Month: November 2008
I’m back to hacking haskell now, results hopefully before this Saturday when I’m playing at the make.art festival in Poitiers. I won’t be livecoding in Haskell itself (it seems dynamic programming in Haskell is a bit up in the air while work on the ghc API goes on), instead I’m writing a parser for a language for live coding vocable rhythms. It’s interesting designing a computer language centered around phonology…
I’ve kept a bit quiet about a great achievement in my life, but now I’ve come to terms with it I think the time has now come to go public – last September I was knitter of the month for knitting the zig zag scarf from Aneeta’s excellent knitting-for-beginners book knitty gritty. I made it for my son Harvey (another of my achievements), shown wearing it.
My knitter of the month prize was some beautiful hand-dyed yarn which I’ve since turned into another scarf with a nice wavy pattern. I estimate this second scarf took about 7500 stitches, it took me a while but I managed to go a bit faster after adjusting my knitting towards a more continental style of holding the yarn in my left hand.
The pattern took a bit of concentration, but at some point I started being able to watch videos while knitting. I’ve found this an excellent way of exploring new fields of science for a couple of hours each night. I think somehow stitching the knits and purls helps weave new ideas into my understanding. In any case often when I’m not in the mood to spend an hour either watching a lecture or knitting I am in the mood to do both.
Here’s some of the videos I’d particularly recommend to watch while knitting (note: I’m adding to this as I remember what I’ve watched):
- David Bohm interview about quantum theory and thinking of wholes rather than parts. From the vega science trust, who have many other interesting looking lectures
- Dance as a way of knowing, an interview with Alva Noë about thought and movement. Interesting from a perspective of cross-disciplinary study.
- I’m working through the Almaden Institute lectures on Cognitive Computing, so far have watched From Brain Dynamics to Consciousness by Gerald Edelman, The Emergence of Intelligence in the Neocortical Microcircuit by Henry Markram, The Mechanism of Thought by Robert Hecht-Nielsen (a brash introduction to the intriguing confabulation theory of the mechanics of cognition) and The Uniqueness of the Human Brain by V. S. Ramachandran (a fascinating insight into the construction of metaphor informed by study into synaesthesia). All excellent distillations. (thanks for the pointer mick)
- A new kind of science by Stephen Wolfram, a fascinating journey in models of nature and computation with simple cellular atomata.
- Jimmie Riddle and the Lost Art of Eefing (audio) – now we can all enjoy American culture again, here’s a good place to start
- Music and the Brain by Aniruddh Patel – a fine introduction to some of his excellent research into the commonalities between the perception and cognition of language and music.
- Tangible functional programming by Conal Elliot – ok I watched this ages ago without knitting but still deserves a mention, mind bending stuff
- Sources of more videos, some as yet untapped: lectures.reddit, videosift (mind and brain/science), redwood centreg (neuroscience), grey thumb (evolution/artificial life), freesciencelectures, a broad comb, ucsd greymatters, ucsd sciencematters, TED talks, Haskell video presentations
- Suggestions of more sources of videos would be great, I’ve got more xmas present projects to do…
I’m working on an on-line piece for the forthcoming Supertoys exhibition at the Arnolfini in Bristol. It has always been tricky doing audio in web browsers — java sound is painful and fiddly to get working (although Ollie Bown is improving things hugely), flash has only done mp3 playback, and no-one ever installs any other plugins.
However now Flash 10 is out and gives you full control, you can now pipe your samples out to audio. Already cleverer people than me have done things like an ogg vorbis player, not using Adobe authoring tools but the excellent and properly free HaXe language which can compile to flash.
Anyway here is my demo showing karplus-strong string synthesis (sourcecode included), which will make the audio for my supertoys project. If you have any problems (or even successes) with it please, please let me know what OS and browser you’re using in the comments here, that’d be most helpful!