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beyond the Kuiper Belt, over the sea

Archive for January, 2009

Serializing Architecture

Friday, January 30th, 2009

As usual, BLDGBLOG blows my mind.  Skim over all the word-clouds—those are old-hat by now—and take a look at the last two paragraphs of the post.  The idea of making room clouds is great, but what it sparks in my mind is even more interesting, to me: the idea of serializing architecture.  If you could find a good encoding for architecture, you could use all sorts of existing techniques to play with large amounts of architectural data. I am thinking, particularly, of using genetic algorithms to grow building designs that are highly fit for various purposes; that would require a good fitness algorithm, too, but seriously, the field of computational architecture is untapped!

So how would one serialize a building?  I suspect that the work of Karl Sims is not irrelevant; serializing a building is a lot like serializing a creature.  The only difference for use in a genetic algorithm is the fitness function, which for a creature is based on reproductive ability before total energy loss, but for a building… well, that’s the question, isn’t it?  Clearly it would have a number of factors: safety, efficiency for purpose, pleasantness.

What would you think was important to a building’s fitness?

Jabber Connectivity Problems

Friday, January 30th, 2009

For anyone trying to connnect to any of the Jabber rooms on Transneptune, there appear to be some issues concerning GTalk at the moment.  The short of it is that GTalk will currently not show messages from an entity unless you are subscribed to that entity, which is fine for individuals, but when trying to use a chatroom, breaks.  So GTalk users can connect to the room, and send messages to it, but cannot receive messages back.

Until this is resolved (which may require action on Google’s part; I’m still investigating), just connect with your Transneptune account if you want to use the chats.

Doubly Good

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Yesterday was good in many, many ways.  Primarily, I attended a talk at UC Boulder by Adele Goldberg, which was excellent.  She argued clearly, presented an interesting but convincing account of the facts observed in her studies (hear that, Chomsky?  Real data!) and also presented a theory that seemed maybe, just maybe, implementable in the context of Machine Learning.  This is all good.

Further, though, I got to have a bit of a talk with Leah, whom I’ve not talked with in too long, and also, finally, saw a red fox here—actually, two!  That is what I call an evening.

If I didn’t have to head off to work shortly, I’d write more.  Ask me about any of these things, and I’ll gladly elaborate.

Brief outage

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Sorry about the downtime last night; I was messing with my networking setup. To elaborate a bit: this site and subdomains of it (Asterist, Kipilefti, Lula, the Wiki, the Jabber server) are all run off of my own server, and so when I play with the networking setup, it will disrupt the possibility of getting here.

For those who are interested, if the site seems unreachable, you can always check the status page.  Yes, it’s Twitter.  I figured they’d be up when I’m not (though, really, their uptime is not so great, I suppose).  But it seemed an easy way to just give succinct status updates.

Concentrated coolness

Monday, January 26th, 2009

One quick note before I go to bed: I have just discovered that one of my idols, C.J. Cherryh* is on the board of the Foundation for Endangered Languages, the product of a near-idol of mine, Nicholas Ostler. And, of course, it is not just the conjunction of two people of Coolness, but also that they overlap in the domain of endangered language activism. Too much for me to handle!

Also worth noting, all of them have rather outdated-looking sites, except Ostler, for whom I cannot find a personal site at all.

* Cherryh is actually responsible for my interest in linguistics. Lon story short, her introductory Latin lessons caused me to act on my passive earlier interest in Latin, which in turn got me interested in making up languages, which in turn got me interested in seeing how human language actually worked. And here I am today.


Sunday, January 25th, 2009

I have finally, finally managed to make successful bread here.  The altitude and dryness have presented problems, but perseverance and experimentation have paid off:

The Bread

Air Quality

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

I don’t have too much to say here, but I wanted to mention that the air quality in Boulder is surprisingly bad, or I’m really spoiled.  It smells like London sometimes.  While that’s nice and nostalgic, that’s not what I expect from such a small bike-and-pedestrian friendly city renowned for its hippy attitudes.  Of course, that’s not even getting to the nauseating (to me, anyway) smell of pot that sometimes wafts down Pearl Street.

Give me a pristine mountaintop or something.  Geez.

Brief Presidential Notes

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

The man sure can give a speech; here’s to hoping he returns some appreciation for and skill with oratory to the general discourse.  His speech was by far the best, though the benediction at the end had some things going for it; I particularly liked “tanks into tractors”.

But here is what I thought, as the camera panned out to sweeping views of the Mall: L’Enfant did a really good job at making a city that inspires, a city that, while not good for being a real city, is good for sweeping ideas about a Just Government.  The emanating boulevards, the open parks, the use of elevation.  It has some stuff going for it.

Well, here’s hoping for social justice and better education in the next four (maybe eight?) years.

Crap Day!

Monday, January 19th, 2009

Things turned crap!  The highlights being my phone died (email me if you need me; I check it all the time) and a kitchen cabinet falling off the wall.  I’ll wake up and things will be better, I hope.

On the other hand, in reply to my email about it, my landlord suggested that after sending a carpenter over, she should send a shaman over to cleanse the place of bad luck.

January Thaw

Monday, January 19th, 2009

So, today is my birthday. And a federal holiday. Coincidence? Yeah. But I am glad to be getting a new president for my birthday (it won’t arrive until tomorrow) and to have the day off. Today was marked (so far) by a hike up Mt. Sanitas in short sleeves, and will be marked soon by lunch at Sushi Tora, the best sushi place in town, if you ask me, though Sushi Zanmai puts up stiff competition.

As a final thought, I want to make clear how much I love the writing of Lore Sjöberg.