Alex Santoso's Blog Posts

Can You Tell This CGI Skin Apart From Real Human Skin?

You know what gives away CGI every time? It's the skin.

Computer-generated human skin is almost always too smooth and too plastic-y. Even the best CGI look like they're wax models. That close-but-no-cigar skin puts CGI faces right smack in the uncanny valley.

But not for long: Researchers at the University of Southern California Institute of Creative Technologies have released a new technique that can create amazingly realistic artificial skin.

Koki Nagano and colleagues scanned real human face to capture details at the 10 micron magnification level - close enough to capture details like tiny wrinkles and pores - and then created an algorithm to mimic the stretching and compression of the skin in regular human facial expressions.

The results are absolutely stunning:


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Engineer Disassembled Beats Headphones And Found This Surprise Inside

Nothing beats (ahem!) a good pair of headphones, especially those that feel solid and substantial in your hands. Like those iconic Beats By Dre headphones you see everywhere you go. Surely they're made with top shelf components that justify their sky-high price of $199, right?

Bolt's prototype engineer Avery Louie decided to see what the Beats headphones are made from and exacty how much they cost ... and he's found quite a few surprises, like this one:

One of the great things about the solo headphones is how substantial they feel. A little bit of weight makes the product feel solid, durable, and valuable. One way to do this cheaply is to make some components out of metal in order to add weight. In these headphones, 30% of the weight comes from four tiny metal parts that are there for the sole purpose of adding weight.

So, how much do the components in a $199 headphones actually cost? Find out at Louie's post over at Medium - via Core77

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"Genius Girl" Hoax: High School Student Tried to Impress Parents by Telling Them She Got Accepted into Both Harvard and Stanford

Got parents with high expectation? Impress them by telling them you got into Harvard.

Got parents with really high expectation? Impress them by telling them that you not only got accepted at Harvard and Stanford with full scholarships, but also that they both want you so bad that they're creating a special joint program so you can attend both schools.

And if that's not enough, tell them that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg called you on the phone to give you advice on which college to attend.

That's what one high school senior, dubbed by the media as "Genius Girl," did. Too bad that none of it was true and when the story went viral. The Washington Post reports:

The senior’s tale of academic conquest of admission into what turned out to be a bogus program apparently was designed to impress her parents, peers and teachers as part of the annual cutthroat competition for the relatively tiny number of spots at the nation’s top schools. The faked admission story went much further than most teen fantasies: It made its way to the international media, where the student’s parents admitted the truth and publicly shamed themselves before the Korean community. ...

The question now at the school is what caused the student to concoct the elaborate college admissions scheme. The answer seems obvious to students and teachers there: overwhelming pressure to succeed from parents and unrealistic expectations from the teens themselves.

Creating a story that went viral and brought you internet notoriety? Now that's impressive!

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Microwave Chefs, Meet the Next-Gen Microwave That'll Turn You Into a Gourmet Chef!

If your idea of cooking is more pushing some buttons on the microwave oven, then with this new technology, you may well be on your way to become a gourmet chef.

Behold the next generation microwave, as developed by Freescale Semiconductor. This microwave uses solid-state radio frequency (RF) technology to heat meals and allows you to cook food at different intensities, prevent overcooking, and heat up multiple dishes at the same time. The microwave has a wide array of cooking techniques, including searing, browning, baking, and poaching. Plus, it looks boss!

"Consumers worldwide are strapped for time but still want nutrient-rich, high quality meals at home," said Paul Hart, senior vice president and general manager for Freescale’s RF business. "They will no longer need to choose between quality and convenience. Imagine not only having ready-to cook, gourmet meals delivered to your door, but achieving restaurant-quality results in mere minutes. This is an exciting new appliance concept based on a novel cooking paradigm."

That's a tall promise for a technology that's been around for almost 70 years (yes, the first microwave, built from radar technologies developed during World War II, was sold in 1946).

Via Mashable.

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Star Wars Spaceships Crash Landing on Earth

The Imperial insurance adjustor's not going to like this!

