- New Big Brother: Market-Moving Satellite Images — using satellite images of Wal-Mart and Target parking lots to predict quarterly returns. (via Hacker News)
- Form and Code — beautiful book on the intersection of code, design, architecture, form, and function. One of the authors is Casey Reas who was also one of the people behind Processing. (via RandomEtc on Twitter)
- Cable Map — major underwater communications cables around the world. (via berkun on Twitter)
- Ray Kurzweil Does Not Understand The Brain (Pharyngula) — To simplify it so a computer science guy can get it, Kurzweil has everything completely wrong. The genome is not the program; it’s the data. The program is the ontogeny of the organism, which is an emergent property of interactions between the regulatory components of the genome and the environment, which uses that data to build species-specific properties of the organism. He doesn’t even comprehend the nature of the problem, and here he is pontificating on magic solutions completely free of facts and reason.
ENTRIES TAGGED "architecture"
Satellite-based Forecasting, Design Book, Submarine Cable Map, Brain Science
Web IDEs, Timely Election Displays, Face Recognition, # Books/Kindle
- Sketch for Processing — an IDE for Processing based on Mozilla’s Bespin.
- British Election Results to be Broadcast on Big Ben — the monument is the message. Lovely integration of real-time data and architecture, an early step for urban infrastructure as display.
- Face.com API — an alpha API for face recognition.
- Average Number of Books/Kindle — short spreadsheet figuring out, from cited numbers. (Spoiler: the answer is 27)
Smart Materials, Google OCR API, Teaching Webinar, HistEx
- Smart Materials in Architecture — Using thermal bimetals can allow architects to experiment with shape-changing buildings, Ritter said. Thermal bimetals include a combination of materials with different expansion coefficients that can cause a change in. Under changing temperatures this can lead one side of a compound to bend more than the other side, potentially creating an entirely different shape, he said. A little impractical at the moment, but think of it as hackers experimenting with what’s possible, iterating to find the fit between materials possibility and customer need. (via Liminal Existence)
- Google OCR API — The server will attempt to extract the text from the images; creating a new Google Doc for each image. Experimental at this stage, and early users report periodic crashes. Still, it’s a useful service. I wonder whether they’re seeing how people correct the scan text and using that to train the OCR algorithms. (via Waxy)
- My O’Reilly Podcast: Dan Meyer — I’m not pimping this because it’s O’Reilly (O’R do heaps of stuff I don’t mention) but because it’s the astonishingly brilliant Dan Meyer. For everything it does well, the US model of math education conditions students to anticipate narrowly defined problems with narrowly prescribed solutions. This puts them in no place to anticipate the ambiguous, broadly defined, problems they’ll need to solve after graduation, as citizens. This webcast will define two contributing factors to this intellectual impatience and then suggest a solution.
- Inflation Conversion Factors for Dollars 1774 to Estimated 2019 — in PDF and Excel format. I’ve wanted such a table in the past for answering those inevitable “… in today’s dollars?” historical business questions. (via Schuyler on Delicious)
Cities, How Things Work, Stylish Google, EC2 Numbers
- The City is a Battlesuit for Surviving the Future (IO9) — a great essay by Matt Jones, based on his talk at Webstock this year. Urban design is how we created alternate realities before we had iPhones, and the new technology lets us choose which science fiction future we want to inhabit. We are now a predominantly urban species, with over 50% of humanity living in a city. The overwhelming majority of these are not old post-industrial world cities such as London or New York, but large chaotic sprawls of the industrialising world such as the “maximum cities” of Mumbai or Guangzhou. Here the infrastructures are layered, ad-hoc, adaptive and personal – people there really are walking architecture, as Archigram said. Hacking post-industrial cities is becoming a necessity also. [...]
