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Truffles and Toffee Crisps: cooks on the’ good’ food they detest- and the’ bad’ food they love

Foodies dont always like the things youd expect. Felicity Cloake uncovers their guilty pleasures and shares recipes employing her favourite ingredients, from her new book The -AZ of Eating

People have stopped inviting me to dinner. Its not that they dont want to see me, they explain, they just dont wishes to cook for me and then they suggest a eatery, as if I wont leave the house for anything less than a 10 -course savor menu these days. In fact, little induces me happier than beans on toast and, honestly, it doesnt even have to be sourdough. In fact, tinned beans are but the thin end of a very large and heavily processed wedge. Much as I love kale pesto and honky goats curd, kimchi and oily fish, Ill always favor a Wotsit to an artisan potato crisp, and the wrinkled skin of Birds custard attains my unsophisticated heart beat faster than a jug of elegantly thin crme anglaise could ever hope to.

Nothing induces Felicity Cloake happier than beans on toast. Photo: Alamy

But coming clean about what are often called guilty pleasures though I feel little shame in them is scarcely brave, or even novel. In fact, these admissions are practically a badge of honour for the diehard foodie, a kind of culinary reversal arrogance designed to prove your worth as a committed omnivore. We know that two-Michelin-starred cook Claude Bosi likes curry-flavoured instant noodles topped with Frazzles, and Masterchefs Monica Galetti mainlines Marmite on the sofa, because they have blithely disclosed these facts to the press. The godlike Yotam Ottolenghi tells me he has an preoccupation with supermarket-grade sushi for breakfast, and Nigel Slater regularly revels in the forbidden delights of everything from Smarties to Big Macs( Oh God, the sauce ). Even healthier-than-thou birch-water botherer Gwyneth Paltrow has gone on record declaring her love for Oreos. Such confessions serve as useful proof that youre a real, fallible human being hearing Deliciously Ella admit that she has a serious thing for dates with almond butter and hummus, but thats about as crazy as it gets! only corroborates my suspicion that shes a beautiful marketing robot for the chia seed industry.

Felicity Cloake: Much as I love kale pesto and honky goats curd, Ill always opt a Wotsit to an artisan potato crisp. Photograph: Linda Nylind for the Guardian

And its not just junk food either; a kind of macho, aggressively omnivorous sensibility has developed in recent years: as John Lanchester wrote in the New Yorker: Once upon a time, food was about where you came from. Now, for many of us, it is about where we want to go about who we want to be, how we choose to live People feel judged by their food options, and they are right to feel that, because they are. And if youre not prepared to tuck into anything under the sun without a few moments hesitation, youre instantly classed as that most shameful of things: a fussy eater.

Take all those slimy, invisible tubings and organs that work so hard to keep us alive, for instance. With the likes of Anthony Bourdain and food novelist Tim Hayward singing the praises of nose-to-tail eating, and the gutty, messy smellings of things like kidneys, it takes person with balls, or perhaps fries, as big as Momofukus Dave Chang be recognised that, actually, youre not that into innards. But Ill be honest Im not. I dont hate all of it; brains can be astonishingly delicious if you dont think too hard about what youre chewing, and flash-fried liver and chargrilled hearts have a certain bouncy charm, but Ill come clean about the fact that the working day I procured myself judging 33 steak-and-kidney pies was a dark one indeed. Jay Rayner may boast he likes a certain uric tang as much as the next offal freak, but Ive dedicated kidneys a good run, and I only dont share his enthusiasm.

Tripe falls into the same camp; however much Sichuan red chilli petroleum you hurl at it, it still tastes of well, shit or as Allan Jenkins, the rather more eloquent editor of Observer Food Monthly, sets it, I have a conflicted relationship with tripe. Although Im all for treating the animal with respect, and eating as much of it as possible, surely if you dont like something, it should be OK to say so without being pilloried.

Yotam Ottolenghi has an preoccupation with supermarket-grade sushi. Photo: Alamy

The current attitude to food reminds me of being a nervous teenage music fan, anxiously scanning Smash Hits to find out whether a new band was cool before declaring myself a fan. And, like krautrock, offal is cool precisely because many of us lesser mortals find it rather challenging. The same runs for dark chocolate; the bitterer the very best as I found to my cost when I bit into an 100% chocolate bar lately. Hearteningly, Im not alone in my childish tastes; Jane Baxter declares that she would rather have a Toffee Crisp dunked in a cuppa any day, while Ruby Tandoh reckons that Dairy Milk beats all else, advising if you get a really good-quality bitter dark chocolate, you only really need a square or two because its too horrible to want more.

