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 > information on arts, science, technology, and their intersections
> december 2001
sampling new cultural context
wednesday :: december 19, 2001
> 3d sound
sound in three dimensions
:: spatially realistic sound reproduction

Realistic computer sound, specifically tuned for each listener, could get a little closer using a new, free public database of acoustic measurements developed by researchers at the University of California, Davis. "We've captured the critical information needed to reproduce actual sounds as each listener perceives them," said Ralph Algazi, who led the research team. Spatially realistic sound reproduction would help the development of wearable, voice-controlled computers and virtual reality environments for exploring data. Between leaving their source and reaching our ears, sound waves collect changes as they bounce off surfaces such as walls, bodies and ears. These changes, and the small differences between sounds at each ear, let us hear in three dimensions -- left/right, up/down and near/far -- and give us information as to where the sound is coming from. These changes are captured by the head-related transfer function, or HRTF. HRTFs vary from person to person depending on factors such as the size and shape of the ears. Knowing HRTFs, researchers can design personalized software or hardware to reproduce spatially accurate and realistic computer-generated sound. More information and downloads: Available from http://interface.cipic.ucdavis.edu/.

>from *Studying, Recreating Sound in Three Dimensions*, december 5, 2001.

tuesday :: december 18, 2001
sklyarov's case
:: programmer allowed to return home to russia

Dmitry Sklyarov is the first programmer was jailed simply for coding and distributing software. The Russian programmer was arrested in Las Vegas, after a speech at DEF CON 9 on software that permits electronic book owners to convert the Adobe e-book format so they can make use of e-books without access restrictions. "Dmitry programmed a format converter which has many legitimate uses, including enabling the blind to hear e-books," explained EFF Intellectual Property Attorney Robin Gross. "The idea that he faced prison for this is outrageous." The 27-year-old programmer was arrested on July 16 and held in jail until August 6, when he was released on $50,000 bail on condition he remain in California. The software developer faced up to 25 years in prison under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in the first criminal prosecution brought under the controversial statute which forbids distributing technology or information that can be helpful in bypassing technological restrictions. In december 13, U.S. Federal Court Judge signed a court agreement permitting Dmitry Sklyarov to return to his native land after a five-month enforced stay in the U.S. As part of the agreement, Sklyarov will testify for the government in the case that remains against Elcomsoft, Sklyarov's employer. He will likely testify on behalf of Elcomsoft as well.

>from *Government Agrees to Defer Prosecution of Dmitry Sklyarov. Russian Programmer Freed, Must Testify Against Employer*, december 13, 2001. See http://www.freesklyarov.org/ for more background information and news.

> respect for dimitry sklyarov
monday :: december 17, 2001
> usenet + google
20 year newsgroup archive
:: google's usenet archive

Google offers direct access to 3 billion web documents. Google's diverse collection of documents includes web pages, images, and newsgroup messages. Google also unveiled several new enhancements that make available the latest news, refreshed daily web content, and for the first time, a 20-year archive of newsgroup conversations via *Google Groups*. The 20-year archive of Usenet conversations is the largest of its kind and can serve as a powerful reference tool, while offering insight into the history and culture of the Internet. Google Groups was released with 700 million postings in more than 35,000 topical categories. "The Google Groups Usenet archive reveals a detailed view into two decades of history - that's ten years' worth of content that existed before the birth of the web," said Sergey Brin, Google's co-founder and president of Technology.

>from *Google Offers Immediate Access to 3 Billion Web Documents*, december 11, 2001.

related context
> the geeks who saved usenet by katharine mieszkowski

salon.com, january 7, 2002

friday :: december 14, 2001
keep publically-funded research public
:: support open source software

The undersigned of petition believe that software funded by publically-funded research should be released under Open Source or Free Software licenses. This will benefit the public by promoting both the pace and progress of science by encouraging open and verifiable peer-reviewed research and the reuse of previously reviewed software. Software plays a large and growing role in scientific research. Modern science uses software to simulate complex systems, collect data, and to analyze the results of experiments. We feel that public distribution and critical examination of software source code are critical to the progress of science. We believe that researchers supported by publically-funded grant agencies should be required, as a condition on funding, to publish any source code under an Open Source or a Free Software license. Such licensing is the software equivalent of peer-reviewed publication of research results. The first obvious benefit of mandatory software source release is a speedup of software development. The longer-term benefit is that the software can be studied and reviewed in the same way as the other parts of scientific research.

