Thursday, March 28, 2013

Technophobic Anti-Invisible Camouflage

aka Frankenpines

just some technoflora
Dillon Marsh - Invasive Species
In 1996 a palm tree appeared almost overnight in a suburb of Cape Town. This was supposedly the world's first ever disguised cell phone tower. Since then these trees have spread across the city, South Africa and the rest of the world. Invasive Species explores the relationship between the environment and the disguised towers of Cape Town and its surrounds. [source]
"The funny thing about camouflage is that, if done poorly, it actually draws attention to what one is trying to hide."
Cellphone Towers Disguised as Trees Are a Puzzling Attempt at Aesthetics, Pete Brook - 03.2013


Assimilation, Dillon Marsh
In the vast barren landscapes of the southern Kalahari, Sociable Weaver Birds assume ownership of the telephone poles that cut across their habitat.Their burgeoning nests are at once inertly statuesque and teeming with life. The twigs and grass collected to build these nests combine to give strangely recognisable personalities to the otherwise inanimate poles. [source]

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Macro Image Series and the Dematerialization of Artifact

The artifact dematerializes from the discrete physical object to the veritably infinite and fuzzy-formed set of memetic iterations.

On the Artifact:
Herein, “artifact” refers to the leftover, the by-product of some human activity. We might call that activity “the creation of art”, but we may as well not, and call it instead the worshipping of a god, or the solving of a problem, or the contemplation of an essence. The artifact herein is a discrete object, which means there is only one that is consensually recognized by most observers, and any re-interpretation or reproduction is measured against a standard, or the ‘original’. (The reproductions will not be considered artifacts, only the original.)

Starry Night, in this case, is a physical painting, and there is only one. “Starry Night” (the idea of Starry Night), on the other hand, can exist in a re-interpreted or reproduced form, either physical or non-physical – existing, for example, in the mind of the viewer who interprets it. Regardless, whatever its permutation, “Starry Night” still comes from or is measured against a zero-point, that being the discrete artifact of Starry Night, which was created by a specific person at a specific time and location (with all the specific socio-cultural parameters they indicate).

A macro image series (MIS) is not discrete. She Knows* is a set of iterations, and when trying to trace “She Knows” back to its origin, one is confounded. There is no single creator, and no specific time or place at which it was created. The nature of a meme-set (shorthand, here, for MIS) is that it is collectively created. Reciprocally, She Knows and “She Knows” are one and the same. So, not only does a macro image series not have an origin in the material world, per se, but it never really comes into a physical existence at any point**. In trying to pin-down its essence, one is confronted with myriad false kernels, a shell game where the eignemother we seek is hidden under both all and none of the shells.

*She Knows is not a Macro Image Series proper, because it usually doesn’t have an embedded caption, but is rather an internet-meme of the family Rage Comic. Both a Macro Image Series and a Rage Comic are internet memes, but the former just sounds better. Further down the taxonomic highway, all internet memes can be more appropriately classed as meme-sets, distinguished as such by their predominant mode of transmission being the internet.

**MIS are not meant to be printed our or even stored electronically – as evidenced by the extreme difficulty one would face in attempting to find a specific instance of a meme (such as Philosoraptor’s “if money is the root of all evil, why do they ask for it in church”), although the difficulty in finding it may be more of indexing habits/search algorithms. They are never meant to be fixed; they are meant to be absorbed by the viewer, modified and passed-on, all within the technologically-mediated environment of the internet (as opposed to the passing-on of cave painting via the very high-entropy system  of the cave ritual).

There is no finalized, formalized version of an MIS. Instead, any example of She Knows is an iteration – a modified copy that has no single source, and one that does not represent the meme-set in its entirety. When speaking of artifacts as discrete objects, the MIS is confusing.

On Consciousness:
Perhaps it is best to avoid altogether use of the word consciousness within a spectrum of kinds of consciousness. In this presentation, “consciousness” refers to an autonomy residing in an individual, and could otherwise be called the ‘self’ or the subjective consciousness. Unconscious, then, means there is no autonomy (no ‘self’). The artist does not operate under its own control. Something else (genetic programming, a deity, a collective unconscious) does the art-making through the artist. Quasi-conscious simply functions to make explicit the attempt to avoid the label of consciousness proper. Meta-conscious simply demarcates the shift beyond the unconscious.

