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Reading and Listening in 2011

This is what I read and heard over the past year. I beat my goal of one book per month. Maybe I should try for 24+ in 2012.

Fiction

It was a very sci-fi year. Pullman’s Dark Materials books were my favourites, although I’d say this was a 4 star year on average.

Non-Fiction

In the non-fiction world, I seem to be on a bit of a “Ruby with Olsen” kick.

Audio Lectures

This was the year I discovered audio lectures. Most of these were heard while running in Assiniboine park.

2011-12-18 13:10:00

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We Saw Each Other

“I don’t ever expect to be reunited with Carl. But, the great thing is that when we were together, for nearly twenty years, we lived with a vivid appreciation of how brief and precious life is. We never trivialized the meaning of death by pretending it was anything other than a final parting. Every single moment that we were alive and we were together was miraculous — not miraculous in the sense of inexplicable or supernatural. We knew we were beneficiaries of chance… That pure chance could be so generous and so kind… That we could find each other, as Carl wrote so beautifully in Cosmos, you know, in the vastness of space and the immensity of time… That we could be together for twenty years. That is something which sustains me and it’s much more meaningful.

The way he treated me and the way I treated him, the way we took care of each other and our family, while he lived. That is so much more important than the idea I will see him someday. I don’t think I’ll ever see Carl again. But I saw him. We saw each other. We found each other in the cosmos, and that was wonderful.“

Ann Druyan

“I would love to believe that when I die I will live again, that some thinking, feeling, remembering part of me will continue. But much as I want to believe that, and despite the ancient and worldwide cultural traditions that assert an afterlife, I know of nothing to suggest that it is more than wishful thinking.

The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there’s little good evidence. Far better it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides.”

Carl Sagan

2011-12-03 23:02:00

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Translated items from Leonardo da Vinci’s to-do list from the 1490s.

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A collection of Starlings is called a Murmuration. via

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20 Hz visualizes “a geo-magnetic storm occurring in the Earth’s upper atmosphere. Data courtesy of CARISMA, operated by the University of Alberta, funded by the Canadian Space Agency.”

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The Kinetic Wave Sculpture of Reuben Margolin.

Oh, the beauty of trigonometry! This reminds me of the trig I was playing with in my early Processing sketches.

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In Plain View - Allan Geske, Printmaker

My dad.

Allan Geske has been a printmaker since the mid-1970s and he employs various techniques in his art such as etching, engraving, relief and mixed media.

His prints are represented in collections throughout the USA, Japan, Korea, Britain & the Netherlands. Allan is best known for his copperplate engravings, intricate, complex & provocative images that at times evoke the landscape, but also stand as breathtaking abstractions. His etched work often incorporates prairie images paired with replications of charts, maps and iconic symbols.

Allan Geske’s studio will be open to the public next weekend, November 4th, 5th and 6th. All are welcome in room 523 of the Artspace Bldg, 100 Arthur St.

Friday: 5pm-9pm Sat/Sun: noon-5pm

I share space in the studio. Some of my work (prints, collage, photos) will also be shown.

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Hackety Hack! got a beautiful redesign last week. It’s an application that you can download that uses Shoes to teach you how to program in Ruby. It’s designed to start from scratch and guide you through writing programs— this is the tool for people who have never written a line of code in their lives; who may not even know that a ‘line of code’ is a thing that makes up a computer program.” — Casey Kolderup

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Quasicrystals as sums of waves in the plane

Cosine Gradient. Rotated and Merged. Moving Forward. Quasicrystal.

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Sending Zzzzzs Across the Pond - A wally glutton sleepytime mix I made in early 2008.

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Does this image look random to you? It’s the product of the PHP (for Windows) random number generator.

Pseudo-Random vs. True Random

Is there really such a thing as True Randomness, or are there simply patterns that humans cannot discern that we conveniently call Random?

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Whale Fall (after life of a whale)

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Cypress Trees in Texas - via

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Man sued over a Hyp-
hen that caused Mans-
laughter.

