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The laws of physics do not work in an infinite cosmos
09.30.2010
10:35 am

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If it’s not the Large Hadron Collider causing a black hole to form, sucking up our universe into dark matter, then it’s something else. Sometimes the supposed “elegance” of modern physics just crawls up its own ass, don’t you think? The end of time is a bloody long ways off, in any case. Sez me.

Look out into space and the signs are plain to see. The universe began in a Big Bang event some 13 billion years ago and has been expanding ever since. And the best evidence from the distance reaches of the cosmos is that this expansion is accelerating.

That has an important but unavoidable consequence: it means the universe will expand forever. And a universe that expands forever is infinite and eternal.

Today, a group of physicists rebel against this idea. They say an infinitely expanding universe cannot be so because the laws of physics do not work in an infinite cosmos. For these laws to make any sense, the universe must end, say Raphael Bousso at the University of California, Berkeley and few pals. And they have calculated when that is most likely to happen.

Their argument is deceptively simple and surprisingly powerful. Here’s how it goes. If the universe lasts forever, then any event that can happen, will happen, no matter how unlikely. In fact, this event will happen an infinite number of times.

This leads to a problem. When there are an infinite number of instances of every possible observation, it becomes impossible to determine the probabilities of any of these events occurring. And when that happens, the laws of physics simply don’t apply. They just break down. “This is known as the “measure problem” of eternal inflation,” say Bousso and buddies.

In effect, these guys are saying that the laws of physics abhor an eternal universe.

The only way out of this conundrum is to hypothesise some kind of catastrophe that brings an end to the universe. Then all the probabilities make sense again and the laws of physics regain their power.

Read more of Time Likely To End Within Earth’s Lifespan, Say Physicists (MIT Technology Revew)

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Japanese concept cars from 1957-2009
09.29.2010
12:42 pm

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History
Idiocracy
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Toyota Proto, 1957

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Nissan Prince Sprint 1900 Prototype, 1963

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Toyota EX-II, 1969

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Mazda RX-500, 1970

Pink Tentacle currenlty has a great post on Japanese concept cars from 1957-2009. I’m not so sure about the Toyota EX-II from 1969, tho… Yikes!

See a few more concept cars after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Meet the Micronium, the world’s smallest instrument
09.29.2010
08:34 am

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Music
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Dangerous Minds pal Brian Tibbetts, a sound designer at Lucas Arts, sent this unusual item my way this morning regarding a literally microscopic instrument called the Micronium, developed by students at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. The instrument is about 1/10 of the thickness of a human hair and from what I can gather, is a bit like playing a microscopic comb with tiny, tiny weights.

On Sunday there was a recital for the composition, “Impromptu No. 1 for Micronium” in Enschede, Holland. The music starts at about 6 minutes in and goes from random Fantastic Planet type tone generation to a perfect micro-rendition of Hot Butter’s one-hit Moog wonder “Popcorn,” which I thought was a pretty rad choice to demo this sucker:
 

 
Via PopSci.com

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
What the Future Sounded Like:  the story of Electronic Music Studios
09.28.2010
11:16 pm

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Music
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“Think of a sound—now make it.”

Here is a very cool doc by Ian Collie about London’s Electronic Music Studios, the pioneering synthesizer company formed in 1969 that created such items as the voltage controlled synth (VCS3) and the Synthi A.

These and other machines changed the way we listened to music forever. They were used by some of the first pop artists to experiment with electronic music, including Pink Floyd, The Who, Eno & Roxy Music, Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk and Hawkwind.

Collie puts together a very human and warm exploration of what sound synthesis meant to the lives of EMS principals Peter Zinovieff, Tristram Cary and David Cockerell. And in a segment that involves Hawkwind’s David Brock, he also takes on how well sound synthesis meshed with the psychedelic age.
 

 
After the jump, catch parts 2 & 3…
 

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment
Your iPhone owns you: New take on ‘See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’
09.28.2010
04:40 pm

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Amusing
Current Events
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Bizarro Blog has a troubling hilarious new take on the phrase ‘See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.’ A picture is worth a thousand words and this one speaks volumes.

