LL :: Volume 28 :: LR

  But My God, It Was a Photograph From Light
*   Fads of the City
  Annoyed with "stale" and "hardwired" neighborhood leitmotifs [Fads, vol 26.], many car owners are adding rhythm tracks to their vehicles. The tracks all share an agreed-on meter, and are posted on the Net under the owner's auspices. Each car then continually posts its location. A simple audio application tracks the location of your car and all nearby cars, receiving and mixing the rhythm tracks. Result: as other cars approach you, pass, and recede into the distance, their contributions to the audio mix swell and fade. (You can control the distance attenuation, to include only the nearest cars or the entire stretch of highway.)

Most people are using Saukharel polyrhythm trees -- these algorithms blend nicely in almost any combination, without losing the distinct contribution of each track. A few are using freeform systems.

The track medley is certainly pleasant (if you're into polyrhythm pop), and it makes a nice background to the problem of navigation. And it can even warn you of the approach of a vehicle (although most receiver applications don't try to position the audio sources spatially -- it breaks up the music). On the other hand, one tends to find oneself making driving choices based solely on the music. If you've been behind someone's double-rattle-pop-pop for twenty minutes, the temptation to pass him and get out of range can be severe.

*   Routine Economics
  The graffiti market continues to rise steadily, due to the three-month expansion in civic construction. Bonded graffitists remain steady in the market, but there's been much more activity in the freelance and spot exchanges. Nai Four is doing particularly well, held at 58.22 with a backlog of two weeks in the freelance exchange, but a dozen other Outlier freelancers are over the 50 mark.

The Unguild of Amateur Graffitists has entered another request to increase the public reserve by two points, to 29% of unreserved construction wallspace over the next three years. The move is receiving mixed foam, and the outcome does not bear prediction at this time.

The themes for the week have been red, blue, reflectivity ripples, and knotwork. Nai Four leads in the polls.

*   Dumpster Dividing
  Found in reject bins behind prominent mathematical houses:

Bent circles

Four-sided triangles (lucky!)

Uneven squares

Even integers with odd squares

Exponential straight lines

Stale zeroes

Unsterilized integral waste

Polyhedra containing rat droppings

Sleeping mathematicians

*   City Features
  Xoluu Corporate is now trying to catch eyes -- not quite literally -- by surfacing the Xoluu skyscraper with a dark grey coating which does long-range eyetracking. Look directly at the building from a public space (anywhere their building-mounted visual trackers can see your face) and a tiny red pinlight glows on the surface of the building, exactly where you're looking.

If you're right in front of the building, or across the street, the red dot simply seems to hover in front of you, flickering along the building as your glance jumps. This is an odd effect at best.

But if you're any farther away, the dot is too small to be seen. Only groups of dots are visible; and this leads to much more interesting results. Swirls of red glow slide across the skyscraper, responding to the feedback of hundreds of eyes trying to mutually track their collective focus. A diffuse cloud appears, then tightens to a brilliant point -- people attracted to the new feature, collectively drawn to its center -- and then the point wanders around the surface. Linear veils and curves appear, twist, and vanish. A chance collision of dim lines, brightening at the intersection, can yank light out of nearby features or drain them entirely.

At night, the lights are visible from farther away, of course. An order of magnitude more people become involved; and this changes the behavior of the system qualitatively. Some comments in the foam indicate that groups of people are deliberately playing cooperative games on Xoluu -- with no attempt to know, or learn, each others' identities.

*   Life of the Mind
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