Archive of: 2008
Have you ever wondered what Flickr does with all that geolocation data it gathers from our pictures (apart from pinning them to a map and working out the ratio of kittens to sunsets in a given area)? Well one of the things it does is is generate shapefiles of regional neighbourhoods to better work out where your picture was taken.
Jessica nails it yet again. If you don’t already subscribe to the Indexed RSS feed, then you really should.
One day, when Marco and I were playing against two computer opponents, we forced one of the AI cycles to trap itself between its own walls and the bottom game border. Sensing an impending crash, it fired a missile, just like it always did whenever it was trapped. But this time was different – instead of firing at another trail, it fired at the game border, which looked like any other light cycle trail as far as the computer was concerned. The missile impacted with the border, leaving a cycle-sized hole, and the computer promptly took the exit and left the main playing field. Puzzled, we watched as the cycle drove through the scoring display at the bottom of the screen. It easily avoided the score digits and then drove off the screen altogether.
Shortly after, the system crashed.
Our minds reeled as we tried to understand what we had just seen. The computer had found a way to get out of the game. When a cycle left the game screen, it escaped into computer memory – just like in the movie.
Daniel Wellman reminisces about the day his program went awol and life started imitating art.
Well, it would seem churlish not to, given the day.
One thing I definitely want to say is that, from the start, we’ve surrounded ourselves with people who believe in us. Even when we’ve had no money, the same people have been behind us and worked on our behalf over the years. It’s not about being lucky with record companies – it’s about the people who’ve stuck with us through thick and thin. So this is a celebration for about three dozen people, and we’re going to throw ourselves into their arms and have a massive party. And I have to say, on a final note, we’re all very, very accomplished drinkers.
- Guy Garvey from Elbow on winning the 2008 Mercury Music Prize
It’s all been a bit space based round here recently, but this video is too good not to share, a Shuttle launch caught on video from an Air Canada flight.
Hat tip: 37 Signals
Sometimes you see things that make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
The Deep Impact spacecraft, with it’s original mission complete and now undertaking science under the EPOXI moniker, turned it’s cameras back towards the Earth from 50 million kilometers away and over the course of several hours caught The Moon transiting The Earth!
Phil Plait sums it up beautifully:
While there is science galore in these animations, I think their real impact is the visceral one from simply seeing them. As Carl Sagan once said: everyone you have ever met, every human who has lived and died, lived out their lives on that blue ball. And yet here we are, in the 21st century, plains apes allowed to evolve and satiate their curiosity, now with the ability to lob metal proxies into deep space, look back, and see ourselves.
Science. I love this stuff.
Religion has convinced people that there’s an invisible man… living in the sky. Who watches everything you do every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a list of ten specific things he doesn’t want you to do. And if you do any of these things, he will send you to a special place, of burning and fire and smoke and torture and anguish for you to live forever, and suffer, and burn, and scream, until the end of time. But he loves you. He loves you. He loves you and he needs money.
George Denis Patrick Carlin (12 May 1937 – 22 June 2008)