Sun 9 Nov 2014

Katie Rose Pipkin’s talk at Bot Summit 2014 (slides).

pulled ‘undefined’s ‘null’s and ‘err’s; grammatical problems; corpus unreliability; the shifting landscape these things exist in; to watch a non-human simultaneously fail on a human level and continue to operate perfectly on its own level can be very special. maybe, somewhere, a little divine.

Way Spurr-Chen’s Automata: Conway's Game of Life, but with violence.

Sun 2 Nov 2014

Living on the Hyphen: Spanglish refuses clear affinities and patrimonies, negates the neat check in the box on the census form and the obsequiousness of the subject to her empire.

Sat 1 Nov 2014

Marco Arment: Twitter is a complementary medium to blogging, but it’s not a replacement.

By the fourteenth century, Romance dialects belonged to two broad categories. Those in which “yes” was pronounced oc—mostly south of the Loire River—were called langues d’oc (oc languages). Those in which speakers said oïl for “yes”—in the north—were called langues d’oïl, a term which came to be used interchangeably with Françoys. Oïl and oc are both derivatives of the Latin hoc (this, that), which at the time was used to say yes. In the south they simply chopped off the h. In the north, for some reason, hoc was reduced to a simple o, and qualifiers were added—o-je, o-nos, o-vos for “yes for me,” “yes for us” and “yes for you.” This was complicated, so speakers eventually settled for the neutral o-il—“yes for that.”

The Story of French (Jean-Benoît Nadeau and Julie Barlow)

  • Proto-Indo-European *meik-, *meiǵ-, *meiḱ- "to mix"
    • Old English mixian, miscian "to mix"
      • English mix
    • Old Irish mescae "drunkenness, intoxication"
      • Irish meisce "drunkenness, intoxication"

Jack Vance (in The Languages of Pao) posited a language without verbs. For instance, “There are two matters I wish to discuss with you” comes out something like “Statement-of-importance– in-a-state-of-readiness– two; ear– of [place name] – in-a-state-of-readiness; mouth– of this person here– in-a-state-of-volition.” Vance may be in a state of pulling our legs.

The Language Construction Kit (Mark Rosenfelder)

Tue 28 Oct 2014

An empty space is marked off with plain wood and plain walls, so that the light drawn into it forms dim shadows within emptiness. There is nothing more. And yet, when we gaze into the darkness that gathers behind the crossbeam, around the flower vase, beneath the shelves, though we know perfectly well it is mere shadow, we are overcome with the feeling that in this small corner of the atmosphere there reigns complete and utter silence; that here in the darkness immutable tranquility holds sway. […]

And even we as children would feel an inexpressible chill as we peered into the depths of an alcove to which the sunlight had never penetrated. Where lies the key to this mystery? Ultimately it is the magic of shadows. Were the shadows to be banished from its corners, the alcove would in that instant revert to mere void.

This was the genius of our ancestors, that by cutting off the light from this empty space they imparted to the world of shadows that formed there a quality of mystery and depth superior to that of any wall painting or ornament.

In Praise of Shadows (Jun’ichirō Tanizaki)

Sat 18 Oct 2014

The Day of the Technopath (1989): This documentary is particularly interesting because very common problems today are discussed at their infancy: organized crime first experimenting with cybercrime, threats to critical infrastructure, computer espionage by foreign nation states as well as cyber warfare.

Jobs at Bandcamp: There is no Bandcamp office. Our team is sprinkled throughout the world […] If you do not have a strong social structure outside of work then employment at Bandcamp will likely lead to obesity, heart disease, and an early death. We’re hiring!

Instances of subliminal messages: In the British alternative comedy show The Young Ones, a number of subliminal images were present […] a gull coming into land, a tree frog jumping through the air, a man gurning, and the end credits of the film Carry On Cowboy.[citation needed]

Tue 14 Oct 2014

~ford: When I save this file it will be automatically on the Internet, not “published,” just live. […] Everything I am doing is “on the Internet” with no intermediary process.

tildemash by @waxpancake is an automatic mashup generator using isolated audio tracks on YouTube. Sublime.

Sun 5 Oct 2014

A quote from 33⅓: Selected Ambient Works Volume II (2014) by Marc Weidenbaum, on Aphex Twin’s 1994 album:

Perhaps, though, the record did seem more beatless at the time of its initial conception. Perhaps the world is quieter now in some respects. Electric cars motor by with no engine sound. Solid state drives in computers and portable tablets have virtually eliminated the hard-drive whir that for many years served as digital music's equivalent to the surface noise of vinyl and cassettes. There is ever more abundant use of headphones, isolating listeners from the world around them. Sound design is increasingly a considered—that is restrained—component of product design, so the sounds we do experience in consumer goods—from alarm clocks to microwaves—are more tasteful. Movies and TV shows now feature the so-termed “underscoring” techniques pioneered by the likes of Lisa Gerrard (Whale Rider, Gladiator), Clint Mansell (Requiem for a Dream, Black Swan), and Cliff Martinez (sex, lies, and videotape; Solaris), rather than the foregrounded, melodramatic orchestral techniques of an earlier generation, or the synthesized renditions of those orchestral techniques that served as a bridge from orchestra to our present era of ambient movie scoring. Perhaps we only can hear the beats inherent in Selected Ambient Works Volume II two decades after the fact because those elements are, in cultural terms, louder now. Or perhaps it all depends on what the meaning of “beat” is.