You are viewing archived messages.
Go here to search the history.

hamish todd 2024-02-28 11:39:28

Hey folks. I've been working on a VR ui for animation, inspired by Stop Drawing Dead Fish and a system called Projective Geometric Algebra. In this gif you can see me making something called a PGA Rotor, which is TLDR is an object that generalizes vectors and quaternions.


hamish todd 2024-02-28 11:43:16

You animate by making a bunch of these things, and then "snapping" them together, so they are joined end-to-end for example, and that becomes constantly-updated behaviour. Problem that I'd appreciate input on an idea for is how to visualize the "code"

Justin Janes 2024-03-02 17:34:44

I’ve been stuck thinking about this also which i think is an unfortunate artifact of code being portrayed as text for so long. It sounds like the Actor Model could be similar enough to the modularity you’re describing. Ironically i’ve always visualized that as single arrows (like bow and arrow) where the air the arrow flows through is actually the data being modified by the flight of the function through it

hamish todd 2024-02-28 11:46:34

Problem: my setup is already cluttered. Eg, animated characters are already surrounded by a halo of crazy clockwork; it's all I can do to hide it. But sometimes you want to see a lot of it. And I don't want to add boxes-and-arrows, and I don't want to add spreadsheets much either. I'm thinking that instead of showing the relations, I just let you fiddle with the things and see what happens

William Taysom 2024-02-29 08:52:19

While we're Bret Victoring, maybe jumping up and down the Ladder of Abstraction can help? I'm thinking of braintruffle's animations With so much going on, switching between cross sections helps keep all the diagrams from being too busy.

Justin Janes 2024-03-02 17:36:50

This is beautiful

hamish todd 2024-02-28 11:47:15

But maybe someone here has already tried this?

Lu Wilson 2024-03-03 08:04:25

I wrote down my perceptions of academia as someone on the outside.

Lu Wilson 2024-03-03 08:05:19

I'd be keen to see any responses & thoughts from people who disagree with me. help me out here :)


Konrad Hinsen 2024-03-03 08:54:50

Disagreeing partially...

First, my background:

  • I am an academic.
  • I am not in CS, but in physics and chemistry.
  • I have been in academia for 30 years, and found it a good place for me back when I joined, but in today's conditions, I'd probably choose a different career.

Many academics, myself included, mostly agree with your criticism. A good part of them, myself included, is working towards change in academia. But changing a system from the inside also requires surviving in the system, and that requires unpleasant compromises.

My partial disagreement is about "put it in the bin". In spite of academia's faults, I think the world is still better off with it than without it. Getting rid of academia would leave a vacuum that would rapidly be filled by profit-oriented corporations. Which is why I prefer reforming academia from inside, even if that it a slow process.

Alex McLean 2024-03-03 09:36:36

Getting rid of academia wouldn't necessarily get rid of the academics, they'd just do scholarly work a different way, outside of what are often toxic, aggressively hierarchical and disfunctional institutions that many academics readily complain are terrible places to do research.

(Maybe worth pointing out that Jonathan Edwards's original blog post was also anti-academic)

Lu Wilson 2024-03-03 09:46:18

I was just kidding about putting academia in the bin, but that's definitely my gut reaction. I hope my perspective is useful to anyone trying to make academia better

Alex McLean 2024-03-03 09:57:10

I do love writing papers, and despite my snark on mastodon go to and organise conferences too.. Although I do worry about the environmental impact, and much prefer conferences that are either properly online (i.e. with dedicated and experienced team taking care of a/v camerawork and streaming in any in-person gathering), or more like festivals with hands-on workshops and public events with decent soundsystems.

Alex McLean 2024-03-03 09:59:00

I think the environmental impact shouldn't be understated. If someone flies long-haul for a conference for a day or two then I think it's fair to wonder whether they really believe in climate change.

Alex McLean 2024-03-03 10:01:04

All that aside I think the topic of how we best share ideas in para-academic contexts is really interesting with a lot of fun experimentation ahead

Alex McLean 2024-03-03 10:01:17

(I just learned the phrase 'para-academic' and like it!)

Mariano Guerra 2024-03-03 10:05:31

some related experiences: I want to share an idea, onward is probably a good place, the fact that I have to dress it as a paper (because I'm bad at writing papers and I will be just trying to emulate a style) is the most discouraging part of it.

From the other side, most papers I read are sharing an idea, I have to spend a lot of work to extract the core idea from the paper format sometimes deciding if following the formalism is worth or not and then most of the time having to learn an ad-hoc notation only once to parse the formalism. Things that would make it much easier to "grok" like examples, demos, videos, actual runnable code in a repo instead of pseudo-code are almost always missing.

Alex McLean 2024-03-03 10:08:10

📝 Alex McLean ( big question! If writing papers is such a great form of communication why do you have to fly long haul to a drop ceilinged conference facility to give a 15 minute power point presentation telling people why they should read your paper

Mariano Guerra 2024-03-03 10:09:18

With the format in particular, I hate to read two columns, the repetition of the abstract in the introduction, the paragraph that is just an index of the sections but written in prose. PDFs that make it hard to copy and paste text, page length forcing people to codegolf stuff. Almost no color, no interactive stuff, no syntax highlighting. When reading the references having to visually parse the lines to tell appart the title of the paper from the authors and the conference (also I would much prefer a table I can search, filter and get clicable links)

Alex McLean 2024-03-03 10:09:32

Mariano Guerra I really like writing papers because it helps me develop an idea. If I already know what I'm going to write it's a less interesting process for sure. To be brutally honest about myself, I don't spend a lot of time reading papers.

