(…) outside of the sphere of practical human concerns, nature is full of nonlinear phenomena. Highly complex processes can…

“(…) outside of the sphere of practical human concerns, nature is full of nonlinear phenomena. Highly complex processes can emerge from deceptively simple rules or parts, and small changes in one underlying factor of a complex system can engender radical, qualitative shifts in other factors that depend on it.”

Ramachandran, R.S. The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Quest for What Makes Us Human. New York: W. W. Norton& Company, 2011. (viacarvalhais)

Developing 4X5 Sheet Film - An Alternative Method

4x5, darkroom, photography, developing, sheet film, DSF

The three tanks (Developer, Stop bath, and Fixer) are placed in a tempered water bath. An inexpensive plastic dishwashing tub seems to work very well for this purpose. Each tank contains one liter of solution. Actually, the tanks are capable of handling a slightly larger amount of solution, but one liter is sufficient to completely cover the films. Plain water can be used in the center tank, instead of acid stop bath, if an alkaline processing regime is being used. The center tank can also serve as a water pre-soak bath, if desired. A pre-soak is not an absolute necessity, since there is no danger of the films adhering to one another with this method. Also, Ilford does not recommend the use of a pre-soak. It seems that they have incorporated a wetting agent into the emulsion, or the coating of their films. They claim that pre-soaking may remove the wetting agent, possibly causing uneven development.


Mastering Linear Algebra in 10 Days: Astounding Experiments in Ultra-Learning

learning, study, MIT, courseware, Feynmann, understanding

We’ve all had those, “Aha!” moments when we finally get an idea. The problem is most of us don’t have a systematic way of finding them. The typical process a student goes through in learning is to follow a lectures, read a book and, failing that, grind out practice questions or reread notes. Without a system, understanding faster seems impossible. After all, the mental mechanisms for generating insights are completely hidden.


tone reproduction

photography, monochrome, blakc and white, greyscale, zone system, printing, tone, tonal range

The Zone System and in general every rule that matches the dynamic range of the capture medium and the maximum contrast of the scene tries to get two results: correlating the minimum and maximum points of subject contrast with the dynamic range/contrast index of the recording material and to record the maximum number of tones between these extremes. When working with black-and-white materials (Leica Monochrom and black-and-white silver emulsions) a third parameter is required: the spectral sensitivity of the material must equal the spectral sensitivity of the eye. This introduces a subjective factor, because every human will have a different perception of the brightness of colors.


Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit - David Graeber

futurism, Future-Shock, research, collapsonomics, economics, post-structuralism, progress, marx, pos

Why did the projected explosion of technological growth everyone was expecting—the moon bases, the robot factories—fail to happen? There are two possibilities. Either our expectations about the pace of technological change were unrealistic (in which case, we need to know why so many intelligent people believed they were not) or our expectations were not unrealistic (in which case, we need to know what happened to derail so many credible ideas and prospects).


(…) in biological systems there is a deep unity between structure, function, and origin. You cannot make very much progress…

“(…) in biological systems there is a deep unity between structure, function, and origin. You cannot make very much progress understanding any one of these unless you are also paying close attention to the other two.”

Ramachandran, R.S. The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Quest for What Makes Us Human. New York: W. W. Norton& Company, 2011. (viacarvalhais)

Internet of food: Arduino-based, urban aquaponics

IOT, farming, agriculture, groworld, arduino, aquaponics, urban farming, urban agriculture, US, Oakl

“I feel knowledge of electronics and software programming makes me a better farmer than just having a hoe. Gardens that can communicate for themselves using the internet can lead to exchanging of ideas in ways that were not possible before. I can test, for instance, whether the same tomato grows better in Oakland or the Sahara Desert given the same conditions. Then I can share the same information with farmers in Iceland and China.”


The Psychopath Makeover

TMS, narcisism, psychopathology, therapy, war, fear

The basic premise of TMS is that the brain operates using electrical signals, and that, as with any such system, it’s possible to modify the way it works by altering its electrical environment. Standard equipment consists of a powerful electromagnet, placed on the scalp, that generates steady magnetic-field pulses at specific frequencies, and a plastic-enclosed coil to focus those magnetic pulses down through the surface of the skull onto discrete brain regions, thus stimulating the underlying cortex.


