linkdump

Today I worked. The S.O. made some wonderful miso soup; as I sit praying for it to finally cool down instead of being all summery, now that the calendar says it’s supposed to be fall, it’s a nice wintry soup to kickstart the season. I hope.

Links!

  • A grad student designed a concrete jet robot for his thesis — it builds concrete structures not unlike a normal printer lays down ink on a page. The video is long, but conceptually very cool — it’s like an industrial-scale 3D printer. Via Digg.
  • A youtube video screencast of a designer working on the layout of a magazine. Strangely mesmerizing, especially since I used to do this sort of thing in high school. Via Kottke.
  • Another video, this one from Ted Talks, where psychologist Jonathan Haidt explains his take on the difference between liberals and conservatives. Via Digg.
  • An interesting article on how faulty input to the risk analysis programs on Wall Street helped foster the current financial crisis. It does prove a couple of points: one, that computers can only do as much as you tell them to do — if you don’t tell them about the bad news, they won’t take it into account, and two, that you have to be careful what you’re relying on computers to do. Computers can solve technical problems very well — repetitive math, taking into account lots of variables, etc. But they’re not very good at solving human problems — optimism, bias, etc. A definitely lesson for programmers and anyone who’s caught themselves trusting “the computer” too much. Via Digg.
  • These doorknobs are cool, if expensive. Probably unaffordable, but very nice.
  • Artist Nina Katchadourian did a project where she mended spiderwebs. The spiders were not so appreciative. Via Kottke.
  • Here’s some loveliness — NASA this year has been taking pictures of various cities at night from space. Via Kottke.
  • I completely missed both of these phenomena of the 80s. Between 1982 and 1984, there was a game show that pitted two contestants against each other playing video games. In an act of “oh wow, was that really necessary?”, they’ve put up episodes of Starcade, the game show. The other phenomenon presents itself as the ‘guess the mystery game’ prize about 3 minutes in to show 59. It’s an Audio Technica Mister Disc — a record player no larger than a man’s shoe! Via Kottke.

Today’s video — Dylan Winter, a cameraman near Oxford, England, put together a jaw-dropping video of the local flock of starlings commuting from their feeding grounds to their roosting grounds one evening. They look like something out of a Miyazaki film; he also mentions that it could have inspired the drug-induced ideas of one Lewis Carroll. Mesmerizing to watch. Via Ben Fry.

More tomorrow!

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