Links for August 16, 2017

Finland Has a Sports Screw Loose

More than 2,000 people ventured to the remote backwaters of central Finland recently for the 20th annual Swamp Soccer World Championships. If you and your spouse want to compete in the Wife Carrying World Championships, you must come to Finland. The Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships? Finland. The World Berry Picking Championship and the Air Guitar World Championships? Finland and Finland.

“We have some weird hobbies,” said Paivi Kemppainen, 26, a staff member at the swamp soccer competition and master of the understatement.

Crafting Plausible Maps

When water is poured over a landscape formed of continents and mountains, what does it do? Land isn’t arbitrarily arranged on a planet. Plate tectonics sort rock into lighter and heavier, and clumps the lighter rock together as continents. And at any level of magnification closer than a full global picture, coastlines will have a similar, fractal look.

This fractal nature means you can focus on the coast of a small territory or examine the margins of a continent, and the contours* should be about the same. In fact, if you aren’t feeling very inspired, you can take a zoomed-in island from Earth* and make it your fantasy continent, or vice versa.*

How to build an amazing board game collection for $10! – Print & play, stock pieces, parlor games, and free RPGs.

Links for August 14, 2017

Aphex Twin Speaks To Ex. Korg Engineer Tatsuya Takahashi

TT: Talking of standards, the sample rate of 48 kHz is another one for sampling and signal processing, but the volca sample uses a weird one at 31.25 kHz. Purely because of technical constraints, but I was thinking that might be part of the reason you liked it so much, because the different sample rate gives it a unique sound.

RDJ: Haha, yes, it was pretty much the first thing I noticed. Yeah, I thought the 48 kHz, was based on the Nyquist Theorem. I think it’s double what humans can apparently hear or something, which is another weird one. I don’t know how anybody worked out humans only hear to 20 kHz. I mean even if you can’t hear above 20 kHz, it doesn’t mean that your body doesn’t feel it. You don’t just experience sound through your eardrums. A good example of this is listening to a recording of your own voice. To almost everyone apart from maybe the most narcissistic, it always sounds weird/thinner/smaller, as you don’t feel the vibration of your chest and body. There are other reasons of course but that’s one for sure. Anyway, I’m into the extremes of the audio spectrum, ultra clarity ’n’ all but I probably prefer fucked-muffled/lo-bit/’70s sound more, ha!

TT: Oh, and when something defies the standard – I just remembered the first time I played a Yamaha SK-10, the faders were all upside down, like max was downwards, even on the volume. I didn’t know what was going on and it threw me off at first, but it’s actually a bit fun like that and you soon realise it all comes from organ drawbars.

Christina Kubisch: Discovering new sounds

Juana Molina - In the Lassa

Links for August 11, 2017

What happened when Walmart left

Given her mother’s health issues, Nicole Banks tries to compensate for Walmart’s departure by seeking out fresh fruit and vegetables in the surrounding area. But it’s not easy. The nearest replacement store, Goodsons, is too expensive, she says, and other Walmarts are an hour’s drive away along Appalachian roads that are as tightly coiled as the copperhead snakes that live in the local forest.

Microchip Implants for Employees? One Company Says Yes

Employees at Three Square Market, a technology company in Wisconsin, can choose to have a chip the size of a grain of rice injected between their thumb and index finger. Once that is done, any task involving RFID technology — swiping into the office building, paying for food in the cafeteria — can be accomplished with a wave of the hand. The program is not mandatory, but as of Monday, more than 50 out of 80 employees at Three Square’s headquarters in River Falls, Wis., had volunteered.

Links for August 9, 2017

We Knew Ravens Are Smart. But Not This Smart

In the final experiments, the ravens could choose between an inferior immediate food reward (a smaller, less-tasty piece of kibble) and a token for their favorite kibble they could trade later—a concept called delayed gratification.

“Humans devalue things that take place in the future,” says Osvath, emphasizing people typically go for instant rewards.

