Category: AI

The painting "The Way We Shook" by Ryan Crotty

I dig these minimalist paintings by Ryan Crotty, and am gonna try to visit the NYC gallery to see them IRL. “Chickens Prefer Attractive People.” Nearly half the times we open our phones to use an app, it’s one created by Facebook or Google. Why it’s good to play video games with your kids. A fabulous example of octopus color-and-shape-changing. The corporate slogans of CES are a study in awfulness. How Charles Schulz introduced the first black character into Peanuts. Training a neural net to classify online articles as either “news” or “not-news”. A gorgeous photographic tour of one of America’s last pencil factories. And my latest Boing Boing posts: i) the history of “badday.mpg”, one of the Internet’s first viral videos; ii) logic gates made purely from rods and levers; and iii) a study finds municipal broadband is up to 50% cheaper than comparable telco service.

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A Randall Munroe XKCD strip entitled "New Sports Created from Random Emoji"

After seeing this awesome XKCD strip, Julia Slige created a little script to generate “new sports from random emoji”. Behold Darkwire, a web site that generates on-the-fly encrypted chat-rooms. How people who are actually smart think, and talk, about themselves. Using a metaphor of waiters and wine to understand the huge new chip insecurity. Mining cryptocurrency in the dorm room. The Center for the Study of Existential Risk releases a video-game mod that simulates the rise of killer AI. It turns out that humans might be immune to the protein that allows for CRISPR genome editing. Cool: Listly.io is a tool that scrapes web sites and puts their content into a spreadsheet. More ridiculously great news about the plunging cost of renewable energy. Why it’s so hard to predict the size of a dump of snowfall. And my latest Boing Boing posts: i) How the American healthcare resembles a post-apocalyptic landscape, ii) an eight-year-old boy discovers data suggesting that wild pigs mourn their dead, and iii) how to preserve a snowflake for decades.

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Hacking a Furby Connect. Meet the men who are convinced we live in a simulation. Smartphone keyboards designed specifically for coding, Android and iOS. An online tool that translates a MIDI file into JSON; very useful for a project I’m currently working on. How video games harness the Zeigarnik Effect. Belgium’s aesthetically gorgeous telegram service is finally shutting down. “Aerial transit will be accomplished because the air is a solid if you hit it hard enough”: The final sentence from the 1894 book The Problem of Manflight. It turns out that “Classic Nintendo Games are (NP-)Hard”. We’re getting closer to cracking the secret of how porpoise sonar works. Google’s new voice-synthesis is unsettlingly lifelike.

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A picture of "The Asthma Quilt"

“The Asthma Quilt”, which uses scraps of industrial fabric to map out the incidence of asthma in NYC (via @auremoser). A programming language designed to function, and be read, like a comic strip. It seems the question “what is consciousness?” has become a hot subject in the field of consumer-psychology research. Veblen’s conspicuous consumption, updated for the humblebragging world of I’m sooo busy with work: “Conspicuous Consumption of Time”. The art-game Humanity: Think Lemmings, except with hundreds of thousands of faceless humans; and beatings; and guns. “Antipodal words” perform a semantic U-turn, and contain their opposite. Teaching robots not just to see, but to predict what they’re about to see.

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Photo of a Hagelin CD-57 pocket cipher machine

Man, I’d love to get this pocket cipher machine at the upcoming Sotheby’s “History of Science and Technology” auction. (It’s $3,500, though.) Using an algorithm to co-write a sci-fi short story. How Linneas invented the index card (and thus, ultimately, the database). A book on the science of jellyfish (which, under global warming, may wind up ruling the planet). They may have found the bones of the original Saint Nicholas. LED traffic lights are so energy-efficient they don’t emit enough heat to melt the snow that gathers on them. Wow, when Time picked the computer as “Machine of the Year” in 1983, the cover illustration was creepy. Some proof that lightning creates antimatter.

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"Desert necklace", a 1995 sculpture

“Desert Necklace” is a lovely and haunting 1995 work by the Dutch artist Peter Hoogeboom. A smartphone-shaped fidget gadget. NYC has genetically distinct “uptown” and “downtown” rats. Is life inevitable, as dictated by the laws of physics? Behold The California Review of Images and Mark Zuckerberg. Why social media traps in the eternal present: My latest essay for THIS magazine. Why analog circuits could make for faster, better neural nets. A Greenland Shark that may be over 500 years old. I dig Write.as, a new, stripped-down blogging engine. Amazon parody reviewers strike again! On War Primer, Bertolt Brecht’s multimedia book of antifascist poetry. On the cognitive impact of spreadsheets. Flash-photography powder, invented in Germany in 1887, was originally dubbed “Blitzlichtpulver”, or “lightning light powder”. NASA’s 1981 history of ball bearings.

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bugshot

Some amazing bug photography. Why passcodes are more secure for locking your phone than facial recognition. The ergonomics of astronaut cameras are awesome. How to re-engineer the Iphone so it’s less of an addictive time-suck. Amazing fossil: A 200-million-old baby ichthyosaur that died with “a belly full of squid”. How Google used the “cruising” behavior of cars to predict where parking is, and isn’t, available. Among the articles in this 1937 issue of Your Life magazine are “The Frigid Wives of Reno” and “What I Learned From An Old Man”. A new theory of how deep learning actually works: The most important part is “forgetting”. Shapeshifting, programmable synthetic skin that’s inspired by octopus muscle.

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A dog with a high-tech speedometer wrapped around its torso

A speedometer for dogs. A sudoku solver, using machine-learning, that works in AR. A brilliant web game based on the “AI paperclip problem” posed by Nick Bostrum. (The Reddit thread of gamers playing the game is pretty epic, too.) 30,000 bees, hidden in the walls of a house. An interactive map showing how hot your corner of the US will get by 2100. Why Canada should annex America’s blue states. The annotations on Genius for Alexander Pope’s “Essay on Criticism”. The first x-rays were super unsettling to observers. “Eyes and teeth are sort of a hundred times more scary than other objects.” A reboot of the Commodore 64! Access to USB devices via Javascript: Yeeeeiiiiikes. The decline and fall of high-school debating.

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A mesmerizing “water droplet” kinetic sculpture. A study of the culture of IMDB’s old discussion boards, which were shut down last winter. Deep learning considered as “woodworking without physics”. An attempt to train a neural net to understand the emotional import of a hurricane. Deep inside his hacky, serialized novel Jack Engel, Walt Whitman tucked a short exuberant passage that presaged Leaves of Grass. I want to get better at regex and am gonna buy this book. The phrase “killer app” is dreadful; here are some better replacements. The problems you get when trolls try to intentionally contaminate big, open data sets. The fascinating lineage of philosophers who defend extravagance. The story of why I’m @pomeranian99.

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Photo of a whale tail emerging from the water
This year’s winners of Scuba Diving Magazine‘s photography contest.
“Are Inventions Inevitable?” A parrot that orders stuff using Alexa, by imitating its owner’s voice. I’ve been digging surfing the web using w3m, an old-school all-text browser; here’s how to instal it on a Mac. Hey, they’ve found two new deep-sea crustacean species! (“Two eyeless species of millimetric proportions,” to be precise.) Ur-drone-photography: A 1920 book on taking photos from biplanes. Here’s “The Coming Software Apocalypse“, a good long piece about how to manage increasingly complex code bases. What do you call a city of octopuses? A Stanford psychologist on the art of dealing with assholes. A wonderful tale of hunting a strange, gnarly software bug.

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