Link tags: evolution

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The Octopus: An Alien Among Us | Literary Hub

An excerpt from the book Rethinking Consciousness by Michael S. A. Graziano, which looks like an interesting companion piece to Peter Godfrey-Smith’s excellent Other Minds.

Also, can I just say how nice this reading experience is—the typography, the arresting image …I like it.

Chaos Design: Before the robots take our jobs, can we please get them to help us do some good work?

This is a great piece! It starts with a look back at some of the great minds of the nineteenth century: Herschel, Darwin, Babbage and Lovelace. Then it brings us, via JCR Licklider, to the present state of the web before looking ahead to what the future might bring.

So what will the life of an interface designer be like in the year 2120? or 2121 even? A nice round 300 years after Babbage first had the idea of calculations being executed by steam.

I think there are some missteps along the way (I certainly don’t think that inline styles—AKA CSS in JS—are necessarily a move forwards) but I love the idea of applying chaos engineering to web design:

Think of every characteristic of an interface you depend on to not ‘fail’ for your design to ‘work.’ Now imagine if these services were randomly ‘failing’ constantly during your design process. How might we design differently? How would our workflows and priorities change?

Evolution of Webdesign

Funny because it’s true.

Is the universe pro-life? The Fermi paradox can help explain — Quartz

Living things are just a better way for nature to dissipate energy and increase the universe’s entropy.

No anthropocentric exceptionalism here; just the laws of thermodynamics.

According to the inevitable life theory, biological systems spontaneously emerge because they more efficiently disperse, or “dissipate” energy, thereby increasing the entropy of the surroundings. In other words, life is thermodynamically favorable.

As a consequence of this fact, something that seems almost magical happens, but there is nothing supernatural about it. When an inanimate system of particles, like a group of atoms, is bombarded with flowing energy (such as concentrated currents of electricity or heat), that system will often self-organize into a more complex configuration—specifically an arrangement that allows the system to more efficiently dissipate the incoming energy, converting it into entropy.

UX past, present, and future | Clearleft

This long zoom by Andy is right up my alley—a history of UX design that begins in 1880. It’s not often that you get to read something that includes Don Norman, Doug Engelbart, Lilian Gilbreth, and Vladimir Lenin. So good!

The Ecological Impact of Browser Diversity | CSS-Tricks

This is a terrific spot-on piece by Rachel. I firmly believe that healthy competition and diversity in the browser market is vital for the health of the web (which is why I’m always saddened and frustrated to hear web developers wish for a single monocultural rendering engine).

Design Laws in Nature by Jordan Moore

A deep, deep dive into biomicry in digital design.

Nature is our outsourced research and development department. Observing problems solved by nature can help inform how we approach problems in digital design. Nature doesn’t like arbitrary features. It finds a way to shed unnecessary elements in advancing long-term goals over vast systems.

1917. Free history.

Time-shifted reports from the Russian revolution, 100 years on.

All the texts used are taken from genuine documents written by historical figures: letters, memoirs, diaries and other documents of the period.

Every day, when you go onto the site, you will find out what happened exactly one hundred years ago: what various people were thinking about and what happened to each of them in this eventful year. You may not fast-forward into the future, but must follow events as they happen in real time.

The Computational Foundation of Life | Quanta Magazine

Philip Ball certainly has a way with words.

Richard Dawkins, Mount Improbable: Play With Evolution

A lovely interactive demonstration of evolution, based on the original code Richard Dawkins used for Climbing Mount Improbable.

Stephen Wolfram in The European magazine: I Like to Build Alien Artifacts

Thoughts on artificial intelligence, computation and complexity.

The Robot-Readable World – Blog – BERG

Wonderful musings from Matt on meeting the emerging machine intelligence halfway.

Kevin Kelly and Steven Johnson on Where Ideas Come From | Magazine

You'll need to use Instapaper/Readability/Safari Reader to make it legible, but this conversation is well worth reading. Now I want to get those books.

Evolution and Creativity: Why Humans Triumphed - WSJ.com

Matt Ridley's new book sounds like a corker.

Canvas Test

Conway's Game of Life executed using the canvas element.

NCSE Resource

To counter the creationists' lists of "scientists who doubt evolution" here's a list of scientists named Steve who support Darwin's theory. (via Steven Pinker's Q&A after a lecture last week)

Biologists Helping Bookstores

A blog devoted entirely to reshelving books in their correct categories in bookstores, specifically the science and religion categories. I approve.

Co-evolution of neocortex size, group size and language in humans

The Dunbar number gets bandied about a lot in conversations about social networks these days. Here's the original paper that shows the research behind the oft-misused term.

The New Yorker: Game Master

A profile of Will Wright. I'm really looking forward to hearing him speak at SXSW this year.

CHARLES DARWIN HAS A POSSE! -- stickers in support of evolution

Brilliant! I need to get some sticker paper so I can print out this picture and put it on my laptop.