The Extempore philosophy

programming, live coding, REPL, dynamic flexibility, lisp, scheme, xtlang

Extempore is a programming language and runtime environment designed with live programming in mind. It supports interactive programming in a REPL style, compiling and binding code just-in-time. Although Extempore has its roots in ‘live coding’ of audiovisual media art1, it is suitable for any task domain where dynamic run-time modifiability and good numerical performance are required. Extempore also has strong timing and concurrency semantics, which are helpful when working in problem spaces where timing is important (such as audio and video).

http://benswift.me/2012–08–07-extempore-philosophy.html

Free exchange: On the origin of specie

the economist, money, currency, history, exchange, economics

MONEY is perhaps the most basic building-block in economics. It helps states collect taxes to fund public goods. It allows producers to specialise and reap gains from trade. It is clear what it does, but its origins are a mystery. Some argue that money has its roots in the power of the state. Others claim the origin of money is a purely private matter: it would exist even if governments did not. This debate is long-running but it informs some of the most pressing monetary questions of today.

http://www.economist.com/node/21560554

In Search of a Concrete Music

Pierre Schaeffer, music, history, musique concrete, frieze

Recorded sound was first imagined as long ago as 1552. In the fourth book of François Rabelais’ Gargantua and Pantagruel, there’s a tale about crossing the Frozen Sea where, the previous winter, there had been a battle between two warring tribes. The noise of combat had turned to ice but, as the sea unfroze, so too did the sounds, pouring forth in a torrent of war cries, whinnying horses and clashing weapons. This ‘cryosonic’ notion of sound as a solid, retrievable object appealed so much to Pierre Schaeffer that, in 1952, he created a piece called Les paroles dégelées (Thawed Words), in which he altered the timbre of a voice reading Rabelais’ work aloud by various tape manipulation techniques – a process he had already dubbed musique concrète.

http://www.frieze.com/issue/article/music18/

Tracking whole colonies shows ants make career moves

ants, entomology, science, tracking, superorganism

The team reared six colonies of carpenter ants (Camponotus fellah) in the lab and tagged each worker with paper containing a unique barcode-like symbol. The colonies — each comprising more than 100 ants — lived in flat enclosures filmed by overhead cameras. A computer automatically recognized the tags and recorded each individual’s position twice per second (see video below). Over 41 days, the researchers collected more than 2.4 billion readings and documented 9.4 million interactions between the workers.

http://www.nature.com/news/tracking-whole-colonies-shows-ants-make-career-moves–1.12833

Is Organic Better? Ask a Fruit Fly

science, organic, food, drosophila, experiment, health

The research, titled “Organically Grown Food Provides Health Benefits to Drosophila melanogaster,” tracked the effects of organic and conventional diets on the health of fruit flies. By nearly every measure, including fertility, stress resistance and longevity, flies that fed on organic bananas and potatoes fared better than those who dined on conventionally raised produce.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/17/is-organic-better-ask-a-fruit-fly/

Dronestagram: The Drone’s-Eye View

drones, networks, legibility, james bridle, instagram, drone stickes, warface, warfare

Dronestagram posts images from Google Maps Satellite view to Instagram, and syndicates this feed to Tumblr and Twitter, along with short summaries of each site. You can follow Dronestagram at any of these locations. Most of the records of strikes so far are drawn from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which compiles reports from Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia.

http://booktwo.org/notebook/dronestagram-drones-eye-view/

Unmanned Aerial Ecologies

drones, art, honor harger, hh, bozar, talk, Marko Peljhan, bitplane, trevor paglen, kate rich, nat

Today, a new generation of practitioners his emerged who are monitoring and critiquing the use of drones not only for military purposes, but also for civilian activities. Their hallmark is a playful curiosity, about how these technologies may be integrated into our daily lives. Working in parallel to the growing movement of UAVers, the ham radio operators of the drone world, these artists and makers, are hacking freely available UAV technology to create unusual aerial antics. But whilst these blithe, inquiring actions are needed and valid, in the meantime, the drone-war continues, with hundreds of civilians killed each year, its remit ever expanding. It would seem that now more than ever, robust critical, tactical media interventions, are urgently required.

https://honorharger.wordpress.com/2013/04/16/unmanned-aerial-ecologies/

Two sciences separated by a common language

language, jargon, communication, boundaries, interdiscipline

One thing that gets in the way of this communication is jargon. Jargon is shorthand that helps people in a field communicate with each other. Needless to say, it can be a huge problem when communicating with the public. But jargon can also be a problem when you’re talking to other scientists. Not only is some of this niche speak meaningless outside its specific field, but in other fields it can sometimes mean something else entirely.