Maybe the Egyptians and the Greeks were conscious, maybe they weren’t. But when Velazquez paints himself in his own painting, Las Meninas is definitely an example of a conscious act emanating from the individual entity performing the act. This certainly yields the term “meta-conscious”. By the time we get to the MIS, despite it’s correlative to any Folk Art that came before it*, we have reached co-creation – a kind of collaborative consciousness, or collectivized consciousness. [disambiguate: collective unconscious.]

*Folk Art is very similar to the MIS, except that it is iterative only by the defaults set in its physical transmission and not necessarily by the agents of the transmission themselves. “Folk Art” seems to only exist within a culture that doesn’t have the means to reproduce its artifacts with high fidelity. (Early Hip-Hop, for example, isn’t usually considered a folk art, though it would surely fit most of the criteria). Folk-Artists aren’t necessarily trying to change the form of the piece, or, at least, it is unverifiable because they couldn’t not  change a piece that by its transmission brings with it enough changes (mutations, perhaps) to make attempts at fidelity futile. MIS-makers, on the other hand, are very consciously trying to change the MIS; it’s inherent; it must change, by its definition.

On Platforms:
The word “platform” can be thought of as an information system, and the two in question are mimetics* and memetics [link to disambiguation]. Mimetics is based on the transmission of information by mimicry, and it is ultimately the body that does the mimicking (even in the sense of somatic simulation emotional theory, see Damasio). Thoughts are involved, and perhaps can be said to have the supremacy, but in the end, the origin and terminus must exist in the material world.

Abstract Art marks an inflection point between the two platforms. Most [European] art prior to ~1900 uses people to communicate ideas (e.g. reference to people, not people in themselves, that’s obvious). Meta-physical things, like Religion, were still expressed using stories that figured anthropomorphic characters. Anytime [a reference to] a human body is used to convey information, we have mimetic transmission. When there is no body, there is no mimetics.

The appearance of artists painting themselves in their own work, and even of still-life paintings (in the case of Vanitas substituting for the body as the main character), point to a shift away from the body. Black Square, or simply non-representational art as a whole, marks the deactivation of the mimetic process, the ‘human-copying’ process, and the activation of the memetic process, or ‘idea-copying’ process. Also note the coincidence of (take a deep breath here) post-human, non-human information-copying systems (i.e., computers) in relation to the platform shift.

*the terms are very easily confused because meme- is a conflation of “mime-“ and “gene”. Also, note that mimesis is the more accepted term; mimetics is used instead to purposely emphasize the difference between the two (which, in this case, is only one letter).

This is an Image Macro Series.
If you run a search for “image macro series” in order to find an explicit definition, it doesn’t really work.
It is referred to, but rarely defined.
More importantly, if you try to search for the prime example of a particular series, you will fail.

Note that these different pictures here, they are called ‘iterations’ of the She Knows meme - not ‘reproductions’ - because they are not identical to eachother. Some of them have text added, some don’t…some of them are very much like the “original”, some of them are actually a completely different series altogether [trollface] (which may just be a side-effect of the search algorithm). 

But it’s ok, we all know what it is. [assuming an audience of ‘millenials’]
It is the meme.
And it kind of only exists in your mind (if we can say that anything really exists in a mind).
After all, it leaves behind no physical artifact, and it does not originate with a physical thing either.
It lives out its entire existence in the virtual world, the non-physical, dematerialized world of the internet.

[define MACRO]
a chunk of a programming code that allows someone to embed in a webpage or a thread this image that has embedded in it  some text.
Notice the double-talk already, the text is embedded in the image, and the whole thing – the “macro” – is embedded in a webpage via the programming code. 

This is Starry Night.
But not really. What you are actually looking at, right now,
is a projected image, of patterns of pixilated light,
from a digital picture file, a jpg
which comes from a photographic reproduction
of a painting - a REAL painting -
Hanging somewhere, accumulating value.
(But not really, actually, because it’s priceless.)

And this is Starry Night, also.
But now where is it, really?
It’s in this room, projected onto this wall, or onto your computer screen at home.
It’s in all these places now. And so what does that say about the artifact?

Is this the artifact of Starry Night? Are reproductions also artifacts? What about digitally mediated reproductions like these here from this search result? We don’t usually call these artifacts because they aren’t physically embodied – they’re on the internet, they’re virtual, dematerialized.

What about that feeling that you get when you look at it, or the idea in your head after you’ve walked away;
Is it any different when you see this Starry Night vs. the real artifact?
And if not, what’s the difference between the two?

