, scientists choose DNA markers, usually around 16 of them, then compare those markers to the baby’s DNA.

5. Keep track of it
To prevent test-tube mix-ups, technicians split the DNA sample in two and check each one against the other throughout the analysis process.

6. Confirm it
DNA paternity tests are very accurate (about 99.9 percent). They’re so accurate that they can even determine paternity by testing DNA from grandparents and cousins, and even using saliva left on a drinking glass.

Not all tests are created equal, at least in the eyes of the law. Some are court-approved while others, often the at-home, mail-in kind, are mostly used for peace of mind—or when deciding to move forward with a lawsuit. We’re guessing Biebs et. al. will be springing for the former.

Did this really just happen? The White House officially just declared that an alien invasion is not imminent.

7 Nov



Here’s the excerpt from Mashable.

Well, perhaps not an invasion, but the White House has issued an official statement saying that there is no evidence that life exists outside of Earth.

The statement came in response to two petitions on We The People, the White House’s experiment in crowdsourced petitioning and public opinion. Any petition that gains at least 25,000 signatures will be passed along to a top policymaker for a response. The petitions asked the White House to “formally acknowledge an extraterrestrial presence engaging the human race” and to “immediately disclose the government’s knowledge of and communications with extraterrestrial beings.”

Both petitions claim that extraterrestrials exist on Earth and that the government has gone to lengths to hide this information. The White House, though, says:

The U.S. government has no evidence that any life exists outside our planet, or that an extraterrestrial presence has contacted or engaged any member of the human race. In addition, there is no credible information to suggest that any evidence is being hidden from the public’s eye.

The combined signatures don’t add up to 25,000, so it’s odd the White House would respond to this petition instead of others on the platform. Here are some pros and cons of the decision.

Pro: Despite the seemingly outlandish petition, the White House responded with a respectful and fairly lengthy response penned by Phil Larson, who works in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. In it, Larson says that while aliens aren’t on Earth, “that doesn’t mean the subject of life outside our planet isn’t being discussed or explored. In fact, there are a number of projects working toward the goal of understanding if life can or does exist off Earth.” He lists three programs — SETI, the Kepler spacecraft and the Mars Science Laboratory — as examples of the search for life on other planets.

Con: The White House chose to answer this petition instead of handling more controversial topics such as those addressing the electoral collegeKeystone XL Pipeline or same-sex marriage.

Pro: This response is encouraging to the validity of the We The People platform. No matter the petition, if it receives enough popular support, the White House will take it into consideration and respond.

ConOccupy Wall Street is picking up speed and influence. The 2012 election is top of mind. The job market is still dismal, and there are tensions running across political and economic divides. While space exploration is certainly an important element of the U.S.’s tech history, the decision to handle this petition, titled “Searching for ET, But No Evidence Yet,” seems like a case of bad timing especially since it has fewer than 25,000 signatures.

Now it’s your turn: Did the White House make the right decision by responding to this alien inquiry? And are your Area 51 beliefs crushed, or do you still hold out hope for alien life?

Spreecast is the new social video platform that lets people broadcast together! First 5 people who LIKE “Teechy” at get a FREE invite!

7 Nov





Spreecast™ is the social video platform
that lets people broadcast together.

  • Up to 4 people on camera at once.
  • Unlimited number of people can view (can also be private).
  • Recorded live and immediately available for playback.
  • Chat, ask questions, join in on camera!

Creating your own spreecast is currently by invite only.
“LIKE” Teechy on Facebook @ and I’ll try to send you one!


You Go To the Gym to Work Out Your Body. So Use Lumosity to Work Out Your Brain & Get Smarter.

7 Nov






Lumosity partners with researchers at Stanford, UCSF, Harvard, and Columbia, among other prestigious universities. We also work with numerous health care organizations to provide cognitive training services.



  • Exercise you’ll love

    Our neuroscientists and game developers work hard to design entertaining exercises you’ll want to play everyday. After all, the harder you train, the stronger your brain. We believe that is a truly enjoyable experience — and we’re not the only ones who think this.

  • Over 35+ games and exercises

    Lumosity subscribers have access to over 35+ brain games and exercises. Based on extensive research, our games enhance the brain’s ability to remember details, solve problems, pay attention, multitask — and much, much more.

  • Adaptive learning

    While exercises are easy to learn, they can also be difficult to master. Don’t worry, though, we did this on purpose. Studies have found time and time again that the human brain needs constant challenge. provides this challenge with the help of proprietary algorithms that adapt the difficulty level to match the needs of each and every subscriber. As you improve, our games get more and more difficult, forcing your brain to improve even more.


Brain Games & Brain Training – Lumosity.

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