Ravens seem to be a little more patient, selecting the tool or token that would get them the better food in the near future over 70 percent of the time.

Ravens parallel great apes in flexible planning for tool-use and bartering

The Crow Who Never Learned to Fly, and Then Taught Herself

As they watched Nugget more closely, though, the researchers began to think something else might be going on. Eventually, Nugget began adding to her flap-and-hop routine, tacking on bouts of running, jumping from perch to perch, and even climbing the wire that made up the sides of the cage. “It progressed from this weird, disjointed behavior to this really complex pattern,” says Davie. “And then all of a sudden she was flying.”

‘We Thought We Would Be Ruled By Robots’

We know, for example, that most urban crows aren’t born in cities, they come from big families in the suburbs and flee the nest in their youth looking for the riches big city living can provide. Urban living stresses them out, but once they arrive, they never leave. Not all city crows are the same – each city has its own unique social scene. In general, city crows are more fearless, live in smaller spaces, love pizza, have fewer kids, and are smarter than their suburban counterparts.

[See also Links for June 12, 2017]

Links for August 7, 2017

When Will Climate Change Make the Earth Too Hot For Humans?

Even if we meet the Paris goals of two degrees warming, cities like Karachi and Kolkata will become close to uninhabitable, annually encountering deadly heat waves like those that crippled them in 2015. At four degrees, the deadly European heat wave of 2003, which killed as many as 2,000 people a day, will be a normal summer. At six… summer labor of any kind would become impossible in the lower Mississippi Valley, and everybody in the country east of the Rockies would be under more heat stress than anyone, anywhere, in the world today....

There are now, trapped in Arctic ice, diseases that have not circulated in the air for millions of years — in some cases, since before humans were around to encounter them. Which means our immune systems would have no idea how to fight back when those prehistoric plagues emerge from the ice....

Carbon absorption can initiate a feedback loop in which underoxygenated waters breed different kinds of microbes that turn the water still more “anoxic,” first in deep ocean “dead zones,” then gradually up toward the surface. There, the small fish die out, unable to breathe, which means oxygen-eating bacteria thrive, and the feedback loop doubles back. This process, in which dead zones grow like cancers, choking off marine life and wiping out fisheries, is already quite advanced in parts of the Gulf of Mexico and just off Namibia, where hydrogen sulfide is bubbling out of the sea along a thousand-mile stretch of land known as the “Skeleton Coast.”…

In a six-degree-warmer world, the Earth’s ecosystem will boil with so many natural disasters that we will just start calling them “weather”: a constant swarm of out-of-control typhoons and tornadoes and floods and droughts, the planet assaulted regularly with climate events that not so long ago destroyed whole civilizations.

The Loyal Engineers Steering NASA’s Voyager Probes Across the Universe

Their fluency in archaic programming languages will become only more crucial as the years go on, because even as the probes harvest priceless information from the cosmos, they are running out of fuel. (Decaying plutonium supplies their power.) By 2030 at the latest, they will not have enough juice left to run a single experiment. And even that best case comes with a major caveat: that the flight-team members forgo retirement to squeeze the most out of every last watt.

2814 - 新しい日の誕生 (Birth of a New Day)

Links for August 4, 2017

The World’s Oldest Art Studio Discovered in an Ethiopian Cave

They found that ancient visitors to the site processed the iron-rich ochre stones there by flaking and grinding the raw materials “to produce a fine-grained and bright red powder.” The ochre stones can be used to produce powders of varying coarsenesses, in shades of yellow, orange, red, brown, and gray.... According to the paper, the local community relied on Porc-Epic for its ochre needs for millennia, the cave essentially serving as a studio for artists.

The Quest for an Archaeology of Sea Otter Tool Use

“Not many animals on the planet use stones to crack food open,” explains Dora Biro, a zoologist at the University of Oxford in England who studies the emergence of culture among wild chimpanzees… “Tool use is itself, very rare. Animals like [sea otters], who use percussive stone-tool technology, who pick up a rock and develop the skill to strike things with it, that is even rarer.”


