Archive for October, 2007

Du drømte om mig…

Monday, October 15th, 2007

…men drømmen den forsvandt da jeg blev din

Done “shopping” for events for the Copenhagen Kultur Natten 2007 – it WIIL be GREAT

Friday, October 12th, 2007

 Media(345,1030) Front Illu 2007Today October 12th-2007 is the day of the cultural event of the year in Copenhagen, “The Night of Culture” or Kulturnatten, and I’ve just finished “shopping” for events.

You can build a custom program on the web-site, unfortunately it doesn’t have a URL or a feed so that I can share it directly with you.

This year it seems like my theme will be Passion, Science and Christianity. Below is a list of events that I’ll try to mange to attend – it will be tough, and I’ll let the “Instincts be my shepherd” and stay for long in the places where I feel good vibes, and I’m very confident in my instincts.

It does look like my fix-points this year will be Kastellet, Botanisk Have, Humanistisk Fakultet, Glyptoteket and Marmorkirken. The previous years I had an extensive program as well, but I ended up spending hours at the Copenhagen HQ of The Danish Refugee Council, but since they’re not open this year, I might manage more.

Really there’s only ONE event I’m not going to miss, and that is Ars Nova singing English renaissance music in Marmorkirken – last year they were spectacular, and this year they’re issuing a new CD on the Kulturnat, I’ll be first in line to get a copy.

From the previous years I’ll HIGHLY recommend the Exhibition at Thorvaldsen’s Museum, the lights are turned off, and the statues are illuminated, it’s just fantastic, for me it’s been there done that this year however.

Rundetaarn is always too crowded, and the midnight concert this year is just too mainstream for my taste, but I loved it two years ago, and the storage room above the church is just wonderful.

So I wish you all a great Kulturnat, you just have to love Copenhagen for having the energy to set up such a massive event. And strange things happen on the Kulturnat, if you just let your senses guide you, and while you wait for my next blogpost, you can read about my experiences of the last two years here:

Events I hope to cover in 2007 – prioritised order – but my full intended program is 4 pages long:

Looking for blogforum3, found The Copenhagen Project

Saturday, October 6th, 2007

Today I realised that it’s been a year since the wonderful blogforum2, and I knew that I’d have heard about it if there was going to be a blogforum this year, but feeling the urge, I went looking for the usual suspects, and it so happened that I stumbled upon The Copenhagen Project – a recent brain child of Jeppe Kabell and the “notorious” Thomas Madsen-Mygdal – and if Thomas is involved you better listen up:

We are building a catalog of media building bricks in order to reinvent the services we use to understand and keep up to date with what happens in the world.

(notice that I changed “building bricks” to “building blocks” – I find that more correct).

Their ideas seems to be related to a lot of the ideas that I have, for instance regarding collective intelligence, and how to put the computer to more use when sharing knowledge.

They also picked up on a great crowd-sourcing idea – which I’ve been considering myself, and it’s simply to tag posts with a magic tag – in this case tcp2007 – and they should show up on the reactions page automagically – Gentlemen: start tagging 😉 (let’s see if that actually works).

I’ll be following The Copenhagen Project closely in the future, now if they only had a Jaiku channel – hint hint ;-)?

So what about the blogforum?

I suppose that someone has to organise the blogforum if it’s going to happen again, I’m not much of an organiser – but I’ll sure lend a hand if someone picks it up, because it was nothing short of inspirering, and it made me blog up a storm.

Blogforum2 had some spin offs, one was a survey, BlogTjek 07, that got press from big media, the other is the Blogfond – an attempt at creating a foundation to support the blog community (and then I just discovered that the board is considering pulling the plug – if we do, let’s at least have a party ;-)).

Happy birthday dear Sputnik, Space Ship One, FSF, Russian democracy and brother dearest

Thursday, October 4th, 2007

The famous Earthrise pictureI’m so envious my dear brother, this day October 4th – your birthday – seems to coincide with one of the most important days in modern civilisation, a day that has importance for exploration of space, as well as important steps in the history of human thought and the move towards true democracy.

Today, October 4th 2007, it’s 50 years since the first man made satellite, Sputnik 1, was launched, and the world was changed almost overnight. 12 years later man had already walked on the moon

The first stage of the race towards space, has to be one of the single most impressive feats of human kind in history, really on a par with the building of the Pyramids.

Building of Pyramids was, like the space program, put on hold – it was just not efficient, even though the monument still stand, in the form of immense launch facilities at Kennedy Space Centre, it was only really a demonstration of power, and funding had to be cut, or else it could have ruined the economy, like continued pyramid building could have done to Egypt

Flash forward 47 years, three years ago, the era of real space exploration of space was ushered in, with the successful flight of SpaceShipOne, the first commercially developed vehicle, capable of reaching space.

So happy birthday to you all, and humanity for giving us the inspiration to do the impossible, which is escaping this cosy spaceship we’re all living in, or should I say on, the spaceship called Earth.

ps. I also found out that today marks the 23rd anniversary of establishment of The Free Software Foundation (FSF) by Richard Stallman. FSF and the thoughts behind it is slowly changing the mindset of people, and is the foundation of the current explosion in true knowledge sharing. Today also marks the 14 anniversary of the failed attempt by the Soviet military to stop the move towards democracy – October 4th truly is a historic day.

pps. If I had the energy to do so, I’d love to have made a picture showing the faces of Sergei Korolev, Burt Rutan, Paul Allen, Richard Branson, Richard Stallman, Boris Yeltsin and my brother René, to accompany this article – sorry but you have to make that – mentally – yourself.

