Thursday, 30 October 2014

sequestering carbon, several books at a time XXXIII

A bit of a fiction binge this time.



Well, got to fill those new bookshelves somehow!

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

soap opera

The third day in the hotel in Lyon, and the third cake of foil-wrapped soap appears in the bathroom.  It’s not a small cake, either:

toothbrush shown for scale

That’s a lot of soap.  Where does it all go?

And no, I don’t know what’s up with the psychedelic sink surround, either.  It looks like the death throes of some complex reaction-diffusion system.  Is bonkers bathroom design a feature of Lyon hotels?

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

a new tongue twister

The EvoEvo all-hands project meeting has been having some very interesting technical discussions, on bacterial and viral evolution, on computational models of evolution, on novel evolutionary algorithms, and on suitable applications.

During one discussion of fitness functions in algorithms, and how we wanted implicitly- rather than explicitly-defined fitness, one member of the group came up with a name for the property of not having an extrinsic fitness defined:

fitnesslessness


Monday, 27 October 2014

Lyon night and day

I’m in Lyon for the end of first year meeting on our EU-funded EvoEvo project.  The weather is as deliciously mild as it was at the kickoff meeting this time last year.

Down by the Rhône, the Hôtel-Dieu de Lyon looked wonderful in the evening.



The obligatory view from my hotel window captures the autumnal feel.


From the window, I couldn’t tell whether the building nestling behind the trees was a nuclear bunker of a waste recycling centre.  From ground level I discovered the truth: it is a school.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Saturday, 25 October 2014

a spoonful of sugar

This makes herding cats look simple.

 


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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

my worlds collide

My day job is (computer) science; for recreation I read science fiction.  These two worlds have now conjoined.  Just over a year ago now, I blogged about an event we ran at the ECAL conference in Taormina.  A bunch of scientists and writers paired off to discuss the future of unconventional computing and artificial life: the scientists providing inspiration to the authors for a variety of short stories.  These stories were to be published, each accompanied by an afterword from the scientist partner explaining the actual science.

A few months after the event, I got to comment on the completed story from “my” author, Adam Marek.  It’s a nifty tale of future bio-engineered skyscrapers gone feral.  Then a month or so ago I got the request for my own afterword, on “growing” and “gardening” artefacts.  That was fun to write.

And now the book itself, Beta-Life, has been published!  I can’t wait to read all the other stories and afterwords, too.