Archive for January, 2007

park-in?

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

Oldcars.jpg (image from wikipedia)

Yes it is sometimes hard to find a parking spot like e.g. in Berlin-Mitte with a big ‘89 Mercedes Benz 230 CE in goldmetallic.

And if it is me who is trying to squeeze in with such a car than this probably means: there once was a nice german car…:)

For the environment its usually better to drive a car till the end, rather then buy a new one.

But then if one really needs a new car one will find that “new” german cars are sofar producing far too much sourtasting CO2 gas in order to be cool enough. Sorry german engineer in da house: you first need to reduce your bad gas.

May be one should have a look on e.g. this japanese or other hybrid cars. But they make only sense if they are charged via renewable energies. Ethanol cars, e.g. very popular in Mexico are also not a bad option to look at, also if they may spoil the corn prices.

Teach-in

Monday, January 29th, 2007

2010imperative.jpg
An interview with Edward Mazria on BLDGBLOG about carbon neutral architecture as set out in the 2030 challenge as well as about the 2010 Imperative Imperative Global Emergency Teach-In on February 20th which is he is cohosting.

addressing global warming and climate change is an interactive web-cast broadcast live from New York, reaching more than 500,000 students, faculty, deans and practicing professionals in the architecture, planning and design communities in both North and South America.

see also the

OPEN LETTER TO THE
ARCHITECTURE, PLANNING AND BUILDING COMMUNITY
of the 2030 challenge and from the interview with Mazria:

people are accepting that the (climate) debate is essentially over, and that we must move from debate to action. But scientists have given us a very, very small window of opportunity here. We have essentially ten years to begin to get this situation under control. Otherwise we’ll hit tipping points (see also clathrate randform post) beyond which there will be very little anyone can do to influence things. So there’s a new sense of urgency.

finding the right proportions

Monday, January 29th, 2007

Duchenne.jpgMécanisme de la Physionomie Humaine by Guillaume Duchenne from wikipedia

The face of a human (lets include the ears) is the part of a human body which is usually adressed first as an interface to the human mind and body behind it. And most often it stays the main interface to be used by other humans (and animals). After a first contact people may shake hands a.s.o. but still the face is usually the starting point for facing each other and together with subtle gestures it can give way to a very fast judgements about the personality of people.

So it is no wonder that a portrait of a person almost always includes the face. Faces usually move and the movement is very important in the perception of a face. However in a portrait painting or a portrait fotograph there is no movement and – still – portraits describe the person behind the face – at least to a certain extend. It is also a wellknown rumour (I couldnt find a study on it) that a drawing reflects the painter to a certain extend, like e.g. fat artists apparently tend to draw persons more solid then thin artists a.s.o.

So it is no wonder that people try to find laws, for e.g. when a (still) face looks attracting to others and when not. Facial expressions (see above image) play a significant role (see also this old randform post). But also cultural things etc. are important. But still – if we assume to have eliminated all these factors as best as possible (by e.g. comparing bold black and white faces of the same age group looking emotionless) – then is there still a link between the appearance of a face and the interpretation of the human character behind the face? How stable is this interpretation, like e.g. when the face was distorted by violence or an accident? How much does the physical distortion parallel the psychological?

All these studies are of course especially interesting when it comes to constructing artificial faces, like in virtual spaces or for humanoid robots (e.g. here) (see also this old randform post).

Similar questions were also studied in a nice future face exhibition at the science museum in London organized by the Wellcome Trust.

An analytical method is to start with proportions, where there are some prominent old works, like Leonardo’s or Duerer’s studies, leading last not least to e.g. studies in artificial intelligence which for example link “beautiful” proportions to the low complexity of the corresponding encoded information.

