30 October 2005

Experience Spatial 3-D at Future Forward

I will be presenting the Perspecta Spatial 3-D System v1.9 at Scott Kirsner's Future Forward executive retreat on Tuesday in Beverly, Mass.


29 October 2005

Launching 250,000 Superballs Down the Street

Danish director Nicolai Fuglsig created a soothing, colorful commercial for a Sony product by launching 250,000 bright superballs down a San Franciso street. This is not computer graphics. I can't imagine what the clean-up crew faced, but check out the commercial here at the Sony BRAVIA site.

The other pages claim to have behind-the-scenes footage.

28 October 2005

Eddie (11 kyu)

Ko fight with kitty
Goodness, our cat Eddie is beating me at go. Tonight I foolishly attempted to study some defense tactics from one of Janice Kim's books, but Eddie can never resist placing a stone when he hears me shuffle them around...

Watch, I'm having trouble hitting 22k* on IGS; I wonder if Eddie is hanging out in seedy go club rooms when I'm at work.

23 October 2005

Infoviz: Baby names & stock market performance

Here are two websites from the IBM Research mathematician and hard-core data visualization expert Martin Wattenberg.

NameVoyager is a well-designed map of baby name popularity versus year. As you type, the graph arcs and swoons into shape. (Okay, I don't know what I thought the verbs "arc" and "swoon" signify in this context.) According to IBM Research, Mr. Wattenberg developed the site to publicize his wife's book, The Baby Name Wizard.

Map of the Market from SmartMoney depicts company stock performance by color, and the companies are spatially grouped by industry. Green squares represent rising stock price; shades of red represent falling stock price.


18 October 2005

Conway's Game of Life, Animated Physics Applets

Conway's Game of Life

I suppose no science blog is complete without a reference to the cellular automaton known as Conway's Game of Life.

Wikipedia has an article that includes animated illustrations and a vast library of hyperlinks.

From Wikipedia

Can't get enough, can you? How about Eric Weisstein's "Treasure Trove of the Life Cellular Automaton," with plenty of animated GIFs.

p54 Shuttle, From Eric Weisstein's "Treasure Trove."

Interactive Physics Applets will BLOW YOUR MIND
Running a Windows machine or a reasonably fast Mac? Here is an astoundingly broad collection of interactive applets which demonstrate phenomena like: diffraction!, 3-D magnetic fields!, and other wild things.

Really, I mean it, this stuff will make you geek out like you've never geeked out before.

Paul Falstad's math, science, and engineering Java applets.

Like, try the "Ripple Tank Applet" and select "Zone Plate" using the Setup: pulldown in the upper right. Wow! So that's how Fresnel zone plates work!

Or try the "2D Wave Applet" and try "Setup: multiple slit" diffraction and play with the slit width and separation. What does it look like with polychromatic (multi-colored) light? Ever wonder why your credit card hologram is rainbow-y?

And don't even get me started on the 3-D magnetostatic fields applet...


16 October 2005

Playlist: New England Autumn Angst

Here are some tunes for New England autumn evening weather. I'm not sure what the right adjective is, sort of a "things-not-going-one's-way" mood that proceeds from distant sentimentality to anger to focus to a kind of release. Sort of. Whatever, here are some tunes.

  1. Concrete Blonde, "Everybody Knows," Still In Hollywood Everybody Knows
  2. Sting, "Why Should I Cry For You?" Fields of Gold: The Best of Sting 1984-1994
    Why Should I Cry for You?
  3. Damien Rice, "Older Chests," O Older Chests
  4. Kris Delmorst, "Little Wings," Five StoriesLittle Wings
  5. Pearl Jam, "Small Town," 04/19/03: North America - #27 Atlanta Small Town
  6. Bonglab Featuring Members of Supreme Beings of Leisure, "Games Without Frontiers," Leaves From The Tree - A Tribute To The Music of Peter Gabriel
  7. Nine Inch Nails, "Eraser (Polite)," Further Down The Spiral Eraser (Polite)
  8. Nine Inch Nails, "Piggy (Nothing Can Stop Me Now)," Further Down The Spiral Piggy (Nothing Can Stop Me Now)

  9. Metallica, "Disposable Heroes," Master Of Puppets
  10. The Geto Boys, "Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangster," Office Space Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta
  11. Van Halen, "Right Now," Right Here, Right Now (Disc 2) [Live] Right Now
  12. The Who, "Eminence Front," It's Hard Eminence Front
  13. Pearl Jam, "Dissident," Vs. Dissident
  14. Jimmy Van M, "ECI-PS," Communicate (Disc 2)

  15. Renegade Soundwave, "Renegade Soundwave," In To The Mix - Hypnotic (1)
  16. The Crystal Method, "Starting Over (Elite Force Mix)," CSII Exclusives - EP Starting Over (Elite Force Mix)
  17. Blackalicious featuring Ledisi, "World of Vibrations," The Craft
    World of Vibrations
  18. Tears for Fears, "Everybody Wants to Rule the World," Songs from the Big Chair Everybody Wants to Rule the World

Silly me to think Metallica would actually be on iTunes!


