First Direct Evidence of Cosmic Inflation

physics, cosmology, inflation, decelerator, BICEP2

This announcement has implications far beyond the field of cosmology. If the detection is confirmed, and inflation theory is eventually accepted, particle physicists will also be intrigued. According to inflation theory, a quantised particle called the inflaton exists, and is hypothesized to be responsible for cosmic inflation in the very early universe. So as physicist Richard Easther, points out, “we’re not just looking at the beginning of the universe, we are exploring undiscovered vistas in particle physics.”

Turing Morphogenesis

pattern, CA, morphogenesis, Turing, Wolfram, biology

If you want to get a rough grasp of how the leopard might get its spots, then building a CA model (or something similar) can be very illuminating. It will not tell you whether that’s actually how it works. This is an important example, because there is a classic theory of biological pattern formation, or morphogenesis, first formulated by Turing in the 1950s, which lends itself very easily to modeling in CAs, and with a little fine-tuning produces things which look like animal coats, butterfly wings, etc., etc. The problem is that there is absolutely no reason to think that’s how those patterns actually form; no one has identified even a single pair of Turing morphogens, despite decades of searching. [See “Update, 4 March 2012” below.] Indeed, the more the biologists unravel the actual mechanisms of morphogenesis, the more complicated and inelegant (but reliable) it looks. If, however, you think you have explained why leopards are spotted after coming up with a toy model that produces spots, it will not occur to you to ask why leopards have spots but polar bears do not, which is to say that you will simply be blind to the whole problem of biological adaptation.

Uncoiling the spiral: Maths and hallucinations

visual hallucinations, hallucinations, mathematics, pattern, geometry, visual cortex, neurophysiolog

Popping peyote buttons with his assistant in the laboratory, Klüver noticed the repeating geometric shapes in mescaline-induced hallucinations and classified them into four types, which he called form constants: tunnels and funnels, spirals, lattices including honeycombs and triangles, and cobwebs. In the 1970s the mathematicians Jack D. Cowan and G. Bard Ermentrout used Klüver’s classification to build a theory describing what is going on in our brain when it tricks us into believing that we are seeing geometric patterns. Their theory has since been elaborated by other scientists, including Paul Bressloff, Professor of Mathematical and Computational Neuroscience at the newly established Oxford Centre for Collaborative Applied Mathematics.

Space Ripples Reveal Big Bang’s Smoking Gun

NYT, inflation, gravity, astrophysics

Reaching back across 13.8 billion years to the first sliver of cosmic time with telescopes at the South Pole, a team of astronomers led by John M. Kovac of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics detected ripples in the fabric of space-time — so-called gravitational waves — the signature of a universe being wrenched violently apart when it was roughly a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second old. They are the long-sought smoking-gun evidence of inflation, proof, Dr. Kovac and his colleagues say, that Dr. Guth was correct.

Did Malaysian Airlines 370 disappear using SIA68 (another 777)?

MH370, SIA68, aircraft, hijacking, data, airspace, tracking, missing aircraft

Once MH370 had cleared the volatile airspaces and was safe from being detected by military radar sites in India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan it would have been free to break off from the shadow of SIA68 and could have then flown a path to it’s final landing site. There are several locations along the flight path of SIA68 where it could have easily broken contact and flown and landed in Xingjian province, Kyrgyzstan, or Turkmenistan. Each of these final locations would match up almost perfectly with the 7.5 hours of total flight time and trailing SIA68. In addition, these locations are all possibilities that are on the “ARC” and fit with the data provided by Inmarsat from the SATCOM’s last known ping at 00:11UTC.–370-disappear-using-sia68

Google Flu Trends gets it wrong three years running

new scientist, google, flu trends, big data, prediction, data driven projection, algorithms

Google Flu Trends, which launched in 2008, monitors web searches across the US to find terms associated with flu activity such as “cough” or “fever”. It uses those searches to predict up to nine weeks in advance the number of flu-related doctors’ visits that are likely to be made. The system has consistently overestimated flu-related visits over the past three years, and was especially inaccurate around the peak of flu season – when such data is most useful. In the 2012/2013 season, it predicted twice as many doctors’ visits as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) eventually recorded. In 2011/2012 it overestimated by more than 50 per cent.

Russell’s teapot

Russell, exisitence, analogy, burden of proof, teapot, mars

Russell’s teapot, sometimes called the celestial teapot or cosmic teapot, is an analogy first coined by the philosopher Bertrand Russell (1872–1970) to illustrate that the philosophic burden of proof lies upon a person making scientifically unfalsifiable claims rather than shifting the burden of proof to others, specifically in the case of religion. Russell wrote that if he claims that a teapot orbits the Sun somewhere in space between the Earth and Mars, it is nonsensical for him to expect others to believe him on the grounds that they cannot prove him wrong.


food, taste, data, flavour

The Gastrograph system uses 18 Broad Spectrum Flavor Categories, and 6 sensations (trigeminal & somatosensory), which together fully encompass gustatory flavor space; such that anything you can taste, you can graph. The GG System allows you to compare amalgamated flavor profiles of consumer and Quality Control based reviews on all of your products, in order to determine Correlates of Quality, consumer preference, and analyze changes in products over time (ageing), all independent of reviewer variables such as socio-economic background, ethnic background, age, sex, and flavor sensitivity.