French artist Nicolas Amiard has created a set of composite photographs depicting what would happen if starships from the Star Wars universe crash landed on planet Earth.

As he imagined the Imperial Star Destroyer plopped down in Paris to the Millennium Falcon crash landed in the Hudson River, Amiard said to VICE's The Creators Project, "Star Wars is an imaginary universe and bringing elements from this universe in our real world seemed to be a very interesting contrast to work on."

We'll say that the Force (of Photoshopper) is strong with this one!

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Pop Song Shows the Formula of How to Write Your Own Pop Song

Psst, wanna million bucks? Just write the next pop hit! And you don't even have to worry about having some divine inspiration for writing the song because, as it turns out, there's a formula for writing catchy pop songs.

And what better form to write said formula than in an actual song?

Here's a pop song about pop songs, by Josh Ramsay of Marianas Trench. And he should know what he's talking about - Josh wrote and produced Carly Rae Jepsen's 2011 earworm "Call Me Maybe."

Via Twisted Sifter.

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You've Been Opening Milk Cartons Wrong All Your Life. Here's How You Should Do It ...

That carton of milk you buy from the grocery store? Y'know, the one that's hard to open. If you've been having an infernal time prying open the gable top carton and squeezing the two sides to pop the spout out, then watch this clip below.

It'll change your life FOREVER!

Here's how a professional opens a milk carton, courtesy of the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF):

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Opal Captures Fiery Sunset and Clouds Within

Photo: Jeff Schultz/Flickr - via Bored Panda

What magical stone is this?! Flickr user Jeff Schultz took a photograph of a Mexican opal that looks like it has a fiery sunset and clouds captured within. Gorgeous!

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

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Corgi in for a Big Surprise when Turtle It Thought was a Rock Suddenly Moved

Rocks shouldn't move, should they? YouTube user TurboMuffin filmed her corgi Turbo chillin' in the yard next to a rock ... which suddenly moved! Oh, that sneaky turtle!

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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Forget Velociraptors! Chris Pratt Met the Challenge of His Life: Training Little Kids!

Remember that Chris Pratt raptor training pose? Turns out, wrangling velociraptors was just preparation for something much more challenging: training human children.

Chris Pratt's Jurassic World raptor training pose

Redditor chrysias posted this image of Jurassic World actor Chris Pratt at Our Lady of the Lake hospital in Baton Rogue, Louisiana, taming entertaining the kids and their families.

Just to underscore how dangerous little children could be, does anyone know where Chris Pratt is now? He hasn't been heard from since ...

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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World's Longest Pizza Looks Like a Red Carpet of Molten Cheesy Goodness!

Image: MarcoBrusa

If you think you have to wait for a long time for pizza, just be thankful that you didn't have to wait 18 hours like for this one. But result is worth it: a new Guinness World Record for world's longest pizza!

For the 2015 world fair in Milan, Italy, sixty pizza makers came together to cook a sizzling margherita 1,595.45-meter long (that's nearly a mile-long!) The pizza was made using over two tons of tomato sauce and half a ton of mozzarella cheese, and stretched over 800 tables.

Photo: Olivier Morin/AFP

After the pizza was declared as world's longest, it was fed to over 30,000 fair visitors, and donated to a local food bank.

So, just how does one cook a mile-long pizza? With moving ovens, of course:

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Cat Wins Hero Dog Award

Now this is different! For the first time in 33 years, a cat has been given the "Hero Dog" award by a Los Angeles animal shelter. And wait till you hear what she did to win the award: she attacked a dog.

Last year, Tara the cat saw her owner, 6-year-old autistic boy named Jeremy Triantafilo, got attacked by a neighbor's dog. Tara body-slammed the dog and chased it away. The incident was caught on Triantafilo's home security video, which Miss C posted on Neatorama.

"We were so impressed by Tara's bravery and fast action that the selection committee decided that a cat this spectacular should be the National Hero Dog," said Madeline Bernstein, president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Los Angeles, to WPVI.

