A few weeks ago I read an article in the New York Times about a computer program that can “optimize” faces for beauty. It measures and alters symmetry, shape and average distance between different facial features. The program is really remarkable because the improved faces were unmistakably similar and arguably more attractive.
Interestingly, it mentions that there is no perfect face, but I assume this is only because individual faces can only be modified to a certain point before they lose semblance to the original. The generation of a perfect face should be possible because this program proves there are universally accepted characteristics of beauty.
Following the concept of this program, I’m almost certain that “perfect” (universally appealing) songs can be generated. After all, music is nothing but patterns, there are probably some similarities in the top songs, all of which can be input into a program of some sort. After inputting the characteristics of more songs, the program reaches a point where it can randomly generate music that is “perfect”, or universally appealing to the majority of people, say 99%.
Some current variables I can think of right now are just the basics such as genre, tempo, instruments, time signature, syncopation, vocals, vocal gender. Pandora, Zune Mixview and Apple Genius all suggest music, but none of them generat music.
When I have the time I will definitely pursue this idea in the future. At the moment, there’s too much physics to study.
It’s senior year. The previous year the instructors warned us about “senior malaise”, when all the seniors suffer a marked drop in performance, supposedly due to the realization that college is a year away.
I really don’t think it’s simple laziness. I think it stems from uncertainty about the future. How easy can it be to decide what you want to do for the rest of your life with only a high school’s worth of classes? Day in and day out, that’s what you’ll be doing for the next few decades.
I have been using Windows Live for a little over a year now, and it’s clear that Windows Live offers a phenomenal and underrated suite of services and applications. Here are the services I use the most on a daily basis.
Windows Live Spaces has the potential to be the social networking service. Unlike other social networking services, it really is a space on the web in that it can easily be tailored to personal interests. MySpace and Facebook allow commenting and blogging, but if you’re really into photography, for example, it’s really not possible to focus your profile around it. Spaces offers templates that allow you to showcase exactly what you’re interested in, whether it’s blogging, photography or gaming and provides modules around these. At the same time, Spaces also allows a fantastic amount of customization of colors while maintaining the overall Windows Live feel.
At 5 GB of storage, Windows Live SkyDrive offers an incredible amount of storage while others charge money for over 1 GB.
Unfortunately, Windows Live Favorites is probably going to be discontinued, but it was a fantastic way to store and access favorite webpages from multiple computers. The Windows Live Toolbar made it perfect since favorites were instantly stored online instead of on the local drive.
Windows Live Office is basically it’s like SkyDrive with an emphasis on storing Microsoft Office documents. You can create task lists, notes, workspaces, etc. and upload all your Office documents to the web. The best part of this feature is the fantastic integration with Microsoft Office, as it allows you to save directly to Office Live. By installing an addon, you can have the option of saving all your documents to Office Live. I’ve used this for several school projects and it really simplified everything. Before I used this, our group was sending different versions of a PowerPoint file back and forth. The workspace feature was perfect, and it simplified the process greatly because we were able collaborate on just one file.
The best part of all of these services is that you only one account. Plus Windows Live allows linked accounts. This is so useful for managing separate accounts for personal or school/business use. A single click allows you to switch between accounts and manage all related services. Plus with Live Wave 3 just around the corner, I can only expect that all of these services will get even better.
It’s time for one of my infamous badly worded book reviews. I recently finished reading Cradle To Cradle, a superb book about “remaking the way we make things“. It outlines a completely new way of looking at reducing and reusing to better reduce human impact on the world. The key idea is that what we currently view as reusing and recycling, such as recycling old newspapers, has a crucial flaw in that the new product created is in worse quality than the original.
Cradle to Cradle describes manufacturing through the ages and documents how little it has changed. Just as in the past, manufacturing involves extracting unused resources and turning it into a product that cannot be recycled, and is eventually thrown away into a landfill as garbage. However, there could be a superior methodology of using resources that mimics that of nature’s. Instead of creating things with only its current lifespan in mind, every product should be created with the intent that it can be reused in the future as something of equal quality.
One problem with green products that currently exists is the expensive price premium over similar non green products. Although this may be true, Cradle to Cradle shows how green design is in face even more economical than traditional products when the entire manufacturing process is analyzed.
Even the book itself embodies the ideals it describes as it’s made of some sort of plastic so that the entire book can be melted down and recycled into an entirely new book of perfect quality. You would think that a plastic book would feel strange, but as a plastic book, it felt even better than paper and it’s resistant to water. This is a must read book that will change the way you look at recycling and design.
Going back to this comic. The title is Take the Tightrope. The question is, what is courage? How can the person taking the tightrope know whether it is courage or stupid or insanity? Or is it that courage is having the belief to do what others may think is completely insane or stupid.