>from *Petition to Public Funding Agencies: Support Open Source Software*, september 24, 2001.

related context
> public money, private code by jeffrey benner

salon.com, january 4, 2002

thursday :: december 13, 2001
> intel terahertz transistor
terahertz transistor
:: breakthrough in transistor design

Intel announced that its researchers have developed an innovative transistor structure and new materials that represent a dramatic improvement in transistor speed, power efficiency and heat reduction. The technology development is an important milestone in the effort to maintain the pace of Moore's Law [ an observation rather than a law of physics, is named after Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, who noted in 1965 that the number of transistors on a chip doubles every 18 months to 24 months with an attendant 50 percent reduction in cost ] and remove the technical barriers that Intel and the semiconductor industry have only recently begun to identify. The new structure is being called the Intel TeraHertz transistor because the transistors will be able to switch on and off more than one trillion times per second. TeraHertz transistor includes two significant improvements to existing transistor design: a new type of transistor called a "depleted substrate transistor" and a new material called a "high k gate dielectric." Together, these advancements dramatically reduce current leakage and power consumption. The Intel TeraHertz transistor solves a key barrier to bringing future chips into volume production that enable a whole new range of applications. Intel is expected to begin incorporating elements of this new structure into its product line as early as 2005.

>from *Intel Announces Breakthrough In Chip Transistor Design. New type of transistor and new materials combine to address critical power issues and help chips run cooler*, november 26, 2001.

wednesday :: december 12, 2001
largest prime number
:: great internet mersenne prime search

Michael Cameron, a 20 year-old volunteer in a worldwide research project called the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS), has discovered the largest known prime number using his PC and software by George Woltman and Entropia, Inc. as part of an international grid of more than 205,000 interconnected computers operated by the company.

The new number, expressed in shorthand as 213,466,917-1, contains 4,053,946 digits. It belongs to a special class of rare prime numbers called Mersenne primes . The discovery marks only the 39th known Mersenne prime, named after Marin Mersenne, a 17th century French monk who first studied the numbers. An integer greater than one is called a prime number if its only divisors are one and itself. The first prime numbers are 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, etc. For example, the number 10 is not prime because it is divisible by 2 and 5. A Mersenne prime is a prime of the form 2P-1. The first Mersenne primes are 3, 7, 31, 127, etc. Mersenne primes are most relevant to number theory, encrypt and decrypt messages, and has been used as a test for computer hardware. "There are more primes out there," invites Woltman, "and anyone with an Internet-connected computer can participate." All the necessary software can be downloaded for free at http://www.mersenne.org/prime.htm

>from *Researchers Discover Largest Multi-Million-Digit Prime Using Entropia Distributed Computing Grid. 213,466,917-1 is now the Largest Known Prime.*, december 6, 2001.

> mersenne prime celebration
tuesday :: december 11, 2001
> inside the hand
sonic flashlight
:: make human body translucent

A "sonic flashlight" makes the human body seem translucent right in front of your eyes. The prototype device, developed by George Stetten, biomedical engineer at the University of Pittsburgh, merges the visual outer surface of a patient's skin with a live ultrasound scan of what lies beneath. It creates the effect of a translucent ultrasound image floating in its actual 3-D location within the patient, showing blood vessels, muscle tissue, and other internal anatomy. Stetten named the process "tomographic reflection" and the device a "sonic flashlight." "We are actually merging the virtual image in 3D with the interior of the patient," Stetten said. "The reflected image is optically indistinguishable from the corresponding space within the patient." The result is an image within the natural field of view that can be used to guide invasive procedures, such as taking blood samples without missing the vein, or doing needle biopsies, amniocenteses, catheterizations, surgery, or numerous other procedures while looking directly at the patient instead of at a monitor.

>from *"Sonic Flashlight" Gives Users A New Form of Ultrasonic Vision*, december 6, 2001.

monday :: december 10, 2001
search for gravity waves
:: another window into the universe

Deep Space Network antennas perceptible fluctuations in the speed of a distant spacecraft away from Earth could provide science's first direct detection of gravitational waves, a basic feature of how the universe behaves. A 40-day search begined Nov. 26 using the Cassini spacecraft and specially upgraded ground facilities of NASA's Deep Space Network. "We've tried this before with other spacecraft, but this time we have new instrumentation on the spacecraft and on the ground that gives us 10 times the sensitivity," said astronomer John Armstrong. Gravitational waves are ripples in the fabric of space and time that are set off by accelerations of massive bodies. Einstein theorized they exist, and indirect evidence confirmed his prediction in the 1970s. "Gravitational waves are at the frontier of astrophysics. There's no question they exist, but they have not yet been detected directly," said Armstrong, leader of an international team that has been preparing for years to conduct this search. The scientific importance of detecting gravitational waves has also prompted ground-based projects, most notably the highly sensitive Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory. The two approaches complement each other.