These questions are a bit related to the question of how interfaces are related to processes of computing, also if one doesnt just think of robots. It concerns also questions of Human Computer Interactions as we saw above and finally Human Computer Human Interactions, which were thematized e.g. in our work seidesein.

size can be hindering

Thursday, January 25th, 2007
headAndBrain.JPG

Probably every body can think of one situation or another where this statement is in order and even if it comes to our brains one easily finds moments where a big brain is debilitating.
And finally there is evidence that this is part of a bigger evolutionary picture: scientists recently found out in a simulation why our brains have shrunk. One systematical flaw – especially for a simulation designed to run over several thousand generations of humans – is that they neglected females in their model (too complicated!). (Still this analysis could explain our poor performance against the martians…)

supinfocomsoup

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

supinfocomsoup.jpg



Ah, supinfocom student short“. A very poetic short video in which students are showing what they have learned at supinfocom.
-> youtube link
-> daytars interactive alphabetsoup

via ehrensenf.

clathrates

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007

Burning_hydrate_inlay_US_Office_Naval_Research.jpg

image from wikipedia

A Methane clathrate, also called methane hydrate or methane ice, is a form of water ice that encloses a large amount of trapped methane gas within its crystal structure.

In contrast to usual water ice the methane ice can burn (see image).

Large deposits of methane ice have been found hidden under sediments of Earth. Moreover below the zone of solid methane ice, large volumes of methane may occur as bubbles of free gas in the sediments.

The discharge of methane (coming from the ice) is under suspect to have furthered the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) a sudden global climate change, which upset oceanic and atmospheric circulation and led to the largest known mass extinction.
Climate_Change.jpg
image from wikipedia.
This suspect or hypothesis is called the Clathrate gun hypothesis and was e.g. summarized in the BBC2 ‘Horizon’ documentary, ‘The Day the Earth Nearly Died. The basic idea is that a global warming due to e.g. a giant volcano outbreak let to the discharge of big methane gas clouds which were stored in the methan ice (i.e. massive gas clouds were suddenly released due to the warming). These methane clouds in the turn enforced the greenhouse effect und thus produced even more global warming (a runaway greenhouse effect). This happened too fast for organisms to adapt and thus leading to a mass extinction of 95% of the species on the earth (for more read the BBC link).

Well this is a hypothesis and the current computed climate change is not yet in the dangerous temperature region, but we are getting closer rather fast if we go on like that.

Hopefully the current global warming won’t end up in such a terrifying scenario. However it is clear that the discharge of further greenhouse gases and Deforestation must be dramatically reduced. In particular it should again be emphasized that it is mainly the speed which kills and it kills already now (see e.g. here).

But unfortunately there are not only plans to burn the resources hidden under the melting polar ice but also to exploit the methane in the clathrates, like e.g. these japanese or US project. Burning methane produces again, like other fossil fuels, the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.

Which means: there may be plenty to burn. One shouldn’t.

dodgeball

Monday, January 22nd, 2007

Dodgeball.jpgdodgeball on wikipedia

The sport of dodgeball is experiencing new growth in recent years, often attributed to the 2004 release of the film “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story”: Grab life by the ball

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Together we can achieve amazing things

Friday, January 19th, 2007

climate1.jpg
climate2.jpg
images are from the defra campaign about climate change

This is a follow-up to my recent WYSIWYG versus WYChYWYG post in which I tried to explain that I think it is important to enforce communication about the climate change.
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happy…

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

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generation generator

Tuesday, January 16th, 2007
warninglabel.jpg

Why bother doing things anyway.
Nowadays modern technology provides all the tools to generate the desired work at the press of a button or klick of a mouse: All the productive things one allways wanted to do but never had the time or skills to do like making a paper snowflake or a church sign, having your own warning label (see above) or maybe writing a paper in computer science (that is accepted at a conference).
Even in your leisure time you can find help for personal things like for burping, making indian music (by zanorg), or inventing your own new silly walk (or making an ambigramm for that).
And imagine that: You even can have help generating you own brain waves.
As if that is not enough there are already generator generators to help you generate generators (and if that does not help then recursion will kill you anyway).
Brave new world.