Sociologist danah boyd’s long-awaited first book, It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens, hits shelves today. boyd is one of the preeminent scholars of the way young people — especially marginalized young people of diverse economic and racial backgrounds, as well as diverse gender and sexual orientation — use the Internet, and her work has been cited here regularly for her sharp observations and her overwhelming empathy for her subjects.
It’s Complicated is a passionate, scholarly, and vividly described account of the reality of young peoples’ use of networked technologies in America today. Painstakingly researched through interviews and close study for more than a decade, boyd’s book is the most important analysis of networked culture I’ve yet to read.
A modern demo of evolutionary programming creating rendered virtual lifeforms, bots with generational variance trying to walk. Put together by Eugénie von Tunzelmann - video embedded below:
Ever since reading Richard Dawkins’ book ‘The Blind Watchmaker’ I’d wanted to try my hand at some evolutionary programming. The idea is to model natural selection inside the computer by generating procedural creatures and allowing them to vary and improve over time without user intervention.
The code to build and rig the robots was written in Python, as was the code to run the rigid body simulation, using the Open Dynamics Engine to drive the sim. I wrote an importer for Side Effects’ Houdini to read in my robot simulations so I could render them out as pictures.
Yesterday, FirstSecond formally announced the publication of In Real Life, a graphic novel about gaming and gold farming for young adults based on my award-winning story Anda’s Game, adapted by Jen Wang, creator of the amazing graphic novel Koko Be Good. Jen did an incredible job with…
Terry Pratchett’s Raising Steam is the 40th (!) novel in the Discworld series. It’s just come out in the UK (the US edition comes out in March) and it’s a tremendous synthesis of everything that makes Pratchett one of the world’s most delightful writers. It’s a curious thing: a fantasy novel about modernity and reactionaries, a synthesis of technological optimism and a curious sort of romantic mysticism.
Raising Steam follows on from 2007’s Making Money, and features the delightful Moist von Lipwig, as well as the characters who often accompany him, such as Lord Vetinari, William de Worde, Adora Belle Dearheart, and, notably, Harry King. It’s the story of an inventor, Dick Simnel, who masters steam, invents the railroad, and comes to Ankh-Morpork to make it a reality. Working against Simnel and his “railroading time” is a faction of reactionary dwarfs, deep-down grags who hate modernity and the mixing of dwarfs with the Discworld’s other species. The grags inspire a wave of terrorist violence, starting with attacks on the clacks towers and moving onto the railroad itself.