Enhance Old Station

Zoom In. Now… Enhance! (For Real, Kinda)

The Zoom And Enhance trope has long been the ultimate criminal identification solution and a staple for crime drama television. Its use on screen is often lauded as an example of how Hollywood doesn’t understand technology. The Enhance Button trope simply ignores that the blurry focus and big blocky pixels you get when you zoom in close on an image are the only information that the picture actually contains, and attempting to extract more detail from the image alone is essentially impossible.

Enhance Old Station

Enhance Bank Lobby

However, as a proof of concept, Alex J. Champandard’s Neural Enhance coding project uses deep learning to enhance the details of images. As seen from the gifs above, if the neural networks are well trained, the enhancements are quite effective.

Thanks to deep learning and #NeuralEnhance, it’s now possible to train a neural network to zoom into your images at 2x or even 4x. You’ll get even better results by increasing the number of neurons or training with a dataset similar to your low-resolution image. The catch? The neural network is hallucinating details based on its training from example images. It’s not reconstructing your photo exactly as it would have been if it was HD. That’s only possible in Holywood — but using deep learning as “Creative AI” works and it’s just as cool!

Now let’s vector in and enlarge the z-axis.

via prosthetic knowledge

30 Under 30 Under 6: Only The Good Die Young

On the heels of my celebrity death list post come Buzzfeed’s “30 under 30 Celebs: Most Likely To Die Young This Summer”. The list of at-risk young stars and starlets goes down like this:

  1. Lindsay Lohan via drugs, alcohol, propensity for being involved in car crashes, child star curse.
  2. Justin Bieber via angry teenage mob
  3. Robert Pattinson via slightly older angry teenage mob
  4. Tila Tequila via all of her life choices
  5. Heidi Montag via implant explosion
  6. Nick Jonas via diabetes
  7. Kendra Wilkinson via STDs
  8. Britney Spears via sadness
  9. Levi Johnston via ATV accident
  10. Ke$ha via alcohol poisoning
  11. Ali Lohan via proximity to Lindsay Lohan
  12. Snooki via assault
  13. Frankie Muniz via race-car driving, child star curse
  14. Mischa Barton via drugs
  15. Taylor Momsen via drugs
  16. Kristin Cavalleri via drugs
  17. Jodie Sweetin via drugs (specifically meth), child star curse.
  18. The Cast Of Glee via exhaustion, teen mobs
  19. Jake Gyllenhaal via precipitous fall (of his career)
  20. Amy Winehouse via inevitability
  21. Lady Gaga via strangulation by costume
  22. Mary Kate Olsen via strangulation by clothes
  23. Jay Cutler via diabetes
  24. Anne Hathaway via nefarious boyfriend
  25. Noah Cyrus via family’s life choices
  26. Kirsten Dunst via alcohol poisoning, child star curse
  27. Dakota Fanning via vampires
  28. Jonathan Lipnicki via child star curse
  29. Michael Cera via backlash whiplash
  30. Sienna Miller via vicious girl-on-girl hate

A Three Doc Night

I watched three short documentaries last night.

The first film was a documentary about the rise and fall of Rollen Stewart, the rainbow man. You may not recognize the name but if you’re my age or older, you might remember his rainbow hair dancing around at every nfl, nba, mlb game in the late seventies. The Rainbow Man/John 3:16 was a strange dude who also liked to smoke a lot of dooby. His meteoric rise to semi-fame flew straight into a becoming a born again Christian after being groped by a bunch of professional cheerleaders (huh?). At this point he started to hang his John 3:16 signs (For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life) everywhere he went, which was wherever there was a television camera. I remember him more for the giant John 3:16 signs made of bed sheets than and only have foggy memories of a dancing prism with an afro. Like lots of born again’s (George Bush Jr. comes to mind), John’s grip on reality started to slip and he decided that the rapture was just around the corner. Well, desperate time call for desperate measures and he ended up taking a maid hostage in a downtown Los Angeles hotel and smoking more weed (no harm to the maid). He has since been sentenced to life in prison. It was a really interesting film with too much stock footage from Hard Copy tha ultimately ended up being sorta sad.

