Collision of the Tweets at CERN

CERN - Putting the pieces together
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For some, Friday 13th can be like walking on egg shells or may remind you of a burnt guy with claws for hands raiding your sweet dreams. Now, I’m not a fan of superstitious behavior and so it’s just another beautiful day, but this Friday 13th September turned out to be a very special day indeed.

I received an email explaining that I had been chosen, with 12 others to participate in the CERNTweetup Event at CERN in Geneva. I couldn’t believe my eyes and read it back carefully at least a dozen times. It was an opportunity I could not afford to miss out on!

The next step was to book a flight and hotel and then let the dreaded waiting game cometh. During this waiting phase, the 12 of us quickly began communicating through Twitter, the excitement seemed fever pitch!

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CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, has been at the heart of nuclear research and in recent years has famously become synonymous with the search of the so-called and controversial ‘God Particle’, the Higgs Boson. It’s a place where physicists and engineers are “probing the fundamental structure of the universe.” Most recently, the 2013 Nobel Prize was awarded to François Englert and Peter W. Higgs for their work on the discovery of the Higgs Boson.

Particle Colliders of immense scale have been produced 100 meters underground which are able to smash particles at close to the speed of light together, to better understand the fundamental particles and how they interact with one another.

Another very important invention was made in 1989, with the work of celebrated British Scientist, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who invented and gave birth to the World Wide Web at CERN. You can read up more about this online directly from thier website for more information on everything CERN is about, please check http://home.web.cern.ch .

I have written about CERN in previous blog posts and my appreciation for the important work they are doing, on topics of the Higgs Boson to the exciting theory of Super symmetry. My art and design interest together with nature and the mysteries of the universe have always interested me and increasingly so after I began taking a basic interest in particle physics years ago.

Last year, CERN hosted their first ever Tweepup event, where a group of select individuals from across the world would be invited for a special visit, while sharing the experience via twitter. This is a great idea for CERN to gather interest in the type of science, innovation and technology they provide and work towards. Since they are mainly dealing with aspects of our world which we can not see with the naked eye, it makes sense for the physics communities to inform and educate us with imaginative and articulate ways to get the message across, whilst keeping ahead with the technology they help create in the online social age.

This year the Tweetup event was on Friday 27th September 2013 with Public Open Days throughout the weekend. I knew it would be a special experience and since this years would be the 2nd only Public Open Day event at CERN, I was interested in staying through the weekend, and I’m glad I did!

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The day at CERN began with a meeting and introduction session from organisers, Kate Kahle and Alex Brown. Meeting the fellow tweeters and organisers was great and it was finally good to actually see them all. The group was varied and consisted of a scientist, engineer, consultant, film maker, and others from all over the world. We all had a passion for physics and the work being achieved at CERN, and it was evident that from hearing the vibrations and beeps resonating from everyone’s mobiles every few seconds, this TweetUp had finally begun!

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The day followed with a behind the scenes preview of CERN, with an exclusive visit 100 metres underground to see the Large Hadron Collider. It was unbelievable that we we’re all still able to hammer out tweets so far underground! The tunnels we’re of immense proportions, the pipes, magnets, and all manner of equipment was in immaculate condition. It was amazing to see the tunnels but to also try and comprehend how this was all made and how it worked. As mind boggling as the tunnels looked with all the red, yellow, green, blue and copper wires and equipment, it was clear that the organisation to look after the structure was greatly maintained. I remember tweeting that

“the design and logistics to build this is just mind blowing”

the tunnels had now become one of my personal Wonders of the World…even more so when we reached the France and Swiss Border!

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Following the underground visit, we we’re directed to the canteen for lunch with some of the CERN physicists and others including Steven Goldfarb, who can be seen hosting CERN’s youtube videos. Whilst on our way there, we walked through the famous corridor that Sir Tim Berners-Lee birthed the World Wide Web.

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I managed to spot the Graphic Design department on the way to the canteen, in hindsight; I wished I had locked myself in there!

It was great to see and feel no segregation of all the mix of cultures, people and ages, eating and sharing ideas with one another without any prejudices. Seeing such a diversity of the minds under one roof with no partitions or egos of grandeur was an amazing feeling.

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Photo opportunities we’re taken with the big blue magnet that sits outside the canteen area before we moved on to a surprise meeting and sit down with theoretical physicist Dr. John Ellis. Extra Dimensions, super symmetry and the Higgs Boson we’re on the menu for discussion and the Doctor was mesmerising with his talk, one of the best discussions/informal chats we had that day in my opinion.