Mushrooms in general, and truffles in particular, are another thing I would be happy to leave in peace under the clay. In the glory days of journalistic junkets, I was taken to Las Vegas for dinner at the three-Michelin-starred LAtelier de Jol Robuchon and treated to a seven-course truffle-themed menu, complete with precious tubers flown in from the cooks native France. Regrettably, whatever Giorgio Locatelli might think about these grubby fungi being the highest expression of nature, they are continuing savor of stale armpits to me. Not that I dared to admit it at the time, of course.

In fact, Im a pretty cheap date, because I dont actually get all the fuss about lobster, either. I have had it ocean fresh and stuffed into a plain white roll on a New England shore, and gussied up at Londons beloved Le Gavroche, and Im still at a loss as to what this fearsomely pricy crustacean is supposed to savor like, apart from a big, shit, cold prawn, as a fellow doubter put it on Twitter. Many people I survey cant stand oysters, either dubbing them hunks of fishy snot yet they still feel its always embarrassing to turn them down.

Felicity Cloake: I dont get all the fuss about lobster. Photo: Alamy

It seems the more expensive the foodstuff, the more underwhelming the response, which constructs me wonder whether things such as wagyu beef and abalone are the culinary equivalent of the rulers new clothes. Weekend publications beverages critic Fiona Beckett believes fillet steak is overrated, while Jemma Wilson describes foie gras as a total whatevs, and reactions to caviar in my survey scope from a bit meh to sickly, fishy balls of overpriced disappointment although its the traditional ritual around these tiny, salty eggs that Gizzi Erskine cant stand. Having watched the aforementioned Chang feeing fried chicken scalp topped with caviar, sour cream and chives, Erskine confesses she is now preoccupied with it Ive treated myself to a tin worth more than a hundred pounds and had it with the filthiest, greasiest fried chicken Its such a grubby notion that I have to eat it alone. The problem is, she says, that after that, caviar served the classic way, with blinis, bears me.

Jack Monroe is out and proud about a abhorrence of bottomless green smoothies, and baker Luc Martin detests quinoa so much that he is moved to tell me so on two social media platforms both impressions I can understand, although even I am puzzled by the rampantly omnivorous Fuchsia Dunlops horror of milk as a beverage, or Rachel Roddys brave admission that shes the only person on Instagram not to worship at the altar of avocado. A friends hatred of sourdough bread, meanwhile,( Sour, sour. Chew, chewing, chew. Its not like sinking your teeth into a lovely soft bloomer, like a thick, white duvet) seems, to me, candidly perverse. But, you know, each to their own.

This is why Country& Town House magazines food editor Anastasia Bernhardts dishonor at her dislike of smoked salmon( I cant stand the savour. Ive tried so hard to like it. Very embarrassing) makes “i m feeling” a little bit sad. Since when did every dinner become an feeing competitor? Try everything once, and then eat a balanced diet of the foods that give you pleasure. And remember, life really is too short to pick a winkle.

Coconut ice sorcery. Photograph: Helen Cathcart

Coconut ice magical

Anyone who grew up in 1970 s and 80 s Britain will have fond memories of Birds Ice Magic, the sweet gooey sauce that set to a brittle shell on contact with inexpensive vanilla ice-cream, just right for shattering with an aggressively wielded teaspoon. Sadly, it seems it was just too sorcery for the market, and it has disappeared from shelves, along with its almost equally thrilling squeezy, cone-shaped bottle. But never fear, because help is at hand from an unlikely source. Extra-virgin coconut petroleum may not have been a kitchen staple in the 1980 s, but its high melting point means it hardens as it cools which is exactly what we want here. For the sweet flavour of the original, albeit with a altogether tropical coconut savor, add a little golden syrup. If you want to pretend sophistication, leave it out.

( Serves 6 )
65 g darknes chocolate, chopped
50 g extra-virgin coconut petroleum
2 tbsp golden syrup( optional )
A generous pinch of salt

Set a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water and melt all the ingredients together, stirring to combine.

