From recent ramblings in class:

Willis at
Limitless GUI (local link)

recent talk

Pictured above: excerpt from a 360 degree high resolution image from St. Paul's Cathedral in London. From group internet surfing blog supercentral. Taking 5 minutes to load, and encompassing several screens, the image file in "high resolution" is unbelievably large. As a 360 degree shot of a vista, it is meant to present a complete picture of the view from the cathedral. However, the size of the image is so enormous that it it massively exceeds the bounds of the browser, truncating its totality, and leaving the viewer frustrated. As such, the post, entitled "high resolution", playfully comments on the limitations of an all viewing eye (from

Photoshop keyboard shortcuts (.pdf)

Olia Lialina
Vernacular Web 2 Article about how the internet has been swallowed up by the banal. | (Vernacular web 2 .pdf version of the text)

What is a game? Article in | What is a game? (.pdf 116K)

What is net-art?
MTAA simple net art diagram
Abe Linkoln: complex

Optical illusion
Eye boggler

A Brief History of The Utah Teapot by Steve Baker.
Has a copy of the actual teapot dataset if you wish to play with it.

The Chinese Room | ( a different article on the same subject.pdf 60K)
The Chinese room argument - John Searle's (1980) thought experiment - is one of the best known and widely credited counters
to claims of artificial intelligence (AI), i.e., to claims that computers do or at least can (someday might) think.

Some interesting stuff about common ancestors by Mark Humphrys:

Expanding universe
Scientific American: Misconceptions about the Big Bang [ COSMOLOGY ]
Baffled by the expansion of the universe? You're not alone. Even astronomers frequently get it wrong

Chaos in planetary orbits

The stability of the Solar System is a subject of discussion in astronomy. The Solar System is chaotic, though in terms of human time it is stable in that the planets will not collide with each other or be ejected from the system in foreseeable future. (Wikipedia)

Original research:

Chaos in the Solar System (.pdf)
Jacques Laskar (2003)

In Newtonian physics, a planetary system consisting of a lone object orbiting a spherical mass would trace out an ellipse with the spherical mass at a focus. The point of closest approach, called the perihelion, is fixed. There are a number of effects present in our solar system that cause the perihelions of the planets to precess, or rotate around the sun. These are mainly because of the presence of other planets, which perturb the orbits.

The precession of the perihelion of Mercury was a longstanding problem in celestial mechanics. Careful observations of Mercury showed that the actual value of the precession disagreed with that calculated from Newton's theory by 43 seconds of arc per century. In general relativity, this remaining precession, or change of orientation within its plane, is explained by gravitation being mediated by the curvature of spacetime. Einstein showed that general relativity predicts exactly the observed amount of perihelion shift. (Wikipedia)

Original research:

Relativistic perihelion precession of orbits of Venus
and the Earth

Abhijit Biswas, Krishnan R. S. Mani (2 April 2008)

Among all the theories proposed to explain the “anomalous” perihelion precession of Mercury’s orbit firstannounced in 1859 by Le Verrier, the general theory of relativity proposed by Einstein in November 1915 alone could calculate Mercury’s “anomalous” precession with the precision demanded by observational accuracy. Since Mercury’s precession was a directly derived result of the full general theory, it was viewed by Einstein as the most critical test of general relativity from amongst the three tests he proposed. With the advent of the space age, the level of observational accuracy has improved further and it is now possible to detect this precession for other planetary orbits of the solar system – viz., Venus and the Earth. This conclusively proved that the phenomenon of “anomalous” perihelion precession of planetary orbits is a relativistic effect. Our previous papers presented the mathematical model and the computed value of the relativistic perihelion precession of Mercury’s orbit using an alternate relativistic gravitational model, which is a remodeled form of Einstein’s relativity theories, and which retained only experimentally proven principles. In addition this model has the benefit of data from almost a century of relativity experimentation,including those that have become possible with the advent of the space age. Using this model, we present in this paper the computed values of the relativistic precession of Venus and the Earth, which compare well with the predictions of general relativity and are also in agreement with the observed values within the range of uncertainty.