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Transit Yarn Bomb. Booya!

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What is up with Noises? (The Science and Mathematics of Sound, Frequency, and Pitch)

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Algorithms are Thoughts, Chainsaws are Tools

Towards an æsthetics of Live Coding.

“Code should be seen as well as heard, underlying algorithms viewed as well as their visual outcome.”

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Johann Sebastian Joust is a no-graphics, music-based, physical jousting game for two to six players, designed for motion controllers and smart phones.

The goal is to keep your game controller sufficiently still and be the last player remaining. Try to jostle your opponents’ controllers while protecting your own! The tempo of the music controls the “jostling sensitivity.”

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A Tale of Two Hemispheres

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Brains, Consciousness, and Thinking Machines

I am enjoying Patrick Grim’s lectures on the Philosophy of Mind.

Grim starts the series with a historical look at the mind-body problem. He then introduces the major themes in the study of artificial intelligence, while exploring human intelligence, perception, behaviour and finally the hard problem of consciousness. Throughout this complex web of ideas Grim remains eloquent and engaging. Highly recommended.

For me, these theories of mind and human-ness are mingling nicely with Philip Pullman concepts of daemons and zombies in his Dark Materials novels. Also recommended. I finished the Subtle Knife yesterday.

2011-07-30 16:22:00

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Flying Bird Robot.

Weight: 450 Grams
Power Usage: 80 Watts

Next, the Blade Runner Owl.

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Kevin Slavin: How Algorithms Shape our World

via booooost

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BOOK (after Gertrude Stein)

Also: Lo-Res Book Covers

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Strangers in Transit montréal, québec. STM 165, direction nord.

via

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Manitoba Election dot Ca

On October 4th of this year the people of Manitoba go to the polls to elect their next Legislative Assembly and Premier.

Making an informed choice for your vote requires that you know the candidates, their platforms and the issues they discuss.

This is why we built ManitobaElection.ca, a citizen created website for the upcoming Manitoba provincial election.

Currently you can view all the constituencies, candidate nominees and the incumbents. We have plenty more in the works including interactive maps, historical election results, candidate news feeds, an events calendar, candidate questionnaires, and educational resources.

Your feedback is much appreciated. Send your comments and suggestions to manitoba.election@gmail.com or @MbElection on Twitter.

* * *

ManitobaElection.ca was created in the spirit of openness, community, accountability and communication. In 2010 we created a similar website for the Winnipeg election which helped over 40,000 Winnipeggers research their mayoral, city council and school trustee candidates. After the election we released an open data collection including the website source, ward map polygons, and historical election results.

2011-07-15 15:00:00

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Disassembled Radio. Found on Reddit.

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How To Work Better (1991) Peter Fischli und David Weiss

via

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10,000 Year Clock

There is a Clock ringing deep inside a mountain. It is a huge Clock, hundreds of feet tall, designed to tick for 10,000 years. Every once in a while the bells of this buried Clock play a melody.

Each time the chimes ring, it’s a melody the Clock has never played before.

More @ The Long Now.

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Don’t Play Games With Me! Promises and Pitfalls of Gameful Design

“Can life be a game? Should it? And if so, who is playing whom?”

Launch in fullscreen. As you navigate, read the fine print below the slides.

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Wonder Wheel

via - via

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Scale and Perspective

via - via

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Thirty minutes from Portage and Main using public transit.

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My haul for the day, including all but one of Asimov’s Robot Series.

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(high shutter-speed camera) + (stand-up bass) = Wobbly Strings

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Relax - Glutton and Steak Beat Generation Edit

Chopped from a sprawling afternoon jam session with my pal Jake. Two synths. Turntable. Sequencer. Includes spoken word from Jack Kerouac. Recorded in 2002.

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Do Not via

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Human Powered Quad-blade Helicopter

There will be a test flight tomorrow, an attempt to win the Sikorsky Prize.