And a note here on the difference between reproductions and iterations. You see here that all the Starry Nights are not that much different from the original.
They’re kind of like secondary artifacts.
But remember the memes (like She Knows or Philosoraptor) – there is no “original” and so there can be no “reproduction”, (and this makes us question their status as artifacts).

[introduce woman from willendorf]
We don’t really know what the heck they were doing, to be honest.
This art was from so long ago, and made by a people so different from us, that we just don't know...
Channeling Spirits?
Talking to the Gods, asking them for help?
Performing Rituals for Fertility or Hunting?

What we can guess, is that not only are these people not aware that they’re making the artifact, they’re not even aware that they’re making art. What we are calling art, to them was something much more important.

Granted there is evidence that prehistoric peoples made objects for the specific purpose of looking beautiful as a means to impress others, or to impress their gods, it seems that most of the artifacts they left behind were not made for their own purpose – just to make some cool thing – but they were part of a much greater activity.

Usually, or from what we guess, the artifact is just discarded. Once the activity – the ritual – is over, we don’t need the art-object anymore.

Same thing here; the art-object is discarded basically as soon as it has been created.
The Art is only a by-product of the ritual, like a form of worship, and so after the ritual, the artifact is gone.
Once it’s served its purpose, it’s discarded; there is no record.

In this case, the leftovers remain.
That’s what an artifact is.
What we call Art today, was not meant to be looked at, it was meant to be used. [note: dreaming in temples]

Just as the Greek temples were not mere structures to house an activity, but an enchanted place, these sculptures were not mere stone; they were the embodied spirit of the god they represented,
And as such, no mere mortal was allowed to create them, and in some theories, the artist-creator was thought to be in a trancelike state, possessed by either the god they were recreating, or by some art-god, but it was not created by the actual person [the Code of Hammurabi was actually written by Marduk, Hammurabi's hallucintory god-voice].
So, if that’s the case, are they really conscious of what they’re doing?
[also note]
There is a disconnect here, perhaps, between the ‘performer’ of a ritual who creates an artifact as a byproduct,
And the ‘creator’ of the artifact, which is then used in some later ritual performance.
[African masks?]

The Art tells a story, a spiritual story, about gods and godly creatures and godly ways…
Note that the art is no longer discarded, it is used; and in this case it is used to tell you a story.
(Note also, the majority of the world’s population is still illiterate at this time, hence the need for picture-stories).
Overall, this art is not meant to be looked at and admired for its beauty – you might admire it, and a person from this time period might have admired it, but its main purpose was to tell a story, to communicate some spiritual idea.

Everything changes. Perhaps the printing press, perhaps literacy, perhaps we have fully come out of the Dark Ages.
Regardless of the reason, at this point, everything changes. Most importantly, Science supersedes Religion.
These are now images of the real world, as it looked from the specific visual organ of the human (not from a spiritual-metaphorical sixth sense).
The artifact is now a visually-codified interpretation of reality.
But wasn’t it real before? No. Religious stories, mythologies, etc., did not ever really happen. They are stories that were told by thousands of people over hundreds of years and jumbled together. They never really happened in the way that we, today, would say that a thing happened.
(There were no ‘eyewitnesses’ for example, and there is no physical evidence of religious/mythological stories).
Virgin Mary, the Minotaur, some Egyptian snake-headed god-creature – they’re all made-up, so even if they look real, they are still a picture of an unreal thing.
Michelangelo’s pictures look realistic, but the people in them are not real.
These things, however, are documented.
And, for some reason, we all seem to agree that means they really happened.

And now, finally, the idea of consciousness becomes paramount.
These guys are so conscious of their art, they’re making art – about making art! (That’s what we can call “recursive”, or “meta-”, or “artception”.
[…MCEshcer’s Drawing Hands is a great example of recursive-like stuff, so is the recipe for sourdough bread…]

Cavemen were not conscious of their artifact-making.
Were the Greeks or the Egyptians conscious that they were making artifacts? Perhaps, perhaps not.
Michelangelo? Probably yes.
But for sure, these artists are conscious or their art-making. We know because we have evidence – they were painting themselves in their own paintings!
So it’s indisputable at this point: We are conscious.

In the 20th century, during decimation and disruption of the World Wars, and by the concentration of global power that proceeded, strange, strange, things began to happen, and so, new forms of thinking were required, and thus new kinds of art.