Researchers discover new group of quasicrystals

quasicrystals, self assembly, pattern, symmetry, crystal

Quasicrystals are groups of molecules bonded together in structures that resemble crystals in that they are organized, but unlike crystals, the structures are not nearly as uniform. In fact, they are quite the opposite—though they are locally symmetric, they lack any sort of long distance periodicity. Because of their chaotic nature, quasicrystals tend to feel slippery to the touch, which is why they have been used to coat the surface of non-stick frying pans. The first quasicrystal was made, also by accident, in 1982, by Daniel Shechtman (who later won a Nobel prize for his work). Since then many more of them have been made in various labs, (one was even found to exist in a meteorite) though most of them have had one thing in common, they were all formed from two or three metal alloys. In this latest discovery, the quasicrystals self-formed after the researchers placed a layer of iron containing molecules of ferrocenecarboxylic acid on top of a gold surface. The team was expecting to see a linear group of stable molecules pairing up as dimers, but instead were surprised to find that they had formed into five sided rosettes—it was the rosettes that pushed other molecules into bonding forming crystalline shapes, resulting in the formation of 2D quasicrystals that took the form of several different shapes: stars, boats, pentagons, rhombi, etc., all repeated in haphazard fashion.–03-group-quasicrystals.html

Erased Symphony (2013) :: Carlos Amorales & Klangforum…

Erased Symphony (2013) :: Carlos Amorales & Klangforum Wien

Erased Symphony is based on the idea that existing cultural narratives are subject to erasure, whereby the focus is not only on evident extinction but also processes of disappearance, revaluation, densification, corrosion, etc. in the telling of national, continental, in this case Western, and hegemonial (hi)stories. In Erased Symphony the Emperor Waltz by Strauss undergoes a gradual process of erasure, albeit not the original version is modified but Arnold Schönberg’s transcription of the waltz from 1925 for flute, clarinet, string quartet, and piano. Amorales printed a version of this score with a specially prepared plotter: He exchanged the cutter needle of the printer with a pencil so it could be erased afterwards. The project takes place in collaboration with Klangforum Wien.


5-Year-Olds Can Learn Calculus

mathemtics, math, maths, education, pattern, learning, Moebius Noodles

“It’s not the subject of calculus as formally taught in college,” Droujkova notes. “But before we get there, we want to have hands-on, grounded, metaphoric play. At the free play level, you are learning in a very fundamental way—you really own your concept, mentally, physically, emotionally, culturally.” This approach “gives you deep roots, so the canopy of the high abstraction does not wither. What is learned without play is qualitatively different. It helps with test taking and mundane exercises, but it does nothing for logical thinking and problem solving. These things are separate, and you can’t get here from there.”

In conversation with… Kate Sicchio and Alex McLean

code, performance, music, choreography, notation, Kate Sicchio, yaxu, Alex McLean

Sound Choreography Body Code is a performance collaboration between choreographer and performer Kate Sicchio, and researcher and live coder Alex McLean. The work creates a feedback loop through code, music, choreography, dance and back through code. We spoke with Kate and Alex to ask them about the work, and the thinking behind such a multimedia, multi-disciplinary piece.

Is Photography Over?

Trevor Paglen, photography, perception, image culture, seeing, 2014

Photography has become so fundamental to the way we see that “photography” and “seeing” are becoming more and more synonymous. The ubiquity of photography is, perhaps ironically, a challenge to curators, practitioners, and critics. Why look at any particular image, when they are literally everywhere? Perhaps “photography” has become so all-pervasive that it no longer makes sense to think about it as a discreet practice or field of inquiry. In other words, perhaps “photography,” as a meaningful cultural trope, is over.

Benjamin Gaulon, Corrupt.epub [aka KindleGlitcher] (2012)


Benjamin Gaulon, Corrupt.epub [aka KindleGlitcher] (2012)

«Corrupt.epub is an online data corruption software allowing users to load and glitch electronic books (epub format aka electronic publication). Following the project KindleGlitched [Hardware Glitch], KindleGlitcher corrupt electronic publications on a software level [Data Bending].

Go to to upload and corrupt an EPUB file (Max 2Mbyte, NOTE: Corruption can take a really long time, 5 minutes is nothing! Check the log of your epub to see how far it is). The last 3 uploaded books are available for download on the project page.

This project was commissioned by Jeu De Paume for the online exhibition “Erreur d’impression. Publier à l’ère du numérique” at Le jeu de Paume (Paris) 2012, curated by Alessandro Ludovico.

Corrupt.epub is part of the Corrupt projects series (see, and corrupt.desktop).»

(via Benjamin Gaulon aka (я) | RECYCLISM :: KINDLEGLTICHER)

There are some cases where a group of people can do a better job of solving certain kinds of problems than individuals. One…

“There are some cases where a group of people can do a better job of solving certain kinds of problems than individuals. One example is setting a price in a marketplace. Another example is an election process to choose a politician. All such examples involve what can be called optimization, where the concerns of many individuals are reconciled. There are other cases that involve creativity and imagination. A crowd process generally fails in these cases.… Creativity requires periodic, temporary ‘encapsulation’ as opposed to the kind of constant global openness suggested by the slogan ‘information wants to be free.’ Biological cells have walls, academics employ temporary secrecy before they publish, and real authors with real voices might want to polish a text before releasing it. In all these cases, encapsulation is what allows for the possibility of testing and feedback that enables a quest for excellence. To be constantly diffused in a global mush is to embrace mundanity.”

Jaron Lanier