Salon minutes, March 7th, 2009

We had another ‘scripting salon’ yesterday, at ReBar in DUMBO.  The space worked out really well: lots of room, decent coffee and tea, and a smooth transition to beer around 5:30 pm.  There were three minor issues: 1) Very poor selection of baked goods at Retreat — it’s like a bad deli in an undesirable neighborhood, with bland, shrink-wrapped baked goods.  What’s the deal with that?  Issue #2: it’s a longer trip, for Manhattanites.  Issue #3: the wireless did not seem to work for those of us running Windows.  I felt discriminated against, but I hope to find a solution to this problem.

In attendance were Mark, Caleb, Frank, Che-Wei, Nate, and myself.

Here are some notes/links from the conversation:


Che-wei is making several kinds of (physical) clock for his ITP thesis. He’s also developed an interactive graphic (written entirely in javascript) that locates specific people’s accomplishments in relation to their lifespans. As part of our discussion about comparing spans of time and organizing things in time, the Long Now Foundation came up (especially its clock), as did MIT’s Simile project (here‘s a good example of a time-line built using it). The Simile project has been Googlized since I last saw it. Discussing time with Che-Wei I was reminded of the intense satisfaction to be derived from pendulums, such as the one that used to fill a room at the Smithsonian.

Operating systems:
Those of us who have not yet accepted Steve Jobs as the One True Lord were somewhat disappointed to find ourselves unable to connect to Rebar’s wireless network. Or, to the only unlocked network, anyway. I must speak with the Rebar folks next time; my hope is that there’s a password-protected network we could connect to. Che-Wei showed me what looks like a great little Windows application for splitting up the screen efficiently, called Gridmove.

We were discussing whether and how robotics might influence architectural work. Other than citing that Peter Testa woven tower from a while back, we could not think of any well-known proposals in this area. We got to talking about the scale of project it would take to motivate an investment in robotic construction, and Mark mentioned the ‘zipper’ highway medians in Boston. They are cool.  Meanwhile, far more economically viable and useful than robotic bike parking, robotic car parking seems to be coming across the Pacific.

Sorry, very tired now.  A straight list of links:

Che-Wei: Japanese cans whose geometry changes due to the pressure released when you open them (sorry, Japanese website is hard to navigate).

Some blogs/sites to read online: Scott Aaronson’s blog, esp. his entry on tractability.  Also vvork, for art imagery, and Space Collective.

David Mans has posted what looks like a super-handy matrix of Rhino scripts sorted by the geometry they operate on (or something like that — I’ll admit I have not had a chance to check it out yet).  In fact I can’t find the link — Che-Wei?

Thin concrete: Felix Candela, Isler, and Irwin Hauer.

Caleb: dictionary of mathematical terms

Mark is reading a book co-authored by Paul Krugman in the ’90s called “The Spatial Economy” that looks quite fascinating: lots of diagrams related to the economic properties of cities.

… a few more to come, tomorrow.

1 comment to Salon minutes, March 7th, 2009

  • Caleb Johnston

    Also, we’ve touched on GPGPU once before during a previous salon and there are some recent developments on this front as the official spec for OpenCL was released by the Khronos group.

    This specification is designed specifically to provide an interoperable API for GPGPU purposes. So far Nvidia and AMD are promising support.

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