Links for November 14, 2018

The US town ruled by an AI storyteller

Sheldon County tells the story of a fictional American town and the people who inhabit it over the course of 150 years. It is the result of two programs that run in parallel: Hennepin, which simulates each day and night in the history of a fictional American county over 150 years, and Sheldon, which in turn sifts through this accumulated history to find the interesting storylines and dramatic nuggets that have actually emerged over the course of the simulation based on narrative patterns authored by Ryan.


Phantom Islands — A Sonic Atlas

Phantom Islands are artifacts of the age of maritime discovery and colonial expansion. During centuries of ocean exploration these islands were sighted, charted, described and even explored – but their existence has never been ultimately verified. Poised somewhere between cartographical fact and maritime fiction, they haunted seafarers’ maps for hundreds of years, inspiring legends, fantasies, and counterfactual histories.


Listening to the City

Cities can be cacophonous and loud, a chaos of sonic discord. If, that is, you don’t really focus your listening. People who’ve trained their ears to hear urban soundscapes in new ways hear something different.

That’s what David Rothenberg is doing. He’s a composer and an environmental philosopher who’s made a career of listening to and performing music in the wild, with birds, animals and insects. Lately he’s been giving himself a crash course in the art — and science — of urban listening.

His experience made us wonder: what else can you hear from a city when you really listen closely? People’s patterns and everyday experiences emerge in detail, along with their struggles against prejudice and abuse. Some people hear pain, others hear art emerging from the chaos of sound.

In this hour, we make the case for exploring your city sonically.