24 October 2007

uWink, evolutionary biology, Iron & Wine

From the creator of Chuck E. Cheese
uWink is a new restaurant franchise that attempts to incorporate computer screens, video games, and electronic tabletop ordering into your dining experience. It was developed by Nolan Bushnell, the founder of Atari. Check out the promo video. Does this entice you? Not me; do we really want less human contact when we're out to eat? (In my opinion, though, a "killer app" of in-restaurant PCs might be keeping your kids entertained, as shown at the end of their video.)

"Our fun, casual environment makes it easy for people to interact, have fun, play games, and enjoy delicious, reasonably priced meals. It's not a game arcade or pool hall. uWink is an interactive, social restaurant, where you are in control of your meal and your fun.

uWink provides delicious modern comfort food made with fresh ingredients ordered via touch screen terminals at the table and served by runners, quickly and accurately."

(This kind of that's-going-the-wrong-direction thinking reminds me of a chapter heading in a book about computer graphics we used to quote at work: "What we need around here is more aliasing!")

Stuart Kaufmann is the Director of the Institute for Biocomplexity and Informatics
...at the University of Calgary. His most noted contributions are in the field of theoretical evolutionary biology, and tend to be along the lines of exploring the inevitability of the creation of living things (rather than their extraordinary rarity).

"It turns out that the behaviour of genetic networks depends critically on the level at which the genes are connected. If they are heavily connected the system is chaotic, and if they are only lightly connected the system is ordered. An attractive hypothesis is that biological systems, like genetic networks, flourish in a “transition zone” between the ordered and chaotic regimes. I call this transitional phase the complex regime. So biocomplexity refers to biological systems that thrive in this balance between order and chaos. Other examples include the immune and neural systems."

Brief Q&A.

New Music: Iron & Wine
Been listening to a lot of Iron and Wine [YouTube video] for the last few weeks. Picked up "The Shepherd's Dog" during my Sunday biannual trip to Portland, ME. (Where I also was introduced to a new coffee drink: a strong mocha latte with banana syrup.)

Hand-Drawn Holography
Rekindled interest in this technique is explored at the Holography Forum, with links to YouTube clips of the holograms.


ps Oh, and: today, in the US, there are more people playing World of Warcraft than there are farmers.

pps As promised (and hopefully below the Dada comment threshold), there is a documentary about Helvetica. YouTube clip. Documentary web page.

1 comment:

RLM said...

Oh, I meant to mention that Helvetica film to you, but I should've known you'd already know about it. There was a screening at NU last night, but I wasn't available to go. But I think the DVD will be available to check out from my library soon...