Below is another illustration from Bizarro illustrating our obsession with electronic devices. Sort of sad, eh?

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(via The High Definite)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The history of computer graphics (1972)
09.28.2010
09:54 am

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Animation
Art
History
Science/Tech

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Here’s a fun look at the history of computer graphics from an early ‘70s perspective. I’m sorta digging the music and the “futuristic” trippy designs. Enjoy!

(via HYST)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Dot: the world’s smallest stop-motion animation character
09.16.2010
03:24 pm

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Animation
Science/Tech

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This is stunning.

Shot using a Nokia camera outfitted with a microscope attachment called the Cellscope, we follow Dot, a 9mm stop motion animated girl, as she races through a super miniature world.

 

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
The Bit-52’s: Robot band plays the The B-52’s ‘Rock Lobster’
09.09.2010
10:34 am

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Music
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This is rather brilliant! YouTube user bd594 describes his inspiration below:

This is dedicated to all fans of The B-52’s who are also known as the “Worlds Greatest Party Band”. This idea has been simmering in my mind for the last couple of years and after many months of procrastinating it is finally complete. I was also motivated to finish my robot band after seeing a YouTube Video from “The Trons” from New Zealand.

The Bit-52’s consist of:

Fred’s Vocals - TI99/4a computer, speech synthesizer and terminal emulator ii module
Kate and Cindy’s Vocals - Two HP Scanjet 3C scanners, UBunto and sjetplay written by NuGanjaTron
The Guitar, Keyboard, Cow Bell, Cymbal and Tambourine are all controlled by various types of push/pull solenoinds for a total of 23. The Solenoids are powered by four ULN2803 darlington drivers and everything is controlled by two PIC16F84A microcontrollers

(via Das Kraftfuttermischwerk)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Future of Music app tells you what not to listen to
09.07.2010
08:56 am

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Amusing
Music
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What a brilliant antidote to the current highly lame trend of attempted personalised music selection software (Pandora,etc). This Brian Whitman fellow has got it right (even though he’s admittedly part of the problem, ha!). These services are only going to point you in the direction of some major label hackery you’d never notice on your own, anyways. Nothing will ever beat word of mouth and the recommendations of friends and relatives with excellent taste. Let the deletions begin !

I have a strong aversion to music recommenders and music similarity services. I especially deal with a lot of cognitive dissonance as the company I co-founded makes a lot of $$$$$ (that is 5 dollar signs) selling ordered lists of artists to multinational music streaming conglomerates.
Nonetheless, we recently completed our first live recommender system (to be announced near the Boston Music Hack day in October) and to perhaps get myself more comfortable with a future in which children will no longer ask their cooler older dope-smoking brothers what to listen to in lieu of some HTML table in a UL, I decided to really sign up wholesale to this movement. If we rely on these computer programs to learn about music, well we might as well rely on them to fix the sins of our past and delete the crap we are obviously not meant to listen to anymore.
“Future of Music (2010)” is a Mac OS X app that scans your iTunes library and computes the music you are not supposed to listen to anymore based on your preferences. It then helpfully deletes it from iTunes and your hard drive. Skips the recycle bin. Just like other recommender systems, it uses a lot of fancy math (and data from Echo Nest and last.fm) that really doesn’t matter in the end. Just click the button and let it take care of your life. I want it to also delete scrobbles and spotify playlists that feature the artists. Maybe it should read your email too and tell you who you shouldn’t talk to anymore, i could use that

 
Future of Music (Music Hack Day)
 
Thanks Kurt Ralske!

Posted by Brad Laner | Leave a comment
The world’s biggest drum machine eats Stockholm
09.02.2010
02:57 pm

Topics:
Music
Science/Tech

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One of the aural drivers of the 20th century—and the bane of many traditionalist stick-men—the drum machine has a rather undersung legacy.

The first drum machine was invented in the early ‘30s by Leon Theremin on commission from Henry Cowell.

The biggest one was recently built and toured around Stockholm by Propellerheads, the Swedish bad boys behind Reason music software. Kids stomped on it, and its interface was projected onto a big-ass building downtown. Bring that thing over here!
 

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment
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