Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Origami as paper's memory?

The trailer above is for Between The Folds, a new feature documentary film presented by PBS's Independent Lens. You can view the whole film on PBS on December 8 (via Boingboing).

See two more clips from the movie here.

Download movie torrent here.

On a related note, here's a great talk by Robert Lang, from TED. Robert Lang is a pioneer of the newest kind of origami -- using math and engineering principles to fold mind-blowingly intricate designs that are beautiful and, sometimes, very useful.

There's gonna be wuite a bit of origami involved in Sagan's solar sails projects...

There's so much more origami... consider this part 1.

The Berlin Wall

Really interesting animation re: the Berlin wall, history of it, and a bit while it was in action, east and west side perspectives.

LHC, shutdown, lark.


By now you've probably heard that a bird caused a concern with LHC (no delay - the thing wasn't even on... just exposed a potential future problem). I'm not really posting about that.. just one of the great comments that followed a thread (via GeekPress)


The bird's briefing:

The approach will not be easy. You are required to maneuver straight down this trench and skim the surface to this point. The target area is only two meters wide. It's a small thermal exhaust port, right below the main port. The shaft leads directly to the reactor system. A precise hit will start a chain reaction which should destroy the station.


Anyway, kinda reminded me of a movie I watched over the weekend, Primer. Primer is a 2004 American science fiction film about the accidental discovery of time travel. The film was written, directed and produced by Shane Carruth, a mathematician and a former engineer, and was completed on a budget of $7,000. (via Wiki; don't read if you don't want the movie spoiled). Recommended by a friend, I ended up watching it 1.5 times to try to figure out the plot (with a little nap in between!). It's a pretty cool look at the old time travel paradoxes... and also a more realistic look (at least in my view.. ) at the more often than not serendipitous scientific discovery process. The process of new ideas and brain-storming seems to work the same way; by climbing that ladder through good teamwork and communication; bouncing ideas off each other "up the ladder". Anyway, off on a tangent there, but that's how I always pictured it.

Download movie here (torrent).

Looking through the window on the world of critical thought games.

My interest in critical thinking games has spiked recently (probably cuz the law apps are in finally), specifically tower defense games, word games, and most recently chess and go. I watched the movie "Game Over: Kasparaov and the Machine" on a friend's recommendation, which kinda got me excited about chess and go, and I figure/feel both are something I wanna get at least pretty good at (along with the word games, eventually... ). I think, or at least I bet, that these skills are relatively transferable to every day scenarios, specifically with the planning ahead / big picture predictability of certain scenarios, which I'm admittedly pretty poor at.

After playing Go for about 3 hours the other night, I found out that there are a lot of things going on at once, and that I currently suck at it. Apparently there is a steep learning curve, and just like chess in the old USSR, the Chinese would send their kids away to school at a very young age, where whey would study the game for over 10 hours a day!

I started with a java tutorial that was pretty good for the basics. After that, if you're not frustrated to shit, there is a great tutorial program called The Many Faces of Go, which you can download for free here. There's also an iphone app called SmartGo. I have the .ipa for your jailbroken phone if you want it.

The history of the game is quite cool, and I'm sure Wikipedia does a better job of it than I would here.

Anyway, on a psychological / cognitive science level, there is some evidence that chess and go activate different parts of the brain, with go being more right hemisphere heavy. Moreover, perhaps predictably, these types of leisure games do seem to fight off (correlationally for now at least - there are definitely social aspect ties here) dementia and even Alzheimer's, and I won't say that that isn't a small part in my motivations for studying these things, despite the years I have left to go crazy. However, with 30-50% of the western population diagnosed with some sort of mental illness by the age of 32, Alzheimer's may be too forward thinking!