ITHCWY Newsletter for March 2020

Actual, age weighted and age and life expectancy weighted results of the 2016 Presidential Election

More Bangalore: Timelapse featuring Tipu Sultan's Summer Palace, Lalbagh Botanical Garden, KR flower market, Bangalore Palace and Cubbon Park.

Coastal: an abstract timelapse of the California coast.

Jesse Wegman has written a book, Let the People Pick the President: The Case for Abolishing the Electoral College (review) and a NYT op-ed on switching to a more rational way of electing the President. If you support this idea I have a page on the topic with four concrete things you can do to help.

Hike to Kirby Cove Beach (Marin Headlands near San Francisco).

Tool to backup locked files on Windows 10 - great for XCOPY backups or just grabbing a locked file.


(All Etc Posts)

News: We May Be Living in a Simulation, but the Truth Still Matters

We May Be Living in a Simulation, but the Truth Still Matters

I like this article because Kara Swisher actually gets the history right. Read my series on this starting with Can I move to a Better Simulation Please?.

(All Etc Posts)

ITHCWY Newsletter for January 2020

Alexa Echo Wall Clock

A timelapse portrait of San Francisco on New Year's Eve 2019.

Hike: Mt. Livermore on Angel Island

Catfood Earth 4.00 has been released. The new version includes 4K remastered day, night and cloud images as well as the latest timezone database.

It's a month for updates - you can also grab Catfood WebCamSaver 3.20 which includes an updated list of working webcams around the world. WebCamSaver is a Windows screensaver that shows you a feed of open webcams.

Meeting defragmenter is real!

How to fix the Washington Post democratic candidate quiz.


(All Etc Posts)

Clockwise - Meeting Defragmenter

Back in 2016 I shared an idea for a tool that would automatically arrange meetings to maximize stretches of production time. As a marketing genius I called it Meeting Defragmenter.

I just read about Clockwise, a startup that is doing exactly this. Right now it supports GSuite and it looks like Office365 is coming soon. Can't wait to try it!

(All Etc Posts)

ITHCWY Newsletter for November 2019

Kidlapse - Make a Movie of Your Child Growing Up

Updated on Saturday, May 29, 2021

Kidlapse - Make a Movie of Your Child Growing Up

Kidlapse is now live. This is a service I've been working on that uses machine learning to recognize faces and then rotate and zoom you so get pretty good alignment between each photo. You upload one photo per month and Kidlapse then creates a timelapse movie of your child growing up. If that sounds like something you'd be interested in sign up and give it a try.

(All Etc Posts)

ITHCWY Newsletter for October 2019

ITHCWY Newsletter for August 2019

Generation three thousand of a genetic algorithm learning to draw a hummingbird

SFO has just banned bottled water. Why not Coke?

In need of a simple tool to de-duplicate and sort photos and videos into year and month folders on Windows? Check out PhotoSorter.

Rebuttal of an op-ed in the NYT on the simulation hypothesis.

More on simulation. Have we proved this isn't true? No. Also - what does analyzing the physics of Conway's Game of Life tell us?

New project: generate a timelapse of a kid growing up from a set of any photos (uses machine learning to spot and align faces). Check it out at


(All Etc Posts)


Updated on Saturday, May 29, 2021

I'm working on a project to generate a timelapse of a kid growing up. I wasn't organized enough to shoot my kids in the same pose on the same background so it's quite a tough problem. To fix this I'm using machine learning to recognize faces in photos and then automatically rotate and align them so the face is in the same place in every shot. From there it's just a matter of generating frames that fade between the different photos and stitching them together into a video. If this sounds interesting check it out at and sign up to get notified when the service launches.

(All Etc Posts)

Life, Non-locality and the Simulation Hypothesis

Updated on Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Conway's Game of Life, Recently

Conway's Game of Life is a cellular automaton where simple rules lead to surprisingly complex behavior. You can even build a Turing Machine in it. Life consists of a grid of cells which are either alive or dead. For each generation a cell flips from dead to alive if it has three alive neighbors. If a cell is alive and has two or three neighbors then it survives to the next generation, otherwise if dies. When programming a non-infinite Life game it's common to wrap the logic at the extent of the grid - so the some 'neighbors' of the cells at the very top are the cells at the very bottom and so on.

Imagine that you discover such a system and try to figure out the physics of it.

After observation of a sample of cells you'd figure out the rules that govern the life and death of most cells. You'd also figure out a speed of 'light' for the system - information can only travel one cell per generation. The state of cells further away have no influence. You've got a kind of classical physics of the Game of Life.

Further study would throw up a puzzle though. Cells at the extremes of the system are influenced by cells at the other extreme. In some cases the speed of 'light' is violated - you now have a non-local physics in the mix. At this point you might fix the problem with geometry - maybe the grid is actually wrapped around a torus (even though you're looking at a rectangular grid). This makes the system logically consistent again but it's wrong - the non-local behavior occurs because you're trying to analyze a simulation.

In quantum physics observing the state of a property on one particle in a pair of entangled particles will instantly effect the observation of that property on the other particle, no matter the distance between them. This is Einstein's spooky action at a distance. It seems like it can't possibly be true, but has been demonstrated repeatedly (and quite spectacularly using starlight to select which property to measure).

There are many different interpretations of how to understand quantum physics. But as you might expect from physicists these concern themselves with a physical universe (or multiverse depending on the flavor). It's possible though that non-locality (and the apparant quantized nature of our reality) is trying to tell us something else. Non-local effects are entirely consistent with a reality that is being generated frame by frame, just like a souped up Game of Life.

(Read the full simulation hypothesis series: Part 1: Can I move to a Better Simulation Please?, Part 2: Have we Already Proved that the Simulation Hypothesis is False?, Part 3: Life, Non-locality and the Simulation Hypothesis.)

(All Etc Posts)