- Late to Hulu Means More Piracy — more evidence that price isn’t the main reason people pirate. If they can get it legally online in a convenient fashion, they will. If you delay online release, or make it inconvenient, your erstwhile customers will turn to piracy because “it’s illegal” is less important than “it’s convenient”. Welcome to the modern world, Fox, please use the designated bin to dispose of your buggy whips.
- Samuel Morse’s Reversal of Fortune (Smithsonian Magazine) — Morse gave up painting entirely, relinquishing the whole career he had set his heart on since college days. No one could dissuade him.“Painting has been a smiling mistress to many, but she has been a cruel jilt to me,” he would write bitterly to Cooper. “I did not abandon her, she abandoned me.” He must attend to one thing at a time, as his father had long ago advised him. The “one thing” henceforth would be his telegraph, the crude apparatus housed in his New York University studio apartment. Later it would be surmised that, had Morse not stopped painting when he did, no successful electromagnetic telegraph would have happened when it did, or at least not a Morse electromagnetic telegraph. (via Courtney Johnston)
- Mudbird — beautiful ceramics made from silt and clay revealed in the Christchurch earthquake. When life hands you liquefaction, make art. (via Bridget McKendry)
- Jenkins User Conference — first conference on the continuous integration tool that I’m seeing in a lot of places. (via Kohsuke Kawaguchi)
The names may change, but the friction between science and art goes back centuries.
Whether we're discussing ancients vs. moderns, scientists vs. poets, or the latest variant, computer science vs. humanities, the debate between science and art is persistent and quite old.
Piracy of Convenience, Machina Ex Artist, Disaster Art, and CI Conference
Denis Dutton's TED talk uses evolution to explain beauty.
I love this TED talk by Denis Dutton of Arts & Letters Daily fame. As you’ll see the accompanying video, he uses evolution to explain beauty.
Delicious Absolution, Open Data Incentives, Curious iPad, and Desktop Web Apps Again
- Joshua at Seven on Seven — Delicious creator Joshua Schachter participated in a Rhizome “Seven on Seven” recently. He was paired with artist Monica Narula and together they explored guilt and absolution with the help of the Mechanical Turk. Check out the presentation PDF for the quick summary.
- How to Align Researcher Incentives with Outcomes (Cameron Neylon) — the open science data movement battles entrenched forces for closedness. We need more sophisticated motivators than blunt policy instruments, so we arrive at metrics. […] What might the metrics we would like to see look like? I would suggest that they should focus on what we want to see happen. We want return on the public investment, we want value for money, but above all we want to maximise the opportunity for research outputs to be used and to be useful. We want to optimise the usability and re-usability of research outputs and we want to encourage researchers to do that optimisation. Thus if our metrics are metrics of use we can drive behaviour in the right direction. It sounds good, but I have one question: I remember The Rise of Crowd Science. Alex Szalay didn’t have to change researcher incentives to promote shared astronomical data. I’d ask: what can the other sciences learn from astronomy?
- Making an iPad HTML5 App and Making it Really Fast (Thomas Fuchs) — some curious hard-won facts about iPad web development, like that touch events are delivered faster than click events. (via Webstock newsletter)
Nikki Graziano’s intriguing integration of mathematical curves into her photography sparked a Radar discussion about the relationship between mathematics and the real world. Does her work give insight into the nature of mathematics? Or into the nature of the world? And if so, what kind of insight? Mathematically, matching one curve to another isn’t a big deal. Finding an equation that matches the curve of an artfully trimmed hedge is easy. The question is whether that curve tells us anything, or whether it’s just another stupid math trick.
Bad Census Data, Telephone Fraud, Math Art, and EBook Bugs
- Bad Census Data for The Last Decade (Freakonomics blog) — the “representative sample” of statistics data that the Census Bureau releases has apparently been flawed. It’s been used in thousands of studies, and the Census Bureau has refused to correct it.
- Modern Telephone Fraud — it’s actually an old fraud updated: an insecure digital PBX used to route expensive calls. Innocent company is whacked with bill at end of month. Interesting questions raised about what we expect company to do (pay?) and telco to do (forgive?). It’s a good reminder that every electronic product is now an avenue for fraud or intrusion, but we don’t plan or contract for these situations.
- Found Functions — Nikki Graziano adds mathematics to photographs. Her photos let me see the world through a mathematician’s eyes. (via sciblogs)
- Getting Past Good-Enough E-Books — fantastic list of TODOs for ebook publishers.
Digital Art Programming, DIY Construction Set, Open Source Pedant, Design Principles
- Field — a development environment for “experimental code” and digital art. We think that, for many uses, Field is a better Processing than Processing. Includes Python and Java bridges, goal is to connect to as many different programming systems as possible. OS X only at the moment.
- Contraptor — a DIY open source construction set for experimental personal fabrication, desktop manufacturing, prototyping and bootstrapping. (via Hacker News)
- After The Deadline — open source contextual spelling and grammar checker. (via Hacker News)
- Design Principles to Choose the Right Ideas — Often people ask me how we know which ideas to choose from all the hundreds of ideas we’ve generated during brainstorm sessions. Apart from our gut feelings and experience there’s a method that could help us decide: define design principles. Interesting for the different sets of design principles used by Google and Microsoft teams. (via egoodman on Delicious)
Video Art, Synthetic Biology Futures, Crowdsourced Personality, and an 1890s Startup
- Projections (YouTube) — the incredible video projection onto an old English manor house by Kiwi Foo Camp alums The Dark Room.
- Business Cards and Crowdsourced Personality Assessments — we scanned images of a person’s business card and asked crowdsourced workers from the Amazon Mechanical Turk channel to write five kind words about the person based on what they saw. I like the idea of being able to crowdsource a quick impartial aesthetic judgement about a design.
- When Sears Was a Startup (Pete Warden) — one of the first catalogues from Sears (1897) inspires comparisons to Amazon and other web startups. On a mission with a new business model. They can’t stop talking about how they’re cutting out the middle men who’ve been gouging their customers, with pages devoted to messianic rants against the monopolies trying to put them out of business. They contrast their order fulfillment process (dozens of clerks dealing with tens of thousands of orders a day) with the inefficient country stores full of assistants being paid to idly wait for customers, explaining how they can offer such low prices despite the shipping.
Where Will Synthetic Biology Lead Us? (New Yorker) — a thoughtful article about the possibilities and cautions of synthetic biology. . “A house pet is a domesticated parasite,” he noted. “ It is evolved to have an interaction with human beings. Same thing with corn”—a crop that didn’t exist until we created it. “Same thing is going to start happening with energy,” he went on. “We are going to start domesticating bacteria to process stuff inside enclosed reactors to produce energy in a far more clean and efficient manner. This is just the beginning stage of being able to program life.”