five times a

analyzing architecture at any angle

Category: science

/5xa/ Graphics made with six axis industrial robot

Recently we took part in the exhibition called six.axis.made curtesy of Koło Imago.

Also we have created our website –



/txt/ The Feynman-Tufte Principle

A visual display of data should be simple enough to fit on the side of a van
By Michael Shermer on April 1, 2005


I had long wanted to meet Edward R. Tufte–the man the New York Times called “the da Vinci of data” because of his concisely written and artfully illustrated books on the visual display of data–and invite him to speak at the Skeptics Society science lecture series that I host at the California Institute of Technology. Tufte is one of the world’s leading experts on a core tool of skepticism: how to see through information obfuscation.
But how could we afford someone of his stature? “My honorarium,” he told me, “is to see Feynman’s van.”

Richard Feynman, the late Caltech physicist, is famous for working on the atomic bomb, winning a Nobel Prize in Physics, cracking safes, playing drums and driving a 1975 Dodge Maxivan adorned with squiggly lines on the side panels. Most people who saw it gazed in puzzlement, but once in a while someone would ask the driver why he had Feynman diagrams all over his van, only to be told, “Because I’m Richard Feynman!”

Feynman diagrams are simplified visual representations of the very complex world of quantum electrodynamics (QED), in which particles of light called photons are depicted by wavy lines, negatively charged electrons are depicted by straight or curved nonwavy lines, and line junctions show electrons emitting or absorbing a photon. In the diagram on the back door of the van, seen in the photograph above with Tufte, time flows from bottom to top. The pair of electrons (the straight lines) are moving toward each other. When the left-hand electron emits a photon (wavy-line junction), that negatively charged particle is deflected outward left; the right-hand electron reabsorbs the photon, causing it to deflect outward right.

Feynman diagrams are the embodiment of what Tufte teaches about analytical design: “Good displays of data help to reveal knowledge relevant to understanding mechanism, process and dynamics, cause and effect.” We see the unthinkable and think the unseeable. “Visual representations of evidence should be governed by principles of reasoning about quantitative evidence. Clear and precise seeing becomes as one with clear and precise thinking.”
The master of clear and precise thinking meets the master of clear and precise seeing in what I call the Feynman-Tufte Principle: a visual display of data should be simple enough to fit on the side of a van.

As Tufte poignantly demonstrated in his analysis of the space shuttle Challenger disaster, despite the 13 charts prepared for NASA by Thiokol (the makers of the solid-rocket booster that blew up), they failed to communicate the link between cool temperature and O-ring damage on earlier flights. The loss of the Columbia, Tufte believes, was directly related to “a PowerPoint festival of bureaucratic hyperrationalism” in which a single slide contained six different levels of hierarchy (chapters and subheads), thereby obfuscating the conclusion that damage to the left wing might have been significant. In his 1970 classic work The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Feynman covered all of physics–from celestial mechanics to quantum electrodynamics–with only two levels of hierarchy.
Tufte codified the design process into six principles: “(1) documenting the sources and characteristics of the data, (2) insistently enforcing appropriate comparisons, (3) demonstrating mechanisms of cause and effect, (4) expressing those mechanisms quantitatively, (5) recognizing the inherently multivariate nature of analytic problems, (6) inspecting and evaluating alternative explanations.” In brief, “information displays should be documentary, comparative, causal and explanatory, quantified, multivariate, exploratory, skeptical.”

Skeptical. How fitting for this column, opus 50 for me, because when I asked Tufte to summarize the goal of his work, he said, “Simple design, intense content.” Because we all need a mark at which to aim (one meaning of “skeptic”), “simple design, intense content” is a sound objective for this series.




/vid/ Aalto Talk with Linus Torvalds [Full-length]





/txt/ How to Have 
 a Bad Career 
 in Research/Academia 
 Pre-PhD and Post-PhD
 (& How to Give a Bad Talk) 
 David Patterson UC Berkeley November 18, 2015

Acknowledgments & Related Work
  • Many of these ideas came from (inspired by?) Tom Anderson, David Culler, Al Davis, Ken Goldberg, John Hennessy, Steve Johnson, John Ousterhout, Randy Katz, Bob Sproull, Carlo Séquin, Bill Tetzlaff, …
  • Studs Terkel, Working: People talk about what they do all day and how they feel about what they do. (1974) The New Press.
  • “How to Give a Bad Talk” (1983),
  • “How to Have a Bad Career” (1994), Keynote address, Operating Systems Design and Implementation Conf.
  • Richard Hamming, “You and Your Research” (1995),
  • Ivan Sutherland, “Technology and Courage” (1996).
  • “How the RAD Lab space came to be” (2007),
  • “Your Students are Your Legacy” (2009)
 Communications of the ACM 52.3: 30-33.
  • “How to Build a Bad Research Center” (2014)
 Communications of the ACM 57.3: 33-36.



