The Null Device
This is pretty impressive; a new algorithm that, when presented with a photograph with a hole cut out of it, searches a database of millions of other photographs, presents the user with a menu of similar-looking images to select from, and then composites elements of the chosen image to fill the hole seamlessly, producing an image which (in most cases) looks semantically coherent. Most impressively, it is entirely data-driven, and does not require any human-generated annotations of test data:
It uses mathematical properties of the images to make the match, and sometimes ends up serendipitously picking other images from the same location (because two photographs of, say, the Taj Mahal taken on a sunny mid-afternoon are likely to share similar properties).
Of course, it is possible to use such a tool creatively, replacing unwanted parts of an image with elements from a completely different scene, as the paper (PDF here shows:
After publishing a best-selling crime novel detailing a gruesome torture and murder, Polish crime novelist Krystian Bala has been charged with a similar murder which happened a few years earlier, the victim having been a friend of his ex-wife:
The case was broadcast on Poland’s version of the BBC television programme Crimewatch but it produced no serious leads — only some strange e-mails sent from internet cafés in Indonesia and South Korea, describing the murder as “the perfect crime”.
The first break for the police came when they discovered that Mr Bala, a highly experienced diver, was on a diving trip to South Korea and Indonesia at the time that the e-mails were sent. Then they discovered that he had sold a mobile phone four days after the body of Dariusz J was discovered. It was the same model that the victim was known to have owned, but that police had never found.
Mr Bala offered to take a lie-detector test to prove his innocence and passed. When the transcripts were read out in court, the judge was struck by the very long pauses taken by Mr Bala before answering, a technique that may allow a suspect to mask the physical signs of lying.Of course, that doesn't mean that he did it, though it does start to look somewhat suspicious.
Meanwhile, some light has been shed on another murder mystery, the whereabouts of Lord Lucan; some people, including a retired Scotland Yard detective believe that the disgraced peer, who may have bludgeoned his family nanny to death, is living out of a car in New Zealand, with a cat and a pet possum, no less:
Neighbours say the man has an upper-class English accent and a military bearing like Lord Lucan, who was educated at Eton before serving in the Coldstream Guards.
He is said to have arrived in New Zealand about the time Lucan disappeared and is also understood to be receiving money from property he owns in Britain.
Jens Lekman talks to Pitchfork about his upcoming album, Night Falls over Kortedala, his travel plans, and the travails of sample clearance:
He's thinking about setting up shop in Melbourne, Australia, as part of "a huge exploration next year in the Southern Hemisphere. We're actually thinking about going to Antarctica, for a while... I've been saving for years to go there."
Jens likened his situation to that of French author/soldier Xavier de Maistre, who penned the 1794 essay Voyage Autour de Ma Chambre (Journey Around My Room). "I haven't read it myself but I think it's amazing. It's about a young man who's imprisoned in his own home, and he wrote this parody of travel stories-- you know, back in the 18th century when everyone wrote about their journeys to China and the East and West. So he wrote about traveling around in his living room. I think it's amazing. And then he wrote a sequel, A Nocturnal Journey Around My Room (Expedition nocturne de ma chambre, published in 1825 --ed.]. It was like the exact same thing except it was at night.
Frequent readers of Jens' blog may have encountered a somewhat embittered recent entry regarding securing the rights for the samples on the new record-- in which Jens expressed disappointment toward his U.S. label-- followed a few days later by a reconciliation. "I can't really talk about it that much," Jens explained, "but let's just say it worked out. I was able to replace one sample that was extremely expensive; it was like the one bad guy. And I had a guy who played with Steely Dan play it, and it came out exactly the way it sounded on the sample."