http://arstechnica.com/staff/2013/04/two-sciences-separated-by-a-common-language/

The Rise of the New Groupthink

solitude, work, groupthink, introversion, extroversion, creativity, collaboration

And yet. The New Groupthink has overtaken our workplaces, our schools and our religious institutions. Anyone who has ever needed noise-canceling headphones in her own office or marked an online calendar with a fake meeting in order to escape yet another real one knows what I’m talking about. Virtually all American workers now spend time on teams and some 70 percent inhabit open-plan offices, in which no one has “a room of one’s own.” During the last decades, the average amount of space allotted to each employee shrank 300 square feet, from 500 square feet in the 1970s to 200 square feet in 2010.

https://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/15/opinion/sunday/the-rise-of-the-new-groupthink.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

Zerocoin: making Bitcoin anonymous

zerocoin, bitcoin, cryptocurrency, economics, cryptoanarchy, anonymity, crypto

The key idea in Zerocoin is that each coin commits to (read: encrypts) a random serial number. These coins are easy to create – all you need to do is pick the serial number and run a fast commitment algorithm to wrap this up in a coin. The commitment works like encryption, in that the resulting coin completely hides the serial number . At the same time this coin ‘binds’ you to the number you’ve chosen. The serial number is secret, and it stays with you.

http://blog.cryptographyengineering.com/2013/04/zerocoin-making-bitcoin-anonymous.html

Postcards From Google Earth

Clement Valla, postcards from google earth, glitch, art, new aesthetic, topology, error, category er

I collect Google Earth images. I discovered strange moments where the illusion of a seamless representation of the Earth’s surface seems to break down. At first, I thought they were glitches, or errors in the algorithm, but looking closer I realized the situation was actually more interesting — these images are not glitches. They are the absolute logical result of the system. They are an edge condition—an anomaly within the system, a nonstandard, an outlier, even, but not an error. These jarring moments expose how Google Earth works, focusing our attention on the software. They reveal a new model of representation: not through indexical photographs but through automated data collection from a myriad of different sources constantly updated and endlessly combined to create a seamless illusion; Google Earth is a database disguised as a photographic representation. These uncanny images focus our attention on that process itself, and the network of algorithms, computers, storage systems, automated cameras, maps, pilots, engineers, photographers, surveyors and map-makers that generate them.

http://www.postcards-from-google-earth.com/info/

SKYbrary - Accidents and Incidents

eurocontrol, air traffic, accident reports, incident reports, human factors, mistakes

This Category contains several hundred articles on particular Accidents and Incidents. Almost all are events which have been classified by the investigating agency as requiring an investigation under the national version of the generic procedures described in ICAO Annex 13. The information contained in the summary articles on individual accidents/incidents is derived from the Official Investigation Reports which may in each case be found on the SKYbrary bookshelf. All articles in the SKYbrary A&I database are listed below.

http://www.skybrary.aero/index.php/Category:Accidents_and_Incidents

The Locust Economy

locust, economics, p2p, long tail, resilience, politics, 99%, 1%, eviscerated middle

What’s really going on is that software-enabled human locust swarms are eating everything they can access. Which generally means small business front-end layers wrapped around larger platforms. The locust swarms cannot actually take on true Big Industry unaided, for the most part. When Big Industry owns its own last mile (think McDonald’s) it is rarely stupid enough to offer up lunch for locusts.

http://www.ribbonfarm.com/2013/04/03/the-locust-economy/

You’re Eye-to-Eye With a Whale in the Ocean.

vision, biology, optics, whales, eyes

In general, mammals don’t have the best color vision. In part, that’s because our ancestors developed trying to see in the dark, not out in the bright sunlight. “There was a time where to be a mammal was to be a small, nocturnal, rodent-like mammal,” said Duke’s Sonke Johnsen, author of the book, The Optics of Life. Both humans and whales retain the marks of that evolutionary path. “Our color vision is kind of a kluge,” Johnsen continued. “If you look at the color vision of birds and reptiles and fish. It’s very well put together, nicely optimized. You look at our trichromatic vision, it’s really kind of pieced together.”

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/03/youre-eye-to-eye-with-a-whale-in-the-ocean-what-does-it-see/274448/

I have found a lot of odd things at flea markets. I think the most bizarre thing I ever brought home was a baby’s umbilical cord…

“I have found a lot of odd things at flea markets. I think the most bizarre thing I ever brought home was a baby’s umbilical cord that was taped into a scrapbook. I find myself asking the same questions over and over, “Why did someone make this and how did it end up at a flea market?” Objects that have no answers for why they exist are the best.”

Mark Mulroney (viaicpbardmfa)