20090425

Reaction-Diffusion : Gray-Scott Model

A "related video" link from the CUDA version of cortex lead me to this web-page

http://www.mrob.com/pub/comp/xmorphia/index.html



Best stalking points this work back to one Robert Munafo based in Cambridge.


Adrift in Perceptual Space

This is a video of a random walk through a self organizing map trained on human figures. Self organizing maps themselves are not very cognitively plausible ( they have extremely limited computational power ). I am wondering if some combination of a feature encoding network and a self organizing map might give the best of both systems ?




More on JG Ballard

Taking a break from work, I tracked down a few Ballard related links. Surprisingly, I think the conventional media often reads him more deeply than the science fiction community. Judging from the comments, the general community grasps the significance of his work with more subtly than science fiction fans. Ballard was the STS writer, his gift was exploding the psychology of the technological age. If the Sci-Fi community passes him by, paying him homage more as a matter of course than actual understanding, it may indicate that too much exposure to the tropes of SF creates a kind of future burn, an uncritical acceptance of the positives of technology, and that when confronted with Ballard's bleak, obsessive viewpoint, SF fans shrink back.

But the general population, caught between Science: The Endless Frontier and Frankenstein, is ready to be challenged. Ballard struck a deep chord with people across the spectrum. Ballard is uninimitable, but his ideas were better than his style, and if SF is to break out of the ghetto, we the SF community should return to Ballard's questions. How does technology give life to our obsessions, with consequences for our 'humanity'? What is the link between the dark reptilian center of the mind, and the chrome and glass towers of the future? How can we exist in technologically warped spaces, with equally subjective time? Ballard rarely asked 'why'; the search for answers is more important than the search for causes. Technology is. It is humanity's child, and it has a life of its own, a life with direction and momentum beyond the control of the scrambling masses.

http://io9.com/5221560/remembering-jg-ballards-science-fiction-legacy (io9, scifi)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2009/apr/19/jgballard (the news media)

http://www.nme.com/blog/index.php?blog=10&title=no_future_why_jg_ballard_is_rock_s_favou&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1 (NME, did you know he was considered the inspiration for the New Wave movement?)

http://www.obit-mag.com/viewmedia.php/prmMID/5348 (obit, conventional)

http://www.thestar.com/article/623474 (Cronenberg on Ballard)

http://jalopnik.com/5218763/jg-ballard-1930+2009 (Car blog on Ballard, particularly good comments)

Bonus

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/apr/25/dying-fall-jg-ballard (one last story)
http://www.ballardian.com/rattling-other-peoples-cages-the-jg-ballard-interview (an interview with Ballard)


20090423

J.G. Ballard is dead.

Ballard the masters at capturing the alienation and isolation of the 20th century. His stories contained the elemental horror of HP Lovecraft, but for Ballard the anti-human monstrosities were not uncaring and ancient universal forces, but the technology that man had unleashed. Enlightenment and the atom bomb, sex and the automobile, Ballard showed how our relationship with technology changed mankind into something new and different. Ballard was not anti-technology, nor was he a simple progressive technological determinist. He fully grasped the contradictions and majesty of modern science and the modern man.

Ballard's strength was also his weakness. As the 20th century became the 21st, his writing became less relevant, his themes solidified. Having an eponymous adjective is both an honor and curse, but there are few words that more accurately describe modern urban life than 'Ballardian.' I hope that the science-fiction community takes up his challenge to critically examine our continually changing, increasingly personal relationship with science and technology. His vision will be sorely missed.


20090420

pqdb




Set up by one of our friends, I may consider moving this effort to pqdb ( or just start double-posting).