Cosmic Brain

Stars in the sky

Remember this video? In it you start with a person lying on the ground looking up at the sky. The camera zooms out exponentially into space showing the immense scale of the galaxies. Then, we quickly zoom back in to molecular scale

Notice the similarity of the Cosmic Web at 1 billion light years and Quarks at 1 femtometer

I immediately recalled the Cosmic eye video when I read this headline:

The Strange Similarity of Neuron and Galaxy Networks

The article is written by an astrophysicist and a neuroscientist on the similar complexities and structures of the brain and the cosmic web.

The task of comparing brains and clusters of galaxies is a difficult one. For one thing it requires dealing with data obtained in drastically different ways: telescopes and numerical simulations on the one hand, electron microscopy, immunohistochemistry, and functional magnetic resonance on the other.

It also requires us to consider enormously different scales: The entirety of the cosmic web—the large-scale structure traced out by all of the universe’s galaxies—extends over at least a few tens of billions of light-years. This is 27 orders of magnitude larger than the human brain. Plus, one of these galaxies is home to billions of actual brains. If the cosmic web is at least as complex as any of its constituent parts, we might naively conclude that it must be at least as complex as the brain.

Complexity of the brain and cosmos “can be quantified by counting how many bits of information are necessary for building the smallest possible computer program that can … predict its behavior.” We do this using an equally fascinating measurement tool: Computers. “independent studies have concluded that the total memory capacity of the adult human brain should be around 2.5 petabytes, not far from the 1-10 petabyte range estimated for the cosmic web!” Petabytes are huge.  This means the amount of information needed to predict the behavior of a human brain is roughly equivalent to the amount of data required to stream the first two seasons of Stranger Things 50 thousand times.

Does this fact tell us something profound about the physics of emergent phenomena in the two systems? Maybe. But we must take these findings with a grain of salt. Our analysis has been limited to small samples taken with very different measurement techniques.

But it’s fun to think about.


Week in Review – August 27, 2017

Eclipse 2K17!

Tech & Programming

Books & Reading

Disney’s Choice


Vertical companies like Apple achieve profits by selling differentiated goods at high margins. Horizontal companies like Google, on the other hand, achieve profits through scale, which by extension means being free (or as low cost as possible) is more important than being the “best”; the brilliance of Google’s model, of course, is that having more users, and thus more data, means it is the best as well.

Epic of Gilgamesh

Wikipedia page

This story is over 4000 years old but was only discovered in 1853. Time deteriorated the tablets and filtered the text to what we have today. The story is about King Gilgamesh of Uruk and his quest to beat death, but what amazed me was the insight it gave to the scale of humanity at the time the story was written (my thoughts were influenced from just reading Sapiens). If all stories were kept on multiple tablets of similar size, where are all the others? What happened in the 4000 years that we never decided to make another copy? Today, it seems the internet will preserve all we create for the foreseeable future, so Gilgamesh will live on.

Everything Else


CinemaSins is great for screening movies of questionable quality without investing the entire 2 hours on a rotten tomato (but the Kong director doesn’t think so). For example, Power Rangers. Now I know I only need to watch the end to see Megazord. Granted this is not a replacement for watching the movie, just a way to rearrange your list of what to watch next. Still, such nostalgia.

Don’t forget the second step

Seth Godin

Showing up and doing it again and again until you’re good at it, and until it’s part of who you are and what you do.

Gothic Basin

A preview of what’s to come…

At the top of Gothic Basin


Two Weeks in Review – August 20, 2017

It's about time


on Renew Psychology

Here’s a test. I decided not to renew nautilus for $29 a year. I already have another 1 year on my subscription, and while I currently would like to have the magazine for another year I am balancing a few things to decide if in one year I want it for another year. In reality, the $29 for a year is really, $29 for two more years since I already acclimated to the original cost. So now, I am taking the option of not wanting the magazine in a year at the cost of an increase over $29. My current rate is $35 a year, so my value on the option is $6.



Aziz Ansari Quit the Internet

via Cal Newport (via GQ)

when he gets into a cab, he now leaves his phone in his pocket and simply sits there and thinks; when he gets home, instead of “looking at websites for an hour and half, checking to see if there’s a new thing,” he reads a book.

Like Macklemore




Tech and Learning



San Juan Island

Ferry and driving tour

Cele is no more

I removed it from the App Store. It had a good run, but it was time for other things.

Gated Reverb

via Vox on YouTube
and a Spotify playlist

Weekly Productivity

I like the option I have with this iPad to either read, or write in the mornings. I swing back and forth between the two activities (right now trying to finish Sapiens), but I thought a lot last night about how I was going to write a book. That fell flat in July and August. Replaced with video editing, coding, and having fun with friends. All in moderation is my way of doing things.

Flying with Seals


Alki Beach at sunset

I did not realize I was recording while setting up the drone. When I got back, I noticed the random 30 seconds of filming the ground. Instead of deleting it, I made a preview for the rest of the movie!

And the main feature. Enjoy!


Here’s a story from a TED talk on perspective:

A man walks into a bank in Watsonville, California. And he says, “Give me $2,000, or I’m blowing the whole bank up with a bomb.”

Now, the bank manager didn’t give him the money. She took a step back. She took his perspective, and she noticed something really important. He asked for a specific amount of money.

So she said, “Why did you ask for $2,000?”

And he said, “My friend is going to be evicted unless I get him $2,000 immediately.”

And she said, “Oh! You don’t want to rob the bank — you want to take out a loan.”

“Why don’t you come back to my office, and we can have you fill out the paperwork.”

Challenge your perspective and don’t make assumptions.

Quoted from Adam Galinsky: How to speak up for yourself


Want to stitch together a video of GoPro timelapse photos? They are all in the format G00XXXXX.JPG (G0050192.JPG), so throw all the photos in a single “Timelapse” folder and use ffmpeg!

ffmpeg -r 24 -start_number 50192 -i G00%05d.JPG -s 1440x1080 -pix_fmt yuv420p -f mp4 -vcodec h264 DriveToDomaine.mp4

Sit back and chill for a few minutes (or meditate), and soon enough you will have a new timelapse video! Feel free to play around with the settings to your liking. This will get you a 1440×1080, 24fps, QuickTime compatible, mp4 file. #justnerdthings


To concatenate mp4 files in the same directory use the following:
ffmpeg -f concat -safe 0 -i <(for f in ./*.mp4; do echo "file '$PWD/$f'"; done) -c copy drivingTour.mp4