14 October 2005

For Prof. B...

Random Nerd Notes

The first printed electronic circuit without using lithography. Press release: BASF Future Business develops new printed electronics technology with partners

Book about theoretical evolutionary biology: The Origins of Order: Self-Organization and Selection in Evolution (Stuart A. Kauffman)

Only tangentially related, but looks neat: a broad and deep compendium of papers about self-replicating systems: Kinematic Self-Replicating Machines (Robert A. Freitas Jr. and Ralph C. Merkle)

Currently Reading...

Aw, heck. I just got Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules (David Sedaris, ed.) and Best New American Voices: 2006 (Jane Smiley, ed.), which are collections of short stories. Lately, that's all I have the attention span for. They make for good nighttime business-trip hotel reading. Does that make me stupid? Gone are the days of being able to finish... I don't know... The Fountainhead or something.

Also I admit to buying and reading the fifth volume of Hikaru No Go, translated manga about a boy obsessed with playing go.


Pi Pie

Hello from glorious rainy New England.

Pi Pie and Rubik Invadors
Here are two photos from Flickr that I thought were neat. A pi pie:

and pixelated art using Rubik's cubes:

(click on photo for set)

Gotta go, Eddie is demanding attention.


11 October 2005

I'm Still Standin'... (yeah yeah yeah)

Hello from Dallas!

I like it here. However, I am tired, I miss J-Fav, and it's time to return to New England. Will be back Thursday.

I learned interesting things though about corporate benefits at a Major Oil Company overseas. The employees live in houses built by the firm, employee children get free schooling up to 9th grade -- and then have all-expense-paid boarding school tuition anywhere in the world. There is a supermarket in the closed community, and things like 24-hour tennis and golf courts. (I attended a cocktail party / recruiting session to hear a talk by the head of Expatriate Services.)

Also, employees get 6 weeks of paid vacation per year.

Well, I can tell you more when I return.


08 October 2005

"Hook 'em, Horns!"

Howdy -

Here I am in an absolutely gigantic hotel (with several "tower" areas of rooms, large sweeping malls, and two oddly-placed elephant sculptures) in Dallas. There are hundreds of football fans here for the 100th big-rivalry game between Oklahoma and Texas, including two drunken ones I came across at 2am this morning in a lobby who made a horn sign with their hands and asked me if I was a horns fan, too.

At this very moment I am missing a big party with all you friends out in Massachusetts, so I made a good effort to entertain myself here.

As follows.


1 - Set up 3-D display for oil-industry trade show with a great partner company.

2 - Went to the "Deep Ellum" region of restaurants and bars and found good Tex-Mex while the Texas / O.U. game raged on.

3 - Drove to the Modern Art Museum of Forth Worth and was thrilled to see some great works. To flaunt my snobbishness, these included:

Gerhard Richter (this site from SFMOMA has a few fantastic examples)

Edward Ruscha

Bill Viola, The Greeting (a slow-motion movie of three women meeting a friend and talking)

Dan Flavin, Diagonal of May 25, 1963

I find some of the photorealistic works of Gerhard Richter very moving; I don't know why. What's weird is that I like the small subset of his paintings which reproduce small sections of magazines or encyclopedias, with a bit of photo and a bit of text. That Ferrari one up there is a painting of a magazine article that's 57 x 78 1/2 inches.

4 - Went to the Texas State Fair and in honor of Professor B. absentee-ism, traded in 10 tickets for a giant Cajun BBQ turkey leg to walk around with.

See ya,


06 October 2005

To Dallas I Go

Tomorrow night I head off to Dallas for a large oil-industry trade show, staffing an exhibit booth.

Yikes, exhibit floors are open from 7.30am to 5pm. 7.30! Funny how computer science trade shows are open, what, from noon to 5? Just kidding.


03 October 2005

Newsweek: Danny Hillis, Inventor

You scientists and engineers might find this story interesting about Danny Hillis, who is responsible for things like RAID storage, 64,000-processor supercomputers, and a computer made out of Tinkertoys that plays tic-tac-toe @ the Boston Museum of Science.

Also, a previous post here about his work and theories.