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  • August 23: Big Plans !

    Kitchen repairs continue. We've completed a thorough verification of all links at the site, which should make for smoother surfing. Modified Java applets will be in place within the next few days - for compatibility with Internet Explorer 4, slated to ship September 30.

    Our next major project will be a Wallpaper Server. Perhaps you've noticed that the main pages of PSK are tiled with various CA-generated patterns in shades of off-white. Bruce Christenson and I plan to implement a Java applet which will let you grow your own random CA wallpapers in patterns and palettes of your choosing, and will then save them for your use in web pages or on your desktop. We will launch a gallery of especially fine samples generated both in-house and by visitors. This plan has been on the drawing boards for a long time, but we have finally made a breakthrough in learning how to get Java to actually do I / O ! So expect a new toy sometime this fall; we'll keep you posted on our progress.

    Meanwhile, for your entertainment, Ann Bell has sent along this Dilbert:

    For background, check out our popular recipes from the week of February 26 - March 3, 1996, the week of April 22 - 28, 1996, and also the update in Spring 97 Additions.

    Those of you more interested in comestible bacon than Hollywood namesakes might try Hangtown Fry, Moros y Cristianos, Primordial Terrine, Ukrainian Borshch, or Leek Tart.

    And finally, in fond memory of my recent California trip, Cracked Crab has been added to the Real Recipes collection.

  • August 15: The Dog Days...

    Kitchen maintenance will keep us busy for the rest of the month. Expect an announcement of forthcoming plans next week, and some new content in September.

  • The Kitchen will be shut July 28 - August 10 for summer vacation.
    The Chef's brother is getting married !

    PSK received 10,000 hits last month, thank you all very much ...

  • July 18: Totalistic Growth Rules with Moore Neighborhood

    A new Lagniappe page offers a gallery of complex crystals derived from exotic nearest neighbor CA growth models. A couple of the images have size about 150K, but we hope they're worth the download.

    Many small, cosmetic changes have been made to PSK in order to cope with the latest round of the Browser Jihad. As always, feedback is appreciated if you encounter layout or functional problems using recent versions of Internet Explorer or Netscape.

  • July 2: Happy 4th of July !

    Our goal over the next month or so is to finish a survey of Cellular Automaton Shape Theory, and to post a companion gallery of CA crystals in the PSK's Lagniappe section. Here's a preview which seems fitting for the upcoming holiday weekend. Start with only the origin occupied, then repeatedly add to the crystal any site with exactly 1 of its 8 nearest neighbors previously occupied. See Experiment 5 of the Two-State Range 1 Automata Java applet for a dynamic look at the initial stages of growth. Click on the thumbnail image above to see the crystal after 219 updates in a festive time-trace coloration. We have chosen 219 because it is the closest integer to 6/7 of 256. It turns out that at times which are 6/7 of successive powers of 2 the crystal's shape converges to a limit with self-similar corners and boundary of infinite length. As a puzzle, see if you can figure out the asymptotic density of illuminated cells when the crystal is very large.

    Three great picnic dishes: Cold Noodles with Peanut Sauce, Leek Tart, and Rhubarb Cake have been added to the Real Recipes collection.

  • The Kitchen was shut June 23 - 30 for a trip to the Big Apple...

  • June 16: Fundamental Disorder of the Lava Lite

    Truly random sequences are notoriously difficult to generate with deterministic digital algorithms. Now the folks at Silicon Graphics have decided that for this purpose their high-priced workstations need help from those cute little psychedelic lamps of the 60's. I'm not hallucinating! For background, check out a feature article from Wired. Then click on the oozing gurp to get the straight dope.

    On a more serious note, the recently formed New England Complex Systems Institute looks like a welcome resource for researchers in nonlinear dynamics. Their InterJournal Home Page has links to an article database on complex systems and related fields. They are also planning an extensive and impressive International Conference on Complex Systems for this September, 1997.

    The PSK was honored with a Scout Report Selection for the week of June 13. Scout Report is a weekly InterNIC subscription mailing list (plain text or html) with a focus on research and education. This Monday was the Kitchen's first 1000 hit day ever, thank you all very much!

  • June 9: CAPOW goes 3D

    Rudy Rucker's gnarly pages have been a fixture in our Kitchen Sink since they first went online. Now Rudy has released a way-cool 32-bit update of his CA software for Windows 95 and NT, called CAPOW 97. The new version supports user-defined rules, and features a very flexible 3D visualization tool. Click on the thumbnail above to see sample output generated by an excitable CA called Hodgepodge. We give Five Stars to Rucker's latest.

    A recent, ambitious resource on Complex Systems and Artificial Life is the CALResCo Page by Chris Lucas. Although his Big Picture slant tends to the mystical, Chris has just posted a preliminary draft of a useful Self-Organization FAQ. Readers looking for a more quantitative overview of self-organization should check out Is the Primordial Soup Done Yet? by my student Cosma Shalizi. This provocative article discusses correlation length, entropy, and other measures of pattern vs. disorder, using some of the Kitchen's favorite CA recipes as test cases.

  • June 3: CA and Computational Aesthetics

    Our latest addition to Lagniappe features the graphics and writings of Australian artist Paul Brown.

    The PSK Guestbook has now been split in two: browse last year's, or this year's, or sign here.

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