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This tag is associated with 14 posts

Automatic writing

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

Why cartoons have animals 2

Watching pet owners coach their pets to talk provides one of the more amusing diversions on YouTube. Apparently you can train a dog to say “hello” as a kind of vocalised yawn, or to growl out something like “sausages.” In a post in May 2012 I outlined 9 reasons why cartoons feature animals. Here’s a 10th reason: getting animals to talk. It’s obvious: animals (non-human) … Continue reading

Morphic fields

The kids at Hogwarts learn to move objects about at will without having to touch or grab them. According to philosopher David Ray Griffin, the mechanistic philosophy of Rene Descartes helped counteract the belief that minds can control objects over distances. This insight eventually reduced the persecution of people labelled as witches. For good or evil the … Continue reading

Derrida for stand-ups

It’s easy to get carried away with words, either written or spoken, especially if you’re good at stringing them together. I was reminded of this propensity at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, with its programme category “Spoken Word,” indicating entertainments in which amusing writers like David Sedaris stand up and talk, and others sit and listen … Continue reading

Meditation on a blunt instrument

Digital networks presumably influence people’s encounters with social reality: “real life is life online.” But there’s also the argument that reality in general is mediated through the instruments we use, in our social life and in our understanding of the material universe. The physicist Neils Bohr noted that for observations and calculations about sub-atomic particles no sharp … Continue reading

The opposite of architecture

If the universe requires antimatter as well as matter then surely anything is entitled to an opposite. With architecture it’s easy to identify candidates for the role. “Anarchitecture” could be a kind of anarchic practice against orderliness. If architecture is building something then its opposite probably involves pulling it down. If people think architecture produces iconic, … Continue reading

Thought transfer

Creative people need to be given the tools to express themselves, to vent what’s inside to the outside world. They also need to develop communication skills appropriate to their inner talents. We are all creatives in a sense. Thoughts arise in my mind and get communicated to others, to be unpacked in such a way … Continue reading

I am Spartacus

The perennial tussle between the right to free speech and the right to privacy has a spatial dimension of relevance to any designer. Architects, geographers and planners are acutely aware of the relationships between public and private spaces. Free speech roughly equates to the right of access to a place (eg a city square, the … Continue reading

This is not a hideout

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.

Digital metaphors and the baroque

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

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