02012 (366) in review


During the 366 days of 2012 i managed to take at least one photo per day. This collection can be found in the set 02012 (366) and forms a reasonable approximation of what i found interesting to photograph and where i happend to be at various points during the year. With the help of the Flickr API here is something of an overview…


annotation, web, information, ope

Hypothes.is will be a distributed, open-source platform for the collaborative evaluation of information. It will enable sentence-level critique of written words combined with a sophisticated yet easy-to-use model of community peer-review. It will work as an overlay on top of any stable content, including news, blogs, scientific articles, books, terms of service, ballot initiatives, legislation and regulations, software code and more-without requiring participation of the underlying site.


Open Annotation Collaboration

annotation, web, online, information, collaboration

The overarching goals of the Open Annotation Collaboration (OAC) are to facilitate to emergence of a Web and resource-centric interoperable annotation environment that allows leveraging annotations across the boundaries of annotation clients, annotation servers, and content collections, to demonstrate the utility of this environment, and to see widespread adoption of this environment.


What’s causing Australia’s heat wave?

au, australia, temperature, wether, climate, climate change, heatwave

As things currently stand, the first two weeks of January 2013 now hold the records for the hottest Australian day on record, the hottest two-day period on record, the hottest three-day period, the hottest four-day period and, well, every sequential-days record stretching from one to 14 days for daily mean temperatures.


Lessig - Prosecutor as Bully

aaronsw, aaron swartz, MIT, JSTOR, obituary

Aaron was always and only working for (at least his conception of) the public good. He was brilliant, and funny. A kid genius. A soul, a conscience, the source of a question I have asked myself a million times: What would Aaron think? That person is gone today, driven to the edge by what a decent society would only call bullying. I get wrong. But I also get proportionality. And if you don’t get both, you don’t deserve to have the power of the United States government behind you.


In its new design, Google’s search engine doesn’t push us outward; it turns us inward. It gives us information that fits the…

“In its new design, Google’s search engine doesn’t push us outward; it turns us inward. It gives us information that fits the behavior and needs and biases we have displayed in the past, as meticulously interpreted by Google’s algorithms. Because it reinforces the existing state of the self rather than challenging it, it subverts the act of searching. We find out little about anything, least of all ourselves, through self-absorption.”

The searchers | ROUGH TYPE (viadesigningforserendipity)

Boil the Frog

music, graph, echo nest, remix, playlist, similarity, frog boiling

Boil the Frog lets you create a playlist of songs that gradually takes you from one music style to another. It’s like the proverbial frog in the pot of water. If you heat up the pot slowly enough, the frog will never notice that he’s being made into a stew and jump out of the pot. With a Boil the frog playlist you can do the same, but with music.


While we could subjectively define “vegetal intelligence” as another facet of multiple intelligences, such a definition does not…

“While we could subjectively define “vegetal intelligence” as another facet of multiple intelligences, such a definition does not further our understanding of either intelligence or plant biology. The question, I posit, should not be whether or not plants are intelligent—it will be ages before we all agree on what that term means; the question should be, “Are plants aware?” and, in fact, they are.”

Chamovitz, Daniel.What a Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses. New York, NY: Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012. (viacarvalhais)

Dark Ecology | Paul Kingsnorth

collapsonomics, dark mountain, ecology, neo-environmentalists, kingsnorth, kareiva, limits to growth

The green movement, which seemed to be carrying all before it in the early 1990s, has plunged into a full-on midlife crisis. Unable to significantly change either the system or the behavior of the public, assailed by a rising movement of “skeptics” and by public boredom with being hectored about carbon and consumption, colonized by a new breed of corporate spivs for whom “sustainability” is just another opportunity for selling things, the greens are seeing a nasty realization dawn: despite all their work, their passion, their commitment and the fact that most of what they have been saying has been broadly right—they are losing. There is no likelihood of the world going their way. In most green circles now, sooner or later, the conversation comes round to the same question: what the hell do we do next?


We need to be aware, of course, that what we refer to as “memory” for people is actually a term that encompasses many distinct…

“We need to be aware, of course, that what we refer to as “memory” for people is actually a term that encompasses many distinct forms of memory, beyond the ones described by Tulving. We have sensory memory, which receives and filters rapid input from the senses (in a blink of an eye); short-term memory, which can hold up to about seven objects in our consciousness for several seconds; and long-term memory, which refers to our ability to store memories for as long as a lifetime. We also have musclemotor memory, a type of procedural memory that is an unconscious process of learning movements such as moving fingers to tie a shoelace; and immune memory, which is when our immune systems remember past infections in order to avoid future ones. All but the last are dependent on brain functions. Immune memory is dependent on the workings of our white blood cells and antibodies.”

