Monthly Archives: February 2011

Technology

The Functionality of Futuristic Makeup

If popular culture and movies are to believed, in the future we will all sport funky makeup and hairdos, especially those of us on the fringes of society. A simple google image search for “futuristic makeup” will provide a number of examples of the trope.

However, as we start to approach what may reasonably be called a futuristic society — where everyone carries a pocket computer that can call and navigate anywhere, translate text in real time, instantly look up any piece of information and a whole host of other previously inconceivable capabilities, among many other technological wonders at our fingertips — I think it’s amazing that some of the purely artistic interpretations of the future could actually become highly utilitarian, particularly for the types of people so often depicted in pop culture as wearing “crazy futuristic” makeup and hairstyles.

What kind of utility could such outlandish stylistic choices provide? Fooling facial recognition software, of course! Enter cvdazzle.com, a project by Adam Harvey that takes inspiration from the dazzle camouflage of WWI naval ships. The dazzle camouflage went out of style for the navy when radar became common, and I wonder if the cvdazzle makeup might suffer similarly due to 3d cameras such as the Kinect. In any event, next time I watch blade runner, I won’t think that Pris’ makeup is weird. It isn’t: It’s urban camouflage in the computer vision age.

Random

One must be astonished totally

One must be astonished totally, yet more and more softly. That is how eternity wonders at the times and changes them. One must wonder at the wonders. And also at the wounds, the deepest and last wounds, and elevate them to the wondrous.

—from the diary of Hugo Ball, 21 November, 1921

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Life, the Universe, and Everything.


The double rainbow guy was on to something….

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Voice is worthless

I completely agree with Gigaom on this: Telephony in and of itself will become worthless in the near future. It’s just going to be another protocol sent over the internet. The sooner cellular carriers realize they are wireless ISPs, the better it will be for everyone.

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Two Roads To Courage

Two Roads To Courage

A truly excellent gift: Bourbon and Brass Knuckles in a suitcase.

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The CRM114 discriminator

“… Now, in order to prevent the enemy from issuing fake or confusing orders, the CRM114 Discriminator is designed not to receive at all… That is, not unless the message is preceded by the proper three­letter code group.“

–George C. Scott, playing the role of General Buck Turgidson, in Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove

One of my favorite stories about Dr. Strangelove is that apparently, Kubrick asked George C. Scott to do several takes of each scene, and specifically in one of takes, to be completely over the top, totally outrageous. Kubrick almost exclusively used the over the top takes in the final edit of the film.

What that story has to do with the automated machine learning library CRM114, other than the obvious link to Dr. Strangelove I don’t know, however, CRM114 is fricken amazing. In the words of the its creator Bill Yerazunis CRM114 is like “grep was bitten by some radio active spider”.

Essentially, if you have some stream of documents, data, bits or whatever and you’d like to automatically classify it into categories, CRM114 is your new bicycle. CRM114 learns, and it learns fast, how to accurately categorized your stream of data, with accuracies of up to 99.9% (with a little bit of love). It’s a swiss army knife of machine learning.

Random

Gimme Shelter | Studio Multitracks

Studio Multitrack recording of Gimme Shelter. Keith Richards’s lead guitar really shines. Now, on to spending the rest of my evening pulling out samples from all of the other tracks.

Gimme Shelter | Studio Multitracks.

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The Post Scarcity Toolkit

The GVCS is a collection of 40 machines needed to “create a small civilization with modern-day comforts…like a life-size Lego set”.

via Kottke

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Cthulhu Trooper

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Yeah I did it.

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A New Sith, or Revenge of the Hope

An excellent essay on the Star Wars hexilogy, by Keith Martin. I doubt that this remotely resembles anything that ever crossed George Lucas mind, however, looking at all six movies in this light adds quite a bit of depth to the movies. So much so, that I think if Chewie and R2 were supposed to be as important as this essay postulates, the movies would have been much different. Lucas doesn’t have a subtle bone in his body.