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Archive for the ‘Design and Art’ Category

If you like light shows, you may want to have a look at this record-breaking show of drones in China: “EHang Egret’s 1374 drones dancing over the City Wall of Xi’an, achieving the Guinness World Records“.

(Click on the picture to watch the video on YouTube)

This is probably just the beginning of what will be possible with drones in the near future.

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In 2015 my wife and I happened to be in Sydney (Australia) at the start of the Vivid light festival, early in the evening. The weather was bad then – it rained heavily by moments – and since we were on a ferry coming from Parramatta we only got a glimpse of what the festival has to offer. But even so it was a great event, something we’ll remember for the rest of our lives – we have a few photos of that evening to keep the memory alive.

And now there is an extensive video on the 2018 version of Vivid on Youtube – it’s enough to make us want to go back there again! The projections onto the Sydney Opera House seem to have gotten even better…

(Click on the picture to see the whole video on YouTube)

Thanks Cory, for pointing us to this video.

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It’s been a while since I recommended a link to a site with “just” graphical content. Being fond of non-figurative (or less figurative) images means that I simply have to mention the Cool Backgrounds site. In its words:

Cool Backgrounds is a collection of tools to create compelling, colorful images for blogs, social media, and websites. Beyond backgrounds, the images generated can be used as desktop wallpapers or cropped for mobile wallpapers.

When you’re done using the tools provided, you can start hacking away with your own paint or photo utilities – and get all your devices a new desktop background of your own making, without having to be a designer.

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… And because it is quite a exploit to make this short but very beautiful movie.

Featuring Madeleine Graham, star of the Royal New Zealand Ballet, and music from London Grammar, Corey’s film highlights the threats of climate change through stunning choreography against the spellbinding backdrop of the Antarctic.

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The BBC writes about “The world’s oldest working planetarium“. The man who built this planetarium must have been very special, very smart and pretty handy – would you tackle such an endeavour?

Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are missing, of course, because they hadn’t been discovered when Eisinga hammered in the final nail in 1781. Even so, it is astonishing: a Baroque theatre for stargazers, crowning the living room of a modest wool comber who lived shortly after the Dutch Golden Age. All told, an unfathomable undertaking considering Eisinga quit school aged 12.

The Royal Eise Eisinga Planetarium is the world’s oldest working planetarium (Credit: The Royal Eise Eisinga Planetarium)

Franeker isn’t exactly a household name, even for those of us who, like me, have traveled to the Friesland province in the Netherlands. But the city is not just home to the house of Eise Eisinga, who built the planetarium mentioned in the BBC article, but is also the birthplace of Jan Hendrik Oort, the man who gave his name to the Oort Cloud surrounding the solar system. I am putting Franeker on my list of destinations for a future weekend trip – it would also give me a good reason to drive over the famous Afsluitdijk.

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I like this post from Signal vs. Noise, especially today (yup, it’s my birthday, and I’m… older than 25, let’s say).

The Bedroom, by Vincent van Gogh, 1888.
Get more details by clicking on the picture.

I think the world puts too much focus on the Picassos and the young phenoms. We overlook the Cézannes. The folks who took a while to experiment on getting better and better and who never stopped.

The thing I take from this is that if you find yourself still experimenting in life. If you don’t have it all figured out. If you’re 30, 40, 50, 60 and still don’t know what you want to be when you grow up…

There’s still plenty of room and time to get better. Your peak is still ahead.

Thank you for the encouragement, Nathan Kontny!

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A lava lamp is something from the late 1960’s – they were quite a rage when when I was a teenager. Today, lava lamps are a tool for cryptographers – at least at Cloudflare, a provider of a significant piece of Internet infrastructure.

In their blog post “Randomness 101: LavaRand in Production“, Cloudflare explains how they use a collection of lava lamps to generate random numbers.

LavaRand is a system that uses lava lamps as a secondary source of randomness for our production servers. A wall of lava lamps in the lobby of our San Francisco office provides an unpredictable input to a camera aimed at the wall. A video feed from the camera is fed into a CSPRNG, and that CSPRNG provides a stream of random values that can be used as an extra source of randomness by our production servers. Since the flow of the “lava” in a lava lamp is very unpredictable, “measuring” the lamps by taking footage of them is a good way to obtain unpredictable randomness. Computers store images as very large numbers, so we can use them as the input to a CSPRNG just like any other number.

If you don’t want to read the whole blog post, just have a look at this video on Youtube:

Click the image to go to Youtube

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