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Coming from Indian descent, it was unbelievable to see a 2 m high statue of the Hindu God Shiva in the symbolic Nataraja depiction which symbolizes the cosmic dance of creation and destruction. The statue had been given to CERN by the Indian government in 2004. The relationship and parallels to the ‘dance’ of subatomic particles and Shiva’s Nataraja depiction have been discussed by Fritjof Capra in a article “The Dance of Shiva: The Hindu View of Matter in the Light of Modern Physics” which was published in Main Currents in Modern Thought in 1972.

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Our next stop was CERN’s Computer Centre, where data is crunched on a grid computing framework where physicists from around the world can access the data in close to real time, to allow an easier way to sieve through the Petabytes of data that comes in though from the colliders. We could see on screens above that data was being transferred between servers across the world at unbelievable speeds of up to 8GB per second!!

We had a surprising visit to a newly built room, with fancy opaque windows, within the computing facility that showcased certain technologies and we got to see the NeXT computer that was famously used by Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau when developing the World Wide Web.

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Following this, we had another intimate talk with Ben Segal and François Flückiger, two people that worked closely with Tim Berners-Lee during the early birth of the World Wide Web, giving us an insight in the before and after the ‘Web Bang’!

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The day ended with an exclusive entrance for the Origins 2013 European Researchers Night event which took place at The Globe of Science & Innovation. The globe is a breath taking wooden design structure at 27 metres high and 40 metres wide and screams out sustainability! Acoustics we’re great within the globe and looked spectacular at night.

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It was quite late in the evening by the time the Origins Event had finished and as much as I was feeling overloaded with information, physics, science and art, I wished there was more…with possibly a sleeping break in between just to soak in all the good information that was received!

It was by far one of the best experience’s I’ve had and I still can’t believe I was there just two months ago. The work that happens at CERN and the people that put such an amazing Tweetup, Origins2013 and Open Day Events deserve so much credit, thank you CERN for making such an experience possible! Kate Kahle, Alex Brown and Abha Eli, Thank you all!

My love for physics has grown since I’ve come back from Geneva, and a good reading list to get through! I’ve been thinking a lot about what was learnt over that weekend, how I can apply this to my work as a digital designer and artist and even ideas as to how I would like to apply for the artist residency at CERN one day…or even a job opening at the Graphic Design department! I would end the use of Comic Sans from their documents for starters! Other than seeing that wretched font, it was a great experience and anyone interested should keep a check on their twitter page for next years event.

I can’t wait to visit CERN again, hopefully next year…closer though is a visit to the Collider Exhibition now on at the Science Museum in London which I’m really looking forward to visiting this week!

If you’d like to view more images from the Tweetup event and Open Days please check out the pictures from the day on my Flickr at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/veeladwa/

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Robototic Futures

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So I’ve been wanting to get this post out for a few weeks now and has been on my mind for a while, though there’s not much point to it except to wonder at the crazy technology of robots and machines that are coming out around us.

In the fictional world of The Matrix, the machines rise to self awareness is mentioned in the Animated short film in the Animatrix, The Second Renaissance. In the story a machine called B1-66ER is to be deactivated by it’s owners but of course a robot with artificial intellegence is not going to shut down easily and in a brutal act of self defense B1-66ER kills it’s masters, his two dogs and another dude called Martin Koots. This future tales of robots killing and trying to take over the world has been good fuel for many science fiction, comics, films, cartoons and stories across the world and with the fast paced world of technology we now live in and with things like nano-technology and the advancements in robotics and AI, it’s easy to see how creative imaginations always make the robots the antagonists.

We are circled by CCTV camera’s everywhere that all use complex systems to track, analyses and recognise different types of objects, people and more recently faces. I found Filmamaker Timo Arnall’s work really interesting into litrally giving an insight into how robots and machines ‘see’. His video below explores how the robots perceive and make sense of  the world. The Wired magazine online has a host of great articles about future bots, check it out at http://www.wired.co.uk/topics/robots.

Wanted to leave you with what really does look like a half-ready B1-66ER. This one eye’d fellow is bought to ‘life’ at the University of Sussex, UK and according to Professor Owen Holland it brings us closer to ‘true’  artificial intelligence. The anthropomimetic robot,  has joints, bones, muscles and tendons…Johnny 5 eat your tin out!

You can catch the full documentary on BBC’s iPlayer website (UK only) or check youtube which also has the full show, search for Horizon: The Hunt for AI.

