Neologism: Sharkfinning

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sharkfinning - verb, gerund - Learning something from scratch in an entirely hands-on way, which is to say, "Swimming with the sharks."  When you don't know what you're doing or how to do it, but you have a job to do.

Machine learning going from merely unnerving to scary.

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It seems like you can't go a day with any exposure to media without hearing about machine learning, or developing software which isn't designed to do anything in particular but is capable of teaching itself to carry out tasks tasks and make educated predictions based upon its training and data already available to it. If you've ever had to deal with a speech recognition system, bought something off of Amazon that you didn't know existed (but seemed really interesting at the time), or used a search engine you've interacted with a machine learning system of some kind. That said, here's …

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Inducing neuroplasticity and the neurological phenomenon of curiosity.

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For many years it was believed by medical science that neuroplasticity, the phenomenon in which the human brain rapidly and readily creates neuronal interconnections tapered off as people got older. Children are renowned for learning anything and everything that catches their fancy (not always what we'd wish they'd learn) but the learning process seems to slow down the older they get. As adults, it's much harder to learn complex new skills from scratch. In recent years, a number of compounds have been developed that seem to kickstart neuroplasticity again, but they're mostly used for treating Alzheimer's Disease and not so …

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Misadventures in microcontrollers.

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I've spent my free time over the past couple of days hacking away on my current project-slash-obsession and thus I've been doing a lot of reading up on microcontrollers, or at least the basics of them.  Knowing nothing about them as a technology or about sound synthesis for that matter, I find myself having to start from first principles, which are never as easy as they seem to grasp no matter how much experience you have under your belt.  I'm trying to design a synthesizer coming at it as a code jockey as well as a musician (or one-time musician …

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