naturally artificial


‘Cyberhelvetia’ - 3deluxe (2002)

“Themed installation with Internet connection for the Swiss Expo.02, in the context of a traditional Swiss swimming baths. Instead of the pool: a glass ashlar with interactive projections. 

The so-called pool was filled with ‘virtual water’, which visitors both on the spot and on the Internet enhanced by adding imaginative life forms. The reciprocal interaction between real and virtually present people and the digital creatures constantly created new atmospheric images on the projected surface of the pool, so that the overall impression was essentially of a living organism. The virtual water also responded to climatic conditions in the form of data from a weather station on the pavilion roof. The artificial surface of the water changed during the course of the day and seasons, and thus linked the artificial with nature as well as the virtual with what can be experienced in reality.”

Lilith Sign >:)
  • Aries: Lilith in Aries is sexually licentious and immodest, exploiting the physical body (proudly of course). Exotic dancing, and other shameless acts that may suit him/her. She hides her leadership qualities, opting to show her baser instinct. She is violent, childish and prone to lying, she proves dangerous to lovers.
  • Taurus: Lilith in Taurus is sexually dirty, as her naturalness is embraced; she is no friend of soap and water ;). Her scent is alluring, whether it is natural musky or artificial sweet. She/He is not stubborn and will not be controlled, and they hide their finances. As a lover, she is a drain on the pocketbook, and loves control.
  • Gemini: Lilith is exalted in Gemini. In this placement, Lilith expresses duplicity and isn't normally sexually faithful to one partner. She adores her makeup and will try to hide who she really is, and is gifted with a snake tongue and cunning mind. She talk dirty, she tempts you with her mind and ideas - good luck escaping from a Lilith in Gemini.
  • Cancer: Cancer Lilith is an unhappy placement :(, indicating hidden emotions coupled with possible childhood trauma experiences. She exploits her feeling to others, and lets it all out, leading to unpleasant experiences. She may neglect friendship to focus on her own problems. She may do harm to others emotionally, and feel trapped in a bubble constantly.
  • Leo: Lilith in Leo expresses sexuality in an animalistic way. She tempts with her ability to feed any desire of others. She will hide her inner actress and opts for a more overbearing tyrannical personality. She/He is controlling, and a dirty secret keeper and liar. She will minimize her existence to others, keeping most of her backstage.
  • Virgo: Lilith in Virgo expresses her sexuality in an inhibited way. She may suffer from confusion between the Eve/Lilith Mary/Naughty dichotomy. She hides her sexuality - a wolf in sheep clothing. She lures with her words, she talks dirty. She exploits her own willingness to please and serve. She is the sexual servant in the most degrading way.
  • Libra: Libra in Lilith expresses herself through another persona. Relationships may somehow cause her to err, and her partner may cause much suffering. She is lady-like, flirtatious, and charming - but underneath that sweet layer lies a jealous, angry lover who seems forever involved in tempestuous relationships and marriages.
  • Scorpio: Lilith in Scorpio exploits herself in a sexual manner. She delights in knowing others deepest secrets, yet she will never admit her own. She is more magnetic and sexually seductive than any other Lilith placement. As a lover, she/he is manipulative, using sexual powers to gain the upper hand in any relationship. She is jealous - be careful.
  • Sagittarius: Lilith is her fall is Sagittarius. Lilith placed here makes unwise decisions and does not learn from mistakes. She is dedicated to secret philosophies, and she judges harshly. She is spiritual and sexually free, but watch out for her common lying acts, and even the rarer hypocrisy. She does what she wants without control.
  • Capricorn: Lilith is dignified in Capricorn. Lilith placed here is very practical. However, bad choices makes her topple from the top, where she so badly wants to be and stay. She will exploit her personal power, using sex as a weapon. As a lover, she hied emotions, appearing cold and severe - Which may not warms things up quite easily.
  • Aquarius: Lilith in Aquarius suffers from thwarted hope and dreams. Erroneous life choices cause disastrous change and instability, bad choices also cause loss of friends over the years. Sexually, Lilith in Aquarius is magical and experimental, and she tempts with her sexual openness. She will not be pinned down.
  • Pisces: Lilith in Pisces suffers from martyrdom. She hides her wounds as this placement denotes sexual abuse or childhood trauma. She ties herself to the dread of society, allowing herself to be demeaned and lower her self-confidence. Temptation lies in her power to seduce with tension, and fantasy.

Junya Ishigami is known for his enchanting concepts which attempt to dissolve the boundaries between architecture and geography, the delicacy and lightness of form in his work stretching far beyond the minimalist aesthetic.

The Kait workshop in Japan is a physical embodiment of such ideas; a barely-there glass box supported by 305 unique steel columns to create a fresh interior space drenched in natural light. The interior is an artificial forest of white columns, with sunlight filtering through skylights which run the entire length of the building. 

Ishigami’s obsession with celebrating the beauty of nature within artificial form is expressed in the exterior, where the glass reflects the site’s surrounding trees and the lack of exterior walls furthers the building’s transparency. This subtlety and tentativeness is present in all of Ishigami’s work. 

