Showing posts from December, 2007

Digital Picture Frames

Frames? Digital Pictures!

They really ought to be called something like, "Digital Display Frame" since the "frame" isn't really digital, is it? It's the picture that's digital. But I think it's an example of how language is a practical medium and changes according to the whims of those who use it, rather than the direction of any sort of authority. "Frame" is being used to refer to the entire mechanism, which in this case includes the picture.

Although they seem to be a little pricey right now ($79-4x6"), it's an exciting development for people like me who find printing to be a completely different medium than the digital, computer one. Of course, they've had these sorts of things in Star Wars for some time now. But apparently science fiction is not the same as reality.

Whole new digital communities are already appearing -- and disappearing

On the opposing side of things: isn't a digital picture frame just a low qualit…

Lookin' Great in Two Thousand and Eight

It's amazing how those two words, "Great" and "Eight" with such very different spellings can actually rhyme. And that's the way it often is with webpage designs; it's amazing what looks good together once you actually try it.

The Silent Star Award

Sometimes you have to see an example before you get inspired. For my current Fractal Beanstalk redesign (which may have changed, yet again, if you're reading this from the archives a year from now) of white page with grey sidebars and black strip across the top, I was inspired by a Wordpress template called, unsleepable designed by Ben Gray.

I didn't use the actual template but just took the general design and color scheme. Yes, black, white and gray is a color scheme. I'd been of somewhat half a mind to do something with my old design which was all black with white text. It was great for images (the black page background), but the text being white "ink" on black "paper" neve…

You think Nuclear Weapons are easy to make?

No way. Think again, brainiac.

Or go check out the articles in the Wikipedia regarding Nuclear Weapons. The hard part seems to be getting the fuel. You need Uranium or Plutonium, even if you want to make a Hydrogen bomb, but it's got to be a special type -- and lots of it.

I think because there are so many nuclear weapons in the world that people think they're easy to make. Also, since the principles behind them are relatively simple (nuclear physics is simple, right?) and easily available, it's reasonable to assume that anyone, who wants to, can make an "atomic bomb".

It's not as easy as you think it is

Enriching Uranium requires the concentration (isolation, separation) of the Uranium isotope, 235. This is difficult. "Difficult" means expensive in engineering or scientific circles.

Plutonium (239) isn't even a naturally occuring element and has to be created from Uranium 238 (stable and useless) in a nuclear reactor. Unfortunately it explode…


Inkblot Kaos Parameter File

Getting through the winter seems to be so complicated and expensive for us humans. On the other hand, in the tropics houses are simple. All you really need is a roof that keeps the rain out, screens on the windows (or a mosquito net to sleep under), four walls and a floor.

Winter is the reason that human civilization has primarily stayed in places where nothing ever freezes. Winter is an enormous economic drain.

Which makes me wonder how all these animals up here manage to make it through the winter without ever paying a cent for oil, gas or electricity to heat their homes and yet keep living and carrying on just fine without all the complexities that humans seem to require.

The secret is going underground ...and falling into a stupor ...waking up every few weeks ...seeing if it's over ...falling back into a stupor ...again ...again ...unless something eats you.

Take the Mongolian Gerbil of South Central Siberia, for instance. Don't be fooled by t…

When Art is Useful

Inkblot Kaos Parameter File

From time to time I become curious about something and I start reading about it. A month ago it was hibernation, and in particular, the winter homes of animals. Lately it's been nuclear reactors.

This sort of informal, casual study of things I've found to be similar to assembling a puzzle, or catching glimpses of something in the dark, or to guessing what's in a bag by putting your hand in and feeling it without looking. It's a process of sorting and assembling major (essential) and minor (detail) pieces of information.

Unless you're a serious student following a formal course of study at a school, most of us learn about new things in this sort of way: a process of discovery and tentative conclusions (eg. "breeder reactors are the way of the future; why don't we all use them?"). It's a natural way of learning, I think, but not necessarily the most efficient; a formal course might not be as interesting but will bring yo…

Desert Roads and Mountain Lakes

Desert Roads

Back several month ago, I posted about a program called Fyre. As is often the case with new programs and new forms of algorithmic art, I quickly reached what I thought were its creative limits.

A recent comment on my blog asking for information on how the images from Fyre are made, re-kindled (ha, ha...) my interest in the program. I went looking for the Fyre website to see if it had the information needed (I avoid trying to explain mathematical processes). While there, I visited the official Fyre gallery on Flickr where I saw some very interesting images and asked myself, "How come I couldn't make stuff like that?".

One of the extremely smart and super-convenient aspects to Fyre is the incorporation of a parameter "file" in the meta information (hidden notes) of the images it saves. Open up any image saved from Fyre and you can rework it just as you can with the autosaved parameter files from some fractal programs (Inkblot Kaos, Tierazon...).

So I…

Test-Tube Art

Inkblot Kaos parameter file

Back to fractals. I think I did something to the other machine. It's leaking oil, or something. I smell something "electrical", too.

My seven year-old daughter was recently invited to a birthday party. While we were looking around in the Barbie Doll aisle of a department store for a suitable present, me and my nine year-old son came across a misplaced item --TEST-TUBE ALIENS.

I can't imagine who would put down a kit for "making" aliens in a test-tube and choose a Barbie doll instead because my daughter soon shared our interest in this hand-held Easy Bake oven for mutants. Some poor girl must have gotten a Barbie doll after her mother intervened and told her she'd probably have a lot more fun with a glamour pageant Barbie doll than the TEST-TUBE ALIENS that she picked up on the other aisle (where all the exciting, boy's stuff is).

My interest in the TEST-TUBE ALIENS subsided somewhat after reading on the back that there w…