Instead I’m showing one of the most important pictures of mankind, the “Earthrise” picture taken by Apollo 8, just a little over 11 years after the Sputnik 1 launch.

“We close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas, and God bless all of you — all of you on the good Earth.”

Show your love for science – Science After Dark @ City Hall Square

Monday, October 1st, 2007

Researchers Night LogoFriday I went to the Science Fair – dubbed Science After Dark – that was held at Copenhagen City Hall Square (Københavns Rådhusplads), and I enjoyed it very much. I didn’t really know what to expect, but when I read that there would be live electronic music, I knew that I was going.

The first thing i noticed was that attendance, despite the location, was disappointingly low. I feel that it was because the venue looked quite uninviting, due to the fence, and the rather closed looking pavilions.

I also got the feeling that the PR for the Science Fair had been less than satisfactory.

ConDio – Controlling Audio

ConDio - Controlling Audio at RådhuspladsenAnyway, the first thing that grasped my eye was the ConDio, Controlling Audio. The ConDio is a device with which you can control the playback of sound, simply by moving physical bricks around on a table surface. The ConDio uses pattern recognition to determine the position of the different blocks, which translates into a specific function, for instance one brick changes the track that is being played, others applies filters.

It’s remarkably simple, efficient and intuitive to control a computer in this fashion, and it was a real crowd puller.

The ConDio has been developed by the medialogy branch of the University of Aalborg, and It was really great talking to the students that were responsible for the project. They were really feeding from the enthusiasm of the people that were looking at it.

I’m really envious that the students of today get to play with technology like this, to quote Haladjjan, the founder of Violet (manufacturer of the Nabaztag intelligent WiFi bunny):

“le début de l’internet a été une aimable kermesse… Maintenant les choses sérieuses commencent” – (translation: “the beginning of the Internet has been a friendly festival…Now the serious stuff begins”.

What a great time in history to be alive in.

Kim Bach – The failed scientist

I also enjoyed visiting the Bio Chemistry tent, where I had a discussion about how to bring science to the public (“videnskabs formidling”). The scientist in charge asked me it I’ve heard about Jens Martin Knudsen – and the regular reader would know that I just posted a tribute to him – we need more like him – since he was able to bring across complicated matters in lay-mans terms – we also discussed the great Richard Dawkins.

What I really hope is that someone could take up the reins from Jens Martin Knudsen, because we need those positive role-models from the scientific community to teach us the importance of understanding our world.

I also had a chance to redeem myself. I label my self a “failed scientist”. I’m really a product of the inspiration of the space program and the lunar missions, and when I was a kid, I desperately wanted to become a scientist – but “something” happened along the way – and it’s too complicated to talk about here – but I basically got fed up with boring educational system.

But it does seem like I have some basic scientific intuition, and I got some high marks from “the teacher” for thinking like a scientist, when I was observing the strange creature the Daphnia.

It was also interesting talking to the students from the Nano technology line. They’re looking into how to produce solar arrays that are less harsh on the environment, it turns out that you can use fruit juice from black berries as the base of a solar cell, instead of silicon – amazing.

Bend my circuits

But what I really enjoyed the most, was the tent dedicated to audio, which also included live performances from Dødskuglen, Rumpistol and Bjørn Svin (who I missed).

In the tent some interesting and simple demonstrators were set up, one was a Theremin that was controlled by a plant. You could actually play music by touching the leaves of the plant – very entertaining. Another was a tube with a number of nozzles from which gas could escape, and be lit, if you then played music, the sound-waves would modulate the flames – Daft Punk’s Robot Rock looked quite good “going up in flames”.

Dødskuglen plays with circuit bending, and they had gutted a lot of electronics with audio capabilities, for instance a couple of Furbys, that now looked – and sounded – like mean birds, and when you hooked them up to a keyboard, they were capable of making some wonderful noise.

Dødskuglen has their name from a dome shaped device, that is the center-piece of their show. According to them it’s filled with gutted electronics from Happy Meals and the like – I’m not surprised.

We also got a live demonstration of how to circuit bend – don’t try this at home – you might hit the AC power-supply and die – but if you’re careful, just take a cheap electronic keyboard apart, and try to apply some wire patches live – it was amazing to hear how the standard drum-machine suddenly went into a completely different state, and sounded completely different, only to return to it’s standard loop after being reset.

Kim Bach – The failed musician

After Dødskuglen, Rumpistol took the stage, and he’s using his computer in combination with analogue synthesisers to produce great electronica.

Besides being a failed scientist, I also consider myself a failed musician, but with the simple technology being showcased here, that is so much more fun and intuitive to control than a traditional instrument, I might be able to express myself – I know that I have some music in my head – maybe I can finally make some music – I know that I want a copy of the guitar simulator for the Nintendo DS called Jam Sessions.

A child’s mind

There’s a strange unifying synergy between science and music. When doing science and music, you really need to have a child’s mind, and like to play. That’s something I still, I’d say increasingly, possess – so I might still become a scientist/musician. It’s also noteworthy that a number of my heroes for instance RMS (Richard Stallman) and N (Peter Naur), actually play music themselves.

I went home after having had a great time, with renewed faith in our educational system, it seems to be producing playful scientists – I wished someone had told me that science was about playing, when I was a student.

I hope that Science After Dark will become a recurring event.

Show your <3 for science – make some NOIIIIISSSSSEEEEE!!!

I did, however, hear some rumours the Science After Dark has been frowned upon from the established scientific community. Come down from your ivory towers, Science is FUN and NOISY. Show your <3 for Science – make some NOIIIIISSSSSEEEEE!!!