Denver Trip, ROFLcon, and LOLcat Book

While its great living in the big city, it’s certainly nice to get out of town every now and then– away from all the hustle and bustle. As such, I’m spending the last full week of April relaxing back home in Denver. It would be great to see the Denver geek crowd again, so hit me up if you’d like to catch-up.

More importantly however, I’ll be making a slight detour to Cambridge for ROFLcon before heading back to NYC. ROFLcon, if you haven’t heard, is a gathering of everything awesome and fantastic about the internets. Tron guy, Group X, and Leeroy Jenkins are just a few of the internet celebrities attending, and panels will include “Pwning for the Good of Mankind” and “Incubating the Mind Virus.”

Silliness aside, this looks like its going to be an amazing gathering of minds to discuss just what makes the internet such a special place.

Finally, Gotham Books has contacted Kevin and I about having Shcrodinger’s LOLcat included in the upcoming I Can Haz Cheezburger book. More details as soon as we get them.

This is my brain in Love

A few months ago, Radio Lab– one of my very favorite public radio shows– aired an episode about the neuroscience of Love. The show, in two acts, served as an informative and entertaining primer to a mind-bogglingly complex subject, and did so with all the flair, panache, and quirky musical bumpers that make shows like Radio Lab the easily stereotyped gems they are.

While I found the piece interesting enough, I wasn’t moved to do much more than contemplate the subject a bit and put it on my ever-growing list of things to research. Mostly unmoved, that is, until this weekend, when I met a girl who really turned my head upside-down.

After the waves of intrusive thinking and tummy-knotting anxiety which exemplify Limerence wore off, I came to a now unsurprising realization: Love isn’t mere emotion, it’s a fundamental change in the way we think; a change we have almost no control over. A temporary all-controlling animalistic psychosis that effects us all at one time or anther, driven by three simple, seemingly innocent enough, neurotransmitters. To take a page from the Radio Lab show, lets take a quick look at them:

Dopamine – Real true deeply passionate Love. That amazing ecstatic feeling that comes from seeing and interacting with that special someone. You get the same rush of Dopamine from crack cocaine that you do from Love.

Norepinephrine – Intense infatuation. Norepinephrine focuses the good feelings of dopamine on that one object of your desire.

Oxytocin – Peace and happy contentment that comes with long-term commitment.

The problem here is that Dopamine and Norepinephrine create such powerful emotion that if we were to keep getting squirts of them over a long period of time, we’d literally go insane. It has long been accepted that excessive levels of Dopamine play a large role in Schizophrenia, and anyone who’s ever had a crush can understand why.

As I’m stuck here with too much Norepinephrine floating around the folds of meat inside my skull, I’ll end our quick overview of the subject here, but if you’re interested in learning more, I highly recommend you check out the bit of audio magic that inspired this post, which I linked to in the first paragraph. In addition to a recorded podcast of the show, Radio Lab has provided a number of interesting articles and links on the subject for your further nerdy perusal.

Long Time No See

Almost two months without a real post? I know, I’m a horrible person. I don’t really even have an excuse, other than that I’ve been taking most aspects of my life pretty easy for the past few months– sleeping in, working late, and zonking out in front of the TV. I figure this is the last time I’ll really be able to live such a laid-back existence– at least until I retire. In a little under two weeks, I’ll be packing up my things and moving out into the ‘real world’ to continue my studies in New York City. If you know anyone in the city looking for a roommate, let me know.

I recently started writing regularly for one of my very favorite blogs, UNEASYsilence. I’m super excited to be on the team with Dan and Derek, and I’m really enjoying the increased freedom I have in terms of what topics I can post on relative to at Weblogs, Inc. That being said, I have decided that from now on, Geek Friendly will be reserved for niche topics, and that things of general geeky interest will be posted on UES.

Not that I promise to update more often– I’d just be kidding myself.

London 2012 Brand Backlash

2012 Olympic Identity

It’s not often that design gets the level of press coverage that it truly deserves, and when it does, it’s usually negative– as is the case with the hub-bub surrounding the recently announced identity for the 2012 London Olympics. Almost 50,000 people have signed an online petition to have the logo– designed by Wolf Ollins at a cost of $800,000– changed, and there have been reports of animated versions of it causing epileptic seizures.

Personally, I think the brand is atrocious. Not only does it not evoke ‘London,’ but it also fails to convey anything but clashing colors and meaningless abstraction. But I’m just a lowly design student, so let’s see what other people are saying.

Love it:
Coudal PartnersJust like you, our first reaction was shock. But we talked about it all morning. By 3pm, we decided we love it. And here are ten reasons why you should, too:

The SerifIt’s got that Marmite factor. But we find that even with things that people start off disliking, they get used to them. & …it’s incredibly noticable, brave and confrontational.

Hate it:
Seth GodinA great logo doesn’t mean anything until the brand makes it worth something.

Design ObserverThe London 2012 logo is a solid gold stinker.

Speak UpI believe, despite any ensuing boo’s, that this is some of the most innovative and daring identity work we have seen in this new millennium, and the lack of cheesy and imagination-impairing gradients gives me hope that identity work can still be resurrected on a larger scale.

It was only when discussing the image with my mother was I able to glean some meaning from the spilled tangrams.

2012 Olympic Identity Deciphered

At least this shows that there was some reasoning behind the brand other than abstract PR nonsense.

Behind the LOLcat: Schrodinger’s LOLcat

Schrodinger’s LOLcat

A few days ago, I was listening to a podcast lecture on the basics of quantum cryptography when I got into a discussion about the nitty-gritty of the subject with my friend Justin.

dantekgeek: exponential on a regular computer, but reasonable time on a quantum computer, right?
justinwick: Right right
justinwick: assuming ur in ur quantum computerz, giving them enuff qbitz
dantekgeek: hahahaha
justinwick: 🙂
justinwick: schrodinger’s lolcat

I quickly searched flickr for a suitable image, and came across Kevin Steele’s fantastic “a box for every cat.” Some quick work in Skitch, and Schrodinger’s lolcat was born.

I figured my circle of friends would get a kick out of it, and that maybe it would be picked up by BoingBoing, but could never have predicted the amount of exposure my little creation has received.

Others had the idea long before I came across it, but for whatever reason, it was my LOLcat which gets all the glory. This puts me in kind of a weird position; On one hand, I don’t want to be seen as taking credit for an idea that was already floating in the ether, but the fact remains that we did create this thing without knowledge of prior-art, and I think that should count for something.

I want to make clear that I couldn’t have made this thing on my own, and it was only through the spirit of the meme, my conversation with Justin, and Kevin’s photo that this thing came to fruition. I am but one small robot on the LOLcat assembly line.

I’m in talks with Justin and Kevin about possibly printing up some t-shirts, but nothing is guaranteed– we might choose to just let this thing stay online, where it was born, and where it belongs.