As you'd expect, the word "Dog" on the trophy was scratched out and replaced with "Cat."

Love cute animals? View more at Lifestyles of the Cute and Cuddly blog

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Earth's Sixth Great Mass Extinction Event is Upon Us

Great Vocab Didn't Save The Thesaurus From Extinction

"We are now entering the sixth great mass extinction event."

That line belongs in a sci-fi movie, but it was actually said by Gerardo Ceballos to the BBC, now a scientist at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. "If it is allowed to continue, life would take many millions of years to recover and our species itself would likely disappear early on," he added.

Species extinction over the past centuries

Ceballos and colleagues from Stanford University and University of California, Berkeley, have just published a paper that showed the current extinction rate of vertebrates is more than 100 times greater than normal. Since 1900, there are more than 400 vertebrate species that went extinct.

The study laid the blame on modern human activities, including deforestation, introduction of invasive species, pollution, and, you guessed it, climate change.

"There are examples of species all over the world that are essentially the walking dead," added Paul Ehrlich of Stanford University. As species disappear, so goes their benefits to the ecosystem such as crop pollination by honeybees and water purifications in the wetlands. At the current rate of loss, we could lose biodiversity within just three generations. "We are sawing off the limb that we are sitting on," added Ehrlich.

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This is What Happens When a Lawmaker Tries to Ban Memes

Shouldn't we all know how the Interwebs work by now? Apparently not this lawmaker in Mexico!

Congresswoman Selma Guadalupe Gomez wanted to protect the "moral patrimony" of the Mexican state of Sonora by banning Internet memes and regulating social media content. She recently introduced a bill, titled "Law of Civil Responsibility for the Protection of the Right to Private Life, Honor and the Image of the State of Sonora" or more popularly known as the "anti-meme" law, calls for fines up to $1,600.

Needless to say, the Internet responded by turning the congresswoman into a meme. Twitter exploded with memes tagged #ladymeme and #NoMemes, a word play on "No Mames," a Mexican slang roughly meaning "you're kidding."

All we got to say is, well, that escalated quickly.

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Why is This 1850s Marble Statue Sculpture Shows a Girl Looking at Her Smartphone?

Photo: Gail Worley / Worleygig

Actually, she's not ... but it's amazing how our modern brain interprets that situation, right?

Gail Worley of the awesome blog Worleygig (seriously, check it out) went to The Met and saw this 1855 marble statue "Indian Girl, or The Dawn of Christianity," by Erasmus Dow Palmer. Like many of us, she immediately thought "doesn't it look like she's checking her Instagram feed or catching up on Tweets?"

It turns out that the object that the Indian Girl was looking at is a crucifix, not a smart phone. Could've fooled us, though.

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

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Hex Keys Optical Illusion

What do these organized hex keys look like to you? They look like floating stairs made out of staples to me!

When imgurian megsut121 organized some hex keys (or Allen key, if you must) at work, two questions immediate came to mind: First, who in the world would have that many hex keys. And second, do they point up or down?

Take a look at the larger pic - there's something strangely satisfying going on here.

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

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Crikey! Artist Turns Pothole into Crocodile Pond

A month ago, a water pipe burst and damaged a street in Bangalore, India. Frustrated that the authorities did nothing to fix the 12-foot-wide pothole, artist Baadal Nanjundaswamy decided to take matters into his own hands: he created a life-size 9-foot-long crocodile out of fiber glass and turn the pothole into a crocodile pond!

Nanjundaswamy's stunt worked: the authorities quickly covered up that pothole after his crocodile pic went viral on social media.

Here's what the pothole looked like before the crocodile:

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View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

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5 Father's Day Cards You Should NOT Send To Your Dad

Father's Day is almost here, and if you're on a mission to find that perfect Father's Day card, here are some cards that you should NOT send. From the brilliant minds behind Shoebox, take a look at 12 Rejected Father's Day Cards:

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How the Saharan Silver Ants Survive Temperatures Up to 158 Degrees Fahrenheit

Photo: Norman Nan Shi and Nanfang Yu

It's 158 degrees Fahrenheit (70°C) outside and that's just fine for the Saharan silver ants.

