Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Monday, April 19, 2004day link 

 Flow of creativity
picture Via Local Thoughts, a little creative exercise:
1. Grab the nearest book
2. Open the book on page 23.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
The nearest book I grabbed blindly from the shelf was the Webster's College Dictionary. Now, I'm not sure if in this case I should pick literally the 5th sentence or the 5th word defined. But, magically, they're talking about the same thing. 5th sentence is part of the definition of "affluence":
a flowing to or toward some point; afflux.
And the 5th word defined is "afflux", which means:
1. something that flows to or toward a point, e.g. "an afflux of blood to the head". 2. the act of flowing to or toward some point.
So, afflux or affluence is when something flows towards a point. If you want an affluence of something, you need to make it flow towards a point. That's sort of simple and basic, but a very useful thing to pay attention to. If I want an affluence of money, money needs to be flowing towards a point, such as my bank account.
[ | 2004-04-19 12:25 | 18 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 3D Search Engine
picture CNN mentions researchers working on making a search engine that can search for pictures that are similar to something you're looking for. More impressively, they can do that with 3D objects too.
Draw a big potato, and the system responds with a bunch of, well, potato-looking objects -- and a few urns. Those seem wrong until you rotate your potato, orienting it vertically instead of horizontally, and see your sketch actually does resemble an urn, narrow on top and bottom and bulging in the middle.
That's cool and useful. And, to expand the idea a bit, we need many more ways of getting beyond words. There are many useful things we might want to search for that are more based on a pattern than on a set of key words. We can search very well for keywords now, and even get good and useful results quickly. My wife asked me to find out which country was the first to introduce equal voting rights for women. It took me about 10 seconds and the answer was in the first match in google. (The answer is New Zealand, in 1893, shortly followed by Holland). But I don't have good ways of searching for information that is either more fuzzy, or that is a pattern or constellation of other complex pieces of information. Like, a group of people suited for a certain type of project. Or a past project that successfully functioned in some manner I'm interested in, but in a different field than I have in mind. Or some data that would match a certain scenario I have in mind. Situations where the diagram might look similar, but the content is different, and the different content and the complexity means that a keyword search wouldn't help much. Neither would a picture search, as there might not be any graphicsl representations and there's no guarantee they will look similar, even if they have similar structure.
[ | 2004-04-19 12:52 | 16 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

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