Photos taken by Iwan Baan and Rudolph Escher.
When her best friend died, she used artificial intelligence to keep talking to him
When the engineers had at last finished their work, Eugenia Kuyda opened a console on her laptop and began to type. “Roman,” she wrote. “This is your digital monument.” It had been three months since Roman Mazurenko, Kuyda’s closest friend, had died. Kuyda had spent...
By Casey Newton

In February, Kuyda asked her engineers to build a neural network in Russian. At first she didn’t mention its purpose, but given that most of the team was Russian, no one asked questions. Using more than 30 million lines of Russian text, Luka built its second neural network. Meanwhile, Kuyda copied hundreds of her exchanges with Mazurenko from the app Telegram and pasted them into a file. She edited out a handful of messages that she believed would be too personal to share broadly. Then Kuyda asked her team for help with the next step: training the Russian network to speak in Mazurenko’s voice.

The project was tangentially related to Luka’s work, though Kuyda considered it a personal favor. (An engineer told her that the project would only take about a day.) Mazurenko was well-known to most of the team — he had worked out of Luka’s Moscow office, where the employees labored beneath a neon sign that quoted Wittgenstein: “The limits of my language are the limits of my world.” Kuyda trained the bot with dozens of tests queries, and her engineers put on the finishing touches.

Only a small percentage of the Roman bot’s responses reflected his actual words. But the neural network was tuned to favor his speech whenever possible. Any time the bot could respond to a query using Mazurenko’s own words, it would. Other times it would default to the generic Russian. After the bot blinked to life, she began peppering it with questions.

Who’s your best friend?, she asked.

Don’t show your insecurities, came the reply.

It sounds like him, she thought.

Hawkeye and language

No, not an Age of Ultron joke. There are millions of different definitions of language. For the purposes of this discussion, I’ll just use a simple but incredibly broad one, partly because I’m lazy but also because it’s necessary here: A language is any structured system to convey information using symbols. Those symbols can be spoken sounds, letters, but also a lot of different things.

Hawkeye’s use of language is very interesting. Obviously the basic level here is the standard English language, but right away we see it playing with its conventions, for example in the obvious cases of internal editing.

There is always a disconnect between “actual events” and their comic version, something many comic artists and writers try to hide with realistic dialogue and graphics. This, on the other hand, explicitly draws attention to its artificial nature. It works because this is an explicit representation of Clint Barton’s point of view and mindset: This is literally what he understands. It is an expansion of the language, conveying information that normal dialogue couldn’t.

Playing with language in comics, even expanding a bit beyond realistic depiction of dialogue, is nothing new or unique, though I do always like it when it happens, e.g. this adorable bit in a preview one-shot for Gotham Academy:

A very distinctive example in Hawkguy is the use of “Bro” and “seriously”, which can be all a good dialogue needs at times.

The comic makes it obvious that the actual dialogue, and what we understand of it, are two separate things. This is a comic that likes to have fun on the written language level. But it goes beyond that.

The structure of comics is a form of language in itself, at least using the very expansive definition, and you can likewise see Hawkeye play with it to convey its information, for example by subverting our expectations…

There are many more examples. The comic loves its time jumps. One of the best parts ever is when five successive issues show the same evening, and part of its introduction and its follow-up, each from a different perspective, to understand what each character thinks, but also how they all have incomplete information. 

So far, so good. Hawkeye is a very ambitious and complex comic that pushes what comic language can do, and generally succeeds. I do think it got the whole non-linear stuff better over time; in the first issue it was harder to follow the structure than later, even though it didn’t get easier.

And then it goes ahead and invents a completely new language, for one single issue.

Here is where the expansive definition of language really becomes necessary. Issue 11, generally known as “The Dog Issue”, shows a new symbolic system that isn’t spoken, nor written, but it is a structured and effective way of telling a story. It is an interesting language, too, with the way it portrays structure mostly in form of clusters instead of linearly.

And it also talks about human language. Lucky is not a magical wonder-dog. He can’t read or speak, and he cannot really understand human language. But he does understand that it is a language, and he can understand parts of it. Which is portrayed in the comic by again, playing with language; here by only showing the words that Lucky can, in some form, distinguish. The amount differs heavily depending on the conversation, but it’s clear that he mostly gets stuff that people use to talk to him or around him. He can understand his name, various commands, but he also understands the names of the various humans in his world and various of their usual expressions. This provides a commentary on these people as well. Apparently someone taught him to understand the word “ass”, for example.

This is one of the most inventive uses of comics and their possibilities I’ve ever seen. And it works, which is by no means a given for something as complex as this. To get there, it is based on graphical symbols we can understand, but arranged in new ways to convey new information. And as the story progresses, it gradually cranks up the complexity to really spread out the dog world. 

And then they went ahead and did it again.

I’ve heard some people say that this issue is written in American Sign Language. That isn’t exactly wrong, but it doesn’t tell the whole story, because the way of representing it is new. Instead of having people use it in panel, ASL here is used outside, once more using graphical symbols.

