Archive for January, 2012

A bitter taste of things to come?

On January 18, 2012, sites all over the internet will be blacking out to protest and try to mobilize more people to speak out against this bill coming up in the Senate next week — S. 968: the Protect IP Act (PIPA) — in an attempt to let U.S. lawmakers know how much opposition there is. [WordPress.com News]

Unfortunately, this is really no hype – just recently I heard highly-paid, no-nonsense corporate lawyers on the topic saying they’d recommend their clients to basically shut down most of their internet-presence immediately in case this bill passes, just to be sure not to be sued to the bones. Ruling by fear, that is….

A video on the topic is on http://fightforthefuture.org/pipa/

Please see this post from last year on how the story developed.

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The Tail of the Elephant

There is this old story of the 3 wise blind guys who come to examine an elephant. They are lead up to it, and one of them gets to grab the ear, another the holds on to a tusk, and the third gets hold of the tail.
Later, they come to completely different opinions about the nature of the object under study – is it flat and flappy, thin and wriggly, or hard and pointy? And, obviously, later they spend a looong time arguing and beating each other up about their theories on what it really is like.

George Cham, creator of Ph.D. comics, refers to this in this beautiful animation on how current science might redefine our understanding of the universe – Enjoy!


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Cubelets

Complexity in the natural world is fascinating, don’t you think? In the most complex systems, we can look deeper to find a network of interacting elements. Little beings loving and dancing scientific hobscotch(?) using their tiny little brains to make the most wonderful things happen – TOGETHER.

Emergent properties in Complex systems and robotics explained by a hilly-billy guy with a funny (dutch?) accent – just made my day:

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Cats and the Ultimate Machine

This cat-in-a-box (not to be confused with Schrödingers cat) hauling in coins placed onto the fishbone-marked right corner I found on the counter of a fast-food shop in Seoul: 


It so reminded me of Claude Shannon’s ultimate machine:

One of his more humorous devices was a box kept on his desk called the “Ultimate Machine”, based on an idea by Marvin Minsky. Otherwise featureless, the box possessed a single switch on its side. When the switch was flipped, the lid of the box opened and a mechanical hand reached out, flipped off the switch, then retracted back inside the box. Renewed interest in the “Ultimate Machine” has emerged on YouTube and Thingiverse.

A matching (while somewhat more commercial) tribute to the founder of Information Theory
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The Science of Insecurity

From last week’s 28th Chaos Communication Congress (28C3) – an annual four-day conference on technology, society and utopia – there are a couple of really interesting talks. Of course, these are freely available (the logo on the right directs to their youtube-channel, the link in the blockquote takes you to the wiki) under a creative commons (BY-NC-ND) license.

As practised with 26C3 and 27C3 we want you to come together. no nerd left behind: Allow those unable to attend the Congress in Berlin to celebrate their own Hack Center Experience, watch the streams, participate via twitter or chats, drink Tschunk, cook and have a good time.

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2011 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,900 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 48 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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