Four leaf clover found today. What are the odds? 10,000 : 1.
What do you do in pattern recognition tasks to discover relationships between variables, when you don’t know what they are a priori?
“The score for each pair of variables is based on the score of its most orderly pattern.”
Paper here: http://jonathanstray.com/papers/MINE.pdf
Magic, the controlled ordering of patterns, is the perfect UX for Math, the science of patterns.
“As it turns out, you have to shuffle seven times before a deck becomes truly scrambled. Not only that, the cards become mixed in a highly unusual way: The amount of randomness in the deck does not increase smoothly. The first few shuffles do little to disturb the original order, and even after six shuffles, you can still pick out distinctly non-random patches. But right around the seventh shuffle something remarkable happens. Shuffling hits its tipping point, and the cards rapidly decay into chaos.”
I went to a most unusual and inspiring concert last night at Carnegie Hall, and have to say that it is one that will stay with me the rest of my life.
Thomas Adès (composer, pianist) and Ian Bostridge (tenor) performed works by Adès, Schubert, Schumann, Liszt, Dowland, Kurtag.
Adès is a composer and superb pianist, so he comfortably experiments with different points of view on traditional works, with the result that every work is made brand new because of his innovative ear. Was that truly Liszt? Yes! But from an interpretive angle that I had never considered … or ever heard.
Bostridge is an artist whose voice is like a bottomless glass. There is no limit or end to the creative texture that he can produce, and from very deep inside him. I was on the edge of my seat all night attending to the paths that he opened up with each successive phrase.
Together, this truly great collaboration, made paradoxically, a lasting, ephemeral work of the highest art last night.
Afterwards the concert made me think long and hard about the forces of innovation and creativity. They are not the same, yet are deeply connected. They do not reside in isolation, but move both within and between people. Innovation and creativity rest clearly on a foundation of craft, artisanship, dedication, exploration, connection, investigation.
The performance by Adès and Bostridge was physical, living proof of this as they each embodied, threw back and forth between them, and played effortlessly with the most powerful forces in the universe.
11/29/2011: NY Times review that captures the musical detail.
A remote-controlled hummingbird, equipped with a camera, beats its wings 20 times/second (real life hummingbirds clock up to 80). It hovers, performs rolls and backflips. It weighs 18.7 grams (lighter than a AA battery). An onboard computer corrects speed and pitch.
The first truly awe inspiring tech I have seen in a long, long time.
John Baldessari is a painter whose works I return to frequently. He always makes me think, and not only about painting. After sharing this painting with friends over the years, I realized only recently that this is also a description about my relationship to software development. As I look back at the trends in my work, the core reason for developing any of the companies, products or algorithms that I have created in the past was to embody the most recent understanding of a burning question.
Early in my career, I was deeply intrigued by image processing in the human visual system. How do we see what we see and make sense of it? Cognitive processing of the visible world is quite a miraculous phenomenon. At the time, large scale image database retrieval was the particular burning issue that occupied my every creative moment. At the birth of digital imaging there was the creation of a method to encode an image for storage and display. But that very representational scheme did not account for the time when there would be massive quantities of image files that needed to be found, all more or less named nnnn.jpg.
My burning, primary daily question was: “How do people search for images?” This created a number of sub-questions all hanging off the first. Once a result set is gathered, how do users continue the filtering process until a final selection is made. What representational model, metadata and methods need to be in place for the most flexible downstream retrieval? Is it possible to create image metadata with “bounce”, meaning, can you shift the task point of view (i.e., throw the query ball from a different direction) on a single representation and still get a relevant result set.
These burning issues eventually were only partially resolved in a variety of patents, companies and products over the years: eMotion, PictureQuest, Picture Network International, ClearView Networks, and a host of others. In painting terms, these were the “group exhibitions” I was a part of, since there are very few “one man exhibitions” in software.
When I talk to my tech friends I always inquire about what they are working on, hoping to hear what they are “really” working on. I may now start asking them more bluntly, what are you exhaustively studying in order to build your product … and when will your group exhibition open?
“Alright, so, tell me what you do for a living …” and then the most expressive, searching, thoughtful pause I may have ever seen.
Saw Lil Buck at NY City Center last night. He is an absolute master of jookin creativity!
Now see the inspiration - Svetlana Sakharova.
Photography through a microscope. This is sand at 4x magnification.
It is ridiculous to set a detective story in New York City. New York City is itself a detective story.
— Agatha Christie
“All in all, New York, American customs, American hospitality, the very sights of the city, and the unusual comforts of the surroundings—all this is quite to my liking, and if I were younger, I would probably derive great pleasure from staying in this interesting, youthful country.” (via Tchaikovsky Comes to New York | Carnegie Hall)
— Letter written by Tchaikovsky, April 30, 1891
I live near CH and every day as I pass by this amazing concert hall I think of all the mighty artists both present and past that converged on this magnetic center for musical excellence and beauty.
Eager to see the iPhone app for the 120th Anniversary celebration that includes a map of places where Tchaikovsky visited.
“This visualisation generates itself from this Google Doc. So when new research comes out, we can quickly update the data and regenerate the image. (How cool is that??)”
Experience this live infographic by David McCandless & Andy Perkins.
Here is the Google Doc source if you want to see the raw data:
I am a big fan of visualizations for a well summarized big picture view. But the real utility is when they become doors that you can walk through more than once. A realtime, constantly changing data source that updates a sophisticated presentation layer is far more useful.
Next … give me a way to subscribe to this living visualization along with notifications that let me know when the spheres of interest change and are relevant to me. I will walk through that door every time.