- How and Why Machines Work (MIT Open Course Ware) — Subject studies how and why machines work, how they are conceived, how they are developed (drawn), and how they are utilized. Students learn from the hands-on experiences of taking things apart mentally and physically, drawing (sketching, 3D CAD) what they envision and observe, taking occasional field trips, and completing an individual term project (concept, creation, and presentation). Emphasis on understanding the physics and history of machines. (via Hacker News)
- Google Style Guide — how Google codes. Useful if you’re working on their code, starting a job there, or want to mock them for not specifying K&R braces/four space tabs/<insert One True Way here>. (via Hacker News)
- EC2 Usage Guessed From Sequential IDs — The Superseries ID changes so rarely that originally I had assumed it was some kind of checksum. This would have been odd as it limits the total available IDs to 224 = 16.8 million. Up to very recently, the Superseries ID for all resource types – instances, images, volumes, snapshots, etc. – was 69 (in the us-east-1 region (for eu-west-1 the Superseries ID is 74). These days, new instances use the Superseries ID 68. This subtle change, unnoticed by the industry, may hint at an astonishing achievement: 8.4 million instances launched since EC2’s debut! (Instance IDs are even so 8.4M = 16.8M / 2.) (via mattb on delicious)
4chan, urban redesign, 3d printing, python
- Moot Wins, Time Inc. Loses — summary of how the 4chan group Anonymous rigged the voting in Time’s 100 Most Influential poll to not just put their man at the top, but also spell an in-joke with the initial letters of the first 21 people. Time tried weakly to prevent the vote-rigging, and ReCAPTCHA gave the Internet scalliwags their biggest setback, but check out how they automated as much as possible so that human effort was targeted most effectively. It’s the same mindset that build Google’s project management, ops, and dev systems. Notice how they tried to game ReCAPTCHA, a collective intelligence app whose users train the system to read OCRed words, by essentially outvoting genuine users so that every word was read as “penis”. Collective intelligence should never be the only security/discovery/etc. feature because such apps are often vulnerable to coordinated action.
- The old mint in downtown SF painted by 7 perfectly mapped HD projectors — looks absolutely spectacular. I love the combination of permanent and fleeting, architecture and infotexture. (via BoingBoing)
- 3-D Printing Hits Rock-bottom Prices With Homemade Ceramics Mix (Science Daily) — University of Washington researchers invent, and give away, a new 3D printer supply mix that costs under a dollar a pound (versus current commercial mixes of $30-50/pound).
- Haystack and Whoosh Notes (Richard Crowley) — notes on installing the search framework Haystack and the search back-end Whoosh, both pure Python. It’s a quick get-up-and-go so you can add quite sophisticated search to your Django apps. (via Simon Willison)
No April Fools jokes because I’m a Grinch. Instead you get architecture, research, visualization, and pain:
- Stacks, Readers, Staff–Building the British Library is an overview of what a momentous accomplishment the British Library was. And a reminder that no matter how gorgeous, loved, and inevitable the final product seems, there’s always a pitched battle to get it made. Architect Sir Colin St. John ‘Sandy’ Wilson used to refer to the project that took up the bulk of his professional career as ‘the thirty years war’. There was no overall budget, and so from year to year, the architects never knew how much was going to be available for construction. That meant a constant process of re-design and re-assesment of priorities, as the eventual shape and size of the building always seemed to be in flux.
- Richard Hamming: You and Your Research (Paul Graham) — transcript of a talk Hamming gave at Bell Labs in 1986, talking about how to do great research. Many a second-rate fellow gets caught up in some little twitting of the system, and carries it through to warfare. He expends his energy in a foolish project. Now you are going to tell me that somebody has to change the system. I agree; somebody’s has to. Which do you want to be? The person who changes the system or the person who does first-class science? Which person is it that you want to be?
- CS171 – Harvard course on visualization, with links to video, slides, etc.
- Carpal Tunnel Exercises That Really Work (BoingBoing) — no idea whether they do or not, but I know enough people who are looking for something that does that I’m posting this. If you recommend a book or program that’s worked for your Carpal Tunnel, please post in the comments.
Here are four fun links to set the tone for your weekend: high risk money, productive failure, consumer-grade BitTorrent, and architecture criticism for the rest of us.
- How Porsche hacked the financial system and made a killing — perhaps “hack” is a little excessive, but it’s a readable short account of how Porsche made a lot of money playing “millionaire’s poker” against hedge funds. (via Ivan Krstić, the
author of Apache Securityformer Director of Security Architecture for the OLPC)
- Missteps in Django — a Python programmer documents the mistakes he makes programming in Django. This helps other people as they face similar problems, and shows the Django developers where their expectations differ from those of mortal programmers. I think it’s a great idea because it makes visible the useful mistakes that are how we learn. It also reinforces the idea that it’s okay to make mistakes, we all do it, and they’re as worth of discussion as successes.
- Netgear Unveils TV Torrent Player — consumer device with BitTorrent built in. The easier it becomes for mortals to get files through BitTorrent, the harder it is to ignore unauthorised file sharing through BitTorrent, and the more pressing a solution to the business problem will be. (via Glynn Moody)
- How Buildings Learn — if you haven’t seen this show, you should. On-the-money criticism of architecture and architects, talking about what’s important when you design things for people. (via Kottke)