Alex McLean 2024-03-03 10:12:13

Mariano Guerra Oh yes agreed absolutely, PDFs are not a good way to share ideas on the future of coding.

Alex McLean 2024-03-03 10:13:05

I like the platform as an alternative - markdown-backed multi-user editor where you can embed media and even javascript.

Mariano Guerra 2024-03-03 10:13:37

In some areas the "we tested it on users" and the users are 5 people from the lab, students from the class or students from the university and it never convinces me that the user test provides any extra value to anyone

Alex McLean 2024-03-03 10:16:29

Heh yes there's a lot of emphasis on the need for 'evaluation', where CS people cosplay as experimental psychologists with none of the training or reproducibility

Alex McLean 2024-03-03 10:17:19

ACM conferences also require non-academics to pay $1k to publish their PDF.

Eli Mellen 2024-03-03 13:31:46

Ink & Switch speaks with an ‘academ-ish’ voice. Its papers aren’t actually papers. They have too much branding and too much character. I like them a lot!

They’re still very long and slow and considered. But I dunno.

Hey reader, what do you think? Do you think this academ-ish approach is good? Yes or no? And why? Let me know. But first,

  • Is the academ-ish approach good?
  • In that I think academic papers follow a form more concerned with asserting authority and gatekeeping than they are with conveying information, I think the academ-ish approach wears the same problematic coat as the approach taken from the academy, but it requires you to spin the wool yourself.
Eli Mellen 2024-03-03 13:34:54

the academy does a lot to squish subjective experience and aims for a normalized, homogenous neutral voice…that usually assumes straight, white, male as that normalized neutral voice 👎

…and I think it’d be sad to sit down and say “I wanna emulate that thing!”

Alex McLean 2024-03-03 14:58:35

I think that was partly Jonathan Edwards's point in his blog post.

Alex McLean 2024-03-03 15:01:56

Although did remind me of Dominic Cummings's call for "weirdos and misfits with odd skills", writing in opposition to "babbling about ‘gender identity diversity blah blah".

In practice the conference format does homogenise in a lot of ways.

Alex McLean 2024-03-03 15:12:21

The great thing about submitting papers to academic-style conferences are the peer reviews, where people have hopefully read the work closely and given detailed feedback. This can be super helpful!

(It's also the part that your $1000 publication fee plus registration fee doesn't actually contribute towards..)

Alex McLean 2024-03-03 15:14:32

Anyway would love to collaborate on an experimental academic-ish FoC related event if folks have shared interests!

Lu Wilson 2024-03-03 15:18:10

For me, the best part of submitting a demo for LIVE at SPLASH was the feedback I received from reviewers. It was incredibly helpful! the submission wasnt a paper though - I just sent in some videos lol.

at the event, some people told me they'd love to see me write a paper about it because they want to see more detail about the nitty-gritty of the demo. "if your only tool is a hammer" and all that.

i think that papers can be great! the only claim I'm challenging around them is if they're the "only way" of having a long term effect.

again I'm making these challenges as a form of feedback, to try to help people make academia better

Kartik Agaram 2024-03-03 16:01:57
  • I had some misgivings as well when I read that blog post, but trying to articulate them felt like setting out in a desert. Thank you for pitching base camp! My bottom-line decision was, if you want to persuade academics, Jonathan may be right. But that doesn't cover 10% of my desired target audience, so I didn't bother to think about it too closely.
  • There's a lot of status tied up in there, isn't there? Makes me wonder if going to an academic conference forty years hence might be like going to the opera today. What would the equivalent of Queen in the 60s be then? I think part of it will be, "send us stuff you've already published. Wherever, whatever format. We're just picking out an agenda to discuss in a compressed synchronous setting." Maybe call for attendees, then call for papers?
  • The format of a paper is excellent for a thorough exegesis of something. The process of writing it is 90% of the value of submitting to a conference for me. It forces me to think through things carefully (and no, I don't have to follow a LaTeX template). However, a) there are a lot of papers that shouldn't be papers just like there are a lot of books that shouldn't be books. There's some subjectivity here, but I suspect also some deeper thing a lot of people can agree about (if we were all willing to be so unkind out loud). Also, b) I find I can't force the paper writing process. I somehow got a PhD with a single workshop paper and no end of angst about the fact. Now it's a relief to be able to decide the time to write a paper. When the project needs it, rather than my career or some funding agency's schedule. Most of the time I don't know what I'm doing thoroughly enough to be able to write a paper about it. Perhaps trying to do so will advance things, but I think it has just as much chance of kneecapping them. Oh, and c) these thorough papers are explicitly discouraged at Onward, which is unfortunately coupling life cycle phase with audience.

Wait, why is there so much sand around here. Dammit, I managed to get lost in the desert again.

Lu Wilson 2024-03-03 16:55:31

here u all go, submissions are open, submit anything you want

Kartik Agaram 2024-03-03 17:09:34

I think "no ideas" excludes me 😂 with my chronic condition of over-thinking things..

Lu Wilson 2024-03-03 17:10:01

merging/connecting ideas is ok, just no new ones

Kartik Agaram 2024-03-03 17:10:45

Ha, that's a no-op! There are no new ideas, only connections between ideas.

Lu Wilson 2024-03-03 17:16:24

hope this helps




Kartik Agaram 2024-03-03 18:02:40


Ivan Reese 2024-03-03 18:23:44

None of my new ideas can be expressed in writing. I have to clothe them in old ideas, coats atop sweaters atop longsleeves atop tees atop tanks atop lacy whatnots atop bandages atop coats again. Once the idea is dressed to survive the elements—if it's even fair to consider this sort of intellectual audience ~elemental—~ the idea overheats and dies.