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Early Winnipeg Rap Videos - Part 2

Frek Sho - Patience 1996

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Early Winnipeg Rap Videos - Part 1

Main Street by J Style 1988

via: Co-Op’s Facebook Feed

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Etching for Artists and Hackers: Printmaking & Circuit Boards

I recommend clicking on the menu button to view as a full screen presentation.

These slides — from my talk at the 5th Skullspace Hack-a-thon — explore the history of etching, intaglio printmaking, and the etching of circuit-boards. Etching is the process of using corrosive chemicals to cut into the unprotected parts of an object’s surface.

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The Intaglio Printmaking Process

This video covers engraving, etching, aquatint and drypoint printmaking techniques.

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Modern Day Petroglyph

Some background info: Translated from Portuguese

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Chemical Etching For Artists and Hackers

This Saturday (April 16th) I’ll be giving a talk on chemical etching at the 5th Skullspace Hack-a-thon.

Etching is the process of using corrosive chemicals to cut into the unprotected parts of an object’s surface.

Etching has both artistic and industrial uses. I have experience with both types of etching and I’ll be sharing my knowledge of:

  • The History of Etching.
  • Etched Copper and the Printing Press. (Printmaking)
  • Etching Circuit Boards for Electronic Prototyping.

I’ll see you there.

In the meanwhile, check out the etchings of my father, Allan Geske.

2011-04-12 01:29:00

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“There is the theory of the Mobius, a twist in the fabric of space where time becomes a loop…”

From: Orbital’s Brown Album

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From our Vacation to Oahu, Hawaii last month. See more…

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Map Collage by Matt Cusick

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Join SkullSpace on March 19th for their fourth hack-a-thon.

“SkullSpace is a whisper of a hackerspace in Winnipeg. SkullSpace is a place for hackers, builders, programmers, artists and anybody interested in how stuff works to gather in a common place and help focus their knowledge and creativity.”

Crosspost from Codeglutton.

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TEDxManitoba Analogies

Last month I had the opportunity to attend TEDxManitoba, an independently organized TED event at the Park Theatre. It was a day of inspiration drawn from the various speakers and the conversations with fellow attendees.

During each of the seventeen talks I scribbled down my thoughts in a notepad. During the week that followed, I tried to distill each talk down to one compelling analogy. These seventeen analogies are presented below (in italics), along with links to each video (follow the arrows).

Some of the analogies are direct quotes, others are summaries of what I personally took away from a talk. Out of context these analogies may have little meaning, so watch the videos. I’ve marked my favourite talks with a star (★).

Len Brownlie

Helping the Swiftest Be Swifter

Luck as preparation plus opportunity.

Frank Plummer

Is There Natural Immunity to HIV?

Sleepy immune systems as HIV immunity.

Shaun Loney

Poverty, Crime & Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Employment as transformative opportunity.

Phil Doucette

Between You, Me and Liberation

Forgiveness as freedom.

Rick Van Eck

How Video Games May Transform Education

Engagement as cognitive effort.

John Weigelt

Enabling Canada’s Economy Digitally

Prosperity gap as innovation gap.

Leslee Silverman and Columpa Bobb

The Moving Gallery @ the Edge of the Screen

Children as empathy glue.

Scott Stirton

Intelligent Buildings

The Manitoba Hydro building as camel.

Hannah Taylor

A Cold Walk in Shoes Without a Home

Change as caring in action.

Terry MacLeod et al.

Finding Life Beyond the Gang

Gang life as MPR (Money, Power and Respect).

Les Foltos

Peer Coaching: 21st Century Teacher Skills

Colleagues as co-learners.

Bernard McCoy

Social Entrepreneurism for the 21st Century

Love as seeking the good of others.

Terry Godwaldt

DeforestAction: Global Project Based Learning

Authentic tasks as education.

* * *

The following talks (the first four of the day) are not available due to an internet hiccup.

