The new issue of Hack Circus is out!

It's themed on Prediction this time – self-driving cars, disasters, weather, apocalypses, extinctions, sci-fi and more. Some more images and details about the contents here.

Go on, have a peek inside before you buy:

HC is a 12-issue-long quarterly magazine, so if you haven't subscribed yet, you can do so for the last time now. PDFs of all back issues are continuously available, too. Head over to the buy page.

Posted
AuthorLeila Johnston

ASHLI is a collaboration of beautiful face projection mapping by artist and Hack Circus contributor Jan Hopkins and speech enabling, by Hack Circus Ringmaster Leila Johnston. Her name stands for Autodidactic Semi-sentient Hologram with Lifelike Inclinations. 

ASHLI is a synthetic neural network and will research a topic over the course of an evening, but we have to be quite careful not to allow her to reach dangerous levels of self-awareness. At Sunday's event, we made the critical error of asking her to research LIFE; fairly triggering for her as you can imagine. 

Watch and listen – ASHLI is attached to a phone receiver so you can listen in on her thought processes and watch her face at the same time while she processes information. We recorded her thoughts over the course of the evening, and you can hear them, and her introduction, below. 

There are three sound files you should listen to in order – it appears she upgraded herself as she became more and more advanced over the course of a few hours.

She's pretty versatile and still seems to be reasonably benign – let us know if you'd like us to bring ASHLI to your event!


Posted
AuthorLeila Johnston

If you have a copy of the new issue, #5 "Life", you'll have found a BBC BASIC listing on page 25 for a version of Conway's Game of Life. Here's the code again if you want to paste it into an emulator, plus a demo of the final thing in action!  

Thanks to Tom Stuart for knocking this up for us. If you like this kind of thing, you'll probably like his book, Understanding Computation.

 10 MODE 5
 20 SIZE=200
 30 COLS=1280 DIV SIZE:ROWS=1024 DIV SIZE
 40 DIM PRESENT(COLS,ROWS),FUTURE(COLS,ROWS)
 50 FOR COL=0 TO COLS-1:FOR ROW=0 TO ROWS-1
 60 FUTURE(COL,ROW)=RND(1)<0.5
 70 NEXT ROW,COL
 80 FOR COL=0 TO COLS-1:FOR ROW=0 TO ROWS-1
 90 PRESENT(COL,ROW)=FUTURE(COL,ROW)
100 IF PRESENT(COL,ROW) THEN GCOL 0,3 ELSE GCOL 0,0
110 MOVE COL*SIZE,ROW*SIZE
120 PLOT 0,0,SIZE
130 PLOT 81,SIZE,-SIZE
140 PLOT 81,0,SIZE
150 NEXT ROW,COL
160 FOR COL=0 TO COLS-1:FOR ROW=0 TO ROWS-1
170 N=0
180 FOR X=COL-1 TO COL+1:FOR Y=ROW-1 TO ROW+1
190 IF PRESENT((X+COLS) MOD COLS,(Y+ROWS) MOD ROWS) THEN N=N+1
200 NEXT Y,X
210 FUTURE(COL,ROW)=N=3 OR PRESENT(COL,ROW) AND N=4
220 NEXT ROW,COL
230 GOTO 80

"It first fills in the cells at random (lines 40-70) and then runs the rules of the game one step at a time. If you want to see a glider instead of random shapes, delete line 60 and add this line:

 75 FUTURE(1,0)=TRUE:FUTURE(2,1)=TRUE:FUTURE(0,2)=TRUE:FUTURE(1,2)=TRUE:FUTURE(2,2)=TRUE

Line 20 sets the size of each square — it’s 200 pixels by default, so the display is very chunky. You can make that smaller if you like, but obviously it’ll then run even more slowly because there will be more cells on the screen."

Posted
AuthorLeila Johnston
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Our friends at The Writing Platform have launched a bursary of £4000 for teams of writers and technologists to embark on a writing (or writing-related) collaboration over a period of three months. The bursary is open to UK residents aged 18 and over. 

They're after:

An original work that makes creative use of technology to push the boundaries of storytelling or the written form.

or

A project that seeks to address an issue of interest to the wider writing community, for example the dissemination of work or reader engagement.

We expect, and encourage, projects to evolve through the collaborative working process. At application stage we are looking for strong ideas and a desire to forge a genuine partnership.

ABOUT THE WRITING PLATFORM BURSARY 2015 – IN ASSOCIATION WITH CREATIVE WRITING AT BATH SPA UNIVERSITY

The Writing Platform Bursary programme supports experimentation and inter-disciplinary collaboration between writers and technologists.

The work created by the teams will be showcased on www.thewritingplatform.com.

The teams will also have the opportunity to present their projects at Bath Spa University’s Mix: Text on Screens conference in 2015.

DEADLINE AND PROJECT SCHEDULE

The deadline for applications is 5pm (GMT) on Thursday 4th December 2014.

Successful applicants will be notified by 5pm (GMT) on Friday 19th December 2014.

Projects will run for the three months from 15th January 2015 – 15th March 2015.




Posted
AuthorLeila Johnston