Chamovitz, Daniel.What a Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses. New York, NY: Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012. (viacarvalhais)

Two days before the 11th September, Commander Massoud, the most senior war commander and the most credible opponent to the…

julien marie, exploding camera, art

Two days before the 11th September, Commander Massoud, the most senior war commander and the most credible opponent to the Taliban was murdered. Two al-Qaida suicide bombers posing as journalists killed him with an exploding camera at his camp in Afghanistan’s remote Panjshir Valley.

The connection between his assassination and 9/11 is certain, but this act has been almost completely forgotten because of the magnitude of the events a few days later. The fact that the terrorists used a camera made a deep impression on me.
For me, it is as if the destroyed camera used in the attack against Massoud had continued to work and has been filming a war film for the last 6 years.

All of this, as well as the death of the almost mythic figure of Massoud, has lead me to develop the piece ‘the exploding camera’: a kind of destroyed medium able to produce live an experimental historical film reinterpreting the events of the war.

(via http://julienmaire.ideenshop.net/images/ex_installL.jpg)

Why Things Fail: From Tires to Helicopter Blades, Everything Breaks Eventually

design, failure, product failure, simulation, reliability, manufacturing, engineering

Product failure is deceptively difficult to understand. It depends not just on how customers use a product but on the intrinsic properties of each part—what it’s made of and how those materials respond to wildly varying conditions. Estimating a product’s lifespan is an art that even the most sophisticated manufacturers still struggle with. And it’s getting harder. In our Moore’s law-driven age, we expect devices to continuously be getting smaller, lighter, more powerful, and more efficient. This thinking has seeped into our expectations about lots of product categories: Cars must get better gas mileage. Bicycles must get lighter. Washing machines need to get clothes cleaner with less water. Almost every industry is expected to make major advances every year. To do this they are constantly reaching for new materials and design techniques. All this is great for innovation, but it’s terrible for reliability.


Empathy represses analytic thought, and vice versa

brain, physiology, emotion, reason, empathy, cognition

At rest, our brains cycle between the social and analytical networks. But when presented with a task, healthy adults engage the appropriate neural pathway, the researchers found. The study shows for the first time that we have a built-in neural constraint on our ability to be both empathetic and analytic at the same time


On Early Warning Signs

SEED, change, crisis, ecosystems, complexity, interconnection, pattern

Examples of catastrophic and systemic changes have been gathering in a variety of fields, typically in specialized contexts with little cross-connection. Only recently have we begun to look for generic patterns in the web of linked causes and effects that puts disparate events into a common framework—a framework that operates on a sufficiently high level to include geologic climate shifts, epileptic seizures, market and fishery crashes, and rapid shifts from healthy ecosystems to biological deserts. The main themes of this framework are twofold: First, they are all complex systems of interconnected and interdependent parts. Second, they are nonlinear, non-equilibrium systems that can undergo rapid and drastic state changes.


Who is hurt by the Google+ “real names” policy?

real names, nymwars, 2011, google+, identity, online, enclosure, corporatism

I think it’s time to get back to basics. More and more of my friends are leaving or being forced out of Google+. Some refused to submit a driver’s license just to prove that their legal name was real. Many cannot safely socialize under their real names. Some just value their privacy. Let’s ask this basic question again. Who is harmed by Google’s “real name” policy?


Particle Decelerator: Sea Above, Sky Below

Sea above, sky below. The phrase is seemingly a contradiction and a mental paradox. Yet recent research into cosmology, astronomy and oceanography suggests that this riddle is perhaps not as irreconcilable as what it may first appear. Recalling Milton’s evocation of the empty heavens as a kind of ocean, the inversion of sea and sky is taking place all around us, in physics and in oceanography.


Robots at Work and Play

robotics, images, robots

Advancements in robotics are continually taking place in the fields of space exploration, health care, public safety, entertainment, defense, and more. These machines – some fully autonomous, some requiring human input – extend our grasp, enhance our capabilities, and travel as our surrogates to places too dangerous for us to go. NASA currently has dozens of robotic missions underway, with satellites now in orbit around our moon and four planets – and two more on the way to Ceres and Pluto. Gathered here are recent images of robotic technology at the beginning of the 21st century.



light, plants, animals, circadian rhythm, magnetic fields, photoreceptor

Cryptochromes (from the Greek κρυπτό χρώμα, hidden colour) are a class of blue light-sensitive flavoproteins found in plants and animals. Cryptochromes are involved in the circadian rhythms of plants and animals, and in the sensing of magnetic fields in a number of species. The name Cryptochrome was proposed as a pun combining the cryptic nature of the photoreceptor, and the cryptogamic organisms on which many blue light studies were carried out.


‘A great silence is spreading over the natural world’

environment, sound, silence, ecology, ambient

“A great silence is spreading over the natural world even as the sound of man is becoming deafening,” he writes in a new book, The Great Animal Orchestra. “Little by little the vast orchestra of life, the chorus of the natural world, is in the process of being quietened. There has been a massive decrease in the density and diversity of key vocal creatures, both large and small. The sense of desolation extends beyond mere silence.


