Tuesday, 21 May 2019

AI Visual Processing

An observation about visual processing. dancing ballerina / spinning dancer optical illusion made easy.

A personal anecdote.

One evening, I remember walking up St. Martin's Lane on my way home from work. I had a moment where my brain failed to understand what I was looking at. I saw a person with no face. The eyes nose and mouth were missing, the face was blank flesh. It was just for a moment, then the eyes, nose and mouth appeared.

I suspect this illusion happened due to tiredness and the level of light.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Holographic Quantum Gravity

Holographic Quantum Gravity is one of those outré ideas that's rather intriguing, but whether or not it's true is another matter. However, I liked it enough to use the idea to underpin the workings of the pillars in my Gate Walker series. You can read more about it here.

Currently I'm taking an online writing course as a way to refresh my creative voice, which has been bashed around a bit by health issues.

Catch you all on the bounce.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Ytterbium Con Report

A very sunny and warm Easter weekend.
Well I'm home after a weekend at the 70th British National EasterCon: Ytterbium. We had a good time and went and saw a bunch of panels that, all bar one, were entertaining.

Briefly met John Scalzi who turned out to be more human than his online persona, and had a whole bunch of interesting conversations with people, though I singularly failed to meet up with long time friend Geoff Ryman to talk about my novels that he so kindly expressed an interest in hearing about.

GoH: DC, Frances Hardinge, and John Scalzi (Sydney Padua not present) being introduce by the Con chair and moderator.
The opening ceremony kicked off the convention, though we felt that Friday's programme was a bit thin on alternative choices, the rest of the weekend had plenty of things to choose from.

Made some new friends too. Shout out to Daniel M. Benson, Emil Minchov, and Kimberley Moravec who we went to dinner with.

Daniel Benson, myself, Karen Furlong (moderator), and Aya Eloise (Gareth L. Powell unable to attend).
The first panel I was on was the Mental Health: Fiction vs. Reality, which seemed to go down well.

We discussed various misconceptions in the portrayal of mental health in fiction and film. In short, multiple personality disorder is bogus, Freud was a "bad dad" who left a lot to be desired when he founded psychotherapy, and very few films and or books are an authentic portrayal of mental health.

Virginia Preston (moderator), Dr. Bob, and myself.
The second panel I was on Military SF: Good, Bad, and Ugly.

By this point of the con I was totally brain dead (I hadn't slept well the night before as I was mulling over how to address the negative assumptions of the panel blurb). However, I was able to steer the topic away from the underlying assumptions by presenting a quote from a friend:
"Look, there's a question as to whether these wars (or some other set of wars) are justifiable or not, and almost regardless of the answer, isn't SF one of the best means of exploring the question and having the debate?"
And on that note, we had a fruitful discussion of Mil-SF. We discussed what made the genre good, what might be bad, and the occasional ugly parts. I emphasized that a lot of Mil-SF is mildly military, and about the only misstep was our failure to talk more about space battles, as both myself and Dr. Bob are aficionados of "boots on the ground" stories.

This panel was very much a dead dog item, being at the very end of the weekend. But despite that the room was pretty full, which actually made a pleasant change from when it was totally packed to the gunnels, which tested the air conditioning to its limits.

 So, after it finished we made our weary way home.