Monthly Archives: September 2011

eternal gratitude

again, we’ve arrived to the moon and invented the microchip. cool. now, inventors of the world, computer screens that work outdoors, please? and, how about spending some time thinking how to make toilet bowls that are not cold? i promise you’ll have my eternal gratitude

kaia barrenian

Ixil ixilik dago
kaia barrenian
untzi txuri polit bat
uraren gañean.

Goizeko ordu bietan
esnatutzen gera
arrantzaliak beti
joateko urrutira.

Zergatik, zergatik, zergatik, zergatik?
zergatik negar egin?
Zeruan izarra dago
itxaso aldetik.

¿por qué hoy? ¡no lo sé!

arroba

@, conocido en españa como “arroba” (qué palabra más fea, por favor), o “en” (“at”) en jamericano. yo lo llamo “arbusto/matojo que rueda por el desierto en las películas del oeste durante los duelos”. ideal para momentos tensos o de silencio en una conversación de chat… @@@

también se le puede llamar “pelo sobaquero hipster/perroflauta”.

redefining

summer is defined as this time of the year when tap water doesn’t come out cold. i don’t like it.

podríamos definir el verano como la época del año en la que el agua no sale fría del grifo. pfff, qué palo.

¿miedo?

decían por ahí que los que pasan más hambre son los que tienen mayor tendencia a ver a La Vírgen. tiene bastante sentido, la palabra clave era necesidad. ahora me pregunto, ¿por qué los americanos tienen mayor tendencia a ver OVNIs que el resto del mundo? una palabra que me viene a la cabeza es miedo.

—–

they used to say that the Blessed Virgin happens to be seen mostly among those who suffer hunger. it makes sense, and the word that comes to my mind is need. now, ¿why did UFOs tend to be seen mostly in USA? there is one word coming to my mind, fear.

never before in history we had so many artists

first of all, sorry for this attempt of mine to write something longer than a paragraph in english. i should start reading first, i guess. but it was just too tempting not to give it a try

ah, here i got today, once again, discussing about the value and quality of (artistic) creations. cause, you know, in this era of cheap hardware that puts the power to create in everybody’s hands, be it music or pictures, and now that the web 2.0 and all the social media makes it easier than ever to distribute and consume everybody’s creations, the question of which of this art is in fact worth consuming and that of everybody’s responsibility to understand quality and avoid inundating everything with worthless content without the need of a filtering-police arises.

so, from a conservative point of view, one would expect things to naturally balance themselves, such that quality work would stand over mediocracy or amateurism, without further intervention or need for education. however, just like in economy, seems like this idea of a self-regulating system simply doesn’t work…

and i say this cause we all seem to believe we are artists, and we all seem to be having to eat every body else’s crappy art. we all have pretended to be visual artists and graphics designers after we made a couple of flash animated websites or wear black glasses (extra points for having a white computer rather than a black pc). we all have believed to be dj’s at some point just cause we were playing some music in some obscure club and were cool. we all claimed to have taken pictures worth exhibiting for the mere fact of having shot few cute black and white and strongly depth-of-field photos with our brand new camera. and we all believed at some point we were a musician version of robin hood fighting the industry and commercial music just because it was cool to do so.

so, what’s happening here, if we are all so good in our art, then why is all this talent of ours misunderstood? or, is it???

in fact, not being broadcasted on mtv is actually not a sign of failure at all nowadays. quite the contrary. cities all over the places i’ve lived in are full of a massive volume of underground art manifesting itself in form of exhibitions, open projects, fundraisers, events, etc. being “underground” is in fact cooler that ever before. we all have experienced this. furthermore, we all claimed at some point not to want to go mainstream voluntarily for some (often cheap) philosophical reasons. probably the thing is that, of course, keeping your art underground protects you from having to confront reality and accept comparisons and criticism from real artists. but surely enough, who needs that when you are comfortable being a cool underground artist within your circle of underground artist friends. and after all, the true artist is that who creates for him/herself, out of the necessity of self expression, never for the others. but then, why the exhibitions, you might wonder. ah, even true artists need some small dose of recognition i suppose.

in any case, back on topic, everybody is an artist today. illusion or not, the main factor that helped this situation of doubts is technology. technology has undergone dramatic changes lately, and it has helped in three key aspects: creation, distribution and consumption.

it was still a mere decade ago when you had to carefully choose which cd you would bring in your cd-player on your way to work, cause that would be all you would listen to that day. today, you have all the music ever created on earth available to you, instantaneously, ready to be consumed after couple of clicks on your tactile pocket device. same goes for creation. we all carry a high quality photo and video camera with us. software to make music exists with tons of nice presets, the hardware and software you use to make a 3d movie at home differs nothing from that used professionally, and interactivity and web design is available to just any kid with a computer. lastly, the birth of the social media and the web 2.0 is another key factor in this explosion of self proclaimed artisty. never distribution was so easy and cheap. your creations can reach thousands of persons in a matter of minutes, and the rather chaotic dynamics of popularity of posts in blogs and internet communities can put any creation in front of millions of people, no matter it’s a remarkable music score or a farting drunk cat.

rather than simply going nazi/taliban and start thinking that just because everybody can create it doesn’t mean we all should, i cannot think but in this fantastic moment in history we are living anyway. a priori, this free massive distribution, ease of consumption and accessibility to the content creation tools of today is not only something very unique in human kind history so far, but something very good. for who wouldn’t rather want to live in a society of people that create and express (wait, do those two things go together necessarily?), than in a society based on simple passive consumption? in fact, probably, an artistic expressing society is a sign of cultural sophistication. under this optimistic view, one question remains then – do people really create cause they are really expressing and being truly creative (as in bringing new ideas, perspectives and opinions) or they are creators of content just for fun or social inertia. and if so, is this any bad?

