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As one who loves data, I always find it interesting when it is used in new and creative ways. While I was impressed with fun infographics, IBM and the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) have taken the creative use of data in an entirely new and exciting direction.

I’m sure we all remember Watson from Jeopardy, but now he’s entering a whole new world – food trucks! At SXSW this year, IBM has a food truck with ICE and all of the recipes have been created by Watson. IBM explains, the food truck will be used to explore “whether a computer can be creative by designing a machine that can create surprising yet flavorful recipe ideas no cookbook has ever thought of.”

“How can this be?” you may ask. Watch the video below and see:

It’s really incredible how data is used to not only come up with new and exciting pairings but also understand how humans will react to these combinations. Now we need to figure out how to get the food truck to the IBM site in RTP!

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As you know, Hurricane Sandy is wreaking havoc on our east coast but unlike other hurricanes, Sandy is also taking over social media networks. Social media is playing a major role in this hurricane in multiple ways. Phone lines are getting bogged down with people checking in so instead people are posting to their loved ones as a way to check in and let them know what is happening. FEMA even recommended texting and posting online via their  Twitter feed. They also told their followers to use these networks to help give tips to others about the storm path and to offer tips about how to stay safe.

According to USA Today, “#Sandy has had more than 4 million mentions by almost 400,000 unique sources on Twitter, says Radian6, which tracks social media use. “Hurricane Sandy” was the top phrase on Facebook in the USA in the past day, the social media giant says. Other terms in the top 10 include “stay safe,” “storm,” “East Coast,” “my friends” and “prayers.” On the mobile photo sharing site Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, there were 233,000 photos with the hashtag “Sandy,” 100,000 under “Hurricanesandy” and 20,000 under “Frankenstorm” as of Monday afternoon, according to the Associated Press.” Instagram’s CEO Kevin Systrom reported, “There are now 10 pictures per second being posted with the hashtag ‘Sandy’.”

Sandy is definitely a unique storm, not only in how it is moving, changing and dumping a TON of water, but how people are reacting and communicating. Social media has changed how we act on normally, but it is nice to know it can come in handy in severe situations like this. Our thoughts are with all of those who are affected by the storm and keep posting so we know you are safe and sound!!

I love finding new and fun infographics but I’ve never found an infographic about making infographics. The search is now over! As a big fan of Legos, finding this awesome explanation of what an infographic is made my day.

It’s so simple and easy to understand once you see it in toys!

As we all know, the world of media is constantly changing. You see so many new channels appear on TV or have so many choices of radio stations that you’d never think that only six major companies control almost all of it. But it’s true! GE, News Corporation, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner and CBC are in control of 90% of what we read, watch or listen including TV, news, radio and movies. Check out the infographic below to see the “Big Six” rule the media kingdom.

I’m not normally one to fly outside of coach, but I may have to change that if I fly Virgin Atlantic. Along with a new and improved bar for the Upper Class passengers, Virgin Atlantic is now offering these passengers a drink with the CEO himself. How is this possible? Sir Richard Branson’s head will be floating in their drinks.

Upper Class passengers are being served very special ice in the shape of Branson’s head. The new cube was created over six weeks by four designers using detailed photographic techniques and laser scanning technology. An interesting use of this technology, but if you’re going to do something big, might as well do it right.

Luke Miles, head of design for Virgin Atlantic Upper Class says, “We’re delighted to be able to offer our Upper Class passengers access to the newest, longest bar in the sky, and what better way to celebrate this than giving passengers the opportunity to share a drink with the face of our business?”  Though it’s an odd way to go about it, Virgin Atlantic will definitely be remembered. Though I find it somewhat creepy, I had to add a picture.

Unless I am stocking up on a massive load of groceries or getting a lot of produce, you will find me checking out at the UScan when I’m grocery shopping. I like that it’s faster and I don’t have to feel ashamed about the multiple bags of candy I am buying. However, when produce is involved I tend to go to an actual cashier. I hate when I grab an apple that doesn’t have a sticker  and have to go through the list to find the type of apple I picked up (that’s if I’m lucky enough to remember if I grabbed a Fuji or Gala). It is impressive how many sticker-less veggies I find.

If you are like me, I have some great news. Toshiba Tec is now developing the Object Recognition Scanner, which reads items without the use of barcodes. It looks at colors and patterns of different products to determine what type of produce you are purchasing without having to type in a code. It can even differentiate between two types of apples! With this technology, Toshiba Tec now has the large task of  developing a comprehensive database of produce and other products to be recognized by the scanner. This database would be sold with the scanners so that individual stores would not have to train the machine themselves. The database will have a full year’s worth of data so that all vegetables will be included no matter their season. Even though this product is still in development, I can’t wait until it hits the US, and in particular Durham, NC. I’d probably buy more produce just to test it out!

Check out the video below to see how it works!

Though I am not the girliest girl out there, I love the color pink. I even have a pair of pink flip flops. Sadly, my world was rocked today when I stumbled upon an article titled “Does the Color Pink Exist?” on Time.com. Upon further exploration, I found that there is a war happening on the color pink. According to Robert Krulwich, a co-host on NPR’s Radiolab, pink does not exist. In the below video, he brings up our old friend ROYGBIV and how Red and Violet are nowhere close to each other on the scale and never meet. However, these are the colors that make up pink. As he says in his blog post “Because pink happens when the red and violet sides get together, but they don’t get together — which makes pink an act of wishful thinking, or, to put it bluntly — pink is a made up color.”

But not all people agree. Michael Moyer wrote a blog for Scientific American in which he agrees with Krulwich that there is no single wavelength that appears pink and that pink is not “out there” but he agrees for different reasons. He brings up the point that no color is really “out there” because color is all in your brain. Referring to the biologist Timothy H. Goldsmith’s article “What Birds See”, Moyer quotes, “Color is not actually a property of light or of objects that reflect light. It is a sensation that arises within the brain.” Therefore, pink may or may not be real, but if that’s the case all other colors are or are not real.

Interesting perspectives from both parties but I’m going to stick with the fact that I love pink and that’s that. Whether it’s a figment of my imagination or just the way our brains work or both, as long as I get my pink flip flops, I’m a happy camper.

This past Sunday was a pretty big commercial day (and I guess there was some football in there, too) and I noticed quite a few brands teamed up to try and catch viewers’ attention. Co-branding works a lot of times as you can tell by the popularity of Haagen-Dazs’ Bailey’s Irish Cream ice cream or Betty Crocker’s brownie mix with Hershey’s chocolate syrup. But this Super Bowl there were a few interesting combination commercials that were unexpected, which may or may not be a good thing.

This year, GE worked with Budweiser to show how the turbines GE produces provide the power to make the beer and to keep it cold. It’s an interesting combination; not one you’d expect from either company. Another odd combination included Old Spice teaming up with both Charmin and Bounce. While you do see the Bounce Dyer Bar and Charmin Freshmates, Old Spice takes over the commercials saying “It’s so powerful it sells itself in other peoples’ commercials.” Interesting concepts but in all honesty, the Old Spice commercials scare me a little.

In my opinion, the best show of teamwork goes to OK Go and Chevy’s new Sonic, who produced a music video that was referenced in their Super Bowl commercial. In the 60 second spot, Chevy intrigues you with shots of “Sonic’s first music video” with OK Go along with “Sonic’s first skydive” and “Sonic’s first bungee”. I was most intrigued by the music video and checked out OK Go’s new video for their song “Needing/Getting” and have been obsessed ever since. The video took four days of filming, stunt driving lessons and over 1,100 custom-made instruments to make and it was all worth it. I’m intrigued to see how successful this was for Chevy’s newest product, but with over 9.5 million views on YouTube, it definitely gets the name out there.

Be sure to check out the Chevy Super Bowl ad and OK Go’s “Needing/Getting” video (below)!