  • Part I How to Have Bad Grad Student Career,and How to Avoid One
  • Q&A
  • Part II How to Have Bad Research Career
  • Part III How to Avoid a Bad Research Career+ Richard Hamming (Turing Award for 
 error-detecting and error-correcting codes) 
 video clips from “You and Your Research” (1995)
  • Q&A
  • My Story: Accidental Academic (3 min)
  • What Works for Me (3 min)


Part I: Commandments on
to Have a Bad Graduate Career

I. Concentrate on getting good grades

  • –  Postpone research involvement: 
 might lower GPA
  • –  Aim for PhD class valedictorian!Alternative: Maintain reasonable grades– No employer cares about GPA » Sorry, no valedictorian

    – Only once I gave below B in grad course

    – 3 prelim courses only real grades that count

    – What matters: Letters of recommendation

    » From 3-4 faculty & external PhDs 
 who have known you for 5+ years


Read the rest of this entry »

/vid/ Richard Feynman Computer Heuristics Lecture





/txt/ Your home could become one giant iPhone, courtesy of Apple

Last year, Apple announced a technology that will let you control the appliances in your home with Siri.

It’s called HomeKit. And if Apple’s plans work out, it will turn your home into one giant computer — like the iPhone, but everywhere.

The iPhone, like any other computer, is a piece of hardware built by a certain company that can run apps and games built by other companies and developers all over the world.

These apps expand the functionality and usability of your phone — if you could only use apps made by Apple on your iPhone, imagine how limiting the experience would be.

Apple is opening up similar opportunities with HomeKit by allowing developers to build new features and apps that run your home. Read the rest of this entry »

/vid/ The best place to put your router, according to physics




/txt/ How Much Can You Save With Solar Panels? Just Ask Google

If you’re considering solar power but aren’t quite sure it’s worth the expense, Google wants to point you in the right direction. Tapping its trove of satellite imagery and the latest in artificial intelligence, the company is offering a new online service that will instantly estimate how much you’ll save with a roof full of solar panels.

On Monday, the company unveiled Project Sunroof, a tool that calculates your home’s solar power potential using the same high-resolution aerial photos Google Earth uses to map the planet. After creating a 3-D model of your roof, the service estimates how much sun will hit those solar panels during the year and how much money the panels could save you over the next two decades. “People search Google all the time to learn about solar,” says Google’s Joel Conkling. “But it would be much more helpful if they could learn whether their particular roof is a good fit.”

The service is now available for homes in the San Francisco Bay Area, central California, and the greater Boston area. Google is headquartered in California, you see, and project creator Carl Elkin lives in Boston. Based in the company’s Cambridge offices, Elkin typically works on Google’s search engine, but he developed Project Sunroof during his “20 percent time“—that slice of the work week Googlers can use for independent projects.
How Google Parses Your Roof

Elkin’s own home has solar panels, and he once volunteered with Solarize Massachusetts to promote solar in the Bay State. He and Google see Project Sunroof pushing solar use further still. “We people want to go solar but don’t understand how cheap it is,” Elkin says. “I wanted people to understand that they can actually save money.”

As Google notes in a blog post announcing Project Sunroof, the time is ripe for such a tool. “This is an extremely useful thing,” says Roland Winston, a professor at the University of California, Merced, who specializes in solar energy. “Solar technology is cheaper than ever.” Indeed, others have developed services along these lines, including academics and companies like Geostellar and Mapdwell.

But Google’s service is a bit different. It has Google behind it—and the company is taking a particularly comprehensive approach. In analyzing satellite images of your home, Google uses “deep learning” neural networks to separate your roof from the surrounding trees and shadows. “Even a strong solar advocate like me wouldn’t recommend putting solar panels on your trees,” Elkin says. Mimicking the web of neurons in the human brain, this sort of neural network is the same technology used to recognize faces on Facebook or instantly translate from one language to another on Skype.

Project Sunroof also simulates the shadows that typically cover your home on any given day (see animation above), and it tracks local weather patterns. “We’re able show how much energy is hitting each part of your roof,” Conkling says. And if you like, you can further hone that company’s calculations by providing how much you typically spend on electricity (otherwise, the service relies on public utility rates in your area).

Beyond Elkin’s personal crusade, Google has a long history of advocating for solar power. In addition to investing in solar as a means of powering its global network of data centers, the company previously has invested in residential solar projects. But this isn’t mere charity work. Project Sunroof also recommends solar providers in your area, and it plans to eventually take a referral fee from these providers. “We want to help people understand the potential of solar power,” says Conkling. “But we can make some money off of that as well.”




/vid/ Robot Spins A Web of Carbon Fibers To Make Large Rocket Parts





/vid/ Roger Penrose – Forbidden crystal symmetry in mathematics and architecture