But how do the ants, which as its name suggests, live in the Sahara desert, keep cool when biological functions start breaking down when their body temperatures reach 128°F (54°C)?

Scientists discovered that the Saharan silver ants can withstand such hot temperatures because of the amazing properties of their silvery hair. Using electron microscopy and ion beam milling, Nanfang Yu of Columbia Engineering and colleagues discovered that the ant's hairs have unique triangular cross section. The hairs reflect the sun's rays in the visible light and near-infrared, and they dissipate heat in the infrared range through thermal radiation.

"Animals have evolved diverse strategies to perceive and utilize electromagnetic waves: deep sea fish have eyes that enable them to maneuver and prey in dark waters, butterflies create colors from nanostructures in their wings, honey bees can see and respond to ultraviolet signals, and fireflies use flash communication systems," Yu said to PhysOrg, "Organs evolved for perceiving or controlling electromagnetic waves often surpass analogous man-made devices in both sophistication and efficiency. Understanding and harnessing natural design concepts deepens our knowledge of complex biological systems and inspires ideas for creating novel technologies."

The scientists hope that this discovery could lead to novel materials and paints that can be applied to rooftops or cars to keep them cool.

Learn more about the amazing Saharan silver ant in this BBC clip, narrated by Sir David Attenborough:

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This Slippery Floor Warning Sign Looks Like a Banana Peel

Now that's a useful AND ap-peel-ing sign!

That's the Banana Cone, a bright yellow "Caution Wet Floor" sign that warns passers-by of slippery floor. Surely you've seen such a sign before, but this one is shaped like a banana peel! Talk about a universal sign of slipping!

You can get some from Amazon, if you're bananas over things that look like bananas.

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

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Samsung's Safety Trucks Let Drivers Behind See the Road Ahead

In countries with a lot of one-lane streets, overtaking slow-moving trucks can be downright hazardous.

Samsung, in this advertising collaboration with Leo Burnett/Buenos Aires, put a camera in front of its "Safety Trucks" and a monitor in the back to let drivers behind the trucks see the road ahead.

Do you think this is a good idea?

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For Relaxing Times, See These Suntory Ice Cube Sculptures

For relaxing times, make it Suntory time ... preferrably chilled with these intricately carved ice cubes for their "3D on the Rocks" ad campaign.

Miwako Fujiwara of creative agency TBWA\Hakuhodo explained that Suntory used CNC router to mill blocks of ice into intricate frozen sculptures of a shark, a scorpion, the Statue of Liberty as well as pop culture icons like Godzilla, Batman, and Mario.

First, they chilled the CNC router to -7 °C (19 °F) to keep the ice from melting. Then, they fed 3D modeling data to the milling machine ... and one to six hours later (depending on the complexity of the design), they got the end product.

Take a look at more of Suntory's amazing ice cube sculptures:

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Arnold Schwarzenegger Pranked Fans at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum

He's back.

To help promote his new Terminator Genisys movie, Arnold Schwarzenegger took to the streets of Hollywood as Terminator ("Please don't bump my selfie stick" will surely become a new thing) and pranked fans at the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum.

The prank is part of an effort to benefit the charity After-School All Stars, which you can enter over at Omaze.

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Meet the New Swedish Super Pizza!

Behold the new Swedish Super Pizza!

Journalist Cecilia Edström tweeted this picture of the culinary masterpiece, which is called the "Volcano Pizza," made by chef Halmat Givra of Nya Gul & Blå restaurant in Piteå, Sweden. As reported by Nyheter24, the pizza contains pockets of ham and cheese, beef tenderloin, salami, bacon, french fries, and salad with Bearnaise sauce.

What's the Swedish word for "yummy"?

We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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Haiku by a Robot

At the tender age of 9, Nathan Beifuss of California showed that his creation, aptly titled "Haiku by a Robot," fulfilled all of the requirements of a haiku, namely that it has a five-seven-five syllable structure and that it makes no sense whatsoever. Genius!

