Friday, 6 Jul 2018

Memorising Piano Music  

Jocelyn Swigger gives a great TEDx talk on how she memorises complex piano pieces.

I've played piano for years but I've never taken the process of learning to this level of detailed analysis.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Highways above the North Atlantic  

Howard Slutsken from CNN explains in simple terms how the hundreds of daily international flights are routed across the North Atlantic.

With the recent introduction of advanced navigation equipment and procedures, aircraft on the OTS cruise five minutes' flying time behind the preceding plane, which is about 40 miles. Laterally, there's a 25-mile separation from the closest plane on either side, and a 1,000-foot safety zone above and below.

The video below beautifully illustrates the concept of layering and staggering the air traffic across the Atlantic.

Thursday, 5 Apr 2018

2001: A Space Odyssey, how well did it predict the future?  

Fifty years after the release of Stanley Kubrik’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stephen Wolfram makes a detailed analysis of how the future predicted in the film compares to the world today.

One of the most obvious is that the haircuts and clothing styles and general formality look wrong. Of course these would have been very hard to predict. But perhaps one could at least have anticipated (given the hippie movement etc.) that clothing styles and so on would get less formal. But back in 1968, I certainly remember for example getting dressed up even to go on an airplane.

This is a great read with lots of observations I would never have considered.

Tuesday, 20 Mar 2018

Why I Hate Facebook  

The New York Times continues to peel back the layers on the Facebook / Cambridge Analytica debacle. I’ve never trusted Facebook, never will, yet literally billions of people do. The quote below is just one example of why I dislike them so much.

…This wasn’t a breach in the technical sense. It is something even more troubling: an all-too-natural consequence of Facebook’s business model, which involves having people go to the site for social interaction, only to be quietly subjected to an enormous level of surveillance. The results of that surveillance are used to fuel a sophisticated and opaque system for narrowly targeting advertisements and other wares to Facebook’s users.

Facebook makes money, in other words, by profiling us and then selling our attention to advertisers, political actors and others. These are Facebook’s true customers, whom it works hard to please.

I fucking hate Facebook, did I mention that already?

Thursday, 8 Mar 2018

Blade Runner 2049 VFX Breakdown  

Framestore, recent Oscar winners for Best Visual Effects on Blade Runner 2049, share a number of videos showing the breakdown of their visual effects on various movies. The breakdown on Blade Runner 2049 is worth watching, the detail of the modelling and the sheer scale of the environments is stunning.

Wednesday, 21 Feb 2018

Mechanical Crustaceans  

Steeven Salvat has created a series of incredible detailed drawings of various crustacens showing cutaway mechanical internals. Even the paper he uses is hand made and tinted with tea to create a vintage look.

Monday, 19 Feb 2018

God's Plan  

Drake's new video for his single God's Plan is great - $996k can make a lot of people happy.
Tuesday, 28 Nov 2017

Drowning in Garbage  

The Washington Post has an eye opening article by Kadir van Lohuizen about the planet’s garbage crisis.

By 2050, there will be so much plastic floating in the ocean it will outweigh the fish, according to a study issued by the World Economic Forum. Scientists estimate that there are at least 5.25 trillion plastic particles — weighing nearly 270,000 tons — floating in the oceans right now.

The article looks at six cities around the world, Jakarta, New York, Lagos, Tokyo, Sao Paulo and Amsterdam.

Tuesday, 14 Nov 2017

Robotic Nightmares  

Boston Dynamics make the creepiest robots. Covering them in yellow plastic doesn't help, it just means they'll soon be commercially available.
Update: for more nightmare inducing footage, check out Handle their two wheeled, transformer-looking robot - fast enough to outrun you.
Tuesday, 7 Nov 2017

Visualising Git  

I have a hard time getting my head around what Git commands I should be using, should I fetch, pull, push or merge? I miss the days when version control just meant having backup folders, and backups of backup folders, and backups of backups of backup folders, etc. (jk)

I recently came across this site that visualises common Git commands to help people like me get a better understanding of how each command affects your repository. If you’re Git challenged like me, check it out.

Tuesday, 3 Oct 2017

Beyond the Edge  

Digital artist Teun van der Zalm has produced a series of 3D computer generated animations of distant nebulae. He uses several algorithms to generate the images.
While experimenting with the noise algorithm, I find out that this was not good enough for the base of the nebula system. Therefore I had to use multiple and different noise fields to produce a more life like nebula form. It became clear through experiments that I needed a starting point to build on. First I created an primal object designed by a procedural algorithm based on the Perlin Noise. After that I transformed the object to particles and manipulate these with the noise algorithm. The result is the base nebula without all the detail. In the second phase I deform the base through maps that are based on fractal noise. The final result is an high dense and high detailed particle system. This way I can create close up, medium and total shots of the nebula.

Check out more of his videos here.