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Got Computers on the Brain

computers teaching humans

How Computers Are Changing the Way We Explain the World

Computers have worked their way into almost every aspect of our lives. They've worked their way into my brain - I even think of my brain as a computer sometimes. I often find myself wishing I had more RAM when I'm trying to program something. And we're just getting better and better at simulating the brain as a computer! Did you know there's an open source project to simulate the brain of a fruit fly?

digital rationalizations

Piracy gave me a future

Yeah. It probably gave me a future, too.

There's been a longstanding unspoken agreement between Adobe and the creative youth: pirate our software, learn to use it, and we'll make money off of your corporate copy. Adobe is now trying to monetize the long tail of software users with lower-cost monthly subscriptions which makes a lot of sense - both for them economically and for students / independent professionals who want to pay honestly. Yet when I was younger, there was no good, free, professional software. If you wanted to work in a creative digital field and you didn't have money or access to a school program that gave you the software, then you had to pirate it or else never learn the skills. Now, of course, that unspoken agreement has paid off: Adobe continues to be the workhorse of the creative world, thanks to those intrepid young pirates who now use corporate-sponsored software. Morally gray symbiosis at its finest!

campaign engine optimization

Study shows that internet search engines have the power to swing elections

If you trust the collective power of the internet (or a search engine), you're likely to trust what it has to show you. We're so often formed simply by what we are exposed to - it's no surprise that our modern conduit of knowledge shapes the way we think.

infidelity fidelity breach

Early Notes on the Ashley Madison Hack

While I don't personally care about the personal lives of those affected by the leak (cheater and partner alike), there are many disturbing implications here: a) a company charged for, and lied about, the deletion of sensitive data b) a company lost literally all of its private data c) millions of people trusted said company to not be a fuck up. It's particularly interesting because it has more emotionally tumultuous results besides just potentially having your credit card be charged by a criminal and then refunded by a bank.

Glitchet Community Spotlight

Glitchet Community Spotlight: Deaf Girl

Nico, AKA "Deaf Girl" on Soundcloud reached out to me two weeks back and recommended that I include a glitch music portion. I think he's totally right! Music is definitely something I've neglected in this newsletter, so I'm looking forward to finding some tracks for y'all to listen to. Here's my favorite Deaf Girl track so far, a striking, crunchy song with some great spooky vocals and multiple throbbing bass layers. It's tagged as Experimental Hip-hop, and I'm all about it.

Here's some other tracks that Nico recommended:

These are all pretty aggressive tracks (as most glitchy things tend to be), but if you have examples of some great minimal/soft glitch, I'd love to feature them, too!

Crazy Tech

space food

Astronauts Eat Food Grown in Space for First Time

Wow! This is so future. This is so future I can barely handle it. I'm imagining gigantic colony spaceships with onboard farms, feeding the generations of people it takes to get to the next livable planet. SO future.

don't pop my eyes

How fast could humans travel safely through space?

This article pairs well with outrageous space lettuce. Interesting dive into the limits of a squishy meatsack inside a really fast hard metal spacebullet.

transformer bike!

SF Crime Is So Bad Police Need Quad Bikes That Transform Into Jet Skis

Awesome. This seems like something straight out of Grand Theft Auto.

a shitty job (sorry...)

Machine That Turns Poo Into Water Gets a Test Run in Africa

Gross! Cool! Gross! I read some interesting psychological studies that talk about the psychological aspects of using this technology. Despite people knowing logically that the water is totally pure, the “contagion effect” kicks in and makes us still insist that it's dirty because the water was once, well, shit. Regardless of all that, the plant in the video produces a lot of great byproducts while eliminating waste all the same.

robot adapts to terrible children

Robot learns how to avoid bullies, escape physical abuse

This poor robot! Leave that robot alone, you asshole kids! The science here is really cool, though - scientists were able to build an abuse probability model that predicted the likelihood of children to hit, kick, or otherwise torment the robot based on the number of children nearby, how long they stick around, and whether or not a parent is present. They then used this to make the robot run away from potential asshole children.

eye see you

Video: Hyperrealistic CGI Eye Movements

Apparently this took one month to render! Insanely realistic, life-like CGI eye movements. The Congress (starring Robin Wright) is an interesting movie that deals with, on the surface level, the idea of actors and actresses signing away their entire likeness, appearance, and personality to a computer simulation for infinite reusability. The actors take their money and walk off into the sunset, never to act or be on a screen again - except for their digital replicants. Maybe this is just the beginning of that?.