Amon Tobin's music isn't very immediate/accessible, so I was pleasantly surprised to hear several of his tracks used during the finale of the Australian version of Big Brother tonight tonight: The Killer's Vanilla and At the End of the Day from his latest album, The Foley Room, and Natureland off Supermodified. They used them as background music in several of the video clips they showed.
Monday, July 30, 2007
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Thursday, July 19, 2007
If you want to make sense of statistics for people, this is how you do it, as shown in this very interesting and impressive video.
In it, Hans Rosling uses UN statistics to demonstrate that many common beliefs about the modern-day world, such as on the nature of the divide between first and third-world countries, are wrong.
But more than the content (and whether you would agree with it or not), what it's about is how he presents it. The software he uses, Trendalyzer, seems pretty impressive. I don't mean from a technical standpoint -- though no doubt it is -- but from what it is able to do. This is futuristic software, like science-fiction films try to portray.
Graphs are animated to show how the data changes over the years, highlighting the trends. They're morphed to show a different, but related perspective. Details are drilled down into, for example to go from showing data for a particular country to data for its consitutent states. It's all interactive, and it leads to a very impressive flow: one perspective raises certain questions, so he modifies the view to try and get insight into them.
What I think is important about this kind of software is that it allows you to really demonstrate points, directly from the data -- very much showing rather than telling.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Prosopagnosia is 'face-blindness' - the inability to recognize other humans by their faces. This page is a very effective description of what it's like, written by a sufferer.
They say good writing shows rather than tells, and that's what that pages does, using a very effective analogy -- to show you what it's like to have prosopagnosia.
If individuals were rocks, then it's like having to remember the characteristics of each rock, and try to realise when you come across this rock again, from your memories. The page uses photos of different rocks so you can see for yourself the sorts of difficulties involved.
There's a lot of complications you probably wouldn't think of, which the page demonstrates well. E.g. when someone gets a haircut - as demonstrated by the rock being obscured by a bit of foliage.
RunBot is a walking robot with a natural, flexible gait (BBC story; info). It can deal with uneven terrain, and changes changes like uphill or downhill slopes.
I think they've got the right approach. Like with Steve Grand's work, and Jeff Hawkin's HTMs, it uses a hierarchical means of control, where each level has a certain level of autonomy, and there's constant updating of the structures based on the environmental input.
RunBot has been co-operatively developed by european scientists
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Giving good presentations - five lessons drawn from Steve Job's iPhone presentation. The lessons the article goes into are: Build Tension, Stick to One Theme Per Slide, Add Pizzazz to Your Delivery, Practice, Be Honest and Show Enthusiasm.