Pour into a jug and serve with ice-cream pour over while warm and, within 30 seconds, it should set to a shell.

Mini Marmite-and-cheese doughnuts

Killer party food. If the idea of savoury doughnuts troubles you, just think of them as slightly more substantial versions of that classic French nibble, the gougre . These are best served warm, while the cheese is still gorgeously gooey.

( Makes about 18 )
225 g strong white flour, plus extra to dust
7g quick yeast
5g caster sugar, plus extra to dust
20 g unsalted butter, at room temperature, chopped, plus extra to grease
2 tbsp Marmite
65 ml milk
1 egg, beaten
40 g parmesan, or other very hard cheese
100 g matured cheddar, grated
40 g gouda, grated
1 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp whole milk
2l vegetable or sunflower oil, to fry

Mini Marmite-and-cheese doughnuts. Photograph: Helen Cathcart

Combine the flour, yeast and sugar in a large bowl and mix well.

Put the butter and Marmite into a small pan with the milk and 45 ml of water, and hot gently, stirring until melted. Pour this into the mixing bowl along with the egg and stir until it comes together; the dough should be soft and somewhat sticky.

Tip on to a softly floured surface, or( better still, as the mixture is soft) into a mixer fitted with a dough hook, and knead until smooth and elastic( about 10 minutes in a mixer, more by hand ). Put into a gently greased bowl, cover with a damp tea towel, and leave in a warm place until doubled in size( about an hour ). Meanwhile, finely grate the parmesan and spread out on a plate to dry out slightly.

Shape the dough into balls of about 20 g each, folding each side tightly into the centre, rotating as you go, then turn the ball over and put it on a softly floured baking tray or committee, spacing them well apart. Cover and leave to rise again for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss the grated cheddar and gouda with the cornflour, and put in a medium pan over a low heat. Add the whole milk and allow the cheeses to melt, stirring regularly, until smooth. Maintain warm.

Heat the oil in a large pan or deep-fat fryer to 160 C. Cook the doughnuts in batches for about 2 minutes on both sides, until golden, then blot with kitchen newspaper and sprinkle with parmesan. Make a small pit in the side of each, and use a piping container to inject a splodge of cheese. Eat immediately, while theyre still warm.

Southern cheese on toast. Photograph: Helen Cathcart

Southern cheese on toast

By southern, I dont mean with zider and West Country cheddar, or indeed Velveeta and cornbread, but soaked in the sunny flavours of the Mediterranean. Creamy mozzarella, sweet umami-rich tomatoes and a peppery basil puree make this a treat indeed for a summertime lunch. I like it just as well with baked tomatoes when theyre not quite up to eating raw, so feel free to make it with either.

( Serves 4 )
20 smallish tomatoes, or, if tomatoes are in season, enough ripe tomatoes to feed 4 people
4 slices of robust bread
1 garlic clove, halved
2 burrata or buffalo mozzarella balls
For the basil puree
25 g basil
100 ml extra-virgin olive oil

If youre making this outside peak tomato season( or if your tomatoes turn out to disappoint ), heat the oven to 210 C/ fan 190 C/ gas mark 7, then set the tomatoes on a greased baking tray( cut them in half if theyre larger than a walnut) and cook for about 20 minutes, until they start to split.

Meanwhile, bring a small pan of salted water to the boil and set a large bowl of iced water next to it. Dunk the basil into the hot water for 15 seconds, then instantly scoop out with a slotted spoon and put into the iced water. Drain the basil well and dry it, then put in a small food processor, or use a stick blender or pestle and mortar to blend with the petroleum, adding the latter gradually until you have a smoothish puree. Add salt to taste.

Toast the bread until golden, then scratches with the cut garlic clove.

Squish the tomatoes on top of the bread, drizzle with the basil pure, add half a burrata or mozzarella( if youre employing the former, do this on a plate so you catch any escaping cream ), season and add a little more pure. Devour.

Black and white shake. Photograph: Helen Cathcart

Black and white shake

An old-fashioned diner classic with a certain wow factor thanks to the contrasting layers of creamy shake and dark syrup. The syrup recipe induces more than you will need for two drinks, but keeps well in the fridge for the next time life hurls you some lemons. For really bad days, add a splash of bourbon.

