A sphere of bubbling water in zero gravity

July 30th, 2015 § 1 comment § permalink

At point point it looks like the bubbles are orbiting the sphere of water.

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A different perspective on how our solar system moves

July 22nd, 2015 § 1 comment § permalink

UPDATE: Phil Plait has a great article over on Slate about what these videos get right and what they get wrong. In the first video he shows the sun leading the planets which is not true, they are all in the same plane. In the second video he gets the angle of the solar plane wrong (it’s 60° not 90°) and while our solar system does bounce above and below the galactic plane the corkscrew he shows is totally bunk. Also his numbers regarding length of galactic orbit are way off. Plait acknowledges that he gets some things right and it’s a very beautiful video but as far as science goes it needs to be take with a “galactic size grain of salt”.

The author of these videos readily admits that he is not a scientist and that there are flaws with his models, but I suspect that in broad strokes his vision is mostly correct. It’s certainly worth viewing if for no other reason than to understand that the flat model we use for orbits is not just wrong, but incredibly boring.

His second video is even more scientifically questionable but it’s still worth watching. He posits that even how our solar system orbits the black hole at the center of our galaxy is not as simple as we might imagine.

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Web Design – The First 100 Years

July 22nd, 2015 § 1 comment § permalink

Maciej Ceglowski on the current state of the web

The other part of our exponential hangover is how we build our businesses. The cult of growth denies the idea that you can build anything useful or helpful unless you’re prepared to bring it to so-called “Internet scale”. There’s no point in opening a lemonade stand unless you’re prepared to take on PepsiCo.

I always thought that things should go the other way. Once you remove the barriers of distance, there’s room for all sorts of crazy niche products to find a little market online. People can eke out a living that would not be possible in the physical world. Venture capital has its place, as a useful way to fund long-shot projects, but not everything fits in that mold.

I really want to build something that doesn’t require broad addoption to be successful.

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Explore the TWA Terminal, a Pristine Time Capsule From 1962

July 8th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

Enjoy some mid-century modern porn courtesy of the long abandoned TWA terminal at JFK.


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Black Hole Comparison

June 18th, 2015 § Comments Off on Black Hole Comparison § permalink

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Unusual Homes Around the World

June 10th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

A great In Focus post over at the Atlantic showcasing some very Unusual Homes Around the World


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Simply beautiful game making

June 9th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

A beautiful game called Shape of the World has landed in kickstarter. Impossible to know if it will be an addictive or immersive game but based this Polygon play-through I’m backing it on style alone.

I hope you consider backing it too.

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Water-Droplet Computer

June 8th, 2015 § 1 comment § permalink

It’s not about manipulating data faster, it’s about manipulating matter for the first time. I’m super curious about what kind of applications this could be used for.

(via devour.com)

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Does Color Even Exist?

May 22nd, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

Malcolm Harris at The New Republic reviews a new book titled Outside Color by University of Pittsburgh professor M. Chirimuuta which tries to look at color in a different way. After showing that the existing scientific models for color have surprisingly insistent results she turns to computers and optical illusions to make her point in a very clever way. Rather than looking at them as a weakness of human perception she sees them as a strength.

Take a popular optical illusion, designed in 1995 by Edward Adelson, a professor of vision science in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT:
The human perception system sees a checkerboard with a cylinder, while a basic SSR measurement shows squares A and B read the same. “Illusion” implies that our system is fooled, but as far as useful information goes, the checkerboard interpretation is probably better. Try as they might, mathematicians can’t make the computers see the checkerboard. Rather than a demonstration of how easily fooled we are, optical illusions like this one are examples of the brain’s mysterious and irreplicable abilities. It interprets its environment with a sophistication that exceeds our ability to measure and reconstruct physical phenomena. The usual framing has it wrong:

Despite A and B having the same SSR, humans are still able to see the checkerboard.

The color is not as important as the information that it conveys to us. This might explain why we have such an obsession with color and it’s perception. How much the color information that we take in on a daily basis was manufactured by our ancestors and given to us by our parents and culture? This reminds of of the fantastic Radio Lab episode Why Isn’t the Sky Blue? which looked at the etymology of the word blue and noted that in almost all languages it was the last color named in the rainbow. Without the name could we even perceive the color?

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Autonomous cars will destroy millions of jobs and reshape the US economy by 2025

May 20th, 2015 § 4 comments § permalink

Zack Kanter at Quarts on the impending
Autonomous cars revolution:

Autonomous cars will be commonplace by 2025 and have a near monopoly by 2030, and the sweeping change they bring will eclipse every other innovation our society has experienced. They will cause unprecedented job loss and a fundamental restructuring of our economy, solve large portions of our environmental problems, prevent tens of thousands of deaths per year, save millions of hours with increased productivity, and create entire new industries that we cannot even imagine from our current vantage point.

I’m not sure we will make it by 2025, there are some large hurdles to overcome, but I pretty much agree with everything else in this article. Say goodbye to car ownership, speeding tickets and parking lots.

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