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Snow artist stomps awesome fractals with just his two snowshoes

Sierpinski Triangle in snow by Simon Beck
Skier and snow artist Simon Beck stomps around in the snow for 11 hours or more to make each of his beautiful fractal snow art masterpieces. He has to walk around 25 or 30 miles to stamp a design of about 100 meters square, using only his two snowshoes. It began as a form of exercise, and has become far more.

From The Finch and Pea:

For more than a decade, Beck has made elaborate designs in snow, mainly in the French Alps, using only snowshoes and a compass. He started out making mandala-like circular shapes, but moved on to much more complex designs over the years. Beck told Discovery News that he started incorporating fractal patterns into his work after reading James Gleick’s book “Chaos: Making a New Science.”

More images at the artist's website and on Facebook.

About the image below, he explains:

The first attempt to draw the dragon made for Baslev's movie DRAKONY, in Siberia (Yakutsk) in October 2015. This was rejected as I had used a bit too much artistic licence and not drawn accurately enough according to the sketch I had been given!

Mandelbrot Set in progress

[Via Smithsonian Magazine]

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Profile of James Love, "Big Pharma's worst nightmare"

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Jamie Love is one of the founders of Knowledge Ecology International (formerly the Consumer Project on Technology), a super-effective activist NGO that helped to establish low-cost, global access to HIV/AIDS drugs. Read the rest

Classic 16-bit Amiga artwork archived online

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The Amiga Graphics Archive is where you can find a growing collection of artwork distinctive of the legendary 16-bit home computer. (i.e. 320x200 in 32 colors (64 with half-brite mode (or 4096 with some nasty attribute clash)) from a palette of 4096)

Launched in 1985 the Commodore Amiga boasted graphics capabilities that were unsurpassed for it's time. It featured an intricate collection of custom chips that enabled it to do things that, until then, had been impossible to achieve with other personal computers. This site is dedicated to graphics made with or for the Commodore Amiga home computer.

Pictured above is "The Seeing Angel", by Louis Markoya. Read the rest

Professor Stewart's Incredible Numbers is a delightful book of recreational math

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When I was a kid one of my favorite books was George Gamow's One Two Three . . . Infinity: Facts and Speculations of Science. (It's a pity that the current edition has such a crappy cover. Here's the cover to the copy I own, which is much cooler looking). This book taught me about huge numbers, infinity, and the fourth dimension. I loved Gamow's hand-drawn illustrations, too. If you don't have this book, I suspect you will enjoy it.

Professor Stewart's Incredible Numbers, by Ian Stewart, reminds me of One Two Three . . . Infinity. It's missing the charming hand-drawn illustrations, but it has many of the same topics in Gamow's book (like the Towers of Hanoi, and the Four Color Map Theory), plus quite a few other fun number-related items that Gamow didn't cover, such as fractals, the Birthday Paradox, and the Sausage Conjecture.

When I told my 12-year-old about the Four Color Map Theory, she immediately went to work with colored pencils and paper to prove me wrong. I can't find the fantastically complex maps she came up with, but if I locate them, I'll post them here. She eventually came up with an intuitive understanding of why any map you draw only needs four colors to ensure no two bordering shapes have the same color.

UPDATE: I found Jane's maps:

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Real-time fractal zoomer on the web

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Following up on yesterday's fractal fun, here's a real-time fractal zoomer on the web.

Use the arrow keys to pan, A and Z keys to zoom, S and X keys to change the threshold.

It's by Jonathan Alpers, using WebGL and Three.js, and was featured on Chrome Experiments in November. Read the rest

Fractal fun on the web

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You like zoning out in front of fractals, right? Of course you do!

FractalJS is the easiest fractal zoomer yet: just pinch-zoom or scrollwheel and watch it go. There are several sets to choose from, a smoothing option, lots of color schemes, and it's all open-source.

Alternatives: Calvin Metcalf's Leaflet has Google Maps-style controls and Alson Kemp's WebFract3D renders sets in three dimensions for an especially bizarre experience.

Bonus: Here's a Mandelbrot set being generated on a 50-year-old IBM mainframe.

Found any cool fractal stuff on the web lately? Read the rest

Chelsea Manning reviews book of Aaron Swartz's writing

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Today is the third anniversary of Aaron Swartz's death, and it was marked by the publication of an anthology of Aaron's writing, The Boy Who Could Change the World: The Writings of Aaron Swartz with an introduction by Lawrence Lessig (I wrote an introduction to one of the sections). Read the rest

The beautiful geometric GIFs of Erik Söderberg

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Erik Söderberg, a multimedia artist based in Sweden, created this series of geometric GIFs: "Fractal Experience Part 2."

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Fractal jigsaw puzzle

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It has only nine pieces, but each is a sprawling, intersecting fractal nightmare: "you can provide people with the solution and they still can't solve it."

The creations of Oscar van Deventer (check his youtube channel for all his puzzle designs) you can buy them at Laser Exact for fifty euros.

It's weirdy satisfying watching the pieces disappear into the pattern:

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Copyright infringement "gang" raided by UK cops: 3 harmless middle-aged karaoke fans

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The City of London Police's Intellectual Property Crime Unit's breathless press-release about their raid on a "gang suspected of uploading and distributing tens of thousands of karaoke tracks online" obscures the truth: they busted three middle-aged dudes who loved singing, so they hunted down otherwise unavailable tracks and shared them with other karaoke fans, not making a penny in the process. Read the rest

Fractal gears webtoy

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Liabru's Fractal Gears is a beautiful webtoy that draws randomly meshed gears of descending ratios, with a set of sliders you can use to tweak their parameters. (via Kottke) Read the rest

Our Generation Ships Will Sink

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As noted in Cory's review, Kim Stanley Robinson's Aurora makes an undeniable case for ecological stewardship through a rigorous, gripping technological speculation about climate science, biology, space propulsion and sociodynamic factors. In this exclusive feature essay, Robinson explains the technology behind the best science fiction novel of 2015.

Poetry from a polymath games legend: Raph Koster's "Sunday Poems"

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Game designer Raph Koster is a polymath. A legendary game-designer (Star Wars Galaxies, Ultima Online, etc), author of one of the seminal texts on game design (A Theory of Fun), visual artist, musician -- and poet.

Students force University of Missouri president to resign over lack of action on racism on campus

The University of Missouri's president Tim Wolfe resigns after protests.

At the University of Missouri, a graduate student went on a hunger strike, students and teachers marched and staged sit-ins, and 32 black football players refused to play until the university president, Tim Wolfe, resigned. Today, he did.

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Beautiful fractal landscape seems like eerie, epic ruins

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"Poetic Fractals," writes Julius Horsthuis. "I use fractals for developing skills – they are exercises in framing, composition, typography, color and style."

In this four-minute journey through a computer-generated world, we see landscapes and massive fractal structures that seem eerily reminiscent of abandoned human places.

The music is "Reaching Land" by Patrick O'Hearn; the software used to render the world is Mandelbulb3D—available free of charge! Read the rest

Globe and Mail: TPP's copyright chapter will cost Canadians hundreds of millions

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Canada's rock-ribbed bastion of pro-trade, pro-Tory ideology has come out against the Trans Pacific Partnership's Intellectual Property chapter in a leading editorial signed by the paper's editorial board. Read the rest

Some suggestions for sad, rich people

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The Guardian's story about wealth therapists, who help one percenters cope with the stress of being rich in an era of widening wealth inequality, features quotes from some really awful-sounding, clueless people who compare the plight of the wealthy to the discrimination experienced by black people. Read the rest

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