Let’s take a step back, to where we came from.
Where are these artifacts coming from?
Is the artist engaged in a spiritual ritual, and these are the by-products? Perhaps.
What are these artifacts used for after they are created? To tell stories?
Sort of: “this is how you should live your life, this is how you should deal with your problems”
But there are no characters in these stories; the people in the paintings, if there are any, are not the main characters anymore.
Instead, they are about storytelling itself – about perception and decision-making.
They are not pictures of other people doing things that we should mimic, they are pictures of ways of mimicking ways of being.

Eventually, all reference is gone. Definitely no more people, no more documentation of real events – in fact, nothing at all.

Art no longer attaches outside meaning to its visual interpretations of reality.
The picture has no connection to the outside world.
What it represents now is nothing we know from the world outside of us, around us.

If you want, you can call this ‘the dematerialization of reference’

The artist is conscious of the creation of an artifact as a result of the artist’s performance.
The cave dwellers were surely not conscious of their activity in the same regard as Jackson Pollack; Pollack is very aware that he is making art by dripping paint.

The art is supposed to be like a real thing to the viewer.
In a way, it is an imaginary thing that has manifest itself in the environment of the viewer.
Because Abstract Art got rid of the need to reference the visual world, artists can now have the reference come from anywhere, and in this case, the reference its making; is to the art itself. It’s not a picture of a thing, it is the thing.

In the case of installation art, it can be seen as the art creating itself – if the art were a real thing, it would be a thing in mid-creation and one that is thus “creating itself” (hence ‘artifact-making artifact’).
It also kind-of offsets the creative rights from the artist to the object itself, which is interesting as we approach a time where the who is becoming less important.
(Remember: who creates memes?)

Street Art is happening in parallel to installation art.
In this case, the art is now fully embedded in its environment (which is not a museum, by the way); it is inextricably meshed with its surroundings, and by that extension, it becomes the real world. So again, the art does not refer to anything, it is the thing.

(Perhaps this is a retaliation against the dematerialization of artifact; the photograph of some Street Art piece is cool, but it’s a lot cooler to actually come across this in your own town, to see the real thing)

Let’s talk about transience and ephemerality.
Goldsworthy’s work doesn’t last long, so he takes pictures.

Imagine you are walking through the woods, or some desolate place, and you come across one of these, and a part of you, maybe a big part of you, wants to believe that it was Nature herself who created this beauty. There is no evidence of the artist, none whatsoever. So is it an “artifact”? Is it artificial? Or is it natural, made by nature, and not by man? (There is no evidence of the hand of the artist; he literally uses his own spit to freeze together icicles that were created by Nature herself.)

The art is in that experience, that feeling of being fooled, or of letting yourself fool yourself.

But we ask again, where is the art, physically?
Is it in the thing?
Or is it in the picture of the thing?
Does Goldsworth really get to the bottom of this, showing us that the art, the experience of the art, and the artifact, are not the same thing, that we must see them as separate?

If you wanted to reproduce his work, do you take a picture, or do you have to go and make one yourself, and put it out there in the woods for someone else to see. And if nobody sees your artifact before it disappears, did the “art” ever exist? [if a bear shits in the woods…]

[for those who don’t know, Mr.Z. is a high school substitute teacher/artist who draws on the dry erase boards all over the school]

The thing is done in dry erase markers…(regarding transience and ephemerality), enough said.
Where is the artifact? Surely we can take pictures of Mr. Z’s work. When a work is no longer there, do the photographic reproductions then become the primary artifacts?
Did photography cause the dematerialization of the artifact? Perhaps.
But when we go to value one of his dry-erase masterpieces, do we assign it more worth just because it’s so delicate, just because someone can rub their elbow on it and destroy the whole thing? Is it more important to us because it is so close to being wiped into non-existence?
Or, because it then barely exists in the first place?

Question: If the artifact has been dematerialized, then where is it?

Yes, it is in our minds, the place where all non-physical things first become real.

And meme-combinations such as this, art is more akin to the anonymous cave-painter, in a way unconscious (but really collectively-conscious, which is like individual-unconscious).

[note: this presentation was intended for delivery to a high school philosophy class on the subject of ideology.]

In conclusion, a final thought:
Art is not just an ideology; it is a lens through which we can see the ideologies themselves; it is a thing that makes the invisible world visible to us.
Art leaves behind evidence of our activities, and from this we interpret the essence of the human condition at the time of its creation.
As the artifact dematerializes; as the content of the imagery loses direct visual reference; as the artist goes from being a god-spirit, a muse, an unconscious artist, to a very meta-conscious art-maker, to a point when there are many artists co-creating the art; we can at least say one thing – the human condition, and thus its ideologies, change over time.
And in the end, it is you, either individually, or collectively, that dictate where it goes and what it will become.

