- Scientific Data Has Become So Complex, We Have to Invent New Math to Deal With It (Jennifer Ouellette) — Yale University mathematician Ronald Coifman says that what is really needed is the big data equivalent of a Newtonian revolution, on par with the 17th century invention of calculus, which he believes is already underway.
- Is Google Jumping the Shark? (Seth Godin) — Public companies almost inevitably seek to grow profits faster than expected, which means beyond the organic growth that comes from doing what made them great in the first place. In order to gain that profit, it’s typical to hire people and reward them for measuring and increasing profits, even at the expense of what the company originally set out to do. Eloquent redux.
- textteaser — open source text summarisation algorithm.
- Clipping Magic — Instantly create masks, cutouts, and clipping paths online.
Plugin-free vector graphics are now easier than ever before
Thirteen years ago, in 2001, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) finalized the specification for Scalable Vector Graphics, version 1.0. A few months later, in early 2002, O’Reilly published the original SVG Essentials, describing both the basics and the wonderful potential of SVG. An open standard for vector graphics, with support for scripting and animation, was an area of boundless possibility.
From some perspectives, not much has changed. The official SVG specification is still at version 1.1, which was released in 2003 and edited in 2011. Neither update introduced new features to SVG, instead focusing on improving clarity and consistency in the details.
In practice, however, SVG has changed considerably. There are numerous tools for creating SVG, both full-featured graphics programs and online widgets. Most importantly, nearly every web browser out there treats SVG as a first-class citizen (some outdated mobile and Internet Explorer versions being exceptions), displaying SVG as an interactive part of your document with no need for plug-ins.
New Math, Business Math, Summarising Text, Clipping Images
Coffee Rings, Scaling Laws, Autonomous Aircraft, and Dreaming Computers
- The Coffee-Ring Effect (YouTube) — beautiful video of what happens in liquids as they evaporate, explaining why coffee stains are rings, and how to create liquids with even evaporative coating.
- The Importance of Quantitative Thinking Medicine (PDF) — scaling laws underly aging, metabolism, drug delivery, BMI, and more. Full of wow moments, like Fractals are a common feature of many complex systems ranging from river networks, earthquakes, and the internet to stock markets and cities. […] Geometrically, the nested levels of continuous branching and crenulations inherent in fractallike structures optimise the transport of information, energy, and resources by maximising the surface areas across which these essential features of life flow within any volume. Because of their fractal nature, these effective surface areas are much larger than their apparent physical size. For example, even though the volume of our lungs is about 5–6 L, the total surface area of all the alveoli is almost the size of a tennis court and the total length of airways is about 2500 km. Even more striking is that if all the arteries, veins, and capillaries of an individual’s circulatory system were laid end to end, its total length would be about 100000 km, or nearly two and a half times around the earth.
- Autonomous Robotic Plane at MIT (YouTube) — hypnotic to watch it discover the room. A product of the Robust Robotics Group at MIT.
- Electric Sheep — hypnotic screensaver, where the sleeping computers collaborate on animations. You can vote up or down the animation on your screen, changing the global gene pool. Popular animations survive and propagate.
Economics of Innovation, Bio Imagery, Open Source EEG for Smartphone, and Feynman Bio
- Doing Capitalism in the Innovation Economy (Amazon) — soon-to-be-released book by Bill Janeway, of Warburg-Pincus (and the O’Reilly board). People raved about his session at scifoo. I’m bummed I missed it, but I’ll console myself with his book.
- Cell Image Library — a freely accessible, easy-to-search, public repository of reviewed and annotated images, videos, and animations of cells from a variety of organisms, showcasing cell architecture, intracellular functionalities, and both normal and abnormal processes. The purpose of this database is to advance research, education, and training, with the ultimate goal of improving human health. And an excellent source of desktop images.
- Smartphone EEG Scanner — unusually, there’s no Kickstarter project for an iPhone version. (Designs and software are open source)
- Feynman — excellent graphic novel bio of Feynman, covering the science as well as the personality. Easy to read and very enjoyable.
Two examples of how digital images and associated text can stick together.
The fluidity of digital content occasionally sends images in one direction and text in another. Here's a look at two design experiments that keep digital assets together.
Publishing tools should address the obvious, like layering text over images.
Callouts and captions enhance visuals, but some publishing tools make it difficult to mix images and text. That needs to change.
Image Remapping, Internet Futures, Ebook Reader, and Open Cloud Computing
- Historical Images Remapped — Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum released historical images from their collections, and a historical photo site Sepiatown geolocated and oriented them so they can be viewed side-by-side with current Google Street View images of the same place. And then contributed the refined metadata back to the museum. A great example of your users helping to improve your data.
- Future Internet Scenarios — results of scenario planning by the Internet Society, some possible futures from open and competitive to anticompetitive centralised walled-gardens.
- OpenLibrary Bookreader — the Internet Archive’s book reader is (naturally) open source for you to reuse and improve. (via Kevin Marks on Twitter)
- OpenStack Austin Release — code to compute controller and object storage released. Competition and interoperability require exactly this kind of open cloud environment.