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Two teams of astronomers have discovered the largest and farthest reservoir of water ever detected in the universe. The water, equivalent to 140 trillion times all the water inthe world's ocean, surrounds a huge, feeding black hole, called a quasar, more than 12 billionlight-years away.

Read about it at NASA.

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow


The Space Shuttle Atlantis departs from the International Space Station for the very last time.

I am again reminded how poignant and beautiful the act of remote scientific watching can be.

Space: The Final Frontier. Still.

A selection of Neil deGrasse Tyson's tweets on the day of the final launch of the space shuttle Atlantis:

Neil deGrasse Tyson Apollo in 1969. Shuttle in 1981. Nothing in 2011. Our space program would look awesome to anyone living backwards thru time.

Neil deGrasse Tyson The entire half-century budget of NASA equals the current two year budget of the US military.

Neil deGrasse Tyson The US military spends as much in 23 days as NASA spends in a year - and that's when we're not fighting a war.

Neil deGrasse Tyson The US bank bailout exceeded the half-century lifetime budget of NASA.

Neil deGrasse Tyson Just an FYI: Human access to space doesn't end with the Shuttle era, only American access. China and Russia still go there.


I've been a beta tester for the U&I software guys for more than 10 years now. It's been an amazing and very fulfilling part of my life. When Eric Wenger and Edward Spiegel first released ArtMatic 1.0 it was a very much simpler beast than it is today, and it has evolved into a wonderful and deep artistic exploratory tool. So deep, in fact that I am sometimes deflated when I grasp the vastness of its space and realise I'll never in my lifetime be able to explore more than a fraction of it.

One thing that always bugged me though, was the name. I've said as much to the developers so it won't come as any great disclosure to them. The problem is that for me it immediately sounds like a contraction of 'automatic art' and those terms mashed together in this way is, in my opinion, a problematic pairing; the implication is that you push a button and you get 'art'.

Creative works developed on a computer already have this stigma, even twenty or so years into the full embedding of creative computer technology into our lives. The unspoken opinion of the art cognescenti seems to be that unless you are pushing around squishy pigmented physical materials you can't possibly create a thing of artistic value.

Now I am not going to pontificate on what is, or is not, art, and especially whether my own creations can be considered to have any worth in such a context. I do hope they have some merit, but 'art' is such an ephemeral thing that such considerations are (to me at least) fundamentally boring. 

What I will say, though, is that art (whatever it is) must surely, by anyone's standards, not be defined by the tool with which it's made. Believing that a computer somehow autonomously invents images and sounds like those I am showing you here is analogous to saying that a brush is responsible for a painting, or a piano responsible for a song. 

As it turns out, Eric's definition of ArtMatic is in fact a blend of 'art' and 'mathematics' which, if you understand the app, makes a lot of sense. Apparently his preferred pronunciation of it is 'art-mat-teek' and that's how I say it when I use it in spoken language. 

How I wish they would change the spelling :)


I'm a little stymied with the render process at the moment. There's a bug in AM that causes animation renders to be offset by a rather large amount and until it's addressed I can't really continue with that side of things.

Next week I think I'll mock up some temp sound material for the clips that are posted here. It's a kind of a side-track but at least it will help me nut out a few ideas.

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