Links for January 1, 2018

Asian-American Cuisine’s Rise, and Triumph

This is food borne of a particular diaspora, made by chefs who are “third culture kids,” heirs to both their parents’ culture and the one they were raised in, and thus forced to create their own.

Could we call it Asian-American cuisine? The term is problematic, subsuming countries across a vast region with no shared language or single unifying religion.... When I asked American chefs of Asian heritage whether their cooking could be considered Asian-American cuisine, there was always a pause, and sometimes a sigh.

How the sandwich consumed Britain

The M&S breakthrough arrived on high streets populated by mostly featureless sandwich bars. Slow service. Bins of fillings of indeterminate age. “It was a depressing situation,” Julian Metcalfe told me. “Ninety per cent of them were depressing places.” Metcalfe opened the first branch of Pret a Manger, at 75b Victoria Street, in London, during the summer of 1986. He was 26 years old. He had been running a delicatessen in Putney, but it had no kitchen, and Metcalfe was dismayed by what he was forced to sell. “We were delivered coleslaw with a 16-day shelf life,” he recalled. “I remember thinking: ‘Goodness.’”


Links for December 31, 2017

Google Maps’s Moat

In other words, Google’s buildings are byproducts of its Satellite/Aerial imagery. And some of Google’s places are byproducts of its Street View imagery… so this makes AOIs a byproduct of byproducts. This is bonkers, isn’t it? Google is creating data out of data.


We are a non-profit long-term research group in the spirit of Doug Engelbart and Xerox PARC. We are inventing a new computational medium where people work together with real objects in the real world, not alone with virtual objects on a screen. We are building a community workspace in the heart of Oakland, CA. The entire building is the computer.

Rotten Apples

The Rotten is a searchable database that lets you know whether or not a film or television show is tied to a person who has been accused of sexual misconduct.

GitHub - rezaali/Fragment: Live Code Graphics via GLSL Fragment Shaders

Fragment is an open source design tool that utilizes GLSL and live coding to allow anyone to create spectacular imagery with math(s)!… Unlike shadertoy, Fragment is a native macOS app, that allows you to edit your GLSL code with which ever text editor you prefer. Fragment allows you to render out high resolution prints, and png sequences.

VCV Rack - Open-source virtual modular synthesizer

Links for December 30, 2017

Why these friendly robots can’t be good friends to our kids

What will these children be empathizing with, exactly? Empathy is a capacity that allows us to put ourselves in the place of others, to know what they are feeling. Robots, however, have no emotions to share. And they cannot put themselves in our place. What they can do is push our buttons.... If a computational object or robot asks for our help, asks us to teach it or tend to it, we attach.... The more we interact, the more we help them, the more we think we are in a mutual relationship. But we are not.

On toys that teach coding

“Learning to code teaches valuable cognitive skills like critical thinking and problem solving” — No, actually, it doesn’t. That’s a common belief, but every attempt to show that learning to code results in improved general skills in critical thinking and problem solving has found no evidence of this. My lab has contributed evidence that strong critical thinking and problem solving skills—most notably, self-regulation skills—can lead to better programming, but not the other way around.

No, Google’s Pixel Buds won’t change the world

In place of a shared phone, which allows both participants to hear everything, give one participant a set of earphones that act as a technological barrier. Worse, force the person wearing the earphones to touch one ear when they respond, like some sort of discount secret service agent. When I tried it with colleagues at work, everybody involved felt a bit ridiculous. I had sound in my ears, but also from the person in front of me. He did not know when I was listening to a translation, so didn’t know when to speak and when to keep silent. Instead of looking into his eyes, I resorted to looking at the ceiling to indicate that I was momentarily unavailable. The whole thing was ghastly.

Thomas Train Stunts

Links for December 29, 2017

The tech industry needs a moral compass

The “ethical pivot” could be respected by shareholders, and CEOs could say, “We were wrong. We didn’t need to verify that account/monetise that content/harass those employees, so we’ll stop now and make some reparation.”… To make this a reality, we need a set of values to rally round and a set of willing actors: people who will visibly decline investment opportunities, challenge business cases, and champion alternative models of success.

