Monday, October 22, 2007

Music of Our Robotic Overlords

First let me introduce those of your reading this (ha ha I made a funny!) to a link where I have wasted a good portion of my time recently Wolfram Tones My dad the huge Mathematica groupie that he is found it and introduced me to it sometime last week. so I think the best way to start collecting my thoughts on it is by quoting his.

This is not particularly interesting music, and I think the approach is too naive. It values novelty too much, so there is too much surprise. I believe that music needs direction which is provided by some sort of predictability, usually supplied by rhythm and harmonic structure. Otherwise it becomes a sort of random walk and essentially boring after a little while.

I tried several manipulations, different instruments, rules, scales, meter, tempo, and duration. It was all noise because there was no structure. I don’t mean that the structure needs to adhere to any particular tradition, but if it doesn’t, it runs the risk of being too novel for the listener.

I think this is another example of engineers/scientists liking music but completely misunderstanding its nature, purpose, and practice.

So the question really is: can there be algorithmic music that is at least as interesting as a dog walking on its hind legs, or a woman preaching? (apologies to Samuel Johnson)

and in general I think I agree with him at least given the limited scope of Wolfram Tones. but I think there is a larger thing at work here. It is easy to forget that this is a very beta application meshing music and tone control on cellular automata by engineers and scientists with very little thought as to the musical merit of the automata themselves. I may be wrong but the impression I get is that they merely took existing cellular automata and allowed them to control tones, rather than looking for cellular automata. I think that algorithmic music has vast potential especially as the artists and musicians get their hands on it. This example, is certainly a case of Scientists and Engineers liking music but misunderstanding it However I think that the concept once worked on by people who do understand music (lord knows not I) start getting their hands algorithmic music it will be worthwhile and not merely a novelty.

and let me not say i dint try my hand at splicing some of it together pretty much randomly myself enjoy "Starving Wolfram at the Gates of Civilization"

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo

And so i make my triumphant return. admittedly a tad unceremoniously. with little to no fanfare (at least here on my so called blog) I moved across the country (the planning of this move is partially why I titled this blog between worlds although perhaps the unwritten subtitle in my head would have been better "The Insane Ramblings of a Mechanical Crumbum" (hence the URL)) from Washinton DC to the East Bay in California(about 5 miles north of Berkeley).

Its weird in some ways I am almost infinitely far away (in the only measure that really counts, time) from everyone and everything I once knew and in other ways I am right there with it all. a weird by-product of the internet age seems to me to be that meat-space travel has become, by contrast to mere communication, so slow and tedious as to be almost completely worthless. I mean actual travel, thats a day at the least, and add in the planning needed and the packing and the hassle, who would ever go though with all of that?! but thanks to the internet communication means I am effectively right there with the people I knew back east. we can still send links of weird things back and forth to one another. Given that our brains and ideas can still flow almost freely (you do lose something important without visuals or sound but the influx of cheap webcams like the iSight and microphones and things like SKYPE make that lessen by the day) means the gain from actually meeting someone face to face is minimal which draws our world closer together but also throws it further apart.

Thats all for now.

The Pope Pirates say ARRRibadurrci

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Retrofuture and the Meaning of Life

The more I think about it the more I pine for the retrofuture. The sad fact of the matter is that thanks to the Internet we really are living in what could easily be called the future, the only problem with this is that this future sucks. we are in the future but we have lost all sense of wonder. we have no frontier to explore, no new worlds to conquer.

This is the true failure of our age, not only do we have no new frontier, no new lands to colonize, no way to spread the human race out to the myriad worlds of tomorrow, we have lost any desire to do so. Talking with people I hear no wish to move out to mars, All I hear are gripes about how much it may cost, that is, on the rare times they think about it at all.

People are content with the world as we know it, admittedly they all want a few small changes, but in all they are happy with the stagnant shape of the world, they merely argue over texture. I deny such feelings, I don't want to be confined to a spheroid only 24,901.5 miles across. I want the endless galactic spaces promised to me. I want the world of tomorrow Circa 1950. I want to fight Nazi's on the moon, I want to live in a self contained unit in the asteroid belt, I want to farm on Ganymede.

The Internet has made the world succumb to our collective human will. Thanks to the instant speed of communication we are approaching what may easily be called the first global human culture. so, when you are discontent with this culture where do you have to go? unfortunately we do not have such a place, it just doesn't exist anymore. we are all bound by the chains of our gravity well, and I at least, wish to escape.

Let us not forget the Human beings were not meant to be enslaved, not even by the laws of physics. The retrofutureyearning of the human spirit to reach out for whats next. We are called on the same mission that our parents failed, not merely to unite the earth, but to spread ourselves out to the rest of the universe.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

my problem with blogging and XOR

Blogging is not easy for a man like me. i can never think of anything interesting to write about.

well, that's not exactly true, i can think of some interesting things to write about but i cant write about them. and i can only write about uninteresting things. its a hellish circle of evil. So at least in this case, i decided well if you cant think of anything why not go meta! everyone likes meta!

wait a second, that's only true if either
A: everyone now means no-one


B: likes now means hates.

god i am such a douche. but moving on. going more into the realm of meta I'm going to analyze my use of that XOR over there. why does English not have 2 separate words for the inclusive and exclusive or? the closest we get is the XOR which, lets face facts, is just sort of dumb sounding. Logicians really dropped the ball when they came up with that one. i mean sure its fine if you are just trying to draw a circuit, but for conversation, it just doesn't slip off the tongue. and its not like i can say "lets do this or that but not both" in just regular conversation.

anyway back to the original meta. fuck blogging. that is all

see you later alligator.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

First post, some thoughts, overall plan.

I am a crappy writer. In fact, the only thing I do worse than writing is blogging (possibly extreme spelunking). So, I guess what I'm trying to say, is that I suck at this very thing, which, incidentally, is why I'm doing it, so that i can suck just one iota less. Seriously, did you read that sentence? (of course you didn't, you don't exist, I mean who actually reads this type of blog anyway?) It was terrible.

Okay, okay enough bitching, its time to get down to brass tax. I'm using this blog as a place to think about various things, for example, why the baby boomers fucked everything up. what the fuck is wrong with the world, what the fuck we, the children of the baby boomers can do to fix it, (as if we can, i mean they really screwed the pooch on that one. and lets be honest, we suck something hard too). why we cant live in the retro-future, no matter how awesome it would be. the lack of any new frontier (god what i would do to go off to a little country in the middle of nowhere and oppress the natives. Daniel Dravot is the one true god). Morality, Logic, and the fall of the American empire.