Frisk #130

Snakes alive, it’s Frisk #130! I’m led to believe this is the only integer that’s the sum of the squares of its first four divisors, although I’m yet to see the evidence.


In the mêlée of the refugee crisis media maelstrom, it’s easy to forget that the harrowing act of uprooting a family and fleeing a war zone via terrifying channels isn’t the only problem; what’s a person supposed to do when they find themselves starting from scratch in a country they know nothing about and they can’t speak the language to ask? Well, some developers in Sweden have been thinking about this and have come up with an app called ‘Welcome!’
The app seamlessly translates between Arabic, Persian, Swedish and English, and helps refugees to ask questions, find local events, create and join activities, and generally integrate in a less scary way. The fact that it’s called ‘Welcome!’ is a neat sideswipe at the ignorant right-wing dummies too. Great idea all round.

Flyover Country
The most depressing thing about transatlantic flights is the little graphic they give you on the video screen that shows you how far you’ve been. As if the relentless inevitability of the time-suck of travel wasn’t bad enough, they insist on shoving it in your face. ‘Look, you’ve been sat there for the duration of two whole movies and you’ve still only got this far.’
There’s a better use of this sort of information, and ‘Flyover Country’ is it. This is an offline app designed to educate you about the places you’re flying over, offering sciencey info about fossils and river flow and stuff. You just tell it where you’re flying to and it fills you in as you go.
Obviously for transatlantic flights it’ll probably just be saying ‘there’s a fish, there’s another fish, oh look, there’s a boat,’ but it’s still better than watching a little airplane symbol that’s barely moving, gruesomely mirroring the slow but inexorable ebbing of your own time on this planet.

Imagine if your iPod was sentient. And a mind-reader. It’d be able to guess what you wanted to listen to at any given moment and play you the songs you wanted to hear. That’d be good, wouldn’t it?
That’s sort of what Moodbox is, but slightly less sci-fi. It’s an emotionally intelligent gadget that learns to recognise your mood by the tone of your voice, so it can curate your music collection and jukebox it accordingly. Spooky? Kinda. But it also looks like R2D2 dressed as a ninja, which takes the edge off.

Daniel Bevis, Senior Knowledge Editor

13th April 2016