My Internet Mea Culpa

For the last twenty years, I believed the internet prophets of old. I worshipped at the altar of Stewart Brand and Kevin Kelly. I believed that the world would be a better place if everyone had a voice. I believed that the world would be a better place if we all had no secrets. But so far, the evidence points to an escapable conclusion: we were all wrong.

In the Maze

Still, I had sympathy for what I recognized in some peers as professional anxiety and fear. The way they had learned to live in the world — to write novels, to make art, to teach, to argue about ideas, to conduct themselves in sexual and romantic relationships — no longer fit the time in which they were living. Especially the men.... Authors and artists whose work was celebrated as “thoughtful” or “political” not eight years ago were now being singled out as chauvinists and bigots. One might expect this in old age, but to be cast out as a political dinosaur by 52, by 40, by 36? They hadn’t even peaked!


Star Wars: The Last Jedi

The Last Jedi Doesn’t Care What You Think About Star Wars

But with Star Wars: The Last Jedi, director Rian Johnson wants to burn Star Wars to the ground. Not because he harbors ill will toward it, but because he loves it. He loves it so much that he wants to cleanse the garden and allow something fresh and new to grow. The Last Jedi is not concerned about what you, the moviegoer and fan, thinks about Star Wars. It wants to challenge you and make you question what Star Wars is and what it can be.

Rey’s Parents Reveal Star Wars: The Last Jedi’s Populism

“The Force does not belong to the Jedi,” Luke tells Rey during the period when he’s giving her a curious sort of training, one in which he seeks to teach rituals with the aim of proving them worthless. “To say that if the Jedi die, the light dies, is vanity.” Later, he claims that the legacy of the Jedi is failure and — more important — hypocrisy. These were people who thought they were better than everyone else and ended up creating mass murderers like Vader and Kylo. What’s more, he damns himself for thinking the Skywalkers were special. He speaks sarcastically of everyone’s veneration of “that mighty Skywalker blood,” perhaps in a moment of meta-textual commentary on Johnson’s behalf. “I failed because I was Luke Skywalker, Jedi Master; a legend,” he concludes. He engages in the kind of relentless and egalitarian self-criticism that would’ve made Mao proud.

Rey, Rose, and Revolution: The Last Jedi Review

Luke, Poe, Finn, and Kylo Ren all make similar chauvinistic mistakes in their stories. Each one is basing their actions off what they thought happened in the past, whether it’s through old rebellion heroes (Poe and Finn), or previous Jedi/Sith (Luke and Kylo Ren).... Our hero, Rey, however, is less susceptible to this chauvinism. This is largely due to her selflessness and focus on the Resistance as a whole. Luke disappoints Rey, but this doesn’t have the disastrous impact that it had on Ben Solo because Rey’s aim is understanding, not personal glory.

Star Wars, The Generations

Rian Johnson is a true representative of Generation X, a talented and gifted man whose singular voice has been muffled by the presence of aging giants taking up creative space around him.... At every turn, in this latest film, Rian brings to bear the judgmental eye of a somewhat cynical Generation-Xer– surprisingly, and pointedly, not just upon the self-serving fantasies of Baby Boomers, but on the inexperienced surety of the generation following his own, the Millennials.

Links for December 8, 2017

‘Geri’s Game’ Turns 20: Director Jan Pinkava Reflects On The Game-Changing Pixar Short

By the way, once again, the look of the character I completely ripped off from Jiří Trnka. The way he’s proportioned, his nose, his chin, the way his head works, the way the eyes sit in the face, all that absolutely owes a debt to the stylizations of Trnka. All I did was say, ‘What would Trnka do?’ I did a bunch of physical maquettes of different versions of the design before settling on that one, which were just made in wet clay. Jerome took the time to fire that wet clay – solid lumps of wet clay, which would have crumbled to dust as soon as they dried out – very, very slowly in his kiln.

