Looking through a turn-of-the-century almanac of graphic design, I came across this absolute gem:
These started as innocuous doodles which accidentally ended up showing the beauty and fascination in mathematics, but eventually became more elaborate and specific.
Things like this:
In this series she describes hexaflexagons. Watch 'em.
I love people making weird instruments out of weird things. Here’s an organ made out of a matrix of mechanical floppy drives.
You can read more about it on Ars Technica.
Though it's called the "Game" of Life, and some people describe it as a zero-player game, it's not really a game in the traditional sense of the word.
For an unexpected example of an unambiguous game which is also Turing-complete, check out Magic: The Gathering. It has been shown that a Universal Turing machine can be constructed inside Magic, and hence that it is Turing-complete.
I played a lot of Magic in high school, though it's too expensive of a habit to keep up for long. If, like me, you remember Magic fondly, but don't play it so much any more, might I recommend Mark Rosewater's Drive to Work podcast?
Conway's Game of Life is a well-known cellular automaton in which, every tick, the state of each of the cells on a giant grid is determined only by the states of its immediate neighbours in the previous tick. Despite its extremely simple definition, it is famously Turing-complete, which is roughly to say that it can compute any computable function.
And so, of course, someone has written a Life emulator, in Life.
Perhaps it's Life all the way down...
Oh this? Just a film of landing on Mars.
PS. If you haven't seen NASA's "Seven Minutes of Terror" video, it's worth checking out. Those folks are crazy.
I was delighted yesterday to discover that Ed Brayton, who used to host one of my all-time favourite political podcasts, Declaring Independence Radio, has recently started hosting a new show: Culture Wars Radio.
Declaring Independence was a show predominantly about American law and politics. It was constantly fascinating, with episodes being mostly interview with experts in constitutional law, civil liberties, police misconduct and such; interspliced with commentary and lighthearted discussion of current events. What I liked most about it was that Ed Brayton never shied away from getting right down to the tiniest details of case law and history, discussing the minutiae of various cases with his guests and drawing on his huge knowledge of American civil liberties law to get the best out of his guests. Also his staunch non-partisanism, hatred of hypocrisy and demagoguery, and willingness to harshly criticise Obama and the Democrats (while still poking fun at right-wing loonies).
Ed Brayton is an American political journalist, editor and development director of the American Independent News Network, and seems to specialise in civil liberties law. He seems to get particularly fired up about education, separation of church and state, and transparency and accountability in government. He has a general left-libertarian viewpoint. I don't agree with him on everything, but he's very knowledgable about law, and hella smart. To quote erstwhile acquaintance of mine, Seth Manapio, he is "a goddam genius".
I looked hard for somewhere online for old episodes of Declaring Independence to link here, because they're all really worth a listen, but it seems to have evaporated. I've got 74 old episode as mp3s if anyone's really keen. [Edit: find them here.]
The new show, Culture Wars Radio, only has a few episodes out so far, and I've only listened to the first two of them, but it looks to be much along the same lines as Declaring Independence, which is fantastic as far as I'm concerned.
I strongly recommend checking it out, if you've any interest in civil liberties law, American politics or just deep and informed yet intelligible political discussion.