( Serves 2 very generously, plus extra syrup )
For the chocolate syrup
165 g soft light-brown sugar
65 g cocoa powder
A dash of vanilla extract For the shake
500 g vanilla ice-cream, somewhat softened
250 ml cold milk
2 tbsp malted-milk powder( eg Horlicks )
6 Maltesers, crushed

To induce the syrup, whisk together the sugar and chocolate in a small saucepan with 180 ml of cold water to make a smooth paste. Bring to the simmer, then turn down the hot and simmer for about 5 minutes, until slightly thickened and syrupy with a glossy sheen. Stir in the vanilla extract and season with salt to taste, then set aside to cool.

Put the ice-cream and milk into a blender with half the malted-milk powder and whiz until well blended, adding a little more milk if youd prefer it thinner. Taste and add more powder as you see fit.

Pour the syrup down the side of a glass, rotating it so that it coats the inside, then carefully pour the shake into the middle so it doesnt disrupt the syrup. Top with the crushed Maltesers and serve immediately.

The -AZ of Eating: a Flavour Map for the Adventurous Cook by Felicity Cloake is out on 7 April( Fig Tree/ Penguin, 25 ). Order a copy for 20 at bookshop.theguardian.com

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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How Facebook is planning to eliminate the revenge porn problem

Imagine what its like to be the victim of retaliation porn.

Someone snaps an inappropriate photo of you in the bathroom, then you find out it is all over the Internet and on social media. It can cause a lot of stress and even depression.

Revenge porn is obviously unethical and immoral, Blank Rome divorce attorney Stacy Phillips told Fox News. Its a life-altering problem for the victim because being exposed in a compromising situation( such as being photographed or videotaped in the nude or in sex acts) violates the victims privacy and causes immense humiliation.”


Now, Facebook has decided to do something about their own problems.

For now, theres no artificial intelligence that can identify an image as non-consensual; however, if a user labels an image as revenge porn, Facebook has started utilizing pattern recognition that can block the propagation of those images and caution users about the issue.

The pattern recognition in this revenge porn application is a kind of content-based retrieval or associative memory which is how human olfactory memory is thought to work, says Dr. Lav Varshney from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, an AI expert and member of IEEEs Signal Processing Society. If any future image is similar to what is memorized, it will point it out.


Varshney says the Facebook alerts assistance because the user might think twice about posting the image on other social networks or by text message in the future.

However, for AI to block the initial image, he says there has to be context. He says there is no AI that can understand the context of a photo and whether it was consensual or not. However, thats why the reporting step is so important and allows the machine learning to take over.

Matt Zeiler, the CEO and founder of machine vision company Clarifai, tells the reason Facebook is using AI for retaliation porn pattern recognition is due to the scale — there are hundreds of thousands of images shared and reposted on the social network, and no human operator could ever identify all of the images and block them. In the end, this does help the victims because it reduces the number of shares, which is often a cause for emotional distress.


Still, while the experts tell Fox News this is a good step, Facebook could do more.

Dr. Holly Jacobs, a victim of nonconsensual pornography herself, is the Founder, President, and Executive Director of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative. She says she likes that Facebook is alerting users and blocking additional posts, but even one posted retaliation porn image is too many.

Once an image is uploaded, it’s out there for others to assure, download, share, and upload to other sites within a matter of seconds, she says. The best route to prevent any damage from being done to a victim is to block an image from being uploaded or otherwise shared the first time around. We have been pushing and will continue to push the tech industry to make this possible.


For that to happen, tell experts, the AI will need to improve far beyond its current capability. As Varshney noted, it would have to understand the context before an image is ever posted — who is in the photo, why it might cause emotional damage, and why it was necessary to blocked.

The AI will get there eventually, but for now — all of the experts praised Facebook for taking action on this sensitive and potentially life-altering issue.

Read more: www.foxnews.com

David Bowie: What have we learned since his death?

From clues to his cancer hidden in Blackstars artwork to his mortal dread of Tina Turner some astounding new Bowie facts have come to illumination over the last year

Where are we now, a year after Bowies untimely demise? No sooner had he succumbed to cancer than critics were rushing back to Blackstar, the album he had released two days earlier( on his 69 th birthday ), looking for concealed messages pertaining to his fate: Im dying to push their backs against the grain/ And fool them all over and over again, he sang on Dollar Days. You could go deeper still: a blackstar is the name for a cancer lesion, and also dedicated its name to a rare song by Elvis Presley, one of Bowies great obsessions.