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

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The Internet Responds to Slayer's New Album Cover

Earlier this week, metal band Slayer revealed the cover art of their new album, Repentless. The image, created by Brazilian artist Marcelo Vasco in collaboration with bassist Tom Araya and guitarist Kerry King, is definitely edgy.

While you could've easily predicted backlash from religious Christians, the band probably didn't see what the Internet saw: the uncanny similarity between the album cover image with Ecce Homo, the 100-year-old fresco by Elias Garcia Martinez, made famous when it was "restored" by an elderly churchgoer.

It took Slayer years to come up with the new album, but Metal Injection reported that it took the Internet just a day or so to release this:

What do you think? Is it an improvement?

View more fun pics over at our NeatoPicto Blog

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This is Why You Shouldn't Have a Raptor for a Pet

If you think cats don't listen, try having a raptor as a pet. We really don't know how the Flintstones did it, because dinos are big jerks!

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Flower Girl Stole the Kiss ... and the Photo!

Photo: Leah Bullard

No wedding photo is complete without "The Kiss," but when photographer Leah Bullard snapped a photograph of the bride and groom kissing, she got a bit more than she expected: the flower girl wanted in on the action, too!

When Anthony Palmer and Michelle Hall of Knoxville, Tennessee, got married last weekend, Michelle's four-year-old daughter Anderson was the flower girl. When Bullard said that she needed the bride and groom to kiss, the little girl "thought I was referring to her, because she thought she was the bride and so naturally she just leaned in for a kiss and kissed that ring bearer!" said Bullard to KFOR.

"Guess what! When momma kissed, Ikey and I kissed!," said Anderson about Ike the ringbearer, "He was the best ring bearer ever! And he thought I was the best flower girl ever! We're best friends"

See more about baby and kids at NeatoBambino

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"Relentlessly Gay" Yard Caused A Neighborhood Battle

Baltimore-resident Julie Baker, a widow and mother of four, created a set of rainbow-colored mason jars with the words "Love" and "Ohana" and hung them outside her frontyard. (Ohana, for those of you who haven't seen Disney's Lilo & Stitch cartoon, is the Hawaiian word that means "family.")

Baker didn't think too much of her handicraft until one day, she opened her door to find a note from her neighbor. The note said:

Your yard is becoming Relentlessly Gay! Myself and Others in the neighborhood ask that you Tone It Down. This is a Christian area and there are Children.

Keep it up and I will be Forced to call the Police on You! Your kind need to have Respect for GOD.

A Concerned Home Owner.

But Baker didn't "tone it down." Instead, she planned to turn it up even higher. After she shared the story with a friend who posted it on Facebook, the story went viral, and Baker has started a Go Fund Me campaign.

"I am starting this fundraiser so I can work to make my Home even More 'relentlessly gay.' If we go high enough, I will see if I can get a Rainbow Roof! Because my invisible relentlessly gay rainbow dragon should live up there in style!" Baker added, "Put simply, I am a widow and the mother of four children, my youngest in high school and I WILL NOT Relent to Hatred. Instead I will battle it with whimsy and beauty and laughter and love, wrapped around my home, yard and family!!!"

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Bottling the Scent of the Recently Deceased

After her husband passed away, Katia Apalategui's mother held on to her late husband's pillowcase to keep his unique scent.

"This gave me the idea of bottling a dead person's unique scent so that grieving relatives can keep their loved one's memory alive," said Apalategui to The Telegraph. "We take the person's clothing and extract about 100 molecules [sic] of their unique bodily odour. Then in a distillation process that takes four days we reconstruct it in the form of perfume."

Apalategui worked with scientists at Le Havre University to develop the technique to reproduce a person's distinct odor. That odor, she added, could provide "olfactory comfort" that Apalategui claimed is more effective than photos of the deceased.

(Image: totallyPic/Shutterstock)

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Profile for Alex Santoso

  • Member Since 2012/07/17


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