Signs That You Are a Gen-Xer Going Through Menopause

MTSS Unaired Pilot, Producer’s Cut

Links for December 6, 2017

Big Data, Small Effort

Datasette is an app that you run from the command line. You just point it to a SQLite database and run datasette mydb.db. And what it does is set up a simple, secure, publicly-available read-only web application for exploring that data. That’s basically it. It takes database files and makes them really easy to explore on the Web.

The San Francisco Indicator Project

The San Francisco Indicator Project is a neighborhood-level data system that measures how San Francisco performs in eight dimensions of a healthy, equitable community. The goal of this project is to support collaboration, planning, decision making, and advocacy for social and physical environments that meet the needs of all citizens.

Lillian Schwartz-The Artist and the Computer pt.1

lillian schwartz-the artist and the computer pt. 2

Links for December 4, 2017

Why Black Men Love Dragon Ball Z

“I’ve been thinking a lot about where I come from and who came before me in my family and circling back to Dragon Ball Z, it does resonate with me a lot,” DJ Kirkland, a comics artist working on the miniseries Black Mage, said over Twitter DMs. “Those of us that are black and born in the U.S., at least some of us to an extent don’t know where we’re from and I feel that is something that a lot of people of color can identify with.”

Motorola Razr V3

The RAZR was the first phone to recognize that cellphones, which had been mainstream for several years at this point, were on the tipping point to becoming fashion accessories, not just utilitarian products. The RAZR realized there was an opportunity to make a product that people would more emotionally bond with.

How Generative Music Works – interactive walkthrough of procedural music methods.

Links for November 24, 2017

Rediscovering History’s Lost First Female Video Game Designer

One day in August, Joseph came home and said, “They’re looking for someone to do a quiz on the Studio II. You want to do that?”

“Sounds boring,” Joyce replied.

“Get it on your résumé, and you’re getting paid for it,” he said.

That began a project called TV Schoolhouse I, programmed in early August 1976 and delivered to RCA on August 9 for a payment of $250, according to the invoice which Joyce kept.

Ephemera-Based Storytelling at Now Play This Games Exhibition in London

Ephemera-based storytelling is a delicate art. It requires a deep understanding of player behavior — as an example, people are usually eager to search the work for hidden puzzles, so if it doesn’t have any, you have to be careful to not suggest it might (or conversely, if you’re putting them in, to make sure they all function properly and make sense without detracting from the larger work). And it also requires trust, both of the player, to be clever enough to suss out the story, and of you as the creator of the work, to provide something that’s intriguing and satisfying, in varying measures.

Underground Roman temple reopens as immersive museum

A subterranean Roman temple where a mysterious cult worshipped has been restored within an immersive museum below Bloomberg’s headquarters in London by 9/11 memorial museum exhibition designers Local Projects.

Part of Bloomberg’s £1 billion Norman Foster-designed European headquarters was restoring the Temple of Mithras to its original location seven metres below modern street level.

Links for November 22, 2017

“Day of the Devs” observations about how people view/treat art games and their creators

My feeling about this event, and showing something that’s “what the hell is this, who would make this, lol acid”, is that maybe if the event can’t host them properly maybe they shouldn’t include games like this. I’m so sorry to say that. I am SO gratefully that the game was shown there, and I’m honored, but I’m saying this because the creators get a lot of crap for this and this isn’t an easy thing to endure. They are different, and will be met with hostility. It seems like they represent something too many people believe shouldn’t be in games. They just should not exist.

Exhibiting Difficult Games

Of course it’s not possible to try out all these different techniques at once, and in fact some of them are mutually exclusive. But they all boil down to: providing the right context for a game. For us, at its simplest this might just be a placard explaining what’s exciting about a game and how it relates to other work around it – even if people don’t read the placard, the fact that it’s there helps to establish that the games have been selected for a purpose, that we believe they repay effort and attention. But beyond that, the more time and developmental focus we’ve been able to give to the physical setup of a game, the more it’s been possible to help players to approach it in a way where they will have a good experience of the game and we can communicate what we want to about it.

Roxette - The Look ( Original Acapella & Instrumental Studio)