View to 2012

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After a long hiatus from the world of WordPress I feel it’s time to check back in and express. It would be foolish of me to think that I could possibly blog, tweet, have a social with some fun inbetween while doing all my design and project work and still have time to blog on a regular. As a freelancer I see a lot of importance in networking through the digital medium and I must admit, getting your head around Twitter and those weird looking “#FF” things can be quite bewildering, but simple and quite logical once you understand the flow of the community. With so many social networks on the rise and so many places to potentially advertise, make new contacts and connect, it can all take some time to begin to build and flourish within each one. This year, I joined Twitter and SoundCloud. Both have great potential and usability and diverse communities and I’ve enjoyed and can understand how some people can be so glued to them. However, there are times when I see people bragging about whatever they are doing and feel like some of these sites are just a playground for ego-maniacs and attention seekers. They can be a very pretentious and devious place also but am taking it all a moon step at a time. On the flip side it’s all good fun and can be wholly inspirational on days when your having a bad one.

Music is my gettaway, my fortress of solitude when I need a good fix. I’m still a vinyl junkie and DJ whenever possible and am open to all types of good music my soul likes to hear, so SoundCloud has been alot of fun and would recomeend it for any aspiring musicians. This year I began DJing on an internet radio station called Spotlight alongside London rapper S6. It’s a 3 hour drive time show packed with GOOD music from old to new which has kept me refreshed, creative and kept my vinyl spinning and put to good use. The S6 & VandaL Show has been growing in listeners and we’ve had a great response for the time we’ve been on there and I’d like to send a happy new year out to all the listeners who have been with us and supported us from the start and we hope you can all join the journey with us in 2012 and beyond. Exciting times lay ahead, S6 and me have begun working and collaborating with artists and will hopefully put something out later in the year.

2011 seemed to really pass by but I’m sure I said that about 2010 so it must be an age thing. Though, 2011 was a very productive and challenging year, it wasn’t all happy roses and smiling gerbels and mistakes and lessons have been learnt and will be worked on. On the freelance side there are things that will need amending this year and I think this will be another busy year around the desk looking into balancing the administrative and design time better. With programs, codes and keeping up to date with design trends it will be a year of learning, achieving, mentoring and building and just growing as much as possible.

One of the best things I done this year was buying my Nikon D60. Yes yes, it’s not the greatest slr in the world I know, but I think it’s a fantastic peice of kit and hate any other type of camera now. My father was a photogapher in his young days and always had an eye for the creative, probably where my love for the arts comes from and it has been something that has bought me closer to my father and appreciating the world he would have liked to have captured behind the lens. SLR’s are amazing cameras but can be a pocket shocker in these hard economic times, so while the temptation is to buy every fantastic lens thats out there, it’s worth putting into perspective how much I was going to use it, so I decided to get a D60 to start with and it’s been a complete joy to use. This finally gave me an excuse to get a Flikr account, another social to get my head around which again has been very inspirational.

With all the hype of 2012 I guess there’s just  so much to look forward to. I’m particularly anxious to hear about the findings from Cern around the Higs particle and interested in gesture systems like Pranav Mistry’s Sixth Sense device and possibly some of the uses around this. I would love to see Wacom and Moleskin to collaborate and bring forth somekind of new digital writing pad, I think this would be awesome and would save many a tree. I’d also like to see digital stuff more affordable so that people can keep the carbon footprints down, the prices of some technologies is just ridiculous in these so called tough times, the Sixth Sense device was built on a small budget that apparently was supposed to be an open source project, however since they showed it on TEDtalks, I’ve not heard anything about the technology and it almost seems like they are waiting for the Apples and others to catch up. Bring it to the masses Pranav! It’s needed!

Recently caught the 7 min trailer of the Dark Knight Rises at the Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocal Imax experience. Could just about understand what Bane was saying, the mask is muffled and I hope the sound is improved when the film finally comes out, but all in all it looks like it’s going to be a good outro for Nolan on the franchise. Looking forward to all the other superhero flicks this year also, as long as they aren’t as shite as Green Lantern flick that is.

Well, I hope ye all had a great 2011 and I wish you all the best for 2012, minus the doomsdays and the mayhem Mayan calender stuff, lets hope it’s a prosperous and fulfilling year for all. Happy New Year.

Accessible Technology

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“We live in a society absolutely dependent on science and technology and yet have cleverly arranged things so that almost no one understands science and technology. That’s a clear prescription for disaster.” – Late Great Carl Sagan

Exciting times lay ahead for technology and it’s going to be equally interesting to see some of the products that will be spawned from the likes of nano tech and quantum computing. Already the online world with the help of social apps and websites is creating an always online culture always wanting real time news or live information and as the information gets better and easily accessable we will naturally want these applications to do more and more, all the while keeping in mind the aesthetics of the product, service and tool.