[enjoyable reference]
Julian Jaynes’s Software Archeology

[random post script/news]
Additive manufacturing as a possible solution to fight destruction of the cultural record, 2015 Oct

Archaeological concepts such as the real, virtual, and authentic are becoming increasingly unstable as a consequence of archaeological artefacts and assemblages being digitalised, reiterated, extended and distributed through time and space as 3D printable entities. A paper recently published in Open Archaeology argues that additive manufacturing technologies, known commonly as 3D printing, have the potential to redefine the nature of archaeological entities in the digital.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Our Blue Marble

Kazimir Malevich's Black Square 1915
An example of Abstract Art, specifically from the Suprematism movement. It can easily be called the most extreme example of artistic abstraction.

Recently, I was trying to convey the meaning, or at least the relevance of the Black Square to my high school art students. Most people don't understand abstract art, and that's part of what it is,if you want to see it that way - another esoteric tool used by the elite to alienate a people from their own culture. But I like to see art, any art, as simply a reflection of a time and of the mind of a people at a particular time in history. Art is a kind of coping mechanism for society; the society as a whole will call a thing Art if it serves that purpose - to help us to cope with a world we do not understand. Needless to say, as anyone who would try to explain abstract art to group of high school students in a single 45-minute presentation, I was successful only in getting them upset enough to debate with me for 45 mintutes about the ridiculousness of the Black Square.

The Blue Marble is a famous photograph of the Earth, taken on December 7, 1972, by the crew of the Apollo 17 spacecraft. The photograph was taken about 5 hours and 6 minutes after launch of the Apollo 17 mission. To the astronauts, Earth had the appearance and size of a glass marble, hence the name.

The Apollo 17 image, however, released during a surge in environmental activism during the 1970s, was acclaimed by the wide public as a depiction of Earth's frailty, vulnerability, and isolation amid the vast expanse of space. NASA archivist Mike Gentry has speculated that The Blue Marble is the most widely distributed image in human history. [link]

Later that night, I thought to myself about the Blue Marble, or rather what I call the Blue Marble Syndrome. I was born in 1980, and so for me, I never lived in a world where man had -not- been to outerspace. This achievement had already taken place well before I was born, and so it never hit me; it was always there. From what I understand through reading history, this image changed not only the lives of the countless individuals who saw it for the first time, but it changed the consciousness of an entire society (as mentioned in the caption above). And I made the parallel - my students couldn't feel the true impact, the true relevance of the Black Square, because they weren't around for its inception.

The next day, I tried explaining this to them. No use. (Back to the more concrete and perhaps practical exercise of distinguishing the difference between representationality and non-representationality in visually-informed art).

And then it happened. Granted, I had been following Curiosity. I stayed up that night like a little kid in utter amazement, but almost a bit moreso at the fact that the entire world was watching along with me, all of us, with the entire crew at NASA, in real time (and at the implications of that superimposed on the idea of the timelag between here and Mars) feeling the same every bit of anxiety, both the good kind and the bad kind, as everyone else. It landed, and it was over. Some months later, I was scrolling through some feeds, and I came across this picture (below), and it stopped me dead in my tracks, and I literally could not take my eyes off of it for a good five minutes; in a very real way, it transported me to another world (superimposed on the fact that it -is- another world I'm looking at) and it took away from me, for those moments, my own thoughts.

I still can't get over it. Neither the image, nor its implications, nor the experience it forced upon me.

Curiosity Self Portrait on Mars February 2013 Image Credit:NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
Taken in the Yellowknife Bay region of Mars' Gale Crater, the panoramic image was stitched together by NASA from a series of 130 images created in the first week of February by the rover's 34-millimeter Mast camera and Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI). [The MAHLI frames used to create Curiosity's self-portrait exclude sections that show the arm itself and so MAHLI and the robotic arm are not seen.] 

As I'm sure any student of history and art and culture is wont to do, I have spent many daydream-hours lamenting over why I am alive now and not then. Why couldn't I hear Jimi Hendrix turn his guitar into a human-robot voice. Why couldn't I hear Neil Armstrong speak to us from a place that is not Earth. And why couldn't I see that picture of my own planet and feel the same sense of fragility, of isolation, and all the myriad emotions and thoughts that came with it.

