Interconnected

All posts made in Nov. 2017:

Filtered for things to read on your tube ride home

1.

Seat 14C is a collection of short stories all with the same premise. Each is a first-person account of the passenger in Seat 14C, on ANA Flight #008, as this passenger discovers they've mysteriously been transported 20 years into the future. There are some biiiiig name authors.

Bruce Sterling's story is fantastic:

The planet, humankind, had undergone some huge, universal, metaphysical enlightenment. ... They no longer used mushy, mystical terms from 2017, vague words like "thoughts, "feelings," "moods," "souls," "intelligence." They had precise, scientific formulations for those phenomena, with about a million high-tech terms-of-art.

Read it: It Feels So Exponential.

2.

Line-us is a little robot drawing arm on Kickstarter by Durrell Bishop and Robert Poll. It is lovely.

However I am not here to say how lovely this robot arm is.

Rather, their Kickstarter updates are gold dust. They are experienced designers and manufacturers, and they are narrating their experience from prototype to production in Shenzhen with a clarity, transparency, and education which is rare as hens teeth. Many of the updates are open to the public, not locked down to project backers.

For example:

Read all the updates.

3.

Bret Easton Ellis on Living in the Cult of Likability.

Now all of us are used to rating movies, restaurants, books, even doctors, and we give out mostly positive reviews because, really, who wants to look like a hater? But increasingly, services are also rating us.

(Uber, Airbnb.)

Who wants to share a ride or a house or a doctor with someone who doesn't have a good online reputation? The reputation economy depends on everyone maintaining a reverentially conservative, imminently practical attitude: Keep your mouth shut and your skirt long, be modest and don't have an opinion. The reputation economy is yet another example of the blanding of culture, and yet the enforcing of groupthink has only increased anxiety and paranoia, because the people who embrace the reputation economy are, of course, the most scared.

Read it.

4.

This interview with Noel Gallagher in Esquire in 2015!

I mean Gallagher always gives good interview but this is great.

Also when he says this

I'm never going to write a song that connects with people as much as "Don't Look Back in Anger" has, but that doesn't stop me from going to the well every morning.

which he has impressively managed to reconcile with this

as a writer you surely always think that your best work is in front of you, even though I'm self-aware enough to realise it's probably fucking behind me.

Also, also he does good swearing.

Read it.

Filtered for what celebrities and dinosaurs look like

1.

Neural network image synthesis: artificial intelligence systems are really good at generating super-realistic, fake images. Like the faces of celebrities.

Given the synthesised images can be made to be very similar to one-another, it's possible to make a long chain of synthesised images - all faces, all similar to the one previous - and turn that into an animation.

Resulting in this video: One hour of imaginary celebrities.

It's like David Lynch took over the Daily Mail showbiz section.

2.

Mapping startup Mapzen put together some slides of gorgeous forms and lines, abstracted from maps.

Explore the world of form. Scroll through the whole thing.

See also: photos of highway interchanges by Peter Andrew.

3.

Generated animation of driving a car at night. Tail lights, rain on the window.

(You'll probably need to run this on a desktop, but click fullscreen.)

Also, this video clip from a game about looking out of a train window. Full game here: To West.

4.

Dinosaurs aren't drawn right.

dinosaur illustrations should take more cues from animals living today. Our world is full of unique animals that have squat fatty bodies, with all kinds of soft tissue features that are unlikely to have survived in fossils, such as pouches, wattles, or skin flaps.

Here's what present day animals would look like, if we drew them as badly as we draw dinosaurs.

The illustration Swans imagined as though they were featherless dinosaurs is particularly terrifying.

Of course we're not talking about about dinosaurs now because they are indeed now particularly skinny, being skeletons.

This is in relation to millions of years ago, before the dinosaurs got raptured, before we used their fermented meat to drive our cars.

See also: Egyptian mummies were dug up and burnt to power steam trains. (Or rather, they weren't. It turns out this was made up by Mark Twain.)