I’ve seen the introduction of the mobile phone since the early 80’s into main stream culture, dials we’re always cool and who remembers this notorious number:

Telephones became Mobile phones, Mobile phones are becoming smartphones and the trend for live information, social apps and this fast food type of looking at information, or viewing it rather, is something that thrills my soul to wonder at the potential designs, interfaces and user interactions, shapes and characteristics of products and so much more that could be designed and worked on in the future. Even simple old TV’s are changing and becoming more online, it’s a fast moving World connecting together a multiple host of personalities and digital persona’s into an almost single online conciousness known as the Internet. However, even within this fantastic bag of binary, we all still want a presence and a sense of belonging.

When I began my Multimedia Design & Technology studies at uni, things seemed very new and fresh back then as many of the lectures didn’t even understand the modules and just seemed to be thrown into the course. It was a new BSc course at the time for the uni and I landed into the it’s second year of inception. However, it was an interesting course that developed my understanding and general workings throughout all types of media from studying the ancient glyphs to writing Java. Most importantly was the work and literature written by Robert S. Tannenbaum and his ideas and insight into the theoretical foundations of multimedia. He made me realise the importance of human-computer interation (HCI) and in later years Apple proved Tannenbaum’s work by showcasing how important information is when viewed in a beautiful and creative way, which engages the viewer while savouring the brands presence.

It feels like a great time to be a media designer especially when conceptualising  and working on technologies that require such an immense level of interaction. I often work on designs for retail kiosks and touch screen GUI’s, an area which again is developing within the retail World in the UK but is getting much more accepted, as my brother mentioned today “the machines are taking over *dun dun dundun dun (*sing terminator theme)”.  Retail kiosk do come with some baggage in that the target audience is there to shop and not stand around the whole day in front of a 17″ screen tapping buttons, instead the information must be clear, concise, easy to understand by a number of people and nationalities/tourists etc while retaining those hard retail brand guidelines. It’s fantastic to be a part of these projects and I can’t wait to see the time when projectors or interactive surfaces become more tuned and accessible, even though MIT Phd Student Pranav Mistry has already shown the World the possiblities of his Sixth Sense invention that can be potentially made on a shoestring budget, but I believe this is the technology that will begin to appear slowly across our many devices in the future, really bridging the digital – natural divide.. An exciting time indeed.

I found an interview from David Deutsch, an award-winning pioneer in the field of quantum computation an interesting read from this month edition of the best online mag around, in style and content, WONDERLANCE!

10 years from now hoverboards will be a true reality and we will be using magnets like Rodin’s coil or some other Mr Fusion to hopefully power our tech resources without undue waste and damage to the planet and environment…I hope.

Bridges between Nations

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Jacque Fresco (born March 13, 1916), the man behind the amazing designs and ideas of social and environmental change at the Venus Project has been uploading lectures in the form of Youtube videos for some time now. Many would like to believe his ideas, philosophy and visions of a future based on a Resource-Based Economy is too ambitious. At his current age of 95 he is incredibly wise and intelligent and a great inspiration for change.

The video lecture realeased today addresses the Bin Laden killing and the value system in which we live and why it’s not working. Ambitious? Yes but if he’s designed a better system, which most of it sounds like a common sense, then people in those fat cat positions need to listen and make that Change!

Take a look at the video and the rest of them here..http://www.youtube.com/user/thevenusprojectmedia

Digicova – The new authority in digital art!

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Visit Digicova

What joy!! It’s finally landed! I was asked to design the logo and website for a new site that will be showcasing and celebrating the best in Digital Art, Comics, Games and Anime.

Digicova (word derived from an amalgamation of the subjects it will cover) hosts all the recent and up to date information, news and gossip dedicated to bringing the best of these four subjects to a sexy screen near you. With the rise of digital comics and digital content it is evident that digital art, comics, video games and anime are all becoming more and more interconnected, and lets not forget the media attention superhero flicks are getting at the moment!

Once I heard the idea, I was amped to create a design that would work well with the bombardment of colours that would be expected from any images within 4 different topics and its articles. Seeing the site finally in action is always a wonderful feeling and believe it’s created a nice harmony of the pages. Overall Digicova is a wonderful, informative, fun and visually appealing site. Would love to hear anyone’s feedback on the site and thoughts so far.

Check out DIGICOVA today, share your thoughts and let others interested in this know that score! It’s the new authority baby!

You can also support Digicova through Facebook and follow the green eye on twitter.

Why work doesn’t work!

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Here’s an interesting video from a TEDtalk session with the co-founder and president of 37signals, Jason Fried. 37signals are producers of web based collaboration tools. They are responsible for the development and open sourced programming framework Ruby on Rails and many others.

Creative people within the industry will definitely understand this and it would be interesting to know how other workers within other sectors of business feel about this. With the rise of the Internet, social media, iphone, BB distractions as well as the rise of online designers and multimedia developers this really hits home.