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Hacked & Burned

This week in tech: generative art, useless websites and the cat who beat the stockmarket

TUMBLR OF THE WEEK: Into The Continuum

Intothecontinuum continues a fine tradition of computational art through its focus on generative imagery. Better still, its author lets us peek beneath the hood of generative art, sharing the algorithms used to generate patterns like the one above.


I think it's time to retire this category, as the HTML hub uselesswebsites needs to be your one stop for all awesome websites from here on out.

GIF OF THE WEEK: Haydiroket

A minimum of animation and a maximum of unsettling imagery from Haydiroket:

SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY OF THE WEEK: How a cat beat professionals at stockpicking

The lighter side of science (one has to wonder how many universities will include cats in studies from now on given the unsurpassed PR capital the felines wield) illuminates assumptions about the way our economies unfold and contort. For instance, this study pours further scorn over the notion that brokers have an intuitive feel for 'the market' as they were outperformed by a cat over the course of one year.

GEEK OF THE WEEK: RIP Aaron Schwartz

On Friday it was announced that Aaron Swartz had passed away. In the intervening time many words have been devoted to his life, works (co-founder of Reddit), legacy (co-author of RSS) and the manner of his death. Here are only two obituaries, one from Cory Doctorow and the other from Lawrence Lessig.

HARDWARE OF THE WEEK: Tracking Point's Precision Guided Firearms

Gamification and gun culture race ever closer to a miserable vanishing point with the announcement of this terrifying piece of kit. Tracking Point's Precision Guided Firearms include a Linux-driven scope which locks on to targets with an accuracy unparalleled outside of modern video gamer FPS. The gif demonstrations come courtesy of Prosthetic Knowledge.

ALGO ANXIETY OF THE WEEK: When IBM’s Watson Learned Too Much About Natural Language

Reigning jeopardy uber-champion Watson has been getting a little bit sassy following IBM's (admittedly well intentioned) decision to patch Urban Dictionary into its brain. The Artificial Intelligence couldn't distinguish profane definitions from squeaky clean ones, and so for now the wisdom of the crowd eludes Watson.

WETWARE OF THE WEEK: Manchester Ribosome

Molecular biology's understanding of the genetic processes at work in our cells often fall back on the metaphors of our technical imaginary: for instance the ribosome is the protein making factory of the cell. And now, biology boffins at Manchester have created a synthetic version of one.

TECHNONOMY OF THE WEEK: Minecraft for homework

Oh Sweden, as if there weren't enough to admire in your society, you've only gone and made headlines for making Minecraft a compulsory part of the curriculum. Inspired by a recent architecture competition the Viktor Ryndberg school has made Minecraft an integral part of their homework on designing virtual cities.