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The McGurk effect

Posted in Interesting on Sun 13 May 2012 by Andy

Bar or Far? The McGurk effect changes the way you hear things just by showing you different mouth movements. It's an amazing phenomenon, brilliantly demonstrated in the video below.

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Are you living in a computer simulation?

Posted in Interesting on Mon 07 May 2012 by Andy

We know that computers are getting more powerful every year. Moore's law states that the transistor count doubles approximately every two years – this has held mostly true for half a century. What happens when our computers become so powerful that we can simulate human consciousness? One argument is that it may have already happened.

There’s actually been a philosophy paper written about this topic at Oxford University. The paper basically argues that if a “post-human” civilization exists, and they were interested in running simulations of other humans, they would be doing it already. The probable likelihood is that civilizations destroy themselves before they manage to reach this post-human status... but what if they don't destroy themselves and they are interested in running simulations? If we had that much computational power it seems likely that we would attempt such a simulation. It could be that we're already in one.

We can take it one step further... Could it be that we’re in a simulation ran by simulated post-human people? There could be a string of simulations all leading back to one post-human society. Just what level of simulation might we be on? Any computer in a post-singularity world would be sufficiently powerful to run a limitless amount of simulations, each happening at an incredible speed. The cycle of an entire universe and its entire population could be simulated in just a few seconds and with it an endless spiral of simulations creating many multiple levels of consciousness.

We could be a consciousness stuck in an eternal loop of simulation. Stick that in your bible.

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Painting in three dimensions

Posted in Interesting on Fri 04 May 2012 by Andy

Look at this for talent. Riusuke Fukahori actually paints goldfish in three dimensions using transparant resin, building the fish up layer by layer with paint. The realism he manages to finish with is extremely impressive.

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Elevator Horrors

Posted in Interesting on Wed 08 Feb 2012 by Andrew Hillel

There's a video floating around of a guy stuck in an elevator for 41 hours, it makes me wonder just how terrifying that would be. Pretty damn terrifying I imagine, not quite as horrific as some of the other things that can happen whilst in an elevator though.

"Loading up an empty elevator car with discarded Christmas trees, pressing the button for the top floor, then throwing in a match, so that by the time the car reaches the top it is ablaze with heat so intense that the alloy (called “babbitt”) connecting the cables to the car melts, and the car, a fireball now, plunges into the pit: this practice, apparently popular in New York City housing projects, is inadvisable."

The article relating to this video in the New Yorker lists horrifying facts about escalators - fascinating if you want to read about people getting squished, burning, suffocated, getting tapped and so on. Not such a pleasant read if you're eating your dinner.

Elevators have nothing on the Paternoster. I mean come on, that's just asking for trouble. Look at this warning for one of these things:

 

Paternoster warning sign

 

Well, I've said all i'm going to say about that. Probably ever.

 

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Physics, Space and Knitting

Posted in Interesting on Wed 08 Feb 2012 by Andrew Hillel

Check out the video of astronaut Don Pettit using knitting needles and water droplets to demonstrate physics in space. Pretty damn cool to watch how charges can affect particles in zero gravity.

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