Filtered for computers and birds

14.12, Friday 19 Jun 2015


I… look… just… this super freaky image of squirrels is a picture drawn by a computer on its own.

This squirrel has a weird amount of eyes, yeah? And seems to be made at least partially of dogs? Check out its weird rear appendage, which is composed of slug tentacles that are themselves composed of birds. A two-headed fish lurks in the foreground, and upon reexamination the background is not mere swirls, but a warped, repetitive city

More of the backstory on the Google Research Blog.

It’s a crazy process that works by turning up the gain on an artificial computer brain. Giving it acid…

We ask the network: “Whatever you see there, I want more of it!”” This creates a feedback loop: if a cloud looks a little bit like a bird, the network will make it look more like a bird. This in turn will make the network recognize the bird even more strongly on the next pass and so forth, until a highly detailed bird appears, seemingly out of nowhere.

Here’s a gallery: Going deeper into neural networks.

Cloudscapes with hidden cities. Leaves that turn into birds and insects. Angels in the architecture.


There are so many things to love about Paul Ford’s epic Businessweek-takeover essay What is Code? but I’m taken with his insistence on treating the computer as a physical thing – which is of course it is, all teeny-weeny electrons and stuff…

What are the steps and layers between what you’re doing and the Lilliputian mechanisms within?

Just as the keyboard is waiting for a key to be pressed, the computer is waiting for a signal from the keyboard. When one comes down the pike, the computer interprets it and passes it farther into its own interior.


What do they call turkeys in Turkey?

Answer: Hindi.

In Hindi, a turkey is called Peru, which is itself a borrowing from the Portuguese.

The Language of the Birds is an angelic language, a divine language which predates and supersedes human speech, used by birds, understood by the initiated.

There’s a funny-peculiar reference in Understanding Media (Marshall McLuhan) to Jason’s quest for the Golden Fleece, and his sowing of dragon’s teeth which grew to become the spear-tips of a new army. McLuhan enlists the legend of the dragon’s teeth as an allegory for the development of the alphabet and, at the same time, bodies of armed men.

Saying thank you in Hindi destroys intimacy.


Data furnaces:

Microsoft has a lot of servers, mostly sitting in large data centres, producing huge amounts of heat – heat that is a massive nuisance to deal with. … Instead of finding a novel way of transferring waste heat away from the data centre, the research paper proposed that the servers themselves should be placed in homes and offices, where the waste heat could be used directly.

Data furnaces arrive in Europe: Free heating, if you have fibre Internet. Nerdalize is rolling out eRadiators in the Netherlands, providing 1000W of heat.

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