Week Links!

Right then. It’s my turn. Actually it was my turn three weeks ago, and I’ve not been forgiven for missing it. RIG exudes an image of calm and relaxation, but inside it’s a pressure cooker of stress and fear.

Anyway.

I spent a bit too long playing Rock Paper Scissors against a weak AI. Specifically, an AI that’s been designed to optimise its game by analysing the patterns from over 200,000 previous moves. James and I really liked the way you can ‘turn over’ the computer player to see how it’s thinking. It’s a great example of how to explain how algorithms work. As we weave AI into more and more things we own and use, we’re going to need more of this.

I’ve been overly interested in Bitcoin (the wiki is more useful), a virtual P2P currency. It’s like a currency, but backed by solutions to computationally difficult problems, rather than gold. It’s a crypto-currency. It’s P2P because there’s no central point of trading or distribution – it’s like BitTorrent. Which all sounds fanciful, until you discover that yesterday the Bitcoin market was worth $4.8 million, and $0.14 million was traded in 3100 transactions. The video on the home page explains it quite well. And then you can watch the markets. Interesting. Maybe.

I loved the aesthetic of this series of photos by Stephan Tillmans, called Luminant Point Arrays.

They show tube televisions in the moment they are switched off. The television picture breaks down and creates a structure of light.

Aaron Straup-Cope, of our friends at Stamen, whose Prettymaps you may have seen recently, has produced more magic with Polymaps and OpenStreetMaps. Airport City is a map of airport runways and motorway on and off ramps. He explains it best.

Paris (2011-03-12)

And Aaron’s Prettymaps also adorn the cover of this custom guidebook made by Blaine Cook for last week’s SXSW 2011. Inspired by and similar to James’ bespoke guidebooks from SXSW 2010, but Blaine generated it dynamically, using wkhtmltopdf. He tells me the code will be released on Github soon.

Notebook and coffee

But most importantly it’s Phil’s birthday today. Happy Birthday Phil! We’re off for Mexican. Have a nice weekend.


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