In the wake of Bowies death, the impulse to treat Blackstar like a puzzle to be solved was understandable yet seemed to defeat the point of his luminous, liminal final declaration. Twelve months on, however, his collaborators have exposed a wealth of tantalising new information about Bowies plans for the future, while his legacy has twisted into various fascinating shapes. Heres what weve learned in our first year without Bowie.

He found out that he had cancer in summer 2014

When he entered New Yorks Magic Shop studios to record Blackstar in January 2015, Bowie had been combating cancer for six months. Subsequently, he kept recording conferences short typically working from 11 am to 4pm and often turned up fresh from chemo, with no eyebrows or hair, as producer Tony Visconti told Rolling Stone, placing the band in the tiny cohort of people who were aware of his illness. Not even Brian Eno knew: a week prior to his death, Bowie sent his longtime collaborator an email that was as funny as always, and as surreal, looping through term games and allusions and the usual stuff we did, Eno said in a statement to the BBC. It ended with this sentence: Thank you for our good times, brian. they will never rot. And it was signed Dawn. I realise now he was saying goodbye.

There was more to the Blackstar artwork than we initially thought

Bowie also imbued the artwork for Blackstar with intimations of mortality, tells design collaborator Jonathan Barnbrook. Originally, the black superstar image was one of the graphics mooted to obliterate the Heroes cover for the artwork of his 2013 album, The Next Day. Instead it reappeared as they were conceiving the Blackstar artwork.( Incidentally, Barnbrook revealed on Twitter that he and Bowie had conspired to present the copy of Heroes that they used for The Next Day to Barnbrooks wife on their bridal day. Its inscribed: To Jonathan and Anil, Well we can be heroes for ever, what do you say ?)

This was a man who was facing his own mortality, Barnbrook told Dezeen. The Blackstar symbol, [], rather than writing Blackstar, has a sort of finality, a darkness, a simplicity, which is a representation of the music. Its subsided a bit now, but a lot of people said it was a bullshit encompas when it came out, that it took 5 minutes to design. But I think there is a misunderstanding about the simplicity. The notion of mortality is in there, and of course the idea of a black hole sucking in everything, the big bang, the start of the universe, if there is an aim of the universe. These are things that relate to mortality. The vinyl sleeve is die-cut, uncovering the record. The fact that you can see the record as a physical thing that degrades, it gets scratched as soon as it comes into being, that is a comment on mortality too, told Barnbrook, who called Bowie the artist responsible for bringing art-school believing into the mainstream.

Bowie didnt know the cancer was terminal until three months before he died

The video for Lazarus in which a blindfolded Bowie flails in a hospital bed was posthumously interpreted as a literal deathbed scene. But, as director Johan Renck explained in the BBC documentary, David Bowie: The Last Five Years, he came up with the concept for the video a week before doctors told Bowie that they were ending treatment after a period of remission.

His intention was to die as discreetly as “hes having” spend the final years of their own lives in which, the writer William Boyd revealed, he would often walk around New York holding a Greek-language newspaper, so that people thought he was just some Greek bloke who an uncanny resemblance to David Bowie. He wanted to slip away, almost like a apparition, so that it would not at the least in the run-up become a reality indicate, an anonymous friend told the Guardian. Ultimately, he was privately cremated in New York, requested that his ashes be scattered in accordance with the Buddhist rites in Bali, and left his $100 m estate to his wife and two children, Duncan and Lexi along with$ 2m and shares in a mysterious non-existent company called Opossum Inc to his personal assistant, Coco Schwab, who worked with him for 42 years. As one fan pointed out, a possum has a propensity to play dead when he doesnt want to deal with a situation confronting him. Intriguing!

The diagnosis dedicated him a sense of urgency about his work

While Bowie was working on Blackstar, he was also realising a lifelong dream to produce his own musical. Mime artist and early collaborator Lindsay Kemp revealed that, around the turn of the 70 s, he had mooted the idea of bringing Charles Kingsleys The Water Babies to the stage.( Kemp also revealed that Bowie had refused to play Puss in Boots in the Musselburgh Christmas panto .)