>from *NASA Spacecraft to Hunt for Elusive Gravity Ripples*, november 20, 2001.

> collision of the black holes transmit large energy quantities in the form of gravitational waves: synergy between supercomputer simulations and approximation techniques
wednesday :: december 5, 2001
> growth patterns of a slime mold on a non-uniform substrate
deaf people brains
:: rewired to 'hear' music

Deaf people sense vibration in the part of the brain that other people use for hearing ­ which helps explain how deaf musicians can sense music, and how deaf people can enjoy concerts and other musical events. The deaf show brain activity in the auditory cortex, otherwise usually only active during auditory stimulation. The people with normal hearing did not show such brain activity. "Vibrational information has essentially the same features as sound information ­ so it makes sense that in the deaf, one modality may replace the other modality in the same processing area of the brain. Itıs the nature of the information, not the modality of the information, that seems to be important to the developing brain," says Dean Shibata from the University of Washington that made the findings using functional magnetic resonance imaging to compare brain activity. It turns out that our genes do not directly dictate the wiring of our brains. Our genes do provide a developmental strategy.

Deaf audience attending musicals are provided with balloons which they can hold on their fingertips in order to "feel" the musical vibrations. Similarly, tactile devices have been made to help convert speech sounds to vibrations in order to assist in communication.

>from *Brains of deaf people rewire to 'hear' music*, november 27, 2001

tuesday :: december 4, 2001
  mobile minded
:: 5th browserday

The 5th International Browserday in Berlin ask students and young designers to come up with their ideas about wireless communication from a creative perspective. At this competition for media designers, artists and other creative and young professionals designers will show their wild and creative proposals for mobile navigation. Bit by bit, the PC-focussed market moved on to mobile phones, settop boxes and handheld computer which all have build-in browsers. A new browser war is under way, as software firms compete to provide the browsers for such "information appliances." What's on the agenda is nothing but the democratization of mobile space. The opening of the wireless space is both a political demand and a techno-aesthetic challenge, shaping these, still, closed spaces. Let's not wait any longer for more speculations of the strategic money-driven companies. Design your own mobile browser, web/mobile TV player, geo locators, search engine for sound files. Don't limit yourself to the tiny screen, text-only SMS interfaces and current slow transmission rate. The primitive nature of the current displays is something we can complain about. We may as well see this limitation as a challenge. Designing the communication possibilities of the literally billions of moving people worldwide is what this new media design competition is all about. Think mobile.
>from *browserday website*.

related context
> 4th international browserday, crack the code: design and deliver

march 27, 2001 |


monday :: december 3, 2001
information arts book
:: intersections of art, science, and technology

Steve Wilson presents their book "Information Arts: Intersections of Art, Science, and Technology", published in the Leonardo Book Series by MIT Press. Offers one of the only comprehensive international survey of artists working at the frontiers of scientific inquiry and emerging technologies, who incorporate concepts and research from mathematics, the physical sciences, biology, kinetics, telecommunications, and experimental digital systems such as artificial intelligence and ubiquitous computing. And also provides lists of resources including organizations, publications, conferences, museums, research centers, and web sites. Its goal is to describe this art, explore its theoretical rationales, and alert readers to possible future directions.

One of the only sources available that reviews cutting edge techno-scientific research in a way accessible to those without extensive technical backgrounds. "We must learn to appreciate and produce science and technology just as we do literature, music, and the arts. They are part of the cultural core of our era and must become part of general discourse in a profound way." Years ago, C. P. Snow wrote about the "two cultures" of science and the humanities; these developments may finally help to change the outlook of those who view science and technology as separate from the general culture. Literacy for our techno times.

Leonardo and 0:one, the Art & Technology Network, will host the release celebration. The event, at the Silicon Valley MicroSoft campus, include a book signing by Steve Wilson and presentations by a number of the artists that are discussed in the book.

related context
> corner of art place and tech lane
by chloe veltman. wired, december 4, 2001

information arts book
mit press
saturday :: december 1, 2001
  world aids day
:: link and think

Link and Think is an observance of World AIDS Day in the personal web publishing communities. Formerly "A Day With(out) Weblogs", the project involves hundreds of webloggers, journalers, diarists and other personal website publishers, each linking to resources about HIV/AIDS or publishing personal stories about how the AIDS pandemic has affected them.
>from *Link and Think website*.

AIDS epidemic update ‹ December 2001

> altered electronic mycrophotography of hiv virus

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