Rollen Frederick Stewart courtesy of Sports Illustrated Still Image from the film

The second film I watched was The Making of ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains’ about the cult favorite Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains which I have never seen but now desperately want to. If anyone knows how to get a hold of this movie please contact me. The original movie starred young 14 year old Diane Lane, and was her first film. Other notable actors included member of The Sex Pistols, members of The Clash, the lead singer of The Tubes, and Black Randy and his band, The Metrosquad. Needless to say, there were all sorts of drugs, sex, and rock and roll happening all over the set. Good times! I’m dying to see Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains. It looks like one of the best and one of the worst movies of all times. Here is a youtube clip I found.

The third documentary I watched was Pie Fight ’69 which was a weird, eight-minute, documentary about a pretty weird event. The film consisted of footage lost since 1969 of the notorious ‘pie-fight’ incident at the San Francisco Film Festival. Two dozen costumed radicals descend on the fancy black tie & red carpet festival with one fully laden pie truck and six cameras in order to wreak havoc. The coolest thing about this was the term “soft bomb” which seems like the 1969 version of a “flash mob” with political intent (what in the late sixties didn’t have political intent?).

Casting Call

I’ve never been afraid to talk about my favoritism toward the “reality” style of television. My interest in them has spanned all genres and styles. So it may come as no surprise that I would actually try out for one. Well, I never thought I would, but it might not surprise you.

Yesterday, G and I went down to the Teatro Hotel to try out for the travel channels new “1000 Places To Visit Before You Die” show. Both G & I are well traveled and have few serious responsibilities, so this looked like a great opportunity for us. You know, quit work and travel the world for four months on somebody elses bill. This was right up our alley.

Now I am well experienced with casting calls – I went through two very arduous tryouts for the Littleton Children’s Theatre at the tender young age of six or seven, where I proved my talent in order to win demanding roles as a goober pea in Brer Rabbit, and a punk-robot-type-thingy in some play I have nearly no recollection of (Thank God). Despite my expansive experience in “the industry” we bombed yesterdays casting call.

I don’t consider myself ugly really, but I didn’t know that the casting call went out to all the modeling agencies in Denver. Yikes. Everyone waiting around in the lobby was so perfect it made me want to puke. These were all actual TV type of people with headshots and “representatives”. But the best part is when we went in for the interview.

“Sit closer, take off your coats, we want to see what you look like” I was just hoping they wouldn’t make me spin around.

They asked us a series of questions that were relatively easy to answer and then they stumped us with this one, “What do you guys have to offer the show? You know, you would be the hosts, why would people want to watch you?”

G and I just turned and stared at each other blankly. Finally I blurted out something about being smart, and quick witted, and able to think on our toes. It was one of my worst displays of “thinking on my toes” ever. I continued to blab for what seemed like forever. It was more like my toes were doing the thinking. After jammering-on for about two minutes too long, G said something that finally shut me up. I can’t remember what she said because I was so dumbfounded I have blacked it out from my memory.

Then they got us with this one, “Where would you guys like to travel?” G said Africa and then started talking about some sort of Angelina Jolie type of stuff about culture and saving the world type of crap. Then I said, “Well my answer would be something of the opposite.” Here, they seemed to light up, thinking there might be some sort of good dynamic or drama that our relationship could add to their show. I quickly deflated their hopes by following up with, “I would like to go to Malaysia or Indonesia cause I just want to lay on the beach the whole time.”

I could just imagine what kind of ratings they would get by broadcasting my skinny, pasty body laying awkwardly in an uncomfortable beach chair occasionally dipping into the ocean to get the sand off my ass. 30 minutes of that. That’s what I told them I wanted.

For the rest of the interview I babbled incessantly while G tried to recover from how horribly everything was going. Not surprisingly, it was a short interview. Expect to see us in the very first episode where they show all of the idiots who tried out but are laughably under-qualified.