In 1974, Bowie told William Burroughs that he was turning George Orwells 1984 into a television production, though the project was eventually nixed by Orwells widow and executor of his estate, Sonia Brownell.

In the early 2000 s, he started work on a musical production that would revolve around foreigners, the poet Emma Lazarus, a mariachi band, and a stockpile of unknown, unrecorded Bob Dylan ballads, which had been discovered after Dylan succumbed, wrote novelist Michael Cunningham, the primary collaborator on the project, which trailed off in 2004 after Bowie suffered a heart attack. Although the material wasnt directly reprised, the foreigners and the allusion to the figure of Jesus raised from the dead reappeared in Lazarus, the musical he brought to New York.( It opened posthumously in London .) The musicals director, Ivo Van Hove, said that Bowie called it the saddest piece he had ever worked on.

Bowie often attended Lazarus rehearsals

He reportedly preserved a quiet presence, writing notes in pencil. For occasions when he wasnt well enough to come to the studio, a camera was installed so he could watch from home. Every day hed call me to say, Wow, this is great, or, I think you should think about this, said Van Hove. A happy amaze was that he never utilized his power, he was collaborative. He had strong but constructive opinions.

Blackstar and Lazarus werent intended as his final statements

Despite his diagnosis, Bowie was intent on inducing more run. A week before he died, he called Tony Visconti and said he wanted to construct the follow-up to Blackstar, and that he had already recorded five demos. I was thrilled, Visconti told Rolling Stone. And I guessed, and he thought, that hed have a few months, at the least. Patently if hes excited about doing his next album, he must have had a few more months.

There were other projects, too: he envisaged a sequel to Lazarus, Van Hove told the BBC, and had wanted to revamp Outside, the last album he worked on with Eno. We both liked that album a lot and felt it had fallen through the fissures, told Eno. We talked about revisiting it, taking it somewhere new. I was looking forward to that.

His archives are open

On the box set Who Can I Be Now?( 1974 -1 976 )~ ATAGEND, we finally got long-rumoured album The Gouster, the precursor to Young Americans and Bowies endeavor at making a killer spirit album, according to Visconti. Theres also a long listing of unscheduled musical releases that Bowie planned before he died, a source told Newsweek. And in addition to those five aforementioned demos which Visconti has said might make up the second disc of a Blackstar deluxe edition there are still more outtakes from the record. We just heard Lazarus, No Plan, Killing a Little Time and When I Gratify You on the No Plan EP, released on what would have been his 70 th birthday, but there were 15 or 16 anthems recorded for that album. Seven from Blackstar plus four from No Plan means there are potentially five to come, though Bowies assiduous fans have tracked more.

Tim Lefebvre, who played bass on Blackstar, has said that When Things Go Bad harks back to both Station to Station and Hunky Dory( which sounds a little bit improbable, to be honest ). Keyboardist Jason Lindner told French Rolling Stone about a anthem called Russian Black Man of Moscow, which references the Romantic poet, playwright and novelist Alexander Pushkin. Theres also Blaze, Somewhere, and Wistful, which is said to be a piano ballad. Lefebvre also spilled another tantalising titbit in a roundtable with fellow Bowie players Gail Ann Dorsey and Mark Plati on American radio station WFUV: Bowie had written a duet for Lorde, though merely Bowie ever recorded his vocals, according to Blackstar bandleader Donny McCaslin.

He was the only artist who could knock Adele off the top spot

Blackstar briefly aimed 25 s seven-week running, and became Bowies 10 th album to top the UK charts( and his first US Number 1 ). Several more Bowie albums entered the charts that week: Nothing Has Changed: The Very Best Of( Number 5 ), The Best Of 1969 -1 974( 11 ), Hunky Dory( 14 ), The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust( 17 ), Best Of Bowie( 18 ), Aladdin Sane( 23 ), The Next Day( 25 ), Low( 31 ), Diamond Dogs( 37 ), and outside the Top 40, Lets Dance( 42 ), Heroes( 45 ), Station to Station( 55 ), The Best Of 1980 -1 987( 59 ), Young Americans( 60 ), Scary Monsters( 61 ), The Man Who Sold The World ( 89 ), Space Oddity( 95 ), and Five Years: 1969 -1 973( 97 ).

