453 Research Compile

sustainable data relationships?

Some thoughts over the break

Over the break I’ve been stowing away interesting videos, articles, and blog posts which I’ve thought to be either relevant to my research threads or something worth looking into in some related way.


I’m not the biggest fan of what Apple did with their ipad (though I haven’t used one), but I am a fan of what it represents. A new approach to personal computing.

There is a slew of actually useful apps available for the iphone and ipod touch which utilise the touch interface in a sleek & controlled interface. I like the idea of exploring the relationship that exists in between the user and this highly controlled new medium.

With the iPad being so new (and not even internationally released at this stage) there is already a significant amount of hacks and workarounds coming through to open the device up to new creative avenues.

One such being the possibility of connecting a soundcard to the iPad over USB.

This work around utilises the USB camera drivers and enables some significant audio production & processing potential.

Another example is using the iPad as a control surface for music sequencers.

People have been working hard to come up with workarounds for such potential, such as this video where a person outlines the use of several apps working together in a network to change one trigger event into midi information so that Ableton Live (a music sequencer) can interpretate it in a useful manner. This allows for interesting relationships to develop between the computer and the user.

iProcessing is an interesting port of the Processing language to help create apps for the iPhone.

iProcessing is a fascinating little free app and framework for the iPhone that makes it easier to develop visual apps using Processing.js (the JavaScript port of Processing). First, the good news:

  • It’s a great illustration of what’s possible with HTML5’s canvas and JavaScript; namely, high-performance animations supported within the browser framework rather than in a separate plug-in.
  • You do get access to native iPhone/iPod touch (and soon iPad) features, “such as multitouch, accelerometer, orientation, location, sound play/record, app state saving and so on.” Basically, this is possible on the iPhone by wrapping around those native calls. (The same is possible via WebKit on Android.)
  • It’s a good proof of concept and prototype of how you might generally wrap those features on multiple platforms; I’m going to look at it for the same reason to see how they treat the syntax.
  • It’s a terrific tool for prototyping – the team that built it use it for that purpose.
  • You even get Xcode projects out of the box.
  • I am interested in these cross platform relationships born from within community needs. One node of information informs the other, they are dependent on one another and through their union new results are possible.

    This is some pretty cool use of drawing on the iPad.

    Selective Inspiration

    Some interesting data visualisations that look at interlationships between network nodes.

    CSTNG-SHDWS x Nonagon Live Video/Audio from Colin Sebestyen on Vimeo.

    For computers, digital tech means the ability to turn anything into numbers. For humans, it means a chance to translate between gestures, ideas, sounds, and images. We can interface with musical, visual creations intuitively and collaboratively – now with ubiquitous, cheap touch and electronics. – source

    Roundup of iPad creative apps

    Future of magazines

    Mysterious Radio Waves Emitted from Nearby Galaxy

    There is something strange in the cosmic neighbourhood. An unknown object in the nearby galaxy M82 has started sending out radio waves, and the emission does not look like anything seen anywhere in the universe before.”We don’t know what it is,” says co-discoverer Tom Muxlow of Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics near Macclesfield, UK.

    The thing appeared in May last year, while Muxlow and his colleagues were monitoring an unrelated stellar explosion in M82 using the MERLIN network of radio telescopes in the UK. A bright spot of radio emission emerged over only a few days, quite rapidly in astronomical terms. Since then it has done very little except baffle astrophysicists.

    It certainly does not fit the pattern of radio emissions from supernovae: they usually get brighter over a few weeks and then fade away over months, with the spectrum of the radiation changing all the while. The new source has hardly changed in brightness over the course of a year, and its spectrum is steady.

    Warp speed

    Yet it does seem to be moving – and fast: its apparent sideways velocity is four times the speed of light. Such apparent “superluminal” motion has been seen before in high-speed jets of material squirted out by some black holes. The stuff in these jets is moving towards us at a slight angle and travelling at a fair fraction of the speed of light, and the effects of relativity produce a kind of optical illusion that makes the motion appear superluminal.

    Could the object be a black hole? It is not quite in the middle of M82, where astronomers would expect to find the kind of supermassive central black hole that most other galaxies have. Which leaves the possibility that it could be a smaller-scale “microquasar“.

    A microquasar is formed after a very massive star explodes, leaving behind a black hole around 10 to 20 times the mass of the sun, which then starts feeding on gas from a surviving companion star. Microquasars do emit radio waves – but none seen in our galaxy is as bright as the new source in M82. Microquasars also produce plenty of X-rays, whereas no X-rays have been seen from the mystery object. “So that’s not right either”, Muxlow told New Scientist.

    His best guess is still that the radio source is some kind of dense object accreting surrounding material, perhaps a large black hole or a black hole in an unusual environment. Perhaps the phenomenon also happens occasionally in our galaxy, but is more common in M82 because it is a “starburst” galaxy – a cosmic cauldron where massive stars are forming and exploding at a much higher rate than in the Milky Way, creating a lot of new black holes.

    Muxlow reported the discovery at the Royal Astronomical Society National Astronomy Meeting in Glasgow, UK.

    This article originally appeared on New Scientist.

    I’ve always been fascinated with space. I love the historic value we have with the universe, how it works (creating stars and planets, etc). This could perhaps be an interesting subject matter to indulge in when looking at potential data sets.

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