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A Morgue Ship, Parachute Codes, and a Dented Tuba - See With Eyes Closed Digest Issue #3

A Morgue Ship, Parachute Codes, and a Dented Tuba - See With Eyes Closed Digest Issue #3
By Benjamin Hollon • Issue #3 • View online
This week I’ve got a fun surprise: I’m releasing a new short story on my site. See below for details.

New Blog Post: Guns on this Morgue Ship
This week’s post is about a neat thought I had while coding some stuff this week (don’t worry, I tried to make it simple enough to understand without in-depth computer knowledge) and ends with a neat thought experiment I hope you’ll enjoy.
Guns on this Morgue Ship | See With Eyes Closed
New Story: The Lonely Tuba
You may have seen this under the writing page before as “Unpublished.” Well, I’ve decided to go ahead and make it public. I’d be happy to hear feedback, so do let me know what you think! It should be a quick 2-3 minute read.
The dented tuba in the picture (coming soon, sorry) is the one I’m borrowing from my school. It’s beat-up and the valves stick, but it’s still so fun to play! It inspired this story.
You can view other writing of mine on this nifty page on my website.
Current Projects
I just got into Machine Learning this week, and it’s been so fun! (see my article above) Here are a couple projects I tried out:
  • A model to recognize sarcasm in news headlines. I was able to get it up to 83% accuracy. Then I tried it on “Benjamin is really good at machine learning” and it said that’s got a 56% chance of sarcasm. Kinda creepy. 😅
  • My dream for Machine Learning has always been to try to make something that could write for itself, and I took my first step toward that by coding an autocomplete model. You give it a few words and then it’ll add a few more. See details in my blog post above.
Other than that…
  • I released AvoJS this week, a super-lightweight (< 400 bytes!!!) framework that lets you run a function whenever you assign the value of a variable. If you’re interested in coding check it out; even if you’re not into Javascript, you might find a way to apply it to your language of choice.
You can find other projects of mine on the projects page of my website.
Other Stuff
Ten days ago, NASA’s Perseverance rover touched down on Mars. Since then they released some super-cool video footage of the landing. (Which is the first-ever video of a Mars landing!) One thing that caught my attention was the odd pattern on the parachute; I wondered for a moment if it might be a code for something but didn’t pursue it further. Sure enough, though, it did turn out to be code:
Mars Decoder Ring – NASA’s Mars Exploration Program
I think it’s pretty cool that there’s someone geeky at NASA who thought up the idea of writing JPL’s motto on the parachute in code, as well as the fact that there are a bunch of geeks on the internet who went and solved it within a few hours of the released footage.
Thought of the Week
Here’s a French proverb I ran across recently and enjoyed:
Tout comprendre, c'est tout pardonner.
(translated) To understand all is to forgive all.
– Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
Have a great week!
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Benjamin Hollon

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