Unsweet treat/Pace of Life/Background remover

Recomendo - issue #345

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Unsweet treat

Instead of having something sweet after dinner every night, I’m eating a small bowl of chia seed pudding. I like its consistency and texture. Here’s a simple recipe. I use the Trader Joe’s brand of chia seeds and oat milk and I add cinnamon, vanilla extract, and roasted sesame seeds. — MF

Figure out your pace of life

I took this mini-quiz to find out if I’m living my life in the “fast lane.” The quiz is based on research of how fast pedestrians walk along a 60-foot stretch of pavement in different cities, and how that affects pacing in other aspects of life. Turns out I am somewhere in the middle. I scored a 37. — CD

Background remover

Apple has a built-in “background remover” for images on Macs and iPhones. It’ll blank out backgrounds behind portraits, people and figures. Open a photo on a Mac in Preview, then > Tools > Remove Background. Bingo! You can also do it in the finder by right clicking on the image file, then >Quick Actions > Remove Background. The same trick works on photos on the iPhone. Just press your finger on the figure and you get the option to share a backgroundless version. Great for isolating products, making a headshot photo, or green-screening things to blend into a collage. Just 5 years ago this magic would be considered “AI.” Maybe it is. (Let us know if there is built-in mode for windows/android.) — KK

Learn history visually

HistoryMaps uses interactive maps as a timeline so that as you read (and scroll) you can visualize where events in time took place. There’s also a Timelines Game that you can play, and according to the creator of the website there are hidden features and puzzles for added fun. — CD

A different kind of art

The Dutch painter Vemeer is in the news because the few paintings he did in his life are all being gathered into one exhibit. Many scholars contend that his paintings are anachronistically photo-realistic because he was using optical devices to help him paint, centuries before cameras. To prove this theory, a crazy inventor named Tim Jenison spent five years recreating Vermeer’s favorite room including replicating all the furniture, and then figured out a way Vermeer could have used two mirrors (one concave) to project the image. Tim then spent one year using optics to precisely recreate Vermeer’s painting stroke by stroke – even though he had never painted before. It’s an epic journey of ingenuity and utterly mad obsessiveness. The whole story is told in an amazing 2014 documentary Tim’s Vermeer. (On YouTube for free, or on paid streaming services.) — KK

Wikipedian curiosities

My friend Jean told me about The Cabinet of Wikipedian Curiosities, a web page of interesting bits, lists, and links culled from the open source encyclopedia. 


— MF


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