Text 572-51 with the words “send me” followed by a keyword, a color, or even an emoji and you’ll receive a related artwork image and caption via text message. For example “send me the ocean” might get you Pirkle Jones’ Breaking Wave, Golden Gate; “send me something blue” could result in Éponge (SE180) by Yves Klein; and “send me 💐” might return Yasumasa Morimura’s An Inner Dialogue with Frida Kahlo (Collar of Thorns). Each text message triggers a query to the SFMOMA collection API, which then responds with an artwork matching your request.

Links for August 2, 2017

What football will look like in the future

It’s clear that the sport of football needs to change. And the $64,000 question, my friends, is simple: “how?” Something is terribly wrong. The writing’s on the wall: youth participation in the sport is down, thanks in large part to their parents’ concern for their health.

In recent years, the NFL has something is terribly wrong. In response to numerous clinical studies regarding something is terribly wrong, the league has taken action — and something is terribly wrong. Oh no. Something is terribly wrong.

These Hand-Drawn Maps Helped Create ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ Books

Having fewer choices, he says, “put pressure on the choices to feel really meaningful. When you’re doing a choice every page or two, sometimes you just scramble—you have to come up with some kind of choice. Not that much has happened. Sometimes the choices were more mundane or seemingly trivial, even though they might lead to very different consequences.” With fewer choices, each one could be a bigger, more weighty decision.

Trent Reznor’s cold call led to an awesome game-filled Nine Inch Nails video

Nine Inch Nails – LESS THAN

Links for July 31, 2017

Closet Archive

For centuries, closets have enabled the collection, preservation, and suppression of missives and media-machines, files and folios. But they are more than that. Behind the doors, closets are also active, generative spaces where media are made, where imaginaries and anxieties are formulated, where knowledges and subjectivities are born and transformed.

On the wonders of wandering in London

Compared to the compact historical theme park that is York, London is vast and fast and more than a little science fictional (plus there’s a disconcerting absence of Vikings). I’ve known this place my whole life, but it never gets old. Fresh nooks and crannies are everywhere; the ever-changing snaggle-tooth skyline constantly unrecognisable.

Why People From Manchester Are Mancunians, Not Manchesterians

The demonym “Glaswegian” comes, linguists think, as an analogy of the Irish city of Galway. “Glasgow” and “Galway” are two fairly similar looking words. And Galway has long had its own analogy with another similar-looking word: Norway. Galway’s demonym is “Galwegian,” as an analogy of “Norwegian.” So “Glaswegian” is a sort of a photocopy-of-a-photocopy of Norwegian. Not something anyone could ever guess!

Links for July 27, 2017

Empathy Prompts

Prompts to consider when making things for others to use.

This project is geared towards anyone involved with making digital products. It is my hope that this reaches both:

  • People who are not necessarily involved in the day-to-day part of the process, but who help shape things like budget, timeline, and scope, and
  • People who work every day to help to give these products shape and form

These prompts are intended to help build empathy, not describe any one person’s experience. These prompts are not intended to tokenize the experience of the individuals experiencing these conditions.

The Evolution of Trust – Game-essay by Nicky Case on game theory, competition, and developing trust.

Turning The Tables: The 150 Greatest Albums Made By Women

A New Canon: In Pop Music, Women Belong At The Center Of The Story

Links for July 25, 2017

Aphex Twin has a new online store with lots of releases and bonus tracks.

Vintage Synthesizer Museum

The Vintage Synthesizer Museum has over 40 vintage synthesizers under one roof, at your disposal. An appointment grants you access to the entire collection, as well as a generous array of vintage drum machines, effects, amplifiers, and recording tools.


A library for Processing to render graphics on a vector display (oscilloscope, laser) by converting them to audio.