It's not that I will no longer lament over being alive today and not yesterday. But I have certainly found comfort in this: Everyone of us, eventually, will be given our own Blue Marble.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Louis Wain and the Evolution of Schizophrenia

the ontological evolution of schizophrenia

He was real good at drawing cats.
He developed mental illness later in life.
That's when he became real good at drawing schizophrenia.

see the parallels to 'visionary art' created by DMT-induced Alex Grey:

There is a continuum of personality characteristics and experiences ranging from normal dissociative, imaginative states to more extreme states related to psychosis and in particular, schizophrenia.

"There is no try; only do or do not." Or not.

Highly Empathic Modified African Honeybees

excerpt from Accelerando, by Charles Stross, 2005

Micro-Meteorites, Lucien Rudaux(?)
(micro-meteorites can be collected from your drainpipe  using a magnet, btw)

The pre-election campaign takes approximately three minutes and consumes more bandwidth than the sum of all terrestrial communication channels from prehistory to 2008. Approximately 6 million ghosts of Amber individually tailored to fit the profile of the targeted audience fork across the dark fiber network underpinning of the lily-pad colonies, then out through ultrawideband mesh networks, instantiated in implants and dust motes to buttonhole the voters. Many of them fail to reach their audience, and many more had fruitless discussions, about six actually decide they’ve diverged so far from their original that they constitute separate people and register for independent citizenship, two defect to the other side and one elopes with a swarm of highly empathic modified African honeybees. (p393)

Thought Gravity

Amazon Patents Gravity-Based Links to Pull You In
Roberto Baldwin 03.01.13, Wired

Amazon has patented a system that pulls the pointer toward a link or button, just the thing to help you click links — and buy products associated with those links.

If you’ve ever hit the wrong button or link on a touchscreen, you know the frustration of tapping repeatedly and still missing the link or button. Amazon’s Gravity-Based Link Assist patent fixes that by creating a gravitational field of sorts around linkable objects that pull the pointer toward tiny links and buttons.
Amazon’s Gravity-Based Link Assist patent

the illusion of control

Leaving the thread to 'prediction analytics in human dynamics' for another day (Barabasi's Bursts),

It's become so easy to imagine things like this within the neural interface, reducing our own cognitive power necessary to achieve accuracy. Today we blame google for making us forgetful of facts. But Tomorrow...

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Racter: Writing Robots

The Policeman's Beard Is Half-Constructed (1984)
"With the exception of this introduction, the writing in this book was all done by a computer, in 1984."



At all events my own essays and dissertations about love
and its endless pain and perpetual pleasure will be
known and understood by all of you who read this and
talk or sing or chant about it to your worried friends
or nervous enemies. Love is the question and the subject
of this essay. We will commence with a question:
does steak love lettuce? This question is implacably
hard and inevitably difficult to answer. Here is
a question: does an electron love a proton,
or does it love a neutron? Here is a question: does
a man love a woman or, to be specific and to be
precise, does Bill love Diane? The interesting
and critical response to this question is: no! He
is obsessed and infatuated with her. He is loony
and crazy about her. That is not the love of
steak and lettuce, of electron and proton and
neutron. This dissertation will show that the
love of a man and a woman is not the love of
steak and lettuce. Love is interesting to me
and fascinating to you but it is painful to
Bill and Diane. That is love!

found in
"This explains everything", Charlie Stross, February 5, 2013

Wegman reading two books

see other robot-written treasures:
Verified Facts
The most greatest website ever for conspiracy theories, created by robots, for robots.

Communications From Elsewhere
"The essay you have just seen is completely meaningless and was randomly generated by the Postmodernism Generator."

Post Script
Robot writes LA Times earthquake breaking news article
18 March 2014, BBC

Seeker to Uploader Ratios and Botsites

Sandra -psychosandra- Holmbom

It's tough sometimes to transpose tabs for the uke, believe it or not the majority of uke tabs for certain tunes are software-generated and often wrong. Something about the different ratios of uke-playing uploaders to uke-learning tab-seekers.

Is it because advertisers are more likely to generate botsites for services with higher seeker-to-uploader ratios?

I play the guitar. I also play the ukulele. I don't have much of an idea what I'm doing when I'm trying to figure out how to play a song that I like, as I've always been able to reference a guitar magazine, or because I've always tried to play pretty easy songs with simple chords.

