Weekly Newsletter

Biology and Computation #

Better Living Through Quantum Mechanics
Seth Lloyd, the first and only self-proclaimed quantum mechanical engineer from MIT, discusses new discoveries of quantum mechanical phenomena in plants and animals. I included this for the understandable metaphors used to explain quantum processes.

Linguistics #

The Whistled Language of Northern Turkey
Profiles a language that conveys meaning through whistling and clicks. I loved this article. You’ll get twice as much out of it if you listen to the samples of the language.

The Internet #

The Future of the Web is Flow
A Yale professor discusses her vision of the future of the web. I totally agree with her views. Interestingly, programming is going in a similar direction. The notion of streams is becoming increasingly important in the web programming world, with companies like Netflix heavily using the idea of streams in their data structures. If you’re interested in this, start here.

Robotics #

Morphological Computation: The hidden superpower of soft-bodied robots
A technical but interesting look at how a group of scientists are using physical “computation” to make their robots more flexible and adaptive. This article reminded me of the book I’m currently reading, The Lifebox, the Seashell, and the Soul. The book focuses primarily on different types of cellular automata and how they underlie and explain pretty much everything. The article reminds me of this book because the article describes physical processes as non-determinist computations. Unfortunately, I’m not explaining the relationship for those of you who know nothing about cellular automata, but if you shoot me an email, I can do a better job.

Other Contributions #

The Reign of Recycling (David Wylie)
A unique take on what has been instilled to us as an unambiguously good practice.

Hit Charade (John Cofer)
Reveals the pop music industry’s process for creating hit songs. The process is surprisingly repeatable and involves the “musician” much less than I ever expected.