Monthly Archives: February 2009

My share of the stimulus package

Now I can pretend to be on Wall Street, seizing untold riches with my filthy, Ponzi-scheme stained paws!

My share of the stimulus package

My share of the stimulus package

My share of the stimulus package

My share of the stimulus package

…or does this hyperinflationary currency from Zimbabwe’s crumbling economy portend the future of our own currency?

By the way… uh… is it just me, or is the typeface on the 10 trillion dollar banknote the same as the one used for Rock Band?

They really know how to party in Zimbabwe.

Simulated evolution parlor tricks

Here are some interesting tidbits of evolutionary computing to honor Darwin’s birthday yesterday:

Evolution of Mona Lisa

(youtube link)

Roger Alsing’s idea is to start with a random pile of polygons. Random mutations are applied to the polygons. The result is compared to the Mona Lisa source image, and mutations resulting in improvements are kept. Over many generations, the evolved image begins to resemble the Mona Lisa.

This particular application of genetic algorithms is very popular. See what many other people have tried.


This site evolves music by generating loops randomly from sounds and effects. Listeners to the site’s audio streams rank the results, and the genetic algorithm creates “baby loops” for the listeners to rank.

CSS Evolve

This site shows you variations of a web site’s cascading style sheets. You pick the best results, and their genetic algorithm breeds them to create new styles for the web site.


This is the new Pepsi logo:

This is evidence of the complete and utter insanity that went into the design of the new Pepsi logo by the Arnell Group, the advertising agency retained to re-brand Pepsi:

What a Michelangelean Da Vincian effort. And it only cost $1 million. Totally worth it if you want your brand to become the center of some bizarre fictional universe. A universe that is also inhabited by the Hoff:

Download the entire “Pepsi Gravitational Field” document here. And read some of the backstory here and here. (I am still wondering if this is some kind of elaborate hoax to make the Pepsi ad agency look like some bizarre combination of Scientology and Time Cube metaphysics.)

May your emotive forces shape the gestalt of your brand identity!

I wish my 401(k) was this much fun.

Every letter is powerful

A fun nugget from my new favorite blog, Futility Closet:

Show this bold Prussian that praises slaughter, slaughter brings rout. Teach this slaughter-lover his fall nears.

Grim, no? But remove the first letter of each word and the mood changes:

How his old Russian hat raises laughter — laughter rings out! Each, his laughter over, is all ears.

Check out Futility Closet for more fascinating curiosities tinted with language, math, science, antiquity, puzzles, and amusement. I especially enjoy The Random Item Button.