I remember when the Internet was innocent — it put strangers with common interests in touch, supported grass roots activism, encouraged self-help groups to form, and enabled free expression and innovation. Now it’s a weapon. Think of how good and bad human agents and their hirelings, surrogates, mercenaries and robots deploy tweets and other social … Continue reading
The theories about metaphor of the American cognitive linguist George Lakoff have long informed my understanding of language and of design. Lakoff also weighs in on US politics (to use a sporting metaphor). His recent interview on a podcast and his opinion piece in the Guardian are of the moment. I’ll quote a passage about … Continue reading
Automatic translation is now mainstream. It’s simple enough to have text on a web site or in a text field translated between languages. The Google translate app on a smartphone combines (AR) “augmented reality” and translation algorithms to create a screen image that substitutes what’s in front of the camera with something like the same text in your … Continue reading
Maps come in many forms, including their online versions: Google maps, Ordnance survey maps, historical overlays (Walking through time), crowd sourced maps (Open Streetmaps), with GPS features, alerts, spoken directions, and provision for selling and sociability (Foursquare). Maps show us where we are, help us to get where we want to be, and they represent something. This much … Continue reading
What colour is cool? Synesthesia is a hot topic amongst artists, and on the Internet. There it is. I’ve just used words from the vocabulary of touch sensation (cool and hot) applied to something visual (colour) and something abstract (a topic). The painter and theorist Wassily Kandinsky went further in describing in terms of heat … Continue reading
I’ve been reading the latest book by eminent neuroscientist V.S. Ramachandran and trying to get my head into the way of thinking of brain researchers. It’s a pop-science book. So it contains nothing technically or biochemically challenging. A large section of the book is dedicated to why we like art, and particular works of art. … Continue reading
After matching the aerial view of the compound published in Tuesday’s Guardian against Google Maps I soon discovered that the site was already labelled helpfully “Osama Bin Laden’s Hideout Compound.” Presumably, this is a recent annotation.
I’ve at last caught up with the philosopher-historian Giambattista Vico’s (1668-1744) unusual work the New Science, as an e-book, purchased, downloaded and read on an iPad while travelling from Sopron in northern Hungary to the UK by train, a baroque odyssey of sorts. Amidst homage to the ancient Egyptians, obsessions about race and lineage, forced … Continue reading