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It would cost $384 million to launch my 1500-square-foot house into space. Theoretically. Based on estimated weight of the house. But the point is, there's an app that can show you how much it would cost to launch your house into space. What you do with it once it's up there remains anybody's guess. Maggie

Empower compelling giving circles

This philanthropic grantspeak generator will help you celebrate humanitarian advisory committees. [via Felix Salmon] Rob

Apple replaces Steve Jobs with virologist

Apple's new Chairman of the Board is Arthur D. Levinson, also Chairman of Genentech. He's a virologist, with 35 peer-reviewed published research papers. The papers are pretty old though. Levinson last published in 1994. He's been working on the business side of things for a long time. Maggie

Hedgehog after a bath

For no real reason, here is a picture of a cute hedgehog.

Image: Acorn is displeased after a bath., a Creative Commons Attribution No-Derivative-Works (2.0) image from justinandelise's photostream

The Infinite Adventure Machine

David Benqué's Infinite Adventure Machine creates random folk-tales, and is itself an adventure in what he describes as an unsolved computer science problem: automatic story generation.

Tales and myths; the core narratives of human culture, have been transmitted for generations through various technologies and media. What new forms might they take through digital formats and Artificial Intelligence?

Based on the work of Vladimir Propp, who reduced the structure of russian folk-tales to 31 basic functions, TIAM aims to question the limitations and implications of attempts at programming language and narrative.

Because the program is unable to deliver a finished story, rather only a crude synopsis and illustrations, users have to improvise, filling the gaps with their imagination and making up for the technology's shortcomings.

Wikipedia's article on Propp has a lengthy description of his typology of narrative structures.

I've always been fascinated by the subtle movement these devices make, whereby a description of universal narrative elements is turned into a prescription for writing new stories. Every few years there seems to be another bestseller book, for example, telling you how to succeed in Hollywood using Jungian archetypes and Joseph Campbell. But I love these random generators all the same (and make my own). The bite-size mind-meld between culture and software they embody has a strange magic to it.

The Infinite Adventure Machine [Glitch Fiction via Creative Applications]