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All posts by Wiehahn Diederichs

  • Machine learning can predict food crises, crop yields

    A mere two hundred years ago, our planet was home to less than one billion people. Today, the Earth's population count stands at over seven billion. To further put this rapid growth into perspective, 6.5% of all people ever born are alive at this very moment. With Earth's rapidly increasing population, the growing need for food is becoming a serious concern. According to the World Bank, the human population will hit a staggering nine billion people by 2050. That means that to keep sustaining human life on Earth, the world will need to produce fifty percent more food, which is a...

  • ALYSIA: an AI that writes melodies for your lyrics

    Have you ever written your own lyrics but struggled to find the perfect melody to accompany it? Well, the great gods of technology and music might have heard your plea. Margareta Ackerman, an assistant professor at Florida State University, together with David Loker from the technology advisory firm Orbitwerks, has developed an artificial intelligence that uses machine learning to write a melody for your lyrics. "I was studying singing while I was doing my PhD in computer science," Ackerman was quoted as saying by NewScientist. "Over time, I started to think of computers as creative partners instead of tools, which could...

  • De-extinction: Revive & Restore aims to resurrect lost animals

    Revive & Restore is a scientific project that not only aims to protect endangered animals from extinction, but is also actively trying to resurrect extinct species by means of cloning and genetic engineering. This process is referred to as resurrection biology or de-extinction. The project is run by the California-based research institute, The Long Now Foundation, which was established in “01996”. The zero is added to solve something known as the "deca-millenium bug" (who are these people?). Among the species they intend to resurrect are the woolly mammoth, Tasmanian tiger and the passenger pigeon. In their latest attempt they managed to “birth”...

  • VISION NEXT 100: Rolls-Royce reveals its first autonomous ‘floating’ car

    Rolls-Royce unveiled its vision of future automotive luxury at the Roundhouse in London last week, a fully autonomous spectacle of opulence called the “103EX”. The self-driving car was designed by Giles Taylor and his team as part of the VISION NEXT 100, a range of imaginative car concepts that not only celebrated BMW’s centenary birthday but aimed to envision what the next hundred years of car evolution will look like.

  • Mirror’s Edge retrospective: a story of Faith

    I’m sure most of us can recall that auspicious day in late 2008 when the gaming gods blessed us with the original Mirror’s Edge. It was like nothing we had ever seen before, a captivating experience that kept us on the edge of our seats and provided us with us with one of the greatest female leads in gaming. Now, almost a decade later, we can once again wear the nimble shoes of Faith with the release of Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst.

  • All about the art: my 3 favourite artists at Cape Town’s FanCon 2016

    With expos such as EGE and rAge emerging on Capetonian soil, the Mother City has had a healthy dose of geeking-out over the last year. This past weekend, Cape Town witnessed another debut of such an event, namely FanCon. While EGE focussed on tech and rAge on gaming, FanCon was all about the art for me. As I made my way through the surprisingly dense crowd of attendees on Saturday, I became lost in a world of imagination and creativity. With over thirty artists exhibiting their work, there was more than enough eye candy to feast upon. There are a few...

  • Reviewing The Classics: we play Duke Nukem 3D (1996)

    Stand by for retro reviews done right, folks. Reviewing The Classics is a series where Gearburn staff play some of their most loved retro games from bygone consoles and PCs with floppy drives. This week, Wiehahn has a look at the deliciously brutish Duke Nukem 3D, an iconic first person shooter that taught us all about cheesy one-liners and kicking alien ass. Hail to the King Baby! To start this review off, I have to note that I'm struggling to contain the deep wells of nostalgia that I have for this title. Duke Nukem 3D was as much a part...

  • Sheltered & Life In Bunker dual-review: Steam’s survival of the fittest

    While everyone has been running around in the primitive landscapes of Far Cry: Primal, I have taken to the harsh environments of the post-apocalypse. On this journey through desolate digital landscapes I have encountered two interesting titles, one a gloomy 16-bit adventure in the wastelands of Earth and another a colourful experience taking place in deep underground bunkers. While both deal with similar subject matter, their approaches are worlds apart. Hopefully this review will help you choose your path into the post-apocalypse. One thing is for sure though, we’re all heading to the end of the world.

  • Superhot review: when I move you move

    I’ve always been a great fan of the first-person shooter genre. As much as I love games with captivating narratives and mesmerizing concepts, there is just something… almost meditative (for lack of a better word) about mindlessly planting a plethora of bullets in my digital adversaries. But one has to admit that the genre has become repetitively stale in recent times and that it has been awhile since a title has successfully challenged the current recipe of shooters.

  • Hearthstone: Whispers of the Old Gods expansion, new formats incoming

    Hearthstone recently celebrated its two-year anniversary (11 March) and with it its creator Blizzard revealed that the popular free-to-play online digital collectible card game will be going through some massive changes. Apart from the new soon-to-be implemented format system that was announced last month, Hearthstone will also be releasing its third expansion, namely Whispers of the Old Gods. Now before we get to the exciting business of a new expansion, let’s take a look at Hearthstone’s new format system. Read more on Gearburn.

  • Layers of Fear review: enter the sinister

    A few months ago, I had the opportunity to play an Early Access version of Layers of Fear, a narrative driven first-person horror title created by Polish developer Blooper Team SA. Even though it was still in development, the game already boasted tremendous polish, and provided me with one of the most remarkable horror experiences I’ve had in gaming. Needless to say, when I discovered that Blooper Team had released their final version of Layers of Fear in February 2016, I couldn‘t wait to return to this artfully demented experience.

  • Explaining LIGO: detecting colliding black holes and gravitational waves

    As most of you have probably heard by now, two astonishing discoveries have recently been made (or rather one discovery leading to another discovery) by the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) facilities in Livingston, Louisiana and Hanford, Washington. The first and most anticipated discovery was the first ever detection of gravitational waves, a phenomenon that was theorized by Albert Einstein over a century ago as part of his theory of relativity. It may also be interesting to note that this is the only theory of Einstein that, up until now, has never been confirmed. But what exactly are these gravitational...

  • Firewatch review: breathtaking isolation

    I’m not sure where to start describing this game. In my mere five hours with Firewatch I went through more experiences and feelings than with any colossal sixty hour AAA-title that I can recall. And to tell you the truth, I barely did anything more than run around in the woods and use my walkie-talkie. From the moment I walked into its digital wilderness till the ending credits, Firewatch had me unwaveringly captivated. Read more on Gearburn.

  • Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive: the VR rivals dissected

    We’re on the verge of a new chapter in the world of technology. Across planet Earth, great minds are collaborating and competing to build the hypothetical bridge into a new dimension, the mystical and mysterious landscape of virtual reality (VR). Among these technological wizards, two definitive leaders have emerged: Facebook-owned Oculus with the Oculus Rift and the Valve/HTC collaboration in the HTC Vive. Both have shown great promise in shaping the future of VR. Read more on Gearburn.

  • Battleborn: here’s everything we know so far

    Battleborn is an upcoming first-person Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) title currently in development at Gearbox Software, the same people who brought us the brilliantly twisted Borderlands series, and is set be released on 3 May of this year. It's the first IP from Gearbox since the Borderlands series, so it's a pretty big deal. Through the duration of this article I will explore the various facts and clues I have discovered in my multiple excursions into the internet in the hopes of shedding as much light as possible on this highly anticipated title. Read more on Gearburn.