Compare this to Batgirl (2011-) #37, where the titular hero is analyzing pictures of an impostor of hers for clues:

It’s also ASL (I’m assuming; I didn’t actually check), but in a very different role. Here it is used to hide that communication is taking place, both from the reader and from other characters. Barbara Gordon is awesome because she can figure it out anyway. (Also these aren’t holograms, it’s a representation of her photographic memory; that comics’ own visual language.)

In Hawkguy, the communication is explicit and in your face. When you think about it, these are  some of the biggest words ever used in comics.

Unlike the dog issue, these are symbols that most readers will not readily understand, and that is a huge part of the point. Language is exclusionary if you don’t know it. It was that case in issue 11, but it is much more important (and a big part of the story) here.

A minor example is shown in the same issue at the airport:

None of the people in this gang speak English well, but they speak it better than any of each other’s languages. It is something that connects them, but also highlights their differences. Two of them can’t figure out the “arrivals” sign, assuming it means “alligators”. It is meant to be universal, and that works to some degree, but it is also another form of sign language with its own barriers.

The comic also features lip reading, and again, shows a different use of language.

It is English, but filtered, distorted and unclear, and the comic takes great pains to show this. The structure of language here is unreliable, impeding communication, but in some contexts, it’s also the only way communication can take place at all.

(Also, I love how the font used for Clint shows his uncertainty with spoken language now that he can’t hear himself. It’s very subtle but effective.)

All these things are based on standard comics language, partly on standard english or standard recognized signs, but then they use it as a starting point to create something new. A side-effect of that is that it really has to be a comic. For many of my favorite other titles, I could easily imagine a movie or animated TV show or book or video game adaptation. Not here.

Hawkeye has found many fans and imitators amongst Marvel comics makers

(Secret Avengers #1, Hawkeye vs. Deadpool #0, All-New Hawkeye #3)

And probably beyond; if you know any examples, I’d be glad to hear about them! But all of them just copy the style without copying the creativity that made it awesome. Hawkeye is true art, in a way many other comics are not.

The Case of the Samurai Crab

This crab is one of my favourite crustaceans- Heikeopsis japonica - which is commonly known as the samurai crab. Today I was researching them (for non science reasons) and wanted to share what I learned about them with you all!

So the samurai crab is a rather small crab found in waters of Japan. Despite its freakishly long legs and awesome name, Heikeopsis is also known for one key feature: their carapaces.

As shown in the above diagram, the carapace of the samurai crab is highly defined, with large grooves creating a face-like image. Because humans are hardwired to find faces in everything, it’s quite easy to see a big nosed, angry face on the back of the crab. What’s more, one could even say it looks like the masks worn by samurai- hence the name!

In this print by Utagawa Kuniyoshi, samurai crabs are shown alongside Heike samurai- this print led to the 1952 hypothesis that these crabs were shaped the way they are due to unintentional artificial selection: fishermen believed that the crabs were the spirits of samurai from the naval Battle of Dan-no-ura (1185), and as such were released out of respect. The crabs that didn’t look like samurai masks were eaten, resulting in a selection pressure that favoured the creepy face-crabs to the not so creepy crabs.

This is a really cool idea- but one that is not without criticism. In 1993, Joel W. Martin wrote that these crabs were not used as a food source- though I couldn’t find a reference on carapace width, they don’t appear to be that big of a meal- and that the carapace grooves are actually areas of muscle attachment.

These areas of muscle attachment are also found on other crabs, such as the invasive Carcinus means shown above. Whilst not as defined as on the samurai crab, it’s easy to see where each part changes in shape and size.

It would be rather interesting to see how possible it is to invoke the samurai effect on crabs though: if you had enough crabs, you could (hypothetically) selectively breed them based on definition of grooves, and see how it affects the physiology and health of the offspring of a few generations. I am yet to find research showing exactly how much evidence each side of the story holds currently, but I will keep you updated if I find anything!

I laughed

I was in the middle of an idea for the AU and it’s about sugar. Sporty and Robbie are trying to find a middle point for the use of artificial or natural sweetener in Robbie’s cakes. They’re silently thinking until one of them breaks the silence with a thoughtful “Honey?” And the other says “yes?” That’s basically it. I just wanted to share that.

and since the end goal of any language, natural or artificial, is to just make the most bullshit-long words possible:


i cant begin to explain what this means besides the root is sluš- “to hear”, and that its a totally valid word with 11 morphemes and no feasible uses


Oslo , Norway , Wednesday  January 6 2016

Light Pillars

Generally seen in cold, arctic regions, light pillars are an optical phenomenon where columns of light can be seen emanating from below or above a light source. Light pillars occur when natural or artificial light reflects off flat ice crystals in the air close to the Earth’s surface.

Light pillars caused by the Sun are called Solar or Sun pillars, while those caused by the Moon’s light are called Lunar or Moon pillars. When the light source is the Sun, light pillars are usually seen when the Sun is near the horizon. While Sun and Moon pillars are more common, light pillars can also occur due to the presence of artificial lights.

Because the ice crystals in the atmosphere reflect the source light, light pillars tend to take on the color of the light source.