Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Presbyopia


If you look closely at this infrared image on the left side, you will see houses slightly out of focus, not because yours truly screwed up in taking the shot but rather how infrared wavelengths drift out of focus from time to time with lenses & cameras keyed to visible light. Now consider looking at a computer screen or smartphone for 8 hours to see how out of focus eyes can permanently become given just how intense screens on said devices tend to be in the year of our lord 2018.




But there is a common sense remedy to this.



Yours truly does the 20-20-20 rule to the max even though my eyes vis a vis close up vision crapped out years ago due to age but with that being said, said vision has not gotten any worse looking at screens of all sizes beginning in the late 70's of B&W 80 character displays, courtesy Perkin Elmer, creating fine art 3D graphics on the MAGI system using Fortran 77 as the weapon of choice to create said art in question. :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The Uncanny Valley writ large



The Uncanny Valley, the place where 3D CG characters so closely resemble humans yet not, giving everyone the creeps, is now being generated in real time, something not thought possible until now.

Fast forward to today, and the tools that are available to budding games creators are incredible. And there’s one graphics and animation engine that is at the forefront of the advancement in realtime graphics realism. Unreal Engine.

From Mortal Kombat to Star Wars, there is no other system as ubiquitous as this, and recently demonstrations of the capabilities of the latest iteration of the system have been doing the rounds. Be prepared to be amazed.

There are three standout demonstrations. The first uses 3Lateral’s Meta Human Framework© alongside Unreal Engine to make a volumetric capture of a performance by Andy Serkis, before transposing it to another CGI character. In realtime. The final result is shown above.

This is Andy Serkis’ original performance. Note that what you are watching is still a CGI version of him!


Gotta love Macbeth. :)

Addendum: Charles Darwin capped on this in Voyage of the Beagle in describing the face of a South American bushmaster in the Galapagos. 




Uncanny Valley indeed.

Monday, March 26, 2018

In the eye of the beholder


Is this art or an artificial construct generated by Deep Dream, a Google derived AI with a viewpoint on the world both bizarre and wondrous depending on one's point of view. 




Compare this piece with Diebenkorn's Large Light Blue. Eerie says it all.
Any questions?

Addendum: Here's a shot by yours truly using DD to do the deed.


Van Gogh anyone? Here's the original.


Emergence - NYC 2018.

4 & More ...


Lions 3


News in the Round


Verticality


Emergence

Sunday, March 25, 2018

NYC/Edge Lines



NYC is a city of angles, lines and intensity. Motion of all forms rule as the city prepares for spring. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

It's computational


For a long time, yours truly has thought the cure for cancer centers on understating how our bodies crunch information because cancer, in essence, is a breakdown of this incredibly complex communicative process that keeps us rubes alive 24/7. With this in mind, the approach to solving this wicked problem is finally going in the right direction based on compute power that's increasing at exponential rates as we move further into the 21st century.

The bad old days ...


John Wheeler was right ... it's computational.



In the end, Wheeler eloquently explains what reality is all about.




John Wheeler

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The "Art" of Persuasion



When one combines high end analytics/data mining with political dirty tricks, the end result is Cambridge Analytica.

The data mining company Cambridge Analytica, which is owned by the billionaire Robert Mercer, made headlines for a second time in less than a week. On Monday Britain's Channel 4 News broadcast the results of a four month long investigation into the company. The explosive report shows the company's CEO Alexander Nix bragging about using dirty tricks to entrap politicians. Here's a short clip from the program.

NEWS REPORT: After a four-month undercover investigation, tonight a glimpse into how they really operate. Prepared, it seems, to ruin their clients' opponents through handouts and honey traps. Through sex, secrets, and spies.

It get better.

Joining me now to discuss the Channel 4 report on Cambridge Analytica and related matters is Bill Black. Bill is a white collar criminologist and former financial regulator and Associate Professor of Economics and Law at the University of Missouri Kansas City. He is the author also of "The Best Way to Rob a Bank Is to Own One." Thanks for joining us again, Bill.

Bill Black: Thank you.

GREG WILPERT: Bill, What is your initial reaction to these latest revelations about Cambridge Analytica dirty tricks?

BILL BLACK: So, Americans understand the Koch brothers. But if you distilled the Koch brothers down to the absolute essence of evil then you'd have the Mercer father-daughter team. They want to produce a world that's authoritarian and they want to produce a world that is nationalistic, along the lines of, basically, pure blood and those types of things. And they've taken over this entity Cambridge Analytica that used to be just sort of a regular company. They purged all of the moderates. So it's deeply, deeply right wing.

But it's more than that. It's, basically, you have to think of these people as mercenaries, as in mercenaries in the old days that would go in and take over a country by force of arms. Now they do it in a more sophisticated fashion. They have no country that they believe in. Former spies type such, but they are entirely out for power and money in these areas.

BRT talked about CA, with homage to Edward Bernays, the father of propaganda, in a piece titled Data Set, which, in indirect ways, shows how CA helped Trump become POTUS by leveraging data garnered from Facebook in ways that boggle the mind.

Addendum: Here is the 5 part Channel 4 News video series on CA's excellent adventure.


Edward Bernays

Roadtrip+



A quick 4 day excursion into Fl complete with water, tourists, resorts, pelicans, sand and astoundingly clear and sunny skies is the focus of this short trip shot with a smartphone and iPad. Enjoy.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Quinn



Quinn, the intense Nor'easter, roared through CT with a vengeance with 20+" of snow and howling winds knocking out power to the max. With all this being said, the inherent beauty of Quinn is zen like with extremely heavy snow transforming the landscape into a textured whitespace of delicate beauty. Enjoy.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Can you see what I see? :)



Extremely cool optical illusion. Warning: Click mute before viewing as the music score sucks.

 A 3-D painted zebra crosswalk in Ísafjörður, Iceland

Ísafjörður's optical illusion of a crosswalk is designed to get motorists to slow down. And there's potentially more three-dimensional painted zebra crossings to come in this remote Icelandic town. (Video screenshot: Gústi Productions/YouTube)
Iceland is a place of such dramatic, otherworldly beauty that many visitors have a hard time believing their very own eyes. Over the past several years, the island-bound Nordic nation has emerged, for better or worse, as the world’s preeminent blink twice and rub-your-peepers-to-make-sure-you’re-not-hallucinating destination. Double takes, audible gasps, and veering rental cars off of roads while gawking are all par for the course.

It’s that last reaction — distracted driving while speeding to get to the next awe-inspiring site — that’s problematic. To address this, Ísafjörður, a lively fishing and tourism hub in northwest Iceland’s far-flung Westfjords region, has embraced a novel approach to improving traffic safety: fighting rubberneck-inducing fire with rubberneck-inducing fire.

Dreamt up by town environmental commissioner Ralf Trylla and executed by local pavement marking company GÍH Vegamálun, a traditional, striped crosswalk in the center of town has been transformed into a pedestrian right-of-way that appears to be hovering directly above the asphalt.


To be clear, this shifting 3-D optical illusion doubling as a run-of-the-mill crosswalk is a distraction (and disorienting, to boot). However, the town is confident it will slow traffic, if not bring it to a complete stop, without freaking out too many overwhelmed out-of-towners already dazed by the unreal-looking natural scenery of the Westfjords.

Imagine this in NYC. :) A crowd pleaser or crowd annoyance depending on one's POV. :)

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Winter's End



Winter's slowly ending in CT with ice ebbing away, the sun rising higher in the sky and a fierce Nor'easter named Riley notwithstanding. Enjoy.

Update, I may have to add to this bad boy if the weather forecast rings true March 7th & 8th. :)

Friday, March 02, 2018