in any case, whatever the reason for the creators is, a problem still resides in the side of the art consumers, and that was in fact the origin of the discussion i had today: judging the amount of supposed artists and art that we are exposed to in daily basis, one might have to conclude that we, most people, cannot tell the difference between good creations and bad creations, otherwise the bad art would have been filtered out before reaching me. if this lack of artistic perspective is a fact, then, it is not surprising the explosion in the amount of alter egos and believes to deserve being taken into account as an artist. and sure, we all do deserve that, but perhaps in a more relative context. there was only one Dali after all. luckily.

random brainstorming, please read with a grain of salt

adventures

adventures, adventures, and more unmentionable adventures! ahhh, this city is full of them. i love it

sound toy

i just built and published this small toy for geeks who want to play around and design some sounds by code and maths, and play them in their own computer, online. it’s probably more of a first contact with the new web audio api, but hopefully some people will have some good time playing around sound formulas. go and click the link, and see by yourself.

SoundToy

false positives

i just arrived home, so i relax and start cooking some dinner, in silence, in peace. no skype sessions tonight, just me. it’s all so quiet and calm, i love it. but suddently, a million decibel walls-penetrating awful high pitch tone starts beeping violently, drilling my hears, inundating all the building in the most disgusting and painful sound ever. i almost get an instant heart attack. wtf??? takes me a couple of seconds to understand what’s going on. indeed, the brand new installed smoke detector’s red led is flickering in the ceiling of my living room. damn it!!!! seems i will have to open the window of the kitchen everytime i cook now?

– – – – – – – –

acabo de llegar a casita, así que me relajo un poco y empiezo a cocinar la cena, en silencio, en paz. esta noche no tengo ninguna sesión de skype, ni visitas, ni nada, estoy sólo yo con migo mismo. está todo tan tranquilo, tan en calma; me encanta. pero derrepente, un sonido agudísimo y diabólico de un millón de decibelios empieza a pitar violentamente talandrándome los oídos e inundando todo el edificio. apunto está de darme un infarto al corazón. ¿qué ostias es esto? me lleva un par de segundos darme cuenta de lo que está pasado: efectivamente el detector de humos nuevo que han instalado en el techo del salón está parpadeando. ¡cagüendiógenes! ¿qué pasa, que voy a tener que empezar a abrir la ventana de la cocina cada vez que cocine apartir de ahora?, ¿o qué? manda huevos

some massaging

there is a way to make the Heron’s elegant formulas of the areas of a triangle even faster, by expressing the square of the third triangle edge, c², as (b+a)² = a² + b² + 2(a·b). it happens that injecting this into what we deduced from Heron’s original formula, meaning A² = (2|a|²|b|² + 2|b|²|c|² + 2|c|²|a|² – |a|²² – |b|²² – |c|²²)/16, we get that it all simplifies to A² = (|a|²|b|² – (a·b)²)/4

code-wise, this is involves 1 square root and 24 add/muls, which is in most practical situations as fast as the classic cross product formula (1 square root, 21 add/muls). however, unlike the cross product version, this expression above works in n-dimensional spaces (the cross product is only defined in 3 and 7 dimensions, not that we are going to work in 4D very often, though).

however, maths are incredibly self consistent, and nothing comes as a surprise in the end, for i already showed three years ago (during my crusade against coordinate systems and trigonometry) that in fact, by means of the vector identity (a·b)² + |axb|² = |a|²|b|², the modulo of the external (cross, in 3D) product can be expressed as |a|²|b|² – (a·b)². ah, what a shame, we could just have started from here, but then again, we would have missed the opportunity to visit Heron’s work. so, there we go:

A² = ¼(|a|²|b|² – (a·b)²)

and when it’s right…

as expected, the formula below simplifies quite a lot when our triangle is a right triangle. cause in that case the squares in the sides of the triangle follow the pythagoras theorem, which in the language of squares reads as

c = a + b

so, if we replace c by a + b into A² = (2ab + 2bc + 2ca – a² – b² – c²)/16 and simplify the expression, we get that

A² = ab/4

which is indeed the usual formula that we all know (“the area of a triangle is half the product of its base by its height”) expressed through squares this time. in this case it should be read as “the square of the area of a right triangle is one quarter of the areas of the squares in its perpendicular sides”. a bit baroque, i know

area of triangles, the fast way

sometimes you have to compute the area of a triangle, in 3d. perhaps, you decide to use Heron’s formula, which is simple and convenient cause it only depends on the length of its three sides: A² = s·(s-a)·(s-b)·(s-c), where s is half the perimeter of the triangle, meaning A² = (a+b+c)·(-a+b+c)·(a-b+c)·(a+b-c)/4.

this formula is great and elegant, but slow, cause it involves four square roots (one for each length a, b and c and one for the final isolation of A). probably, as a graphics programmer, and even as a mathematician, you would feel more comfortable if you could work with square lengths (dot products) rather than lengths cause it’s more elegant, and of course, it runs much faster. intuition also says one should be able to do the area computation with only one square root, since, in the end of the day, the area is sort of the modulo of a bivector.

so, if we work with square lengths and rename a²->a, b²->b and c²->c, and expand the above three polynomial products in its full extent, and regroup things together, we end up, very luckily, or rather non surprisignly, with

A² = (2ab + 2bc + 2ca – a² – b² – c²)/16

therefore we only have to take the three edges of our threedimensional triangle, get their squared lengths (their self dot product) and inject them in the above formula as a, b and c, et voilà, there it is, the area of a triangle with only one square root!

more euphemisms

when it’s applied by a human, they call it methodology
when it’s executed by a machine, they call it algorithm