Inside my brain: lasers and gold

Inside my brain: lasers and gold

This was going to be a triumphant article about a stellar idea, a struggle of problem solving, learning curves, dangerous lasers, and the final, exuberant splendid result in all its plasticky-golden glory. Yeah, well… The idea! …so the idea: to laser engrave a bunch of slices of my brain in transparent acrylic, stack them… it ...
Navigation – paddling the web

Navigation – paddling the web

When we make websites for clients we analyse their business, their products, and their customers. We create interfaces that are logical, that helps drill down. I am looking to buy a notebook. This company sells stationary. A top-level category then might be "paper products", "writing and drawing", "blank paper" or something like that. So I ...
Wondrously whimsical: the unsought finding

Wondrously whimsical: the unsought finding

What was your thesis about? I don't really get that question. People know I did my master at the Institute of Informatics, faculty of mathematics and natural sciences. To most people, that is enough to get their eyes to glaze over. "Computerstuff", "hard science", "mathematics" are words connected to that. Zeros and ones. Onion-shaped Asbergers-kids ...
The Internet of dangerous Shit

The Internet of dangerous Shit

I am not a Luddite, I promise. But we are drowning in the Internet of Shit. *checks wrist*ah yes i seem to be thirsty pic.twitter.com/lNTQVZ4INu— Internet of Shit (@internetofshit) October 17, 2016 We are producing awful products at a frightening rate. Not only is it hard to find a real need for bluetooth-connected inlay shoe ...
Olympic with Returned Soldiers

Dazzle camouflage: sea-going Easter eggs and face recognition

Most warships these days are gray, and for good reasons. They are generally more difficult to make out with the naked eye. Of course, these days technology often makes visual camouflage redundant, but during World War I, a different tack was used: dazzle, or disruptive, camouflage. The idea was not camouflage as in "invisible", but ...
Twelve golden wild ducks – fairytale in smoke and mirrors

Twelve golden wild ducks – fairytale in smoke and mirrors

There is a fairy tale here in Norway, called the twelve wild ducks. The story is not really important, it a fairly classic good versus evil, patience, purity and deceit. I think it is a pretty convoluted story, and I always found it dissatisfying that there is no attempt at explaining why the princes are ...
iNaturalist: citizen science in your backyard

iNaturalist: citizen science in your backyard

I was going to write an article about the Encyclopedia of Life. It is a phenomenal undertaking, its goal is to create one web page for every living species. Right now they have 1,322,989 pages. That is 1.3 million living things. It is a herculean effort, and it takes the biggest institutions and the best ...
Acrylic and wood: into the laser

Acrylic and wood: into the laser

I have fallen in love with a machine. The laser cutter at the uni. Well; actually, it is what it can do, that captivates me. I am craftsperson –  I have two educations in crafts. I am a potter and bookbinder. So I have a sense for materials, how they act, what you can and ...
Sea hero quest: playful dementia research

Sea hero quest: playful dementia research

Lots of games have no result except the pleasure the player gets out of it. But there is an increase of games that help science in some way. Yisela has already written an article about some of them; in games for science. This article is about a brand new game by University College London, University of ...
The day Indiegogo promoted a SCAM: Triton Gills is now fully financed

The day Indiegogo promoted a SCAM: Triton Gills is now fully financed

Have you heard of the Triton Gills? A device that would allow you to breath underwater for 40 minutes! It has been fully financed. For the second time. With Indiegogo's blessing. A small detail: The product is a SCAM, and everyone except the backers are aware of it. UPDATE: At the beginning of May (and after ...
The Future Library is a forest in Oslo

The Future Library is a forest in Oslo

The future library is a forest in Oslo: 1000 trees was planted in a forest in Oslo in 2014. It is the future library. Each year, an author submits a manuscript, unread, unseen; that will be stored in the national library. In 2114, the trees will be cut down, milled and made into 1000 books ...
Are Smart Contact Lenses Here to Efface Privacy?

Are Smart Contact Lenses Here to Efface Privacy?

The patent is 29 pages long and all in Korean. That might the reason why Samsung's Smart Contact Lenses went unnoticed for several years. Now, it's out. The product, from the get go, is a potential privacy nightmare. The lenses are equipped with a camera, display, an antenna, and sensors (the actual processing operations happen ...
Video: How Dolls Are Made

Video: How Dolls Are Made

Source: Youtube ...
Library taxonomy in the time of technology

Library taxonomy in the time of technology

Taxonomy in the time of technology: Deichmann is the municipal library in Oslo. Last week they opened a library for children, age 10-15. All good, you might think. Commendable. But what images do you create in your head? Chances are, you would be very very wrong. Perhaps it would not be surprising that the kids ...
2200 year-old: the Antikythera computer

2200 year-old: the Antikythera computer

2200 year-old calculator: the Antikythera computer Computers: someone or something that calculates something. That would be the general idea. But (machine) computers don't have to be digital. In 1901, divers found the Antikythera mechanism in a shipwreck in the Aegean sea. It is old. Very old. Estimated, in fact, to be from 200-100 BC. That would ...
A murmuration of robots, a huddle of penguins