Bowies global Spotify creeks increased by 2,822%, with Heroes proving the most popular song.( Hunky Dory seemed to be his most popular album, going by its streaming jumping, a BBC 6Music listener referendum, and, er, former prime minister David Cameron .) Online retailers thanked Bowie( and Prince) for increasing spending in the 12 -week period preceding June 3, though Michael Jackson topped Forbess list of top-earning dead celebrities for the fourth year straight, with Bowie coming in at number 11.( No word on whether the lock of his hair that selling off $18,750 was included in their sums .)

He inspired some great tributes

With the EU referendum looming, violent divisions played out across newspaper front pages in January 2016. But, just for one day( sorry ), they were united in their kudo of Bowie. In Berlin, it usually takes five years for a notable dead person to be commemorated with a plaque, but mayor Michael Mller waived the rule for Bowie, who lived in the city between 1976 and 1978, saying he played a key role in fostering Berlins sense of being a city of culture, imagination and openness David Bowie belongs to Berlin, David Bowie belongs to us. Belgian astronomers also registered a constellation in his name: seven stars in the shape of a lightning bolt close to Mars. And former REM frontman Michael Stipe said that performing in two Bowie tributes led him to realise that he wanted to work in music again.

Of the numerous musical tributes in his name, its carnival to say that only Lordes take on Life on Mars ? at the Brit awards, backed with many of his original players, did him any justice. The New Zealand artist had gratified Bowie at a party honouring the actor Tilda Swinton, at New Yorks Museum of Modern Art, where he said her music was like listening to tomorrow. Lorde paid tribute to him on Facebook, crediting him for attaining her proud of my spiky strangeness, because he had been proud of his. In a Periscope Q& A, Bowies longtime pianist Mike Garson said that Bowie felt Lorde was the future of music, and that she was chosen for the Brits tribute because Bowies family and management wanted to bring the next generation in.

And some not so good ones

There was Lady Gagas hammy Grammys medley( being developed by Bowies former collaborator Nile Rodgers ), a fairly ineffective laser demonstrate set to Philip Glasss Heroes symphony at Glastonbury, and a ropey BBC Prom. If that wasnt punishment enough, Stings new album will also pay tribute to the late starring, along with Prince, Motrheads Lemmy, and Alan Rickman. The Weeknd named his bloated new album Starboy as a tribute, and Bowie emojis were introduced.

He wasnt shy about shooting down potential collaborators

Including Coldplay( Its not a very good song, is it ?), the Foo Fighters Dave Grohl( Thanks, but I guess Im gonna sit this one out) and Red Hot Chili Peppers( He told no to us like, two or three times ).

He had voracious artistic tastes

Before his art collection was sold off at Sothebys in November, the works went on display to the public: a glorious mishmash of postmodern Italian design, the bucolic St Ives school, Jean Michel Basquiat, Damian Hirst and Peter Lanyon. The first round sold for 24 m, the second for 8.5 m.

Did he predict the rise of Donald Trump?

Bowie was good at predictions: he released his own ISP years before the internet became mainstream, foresaw its cultural impact, and conceptualised iTunes. But music critic Simon Reynolds, author of Shock and Awe: Glam Rock and Its Legacy, spotted more grim parallels between Americas president-elect and Bowies mid-1 970 s predictions of a strong leader who would sweep through the western world with a rightwing, totally autocratic tyranny.

On a happier note

Its been rewarding to gain a deeper understanding of Bowies mindset and motives towards the end of their own lives. But sometimes nothings as good as trivia. Like how Peter Jackson begged him to audition for Lord of the Rings. That he was set to appear in this years Twin Peaks reboot, reprising his role as agent Phillip Jeffries from the 1992 spinoff cinema Fire Walk With Me. He was due to become a grandfather: Duncan Jones and his wife Rodene Ronquillo welcomed baby Stenton David Jones in July. And brilliantly, Bowies longtime guitarist Carlos Alomar revealed that the only person ever to intimidate Bowie was Tina Turner, when she came to record 1984 s Tonight. He said, Were going to go out for dinner and youve got to come! I told, Shes Tina Turner, shes not going to bite you! Get some man balls.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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