Nowadays, I like to play the uke, and I like to play 7th chords, 9th chords, etc. When I want to learn a song on my uke, I look for online tabs, as I'm sure everyone does. In so doing, I've found that, for certain kinds of songs - typically older songs, like prior to the rise in popularity of the uke (~2010's) - the tabs that can be sourced-up are way off, if not totally wrong. What I usually end up doing, is to look for guitar tabs, and transpose them (which isn't very easy for someone like myself who never really learned music properly). Luckily, I learned some basic music theory in my initial years of guitar playing, and it's been relatively easy to augment that learning, at least enough to meet my needs of detecting the accuracy of my own transpositions.

*The ukulele, though it is a stringed instrument and it looks exactly like a small guitar, requires a different tablature than guitar. The strings are GCEA, not EADGBE, which makes the fingerings of the chords completely different.

Ukulele Makers, fiddle and uke playing robot

There's something about the guitar that makes it easy to seem like you know what you're doing, even if you don't. And the same goes for the uke, even moreso (simply because it has less strings). The uke rose to popularity only recently, and therefore after the rise of the internet and the death of hard-won knowledge (if I had the internet of today when I was learning guitar twenty years ago, I would never have tried to figure out songs by myself, and I would have understood much less of music theory because of it.) Players learning the uke today (and looking for or potentially uploading tabs), then would be less likely to have to learn as much to get by as a guitar-player of twenty years ago.

So the ukulele is somewhat easier to play due to both it's lesser number of strings, but also because of the means with which to learn new songs on it (which expands playing-availability to a wider audience of non-musically-trained players).

Finally, the guitar is a more widespread instrument than the uke, which brings with it more players who might know what they're doing, and tabulate and upload songs for others to learn from.

I speculate that these things make it less likely that a uke-player would be as equipped to decode songs as compared to a guitar player, and that this leads to less songs being tabulated and uploaded. Pound-for-pound, the numbers would be way off, but taken as a ratio of (real) uploaders to people searching for uploads, the uke ratio must look way different than that of the guitar. Also, for some reason, I say that a guitar player would be less likely to run a simple search rather than going to a trusted source (due to being more of a professional player? serious speculation here based on loose ideas of the comparative profiles of guitar-vs-uke players, I understand).

Mike and Jarvis' reggae-playing Ukulego robots 

Overall, when looking at the cyber-uke-sphere, it just smells like fertile soil for a place like a tab-generating robot to entice hapless players.

And though I may not know music very well, and I don't know how to actually program a robot, it can't be that hard to make a botsite that restates your search via a songtitle-corrector, a lyric-matcher, and a cache of chord names and respective key groupings.

It's just too bad they can't figure out how to actually decode the songs for us instead of just pretending to do it.

One day, Leonard B. Meyers will be proud...
Music, the Arts and Ideas, Leonard B. Meyers, 1967: Music as a Learned Probability System

Sandra -psychosandra- Holmbom

...something else about the chronologically stipulated evolution of the instruments respective to that of the internet...kind of like what happened to the ampersand in English vs. French, but not really.

Technologically-mediated cultural artifacts of both the ampersand and tab-generator software, see below.
The Ampersand
October 2012

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Nanoplasmonic Biosensors

that is all...


The software program who publishes papers in mathematics journals
Annalee Newitz, 1 Mar 2013, io9

Over at the Simons Foundation, Natalie Wolchover has a terrific article about how computer programs are slowly becoming part of math departments — sometimes even as colleagues. ...

what do you write? -Graffiti

Is this the first time a headline refers to software as a person in this way?

The Anthropic Stupidity Hypothesis

By Charlie Stross
January 26, 2013

useless subtitles

To the question, "Why is the human species only as intelligent as it is, and not more so?", Charlie Stross answers, tl;dr:

...we only need to be smart enough to understand and use the cognitive tools created by our most intelligent outliers.


And it is because of language, the non-physical transmission of information, super-genetic.

"The evolutionary pressure selecting for general intelligence (to the extent that general intelligence exists) breaks once a species develops language."

"And a logical corollary of this hypothesis is that we are only just smart enough, on average, to be capable of horizontal transfer of memes. Once language and culture arrived (note specialized usage of term 'culture'), we didn't need to get any smarter: we could "borrow" from one another. Therefore we're only just smart enough to do this."

-Charlie's Anthropic Stupidity Hypothesis

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Hand that Feels


A sensational breakthrough: the first bionic hand that can feel
Steve Connor, Boston, 17 Feb 2013
via: George Dvorsky, io9

The first bionic hand that allows an amputee to feel what they are touching will be transplanted later this year in a pioneering operation that could introduce a new generation of artificial limbs with sensory perception.