Nicaragua Builds An Innovative Agricultural Information System Using Open Source Software

linux, OSS, FLOSS, Nicaragua, augmented ecology, SIMAS, agriculture, farming, open data

An experiment in Nicaragua shows just how powerful Open Source software can be in leveling the playing field. The second poorest country of the Americas now has one of the best software solutions for displaying agricultural data in the western hemisphere.


In Soviet Union, Optimization Problem Solves You

red plenty, communism, economics, planning, literature, cosma, mathematics

Attention conservation notice: Over 7800 words about optimal planning for a socialist economy and its intersection with computational complexity theory. This is about as relevant to the world around us as debating whether a devotee of the Olympian gods should approve of transgenic organisms. (Or: centaurs, yes or no?) Contains mathematical symbols (uglified and rendered slightly inexact by HTML) but no actual math, and uses Red Plenty mostly as a launching point for a tangent.


West African fishing communities drive off ‘pirate’ fishing trawlers

fishing, over fishing, EC, EU, fishing quotas, environment, Sierra Leone, GPS, EJF

A group of 23 impoverished west African fishing communities has driven off a fleet of illegal, unreported and unregulated “pirate” trawlers by filming and reporting them when they are found in their waters. In the 18 months since the London-based Environment Justice Foundation (EJF) raised the £50,000 needed to buy and equip a small seven-metre community surveillance boat for villages in the Sherbro river area of Sierra Leone, local fishers have filmed and identified 10 international trawlers working illegally in their protected waters and have made 252 separate reports of illegal fishing. Images of the pirate ships and their GPS positions are analysed to establish the identity of the vessels and the evidence is passed on to European Union (EU) and African governments, fishing ports and other communities. Nine of the 10 ships identified by the Sierra Leonean communities were found to have licences to export their catches to Europe.


Emptiness · Meanjin

Australia history apartheid boer-war white-australia-policy meanjin

Australians simply have an abysmal sense of history. And without it, with the wilful elision of the past and its present day consequences, the nation has a gnawing hole in its centre. There is an emptiness in the heart of this country. Terra Nullius remains in perpetuity, in the ignorance of the intelligentsia and in the pale, revisionist, self-congratulatory history.


A Time Capsule to Outlast Earth

photography time space longnow trevor-paglen art artifacts

Consumed by the idea that these technological monuments will outlive us — and after years of discussion with scientists, philosophers, artists, and anthropologists — Paglen compiled a list of 100 images culled from human history and etched them onto an ultra-archival silicon disc. The disc was designed by materials scientists at MIT and Carleton College, and has now been affixed to a communications satellite, EchoStar XVI, whose launch was set for this month from the Baikanour Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, but was delayed due to a rocket failure in August. The satellite – located at the 61.5 orbital location and containing 32 Ku-band transponders, to offer HD transmissions […] But its productive lifespan is a mere blip in the deep time of space compared to Paglen’s little golden disc, which will wait patiently, bearing its curated record of the human race, for unknowable millennia.


Correlation does not imply causation: How the Internet fell in love with a stats-class cliché.

statistics slate correlation causality cliches interweb

In the decades to come, the phrase correlation does not imply causation made its way into textbooks and academic journals, while the social sciences were made over with newfangled statistics. By the 1940s, economists had devised a name for the insufficiency of correlations: They called it the “identification problem.” A flood of numbers in the postwar years may have made the anxiety more acute until its apotheosis in the present day, when Google, Amazon, and the other data juggernauts belch smoggy clouds of information and spit out correlations by the ton. “That may be as deep a sense of causation as they care about,” Porter says. “To them, perhaps, automated number-crunching stands for the highest form of knowledge that civilization has ever produced.” In that sense, the admonitory slogan about correlation and causation isn’t so much a comment posted on the Internet as a comment posted about the Internet. It’s a tiny fist raised in protest against Big Data.