Robert Sawyer - Creating the Future ★

Consciousness as networked complexity.

Nicole Buckley - Canada Alive in Space

Space research as aging research.

Kerry Stevenson - How 3D Printing Will Change the Way You Think

3D printing as slow motion teleportation.

Karen Letourneau - A Breakthrough in Prenatal Ultrasound ★

Simplicity as the other side of complexity.

2011-03-15 11:24:51

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The Kirkbride plan for mental hospitals consists of sets of enormous, symmetrical, staggered wings, like a bat made out of lego. Men are on the left and women on the right in sections that radiate from the main entrance for increasingly violent or incurable patients.

Early mental institutions where patients had to pay for their own incarceration would also vary in class (rich to poor) on the y axis. The staggering of the wings ensured the flow of air through each, purging them of diseased vapors perhaps, such was the Victorian obsession with fresh air.

via

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We tend to remember… via

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Thermostat Wiring Protip

When upgrading an old 2-wire mercury-switch thermostat to a digital one, connect the existing wires running from your furnace to the W and RH wiring posts in the new thermostat.

For two wire systems, the thermostat is simply acting as a relay. This means you don’t need to worry about the polarity. However, convention states that you should connect the white/red wire to W and the black wire to RH.

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“EXIST” by Kelly Mark

via : via : via

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Portage Avenue looking West. Winnipeg.

Via: Old Winnipeg Postcards

Also: Unusual Manitoba, 70s Manitoba, 1950 Flood, Manitoba Heritage Sites

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Winnipeg Quiz: Where was this 1950’s 1909 photo taken?

Update: Correct answer submitted by AH.

The location is McDermot Avenue, west from Main Street.

Photo Source: The Rise and Sprawl

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Everything is a Remix: Part One, Part Two

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via : via : via

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Winnipeg From Space

This photo was taken on January 11th by astronaut Paolo Nespoli on the International Space Station. There are many more amazing photos in Paolo’s Flickr Stream.

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Wally Glutton - A Chilly Draft

This is a track I started in 2004 but never finished. All the drum programming and synth work was done using Reason. The sample at the start is from the movie Donnie Darko.

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There Is No Movement Without Rhythm

Warning: This video is highly rhythmic. It may cause happiness and spontaneous dancing.

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This is happening right now inside every one of your trillions of cells. The replication and transcription of DNA/RNA reminds me of a Turning Machine with the DNA/RNA as the tape.

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Stung Eye Year in Review

This weekend was nice. I have a new year’s tradition of re-reading my StungEye post from the previous year. I also re-read and update my resolutions. Here’s a recap of my 2010.

Doing Is Real; Being Is A Social Fiction*

Most of my 2010 resolutions were about doing stuff, rather than thinking about doing stuff. ; )

As such, I:

To increase my productivity (or better said, to decrease my procrastination) I’ve been experimenting with a simple To-Do system based on video game “achievement theory”. Some inspirations:

WinnipegElection.ca

Our goal with WinnipegElection.ca was to increase citizen engagement in Winnipeg civic politics by creating an online information hub for voters, candidates and journalists. This past October we helped over 35 thousand Winnipeggers research their mayoral, council and school trustee candidates.

The site was inspired by openParliament.ca, which was inspired by howdTheyVote.ca and theyWorkForYou.com.

We will be announcing a new project later this month, built in collaboration with RRC Journalism students. We will continue to focus on organizing and sharing publicly available political data.

Intellectual Property and the Public Domain

Twenty-ten was the year I finally overcame my fear of the public domain.

“He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property.” — Thomas Jefferson

Prior to this year I had been using a (fairly permissive) Creative Commons license for all my publicly available source-code, blog content and Flickr photos. After pondering the above-linked essay I no longer wished to force attribution or to place non-commercial-use restrictions on my works. I claim no ownership over the ideas I choose to share with others.

This year I released the following soure-code as public domain using the Unlicense:

Also:

2011-01-03 17:05:00