Categories
Technology

The first supercomputer, IBM’s 305 RAMAC from 1956

In September 1956 IBM launched the 305 RAMAC, the world’s first supercomputer with 5 MB of data.

The machine weighed over a ton — it took a team of people to transport it.

To put the computer size and storage in perspective, our pocket-sized phones contain 256GB of storage. A grain of rice dwarfs the world’s smallest computer.

The world’s smallest computer next to a grain of rice

120 Years of Moore’s Law

Like fire and farming techniques before it, the ubiquity of computers and the exponential processing speed of chips, also known as Moore’s Law, changed the course of history. But even Moore’s Law is dying in exchange for brain-inspired chips.

Writes venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson who updated Ray Kurzweil’s visualization of Moore’s Law:

The fine-grained parallel compute architecture of a GPU maps better to the needs of deep learning than a CPU. There is a poetic beauty to the computational similarity of a processor optimized for graphics processing and the computational needs of a sensory cortex, as commonly seen in neural networks today.

Stephen T. Jurvetson

Dare we say it, the next supercomputer is not only artificially intelligent, but it also melds the mind and the machine.

Forget Google. Imagine having already downloaded all the relevant knowledge directly to your mind and using it expeditiously.

Here’s how IBM’s Director of Research Dario Gil sees the fusion of chips, neurons, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing wiring together.

“We’re beginning to see an answer to what is happening at the end of Moore’s law. It’s a question that has been the front of the industry for a long, long time.

And the answer is that we’re going to have this new foundation of bits plus neurons plus qubits coming together, over the next decade [at] different maturity levels – bits [are] enormously mature, the world of neural networks and neural technology, next in maturity, [and] quantum the least mature of those. [It] is important to anticipate what will happen when those three things intersect within a decade.”

Dario Gil
Categories
Architecture & Design Space

What cities look like at night without electricity

In his series Villes éteintes (Darkened Cities), French photographer Thierry Cohen imagines the world’s biggest cities at night without urban light.

Cohen uses a special exposure technique called day for night which enables him to capture the cities in the daytime but increase the impression of darkness. Then, he combines the city skylines into the backdrop of starry skies captured at the same altitude.

“By combining two realities, I am making a third that you cannot see … but it exists! I am showing you the missing stars,” Cohen told Wired.

“Photography is way of showing things that we can’t see. Photography is a way to dream. I am not showing you post-apocalyptic cities, merely cities without electricity. I am bringing back the silence.”

Cities lit by the stars

What appears to be an eerie blackout in some of the world’s biggest cities (Hong Kong, LA, New York, Paris, Rio, Shanghai, Tokyo) nonetheless creates a beautiful mirage.

“Photography is about poetry more than it is about reality,” added Cohen. “It is how you see the world. You can show the world you want to show.” See more images on the artist’s website.

NYC at night
New York City
Hong Kong at night under stars
Hong Kong
Paris at night under stars
Paris
Tokyo at night under stars
Tokyo
San Francisco at night under stars
San Francisco
Categories
Architecture & Design Travel

Spooky Indonesian church shaped like a chicken

There is a bizarre-looking church in the Indonesian jungle that’s shaped like a giant chicken.

Located in the forests of Magelang, Central Java (here it is on Google Maps, Gereja Ayam or “Chicken Church” was built in 1992 by Daniel Alamsjah.

He foresaw the structure in the late 80s when he received a spiritual message from God telling him to construct a prayer house for all religions in the shape of a dove. However, given the small beak and fluffy feathers, it appears to look more like a chicken.

Closed temporarily in 2000 for renovation — the second-floor walls have since been repainted with scenes from Indonesian mythology — the church has since been reopened as a tourist attraction but still offers a religious tour.

You can learn more about the church on its official tourism website.

Spooky Indonesian church shaped like a chicken
Spooky Indonesian church shaped like a chicken
Spooky Indonesian church shaped like a chicken
Categories
Architecture & Design Nature

Zhangjiajie’s Bailong Elevator is the highest outdoor elevator in the world

The Bailong Elevator is the world’s highest outdoor elevator, towering an astonishing 1,070 feet high inside the National Forest Park in the Wulingyuan area of Zhangjiajie, China. Opened in 2002, the cliff-facing elevator allows 50 visitors at a time to skip up the mountain in two minutes versus a dangerous five-hour car ride.

As you can imagine, the outdoor lift also provides panoramic scenery to its riders of bridges and villages below. Meanwhile, the top of the mountain features the scenic Yuanjiajie natural heritage spot.

Image via @nk7/instagram
Image via @nk7/instagram

Add Zhangjiajie National Park to the list of places to visit, along with Vietnam’s Golden Bridge and Coron Island in the Philippines. See more about the Bailong Elevator in the video below.

Categories
Nature Science

The beauty of Iceland’s Vestrahorn mountain

Vestrahorn mountain in south-east Iceland is one to behold.

Nicknamed “Batman Mountain” for its awe-inspiring beauty, the 1490 foot mountain looks down at the flat black sand of Stokksnes Beach below.

Known for its spiky peaks that resemble the horns on a bull, Vestrahorn is composed of both gabbro and granophyre rocks. But in order to access the photogenic landscape of the mountain beach, you’ll need to make a small payment to the landowner first.

By the looks of it, the experience is worth every penny.

Iceland’s Vestrahorn mountain
via Dede/Twitter
Iceland’s Vestrahorn mountain
via Sigfrido/tw
Iceland’s Vestrahorn mountain
via Sigfrido/tw
Iceland’s Vestrahorn mountain
via Sigfrido/tw

Categories
Nature

Take an amazing “bird’s eye” view above Scotland’s Orkney’s cliffs

Ever wondered what Earth might look like from a bird’s perspective, soaring through the sky?

Elite Falconry, a falconry center based in Scotland, put a 2 oz camera rig on of its White Tail Sea Eagles to record flying over the beautiful cliffs of Orkney, Scotland.

Writes the company on its Facebook page:

Over the past number of years, we have developed an incredibly small, aerodynamic, lightweight, amazingly well balanced, and most importantly, comfortable, onboard fullHD video camera that some of our birds can carry. If you are a long time follower, you will have seen several of the videos we have created. Lots of the work, especially those created with Marra our White tail Sea Eagle, and Stanley, one of our Golden Eagles have featured on numerous TV shows and documentaries. We are delighted with so much of the work, but for us, this one, made on a trip for a little goose hunting on the utterly breathtaking Orkney Islands, on the sea cliffs near the Kitcheners Monument, looking out over the Atlantic Ocean toweards North America and Iceland, is our absolute favourite.

In addition to offering flying demonstrations, Elite Falconry invites wedding organizers to hire the birds of prey to gather aerial footage of events.

Be sure to follow along their Instagram for more!