The wiring of his new bionic hand will be connected to the patient’s nervous system [via the median and the ulnar nerves] with the hope that the man will be able to control the movements of the hand as well as receiving touch signals from the hand’s skin sensors. [...]

It will effectively provide a fast, bidirectional flow of information between the man’s nervous system and the prosthetic hand.

...Another problem is how to conceal the wiring under the patient’s skin to make them less obtrusive. The electrodes of the prototype hand to be fitted later this year will be inserted through the skin rather than underneath it but there are plans under development to place the wiring subcutaneously, Dr Micera said.
-Silvestro Micera of the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland


Vector-state the meatspace, and self-replicate


"Ghost in the shell 1989 - all I have to say on this matter."
-the internet

Bridging sensory gap between artificial and real skin, Dec 2014

team has developed a skin that can stretch over the entire prosthesis; and its applications aren't just limited to pressure. It's embedded with ultrathin, single crystalline silicone nanoribbon, which enables an array of sensors." Alongside pressure arrays, she said, were temperature arrays and associated humidity sensors, strain sensors, electroresistive heaters and stretchable multi-electrode arrays for nerve stimulation. Talbot said that while stretchable sensing materials have been under development for a while, this is "the most sensitive material yet, with as many as 400 sensors per square millimeter." An accompanying caption in MIT Technology Review showed an electronics-laden glove made up of layers of materials with stretchable gold and silicon sensors.

Stretchable silicon nanoribbon electronics for skin prosthesis, Nature Communications 5, Article number: 5747,

Sensory receptors in human skin transmit a wealth of tactile and thermal signals from external environments to the brain. Despite advances in our understanding of mechano- and thermosensation, replication of these unique sensory characteristics in artificial skin and prosthetics remains challenging. Recent efforts to develop smart prosthetics, which exploit rigid and/or semi-flexible pressure, strain and temperature sensors, provide promising routes for sensor-laden bionic systems, but with limited stretchability, detection range and spatio-temporal resolution. Here we demonstrate smart prosthetic skin instrumented with ultrathin, single crystalline silicon nanoribbon strain, pressure and temperature sensor arrays as well as associated humidity sensors, electroresistive heaters and stretchable multi-electrode arrays for nerve stimulation. This collection of stretchable sensors and actuators facilitate highly localized mechanical and thermal skin-like perception in response to external stimuli, thus providing unique opportunities for emerging classes of prostheses and peripheral nervous system interface technologies.

The Robot 'Shadow' Hand, Dec 2014

advanced human–machine interaction to transfer the human sense of touch to space. ... incorporates a force-feedback sense of touch and pressure to allow high-precision, high-manipulability gripping, with the robot hand reproducing the motion of its human operator.

Robotic Hand Wired Directly into Brain
The Guardian, Sep 2015

A new advanced robotic hand that is wired directly into the brain has been successfully tested, allowing paralysed man to “feel”. The hand, developed by the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins university, is part of a research project into advanced replacement limbs

Oh, Ngrams

Nobody knows what the hell "anthropogenic" means,
but "global warming" is def out of style
try Ngrams 

Public acceptance of climate change affected by word usage
Jan 2013

Public acceptance of climate change's reality may have been influenced by the rate at which words moved from scientific journals into the mainstream, according to anthropologist Michael O'Brien, dean of the College of Arts and Science at the University of Missouri. A recent study of word usage in popular literature by O'Brien and his colleagues documented how the usage of certain words related to climate change has risen and fallen over the past two centuries. Understanding how word usage affects public acceptance of science could lead to better science communication and a more informed public.

"Journalists must explain scientific terms in ways people can understand and thereby ease the movement of those terms into general speech. That can be a slow process. Several words related to climate change diffused into the popular vocabulary over a 30-50 year timeline."

O'Brien's study found that, by 2008, several important terms in the discussion of climate change had entered popular literature from technical obscurity in the early 1900s. These terms included: Biodiversity – the degree of variation in life forms within a given area Holocene – the current era of the Earth's history, which started at the end of the last ice age Paleoclimate –the prehistoric climate, often deduced from ice cores, tree rings and pollen trapped in sediments Phenology – the study of how climate and other environmental factors influence the timing of events in organisms' life cycles. Not every term was adopted at the same rate or achieved the same degree of popularity. Biodiversity, for example, came into popular use quickly in only a few years in the late 80s and early 90s. Other terms, like Holocene or phenology  have taken decades and are still relatively uncommon.
University of Missouri