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Nowheres

utopia (n.)
1551, from Modern Latin Utopia, literally “nowhere,” coined by Thomas More (and used as title of his book, 1516, about an imaginary island enjoying the utmost perfection in legal, social, and political systems), from Greek ou “not” + topos “place”. Extended to any perfect place by 1610s.

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This 1987 IBM advertisement depicts a fractal landscape image created by IBM physicist Dr. Richard Voss. The text in the ad discusses IBM’s approach of intellectual freedom coupled with technological support.

Shadows and other signs of life

“Shadows and other signs of life” is a title of an Andy Warhol book I just saw on someone’s coffee table, reminded me of these images I came accross when grabbing Abu Dhabi textures.

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which reminded me of a project from a while ago that looked at humans revealed in much more detail by shadows when shot from outer space, but I couldn’t find it, only this post:

Shadows are often edited out of the satellite images used for GIS and maps because they obscure what’s really there. They can be edited out fairly easily because, like clouds, they are always moving and images of the same area from different times of day can be easily combined filling in the shadow area with the pixels from anther time. Shadows and clouds are alike in this way, having to do with obscuring and revealing, light and darkness, and are signs of life of a sort, as much as stillness is a sign of death, the change connoting metabolic cycle of the planet as opposed to bionic inertness.

Books

The CEC14 conference was a great source of (among many things) reading suggestions.

On ideology of the air:

Peter Sloterdijk, Bubbles; Spheres; Foam; Terror from the air

K. Barad, Metting the universe halfway

Brian Masumi, Parables for the virtual

Luce Irigoray, The Forgetting of the Air in Martin Heidegger

Gaston Bachelard, Air and Dreams

Michel Serres, The Five Senses

On whether we can survive our technology:

John Von Neumann, Can We Survive Technology?

J.D.Bernal, The World, The Flesh and the Devil

On how we transform land into landscape:

William L. Fox, Aereality: On the World from Above

Vue

Vue is a software application used to generate terrains.

images

Bryce5screenshot

The first software to use fractal geometry to generate realistic landscapes was Bryce, initially developed by Ken Musgrave, a student of mathematician Benoît Mandelbrot. Bryce was turned into a commercial software in 1994. The term “fractal” was first used by Benoît Mandelbrot in 1975. Mandelbrot used it to extend the concept of theoretical fractional dimensions to mathematically modeling natural patterns. They are described as ‘self-similar’ meaning they look the same at different scales. Since then fractals became the most common way to generate landscapes and other natural forms. Fractal landscape “is a surface generated using a stochastic algorithm designed to produce fractal behaviour that mimics the appearance of natural terrain”.

Vue combines a few fractal tools to simulate a wide range of patterns. Procedural terrains in Vue are ‘resolution-less’: the details are finer the closer the camera is to the mesh (as opposed to standard terrains where the resolution is baked into the mesh).

Visually convincing fractal landscape forgeries were pioneered by Richard Voss, using variations of Brownian motion and fractional Brownian motion. Perhaps his most familiar image is Fractal Planetrise, widely distributed as the back cover illustration of The Fractal Geometry of Nature.
Visually convincing fractal landscape forgeries were pioneered by Richard Voss, using variations of Brownian motion and fractional Brownian motion. Perhaps his most familiar image is Fractal Planetrise, widely distributed as the back cover illustration of The Fractal Geometry of Nature.
This 1987 IBM advertisement depicts a fractal landscape image created by IBM physicist Dr. Richard Voss. The text in the ad discusses IBM’s approach of intellectual freedom coupled with technological support.
This 1987 IBM advertisement depicts a fractal landscape image created by IBM physicist Dr. Richard Voss. The text in the ad discusses IBM’s approach of intellectual freedom coupled with technological support.

http://classes.yale.edu/fractals/panorama/Art/MountainsSim/Classical/Classical.html

http://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/history/ibm100/us/en/icons/fractal/transform/

What We Thought Earth Would Look Like from Space

The Library of Congress recently featured a few images on its blog of representation of earth from space made before we went to space. And Smithsonian followed up with it’s blog post.

Here’s one from 1874, in a book called The Moon: Considered as a Planet, a World, and a Satellite.

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Image: Library of Congress

Trevor Owens, a special curator for the library’s Science Literacy Initiative writes:

The images in this book are mostly photographs of plaster models based on observations of amateur astronomer James Nasmyth. Most of the images in this book are modeled on their direct observations, but this one represents the view of the Earth from the moon. Part of considering the moon as a world, a place like Earth, required this kind of shift in perspective. Seeing the Earth eclipse the sun from the Moon makes it feel much more like a real world.

In 1893, the book Astronomy for Beginners featured this image of Earth from an unnamed viewpoint in their chapter on “Visitors.”

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Image: Archive.org

Vik Muniz cloud projects

Two really wonderful cloud projects by Vik Muniz:
About Clouds

As Shakespeare once said, “mock our eyes with air.”

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http://www.creativetime.org/programs/archive/2001/clouds/muniz/about_clouds.htm

And Cloud Series (cotton balls shaped like things)

Miasma

The word Miasma comes from ancient Greek and means “pollution”.

The miasma theory held that diseases such as cholera, chlamydia or the Black Death were caused by a miasma, a noxious form of “bad air”, also known as “night air”. The theory held that the origin of epidemics was due to a miasma, emanating from rotting organic matter.
The miasma theory was accepted from ancient times in Europe, India, and China. The theory was eventually displaced in the 19th century by the discovery of germs and the germ theory of disease.

The miasmatic theory of disease remained popular in the Middle Ages and a sense of effluvia contributed to Robert Boyle’s Suspicions about the Hidden Realities of the Air.

Maker’s Faire New York City

I will be showing Puff at the Maker’s Faire in New York in just a few weeks.

Here’s a short interview about Puff at the makezine blog: http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2010/09/world_maker_faire_ny_puff_interview.html