Bronze Age collapse

greece, history, broze age, dark ages, collapse, 1150 BCE

The Bronze Age collapse is a transition in the Aegean Region, Southwestern Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean from the Late Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age that historians such as M. Liverani, S. Richard, Robert Drews, Frank J. Yurco, Amos Nur, Leonard R. Palmer, and others believe was violent, sudden and culturally disruptive. The palace economy of the Aegean Region and Anatolia which characterised the Late Bronze Age was replaced, after a hiatus, by the isolated village cultures of the Greek Dark Ages.


They Cracked This 250-Year-Old Code, and Found a Secret Society Inside | Danger Room | Wired.com

history, europe, secret society, sight, enlightenment, cipher, code, cryptanalysis

It was actually an accident that brought to light the symbolic “sight-restoring” ritual. The decoding effort started as a sort of game between two friends that eventually engulfed a team of experts in disciplines ranging from machine translation to intellectual history. Its significance goes far beyond the contents of a single cipher. Hidden within coded manuscripts like these is a secret history of how esoteric, often radical notions of science, politics, and religion spread underground. At least that’s what experts believe. The only way to know for sure is to break the codes.


How Videogames Blind Us With Science

science, scientific method, games, gaming, reason, reasoning, children, education

More than half the gamers used “systems-based reasoning” – analyzing the game as a complex, dynamic system. And one-tenth actually constructed specific models to explain the behavior of a monster or situation; they would often use their model to generate predictions. Meanwhile, one-quarter of the commentors would build on someone else’s previous argument, and another quarter would issue rebuttals of previous arguments and models.


Changing the past in open systems

programming, live coding, retroactive update, self adjusting computation, liminal, time, counterfact

One important step towards a more systematic approach to online update is to make the dimension of interaction explicit. This is one of the things I’ve focused on in my own research, which I call interactive programming, although that term has probably already been laid claim to. I allow the user to step sideways in time, into a “counterfactual” execution where it is “as though” the program had been written differently from the outset. Inspired by Demaine etal‘s retroactive data structures, which are imperative data structures which permit modifications to the historical sequence of operations performed on them, I’ll refer to this notion of online update as retroactive update. Retroactive update allows the “computational past” to be changed. Self-adjusting computation (SAC) is another system based on retroactive update. SAC explores another crucial aspect of online update: efficient update, via an algorithm called change propagation. SAC’s commitment to retroactivity appears in the correctness of change propagation, which is defined as consistency with a from-scratch run under the modified code.



API, programming, dynamic programming, adhoc, interface, sutchwon

While building rules.io we found ourselves connecting to lots of APIs. We also found ourselves building user interfaces that we knew would eventually connect to an API of our users’ choosing – but we wouldn’t know which API until runtime. Working with APIs in this very dynamic way led us to build some interesting technology, and gave us some fresh perspectives on how best to use API-based services from web and mobile applications.


Self-explaining computation

computation, liminal, explodable, GUI, interface, self adjusting computation, live coding, liveness

Behind every value lies a computation struggling to get out. That’s the idea behind what I call the explodable user interface. (Forget wearable. Explodable.) By “explodable” what I have in mind is the ability to pick any part of an application’s GUI that you happen to be interested in and interactively “unpack” it into a story that explains how it was computed. It should be as though code lurks behind everything you can see, all the way back to the data sources your application works with. In Lisp you can explode an atom into its constituent characters, but the relationship between a Lisp atom and its characters has no computational content to speak of. In a typical application, the relationship between a value and its parts is non-trivial. If it were otherwise, you wouldn’t call it an “application”: you’d call it “a bunch of data”. Whenever this non-trivial structure is present, you should be able to browse into it in order to understand it or change it.


Conway’s Game of Life for Curved Surfaces

life, conway, surfaces, topology, smoothlife, meshlife, programming

Last time, we talked about an interesting generalization of Conway’s Game of Life and walked through the details of how it was derived, and investigated some strategies for discretizing it. Today, let’s go even further and finally come to the subject discussed in the title: Conway’s Game of Life for curved surfaces


Rebuilding the Web We Lost

anil dash, web, web2.0, enclosure, public psace, private space, privacy

Right now, all of the places we can assemble on the web in any kind of numbers are privately owned. And privately-owned public spaces aren’t real public spaces. They don’t allow for the play and the chaos and the creativity and brilliance that only arise in spaces that don’t exist purely to generate profit. And they’re susceptible to being gradually gaslighted by the companies that own them.



review, russel davies, objects, magic, play, book

“The meditations on objects I offer here will indeed often suggest that they can be seen as what in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in Europe would have been called ‘emblems’, allegories of human life, implying pocket homilies on love, time, hope, error, striving and death. As such, they give us work to do as well as being merely available for us to work on. And yet, their power comes entirely from us.”