A murmuration of robots, a huddle of penguins

A murmuration of robots, a huddle of penguins. Swarm behaviour is a sticky problem. Scientists are twisting their brains to come up with self-organising systems. The murmuration of starlings, the behaviour of slime moulds, ants and corals are examples of nature being waaaay ahead of us. Here, Harvard University has created a self-organising system, consisting ...
Biotech: future of digital storage is plant DNA

Biotech: future of digital storage is plant DNA

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.– Marcus Tullius Cicero Now the garden can be the library. Researchers at the University Medical Centre Maribor, Slovenia have encoded digital information into plant DNA. So what? you might ask. Oh; it is wild: in a box of seeds, you could have all knowledge ...
Biomimicry: generative art of @inconvergent

Biomimicry: generative art of @inconvergent

@inconvergent is a guy who makes magical, beautiful art with algorithms, heavily influenced by nature. In my endless ignorance, I did not think those two things could combine quite like that. I have of course seen wonderful things that nature do, like the amazing life of slime moulds, the murmuration of sterlings, the underground filaments ...
The Great Exhibition of 1851

The Great Exhibition of 1851

I was once walking around Crystal Palace Park, waiting for a movie festival to begin, when a man approached me and my friend and asked us if we had seen the dinosaurs. We were confused at first, but he quickly pointed at some massive and frankly strange-looking sculptures that were spread around the park. Only ...
Games that do science

Games that do science

When the internet was fairly new, a project without precedent set itself to push the limits of what seemed then inconceivable for both science and technology.  It was called SETI@Home, and it marked the beginning of a completely new era. SETI's goal was to detect intelligent life outside Earth. To do so, the project collected a ...
Equil smartpen2: phenomenal tool or novelty toy?

Equil smartpen2: phenomenal tool or novelty toy?

I am not into gadgets. The very word implies something useless; perhaps fun for a week, but quickly discarded. A pet hate of mine is the insane amount of electronics made, for stuff that do not need electronics. Waste of resources, batteries, minerals, human costs and filling up insane landfills with rubbish. Enter the Equil ...
Central Asian art in a couple video games years apart

Central Asian art in a couple video games years apart

Video games are getting prettier and prettier. It's good to see that some of them incorporate actual works of art, sometimes in very distinctive styles. Even some old, very old games have had great art direction. Computer gaming is an old love. I had played multiple simple games on my MSX2 starting at age 8, ...
Hackers and painters

Hackers and painters

Paul Graham has a background in computer science and art. He wrote on the connection between the two in the essay Hackers and painters. It begins: When I finished grad school in computer science I went to art school to study painting. A lot of people seemed surprised that someone interested in computers would also be ...
Aleks Krotoski

The digital human

A brilliant podcast from the BBC. Aleks Krotoski explores life in the digital world. It is informative, entertaining and sometimes thought-provoking. I have some favourites, so check out the Augment, which looks at how we are becoming cyborgs, and Altruism, exploring goodness with no reward to strangers via Internet. BBC The digital human podcasts ...
3D printing: liver and silver

3D printing: liver and silver

I am guessing we have all heard of the exciting new technology and research were it is possible to print organs. To me this is mind-blowing on so many levels: ponder the implications. We could print entire organ systems, repair damage, replace tissue, digitally mould external and internal organs. Just thinking about what this could ...
Big data visualisation, CeBit 2014

Massive scale, breathtaking data-driven visualisation at CeBit 2014

I sometimes come across data visualisations that takes my breath away. This is one. Created by the design house Kram/Weisshaar for the CeBit 2014 computer expo in Hannover. Wish I was there. It is of course the sheer size that makes an impact, but the visualisations themselves are amazing, the amount of data accessed mindblowing, ...
textexture

Visualising data, telling stories

Telling stories that can only be seen. Data visualisations can be extraordinarily beautiful. Here are but a few tools. gephi Open-source desktop application, primarily a network visualisation tool, but with plugins galore for space-time extensions. Gapminder Beautiful, multivariate statistics. See this phenomenal TED presentation by Hans Rosling - love that guy Google charts Not surprising, ...
Life network

Life network

Take the things that are interesting, and see if you can connect the dots. This is made in Gephi, an open-source network visualisation tool. This will eventually be an interactive browser for my other blog ...
What good old days?

What good old days?

Note: this is a post I wrote a few years ago, but it is still valid. I have been reading Design Observer on and off for a few years. Sometimes it's desperately navel-gazing, sometimes is preaching to the already converted, sometimes it's talking to a few insiders. Sometimes, it is good. The last time I ...
Beautiful statistics

Beautiful statistics

Hans Rosling, the hero of beautiful statistics, showing us the world as it actually is. By making statistics beautiful and demonstrating that the impossible is possible. Oh, and btw; you can play with the Gapminder tool yourself ...