Archive for March, 2007

from the cakepiland

Wednesday, March 14th, 2007


Today I got a parcel with yummy looking cakes piled up in two tin boxes. Unfortunately the senders adress is unreadable, so I actually don’t know whom to thank for this nice gift. The tin boxes carry nostalgic swedish and british designs. Its a sunny spring day today in Berlin so I will eat from them now.

->for modern ornament see e.g. Karim Rashid here and here

Elegantes 3D Stadtmodell Berlin

Tuesday, March 13th, 2007

Berlin Potsdamer Platz

If it comes to 3D in google earth most cities are still more or less little grey bricks. Berlin however has lately provided a quite detailed view of itself. The software based on the LandXplorer technology was developped by the Potsdam Company 3D Geo GmBH together with the Hasso-Plattner Institute. It was produced by Berlin Partner GmBH and works with the newest version of google earth together with a link to

via Berliner Zeitung


Friday, March 9th, 2007


->A funny script for the Wii remote called Wiitar by Jordan Sanborn available at (see also this old randform post)

->another sportive Wii remote application: Tennis with a Wiibot

if you dont have a wiimote but just a brain then this artistic communication with an industrial robot may be interesting:
->empathizer by robotlab

focus and context, part IV: A Physicist Experiments With Cultural Studies

Thursday, March 8th, 2007


out side in side out

Wednesday, March 7th, 2007



show me your prefrontal cortex

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007


Together with collegues from London and Tokyo neuroscientist John-Dylan Haynes did an experiment (however up to now only with 21 test persons as it seems), where a person had to choose wether he/she wanted either to add or to substract two numbers. And even before the test persons saw the numbers and before they started to compute it was possible – by using a MRI brain scan – to tell with a 70% chance, what kind of desicion the person was going to make, or in other words: using the MRI the scientists could “read the mind” of the test persons (with a 70% chance). Freely chosen decisions are usually happening in the prefrontal cortex.


Le manoir du diable

Monday, March 5th, 2007


update 22.02.2011: the above image is a mashup of a photoshopped poster for the below referenced film starring at theatre Houdin from an unknown author and some fotoshopped rainbow colors from some astrophysics film.

In 1896 Georges Méliès produced with “Le manoir du diable” the first horror movie in film history. And even more this 2 minute stop-motion special effects film was also the first colour film in film history. The colouring in this film was done by hand on each single image. Colouring black and white films can be seen as a kind of “branding” . It actually took quite a time until it was possible to automatically color films with a -more or less- full color spectrum. This was achieved in 1932 with the Three-strip Technicolor process in the animation “Flowers and Trees”. The first colored feature film in film history was then “Becky Sharp” of 1935 displaying the typical bright technicolor colors.

I was always wondering why films and images of cosmological events like e.g. about the big bang or supernovae look as if they were shot in technicolor, although they were digitally processed.

The reason for this is that the unvisible light spectrum (and the brightness) gets transferred into a visible spectrum via a human interference:
-> Where do those images come from

shadow of the earth – shadow of the moon

Saturday, March 3rd, 2007


While we all await the total lunar eclipse (here in europe at least), astronomy picture of the day has a solar eclipse video from STEREO B, one of the two solar examination space observatories (guess how the other is called!).

For all of us who can expect to have a cloudy sky tonight (the moon will enter the deepest shadow about 22:30 MEZ) I made a look-alike illustration of what to expect: scattered light from earth will dye the moon red.

concrete matter

Friday, March 2nd, 2007


a little comment on materials, matter and their perception. artwork by Uta Naumburg:
->chronos chromos concrete

muttering what matters

Thursday, March 1st, 2007

There are various theories about the origin of languages. Personally I do not believe in things like Monogenesis, but rather think that languages start automatically with communicating basic evolutionary needs and then evolve eventually in abstraction and finetuning.

A good basis to study the origin of languages are animals and their various ways to communicate with their children, mates, friends, rivals etc. and in fact scientists spend years of their life to listen to lets say birds, like pink flamingos.

Another interesting study is to look at human languages and their finetuning. In particular the various forms of mathematics in different populations and their result on mathematical understanding is ethnomathematics. For example the Maya had two kinds of zero’s, namely – loosely speaking – a zero for the begin of a count (in particular they counted days) and a zero for denoting that a timespan doesn’t count – an article on this can be found in this issue of Spektrum der Wissenschaft.

Somewhat interesting is the reverse thing i.e. to speak of language in mathematical terms. E.g. there exist a mathematical structure called “category” (which is defined in the Wikipedia link). Let us assume we have

-a collection of objects, namely sets of words (call them for simplicity languages).
-in addition for any pair language1 and language2 one has a bunch of translators (in mathematical terms a set of morphisms) who translate e.g. language1 into language2
Let us depict this translation with an arrow in the following way:

language1 —translator—> language2

the language and the translators come together with a “repeater” (mathematically an identity morphism), i.e. someone who just translates the same language into the same language and a “composite” that is a translator who replaces two translators, i.e. if fj is a translator from french to japanese and je is a translator from japanese to english (we assume that the two translators can only translate in one direction) then fe would be a composite for fj and je, i.e. someone who does the same job as fj and fe one after the other, namely to translate from french to japanese.

So again one could depict this as:

japanese —je—> english

Now this example is a category if and only if the following is true:

1.)(mathematics: “left and right unit law”): first translate and then repeat is the same as first repeat and then translate is the same as just translate

2.)(mathematics: “associative law”) associativity holds.


If the red and the green arrows are the same then “associativity holds” or in other words a translation from english to french would give the same result if we first translate english into german and then translate german into french or if we first translate english into japanese and then to french. If this is true we have an example of a category. If not (as it is usually the case for languages) then not.