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Fun Size for 9/3/21: Vintage video game sells for $411K

Machine learning mastery in 26 minutes

Hilary Mason, computer scientist and co-founder of Hidden Door, rises to the challenge of explaining machine learning to people at five different levels: a child, teen, college student, grad student and expert. WIRED’s brilliantly conceived progression will definitely enlarge your understanding. How high can you go on the learning scale?

Take a look, it’s in a book

Though he hasn’t been chosen as the new Jeopardy! host (at least, not yet), Reading Rainbow’s Levar Burton is back on PBS with a TV special to kick off the Library of Congress National Book Festival. Rock star authors appearing in “Open a Book, Open the World” include Michael J Fox, Bill Gates, Kazuo Ishiguro, and Martha Wells. Airdate is Sept. 12 at 6 pm Eastern (but check local listings.)

An A for accessibility 

“Who’s to say that a person only gets one body?” wondered Ory Laboratory CEO Kentaro Yoshifuji. Stuck in a hospital for long periods, he envisioned robots he could control from his bed. Time Out Tokyo spotlights his company’s new cafe, staffed by robot servers operated remotely by homebound or disabled workers, creating new employment opportunities for them.

Turn off, turn on 

Sometimes, the simplest solutions are the best. This AP wire article explains why it’s a good idea to turn off your phone at least once a week: it’s harder for hackers to access your personal data. While it’s not foolproof protection, security experts say, it can be a deterrent, so why not take a minute to reboot your phone right now? Just don’t forget to turn it back on.

Easing the transition 

OK, now that your phone is back on, check out this helpful Tech Tip from the New York Times on all the ways that your smartphone can help ease you back into the office or classroom after WFH. Advice includes how to store your vaccination record, bookmark your local health department website, modify your commute, order and pay with minimal contact and take a meeting on the go.

Waking up is hard to do 

As the days get shorter and mornings darker, Digital Trends has some timely suggestions for all the ways Amazon’s Alexa can help you rise and shine. Its alarm clock can be connected to smart appliances like lights, can wake you with news or music, or act as a timer—and remind you when to go to bed.

Reality check 

Facebook, out to prove that its platform isn’t a vehicle for political disinformation, has just released its first report on what pages, posts and domains people are actually viewing. According to The Vergeour Facebook tastes are “pretty tame.” Between April and June in the U.S., the most-viewed post was a word scramble where “the first three words U see are your reality.” Kittens and kitchen fun also ranked high. Nothing radical there.

Painting with pixels 

AI just gets smarter and smarter: Boing Boing features a new app from AI artist dribnet that will create pixel art from text. See what the words “Fox Village” conjured up. There’s an online notebook so you can try your own prompt.

Out of this world 

The Curiosity rover has been exploring Mars for nine years now, and NASA recently released some spectacular views from the surface of the Red Planet captured by its cameras. This CNET feature includes a narrated panorama that points out landscape features like Martian sand and the distant rim of the crater where Curiosity landed in 2012.

Goodwill hunting 

This item might send you digging through the attic or storage unit: a sealed second print of the video game Zelda donated to Goodwill sold recently for $411,000—the most expensive item ever sold on Vintage sealed video games are hot right now, says Action Network, some going for millions. Worth taking a look in the closet.