Just Interesting

The “glossy magazine” category. Nothing too deep.

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Tardigrades, known colloquially as water bears or moss piglets, are a phylum of water-dwelling eight-legged segmented micro-animals. He may be scratching his back just like bears do with trees or he may be temporarily stuck to the little bubble because of surface tension, the physics of the microbial world are very different than those of our daily life.

They are one of the most structurally complex organisms of their size. They have brains, nerves, and even simple eyespots. That might not seem like much, but they are so tiny that amoebas are a mouthful to them, which doesn’t leave a lot of room for extra parts.

These little guys are believed to have survived every major extinction event on Earth. There’s more Tardigrade fun over here! (slightly NSFW)

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Not my writing or source. I thought their title was a bit much and rewrote it in Hugh language. This is an intriguing step toward creative innovation in artificial intelligence. To this point AI creativity has been sleight of hand, working within the “variety tolerances” of very complex algorithms. This is an interesting innovation but just the beginning.

And as usual, let’s hope they don’t kill us all.

Computers Evolve a New Path Toward Human Intelligence

Jeff Clune / Quanta Magazine

In 2007, Kenneth Stanley, a computer scientist at the University of Central Florida, was playing with Picbreeder, a website he and his students had created, when an alien became a race car and changed his life. On Picbreeder, users would see an array of 15 similar images, composed of geometric shapes or swirly patterns, all variations on a theme. On occasion, some might resemble a real object, like a butterfly or a face. Users were asked to select one, and they typically clicked on whatever they found most interesting. Once they did, a new set of images, all variations on their choice, would populate the screen. From this playful exploration, a catalog of fanciful designs emerged…

…One day Stanley spotted something resembling an alien face on the site and began evolving it, selecting a child and grandchild and so on. By chance, the round eyes moved lower and began to resemble the wheels of a car. Stanley went with it and evolved a spiffy-looking sports car. He kept thinking about the fact that if he had started trying to evolve a car from scratch, instead of from an alien, he might never have done it, and he wondered what that implied about attacking problems directly. “It had a huge impact on my whole life,” he said. He looked at other interesting images that had emerged on Picbreeder, traced their lineages, and realized that nearly all of them had evolved by way of something that looked completely different. “Once I saw the evidence for that, I was just blown away.”

Read on: Link to the article 

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drank from adorable sippy cups. Dating as far back as 5,500 BCE, they become increasingly common from the late
Bronze Age into the early Iron Age. These held cow’s milk apparently, which adds an interesting background fact to the picture. Look at the touching details of these designs and the parental love they show. The heartbreaking shadow context is that these are found in the graves of young